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Yakuza 5 (Japanese: 龍が如く5 夢、叶えし者 Hepburn: Ryū ga Gotoku 5: Yume Kanaeshi Mono, "Like a Dragon 5: Fulfiller of Dreams"), is a 2012 open world action-adventure video game developed and published by Sega for the PlayStation 3. The game is the fifth main entry in the Yakuza series of action-adventure games. The game was released in December 2012 in Japan, and localized for North America, Europe and Australia as a PlayStation Network download exclusive in December 2015. The game features a new graphics engine, unlike previous PS3 games in the series that have been re-utilizing the same engine since Ryū ga Gotoku Kenzan!. For the first time in the series, it features five settings across Japan along with five playable main characters. This game is also the first in the series to have a digital only release in the West.
The game's gameplay is relatively similar to previous games in the series, with a few changes. Similar to past games, gameplay is divided into two components being Adventure Mode and Combat Mode. Adventure Mode allows players to explore different areas and play spots across the city including mini-games. The cities will also be significantly bigger than previous games, providing more areas to explore in the game and is said to feature the greatest volume of play spots across cities in the series' history. The change between the game's Adventure Mode and Combat Mode is also said to be more seamless than previous games, which involved a transitional change when encountering enemies whilst in adventure mode. Controls for the game have also been said to have been improved "dramatically" as with the tempo of the game's combat mode.
Setting and characters
The game features five main protagonists, the highest number of main protagonists of any game in the series, with the previous highest being Yakuza 4's four main protagonists. The game features series protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu, the main character since the original Yakuza game. There are also two returning protagonists from Yakuza 4, namely Shun Akiyama and Taiga Saejima. One of the new main protagonists is Haruka Sawamura, a recurring character of the series since the original game. Though she has always been an integral part of the story, she has never been a playable main character before the game. Lastly is Tatsuo Shinada (Toshiyuki Morikawa), a new character to the Yakuza series.
For the first time in the series, the game features five distinct locales across Japan. First of which will be returning from previous games is Kamurocho (a.k.a. Kamuro City), a fictionalized yet realistic recreation of Shinjuku's red-light district, Kabukichō. Second is Sōtenbori, a fictional Osaka district based on Dōtonbori, which is returning from Yakuza 2. The three new cities in the game are Nagasugai, part of the fictional Fukuoka based on Nakasu, Tsukimino, part of the fictional Sapporo based on Susukino and Kin'eicho, part of the fictional Nagoya based on Sakae. According to producer Toshihiro Nagoshi and writer Masayoshi Yokoyama, it will be like the "San Andreas" of the Yakuza series, in that it is a "massive expansion on the core concept that takes the franchise to new heights."
The game picks up following the end of Yakuza 4. Since then, Kazuma Kiryu, who has changed his name to Suzuki Taichi, has become a taxi driver in Fukuoka. Taiga Saejima is serving a 2-year jail sentence in Hokkaido following the events of the previous game, while Shun Akiyama is in Osaka on a business trip. Haruka Sawamura has also left the orphanage in Okinawa and is currently in Osaka pursuing a career of becoming an Idol. She currently lives independently in Osaka and practices singing and dancing, though her talent agency is not all that it seems. The new character in the series, Tatsuo Shinada, is a former baseball player who was given a life ban for gambling, but may have been framed.
Previously, in 2010 a ceasefire between the two yakuza clans of the Tojo Clan and the Ueno Seiwa Clan ended with the revelation of a conspiracy by the police force following the events of Yakuza 4. The Tojo Clan then underwent a major re-organization under the leadership of 6th chairman, Daigo Dojima, and a truce with the Omi Alliance was formed. However, two years later in December 2012, the 7th chairman of the Omi Alliance is on his deathbed. With the death of the 7th chairman it would mean that the truce between the Tojo Clan and the Omi Alliance would be broken leading to a war between the clans. In order to prepare, the Tojo Clan is forced to strengthen their organization by aligning themselves with older clans based in other major cities across Japan, in order to create a new organization rivaling that of the Omi Alliance. This new alliance would breach the old traditional barriers of Clan territories and so Daigo Dojima heads for Fukuoka.
The story begins in Fukuoka with Daigo Dojima having met with Tadashi Madarame, the patriarch of the local clan. Daigo then leaves to meet discreetly with Kazuma Kiryu who now lives under the alias of Taichi Suzuki as a cab driver. He goes home for the night and has a chat with Mayumi, a hostess that he’s befriended. After work the next day he is met by Yuu Morinaga and Masato Aizawa, members of the Tojo Clan who were running security for Daigo during his visit to Fukuoka. They inform Kiryuu that Daigo has gone missing and that the last person he had contact with was Kiryu. Aizawa and Morinaga show up at Kiryu’s house the following day, having gotten into a brawl with Yamagasa men. They learn Aoyama has taken up being the interim chairman which alarms them.
While going to retrieve his boss Nakajima from a diner Kiryu is met by Kazuhiko Serizawa, an Osakan detective with the Organized Crimes Unit. He warns Kiryu that he needs to meet with Omi Alliance Lieutenant Watase unless Aizawa and Morinaga act first and cause a war. Kiryu meets with Watase who reveals he has no interest in Daigo and thus doesn’t know where he is, but he does reveal a lot of information was leaked by Aoyama. Kazuma rushes to the hotel where Madarame and Aoyama are only to find Madarame stabbed after trying to shoot Aoyama. Aoyama was planning to take over the Tojo Clan and thus frames Kiryu for attacking Madarame and shooting Morinaga. Kiryu fights his way out, but Aoyama sets off the explosives in the hotel and eliminates any evidence.
The following morning Kiryu finds Mayumi at his apartment who it turns out is Madarame’s daughter and was tasked with watching Kiryu as a favor to Daigo to keep Kiryu’s life peaceful. He reveals Daigo also was never abducted but has instead gone into hiding as he believed that Aoyama was making an attempt on his life. With Daigo sorting out affairs incognito, Madarame gives Kiryu a letter for Yahata. Kiryu meets with Yahata and shows him the letter ordering the dissolution of the Yamagasa Family. Yahata agrees but he’s still intent on fighting the Tojo. Kiryu tears up the letter, saying that the Yamagasa need to remain intact to keep the peace in Fukuoka. As such, he has Yahata call up Aoyama demanding to meet at the docks for a war.
Instead of having the Yamagasa and Tojo fight, Kazuma proposes he take on Aoyama’s forces by himself as that won’t be a war. He battles his way through Aoyama’s men and savagely beats Aoyama as a warning. Aoyama confesses his ploy wasn’t to take over the Tojo but to lure Kiryu out of hiding. Before Aoyama can reveal his master’s identity he’s shot in the head by Morinaga who was in on the plan from the start. He admits to murdering Aizawa and declares that Kiryu go to Kamurocho for answers.
Two days later Kiryu meets with Serizawa who informs him they found Aizawa’s brutalized body and wonders if Kiryu is going to Tokyo. Kiryu says he’ll follow his own path, but the detective tells him to listen to the news. On the car radio Kiryu hears that a murder victim has been found in Sapporo with it being none other than Goro Majima. His decision made, Kiryu dons his grey suit and heads to Tokyo, bidding farewell to the photograph of the children at his orphanage.
In Sapporo, Hokkaido Saejima is serving out his sentence. He is attempting to keep on his best behavior in order to get an early parole, but is repeatedly beaten by the gang of Kugihara. Kosaka, the Deputy Warden, offers the chance for Saejima to serve out the rest of his sentence in solitary confinement but Saejima declines as he fears Kugihara will turn his attention to his cell mates whom he has befriended.
The following day Shigeki Baba, one of Saejima’s cell mates, is accused of stabbing one of Kugihara’s gang members. Saejima believes there is foul play due to Baba’s parole hearing being that day. They discover that Kugihara framed Baba to which Saejima confronts him. Kugihara reveals he’d be trying to get Saejima to fight him to delay his parole. Saejima is brought before Kosaka who gives Saejima a letter detailing that he’s been excommunicated from the Tojo Clan. Saejima also finds out that Goro Majima has been murdered.
Later that night Kosaka meets with Saejima and Baba. He details that Saejima’s parole was denied by the Ministry of Justice and the Warden was murdered outside of Sapporo Airport. He also says that there are one-hundred inmates scheduled for transfer into the prison and they are likely assassins. He gives Saejima to a snowmobile outside the southwest exit and urges him and Baba to escape to figure out why Saejima is being targeted. Saejima and Baba escape after a protracted brawl with Kugihara and the new prisoners but wreck their snowmobile and Saejima is attacked by a monstrous bear called Yama-Oroshi. He and Baba are saved by Okudera, a hunter in the nearby village who has a grudge against the bear.
Saejima and Baba head to Sapporo to meet with Kitakata who is supposedly Majima’s killer. They manage to kidnap him during the Snow Festival via the sewer system and he talks with Saejima. Majima was brought to Kitakata to negotiate an equal alliance in spite of the Tojo Clan being the larger entity, however after Kitakata agreed to it Majima then advised him to decline the offer as he suspected it was being made for foul purposes. Before Kitakata can say who the mastermind is he is shot by Baba. Baba hesitates in killing Saejima, having grown to respect him and they fight.
Saejima is then detained by the Serizawa who tells him about the turmoil in the Tojo Clan. With Daigo missing, Majima murdered in Sapporo, and Tojo Lieutenant Azumi murdered in Nagoya the clan is in an uproar. He hypothesizes that someone is manipulating the whole ordeal and that Saejima is the key. He offers Saejima the opportunity to go to Kamurocho to figure out what’s going on if he provides information to the police.
Haruka is now living in the Sotenbori district of Osaka training for the Princess League competition in order to make her big debut, having been scouted by Mirei Park of Dyna Chair under the condition that Kiryu leave the orphanage lest his past put Haruka's success in jeopardy. Despite the lessons being grueling she remains optimistic. In the first round of the finals her opponents, T-Set, try to embarrass her prior to the show, but she manages to win. However, Ogita, her dance instructor, is angry with Park as he believes she’s being unreasonable due to switching her demands to make Haruka a star from one year to six months and leaves with Park voiding any compensation he would have received. Lacking an instructor, Park tells Haruka and Horie of a famous dance teacher named Christian who has recently come to Osaka. Haruka manages to find him due to a friend also being interested in being his student. He chooses Haruka as he finds her style to be more honest and less rehearsed. He is pleased with his new assignment at Dyna Chair and promises to make sure Haruka wins.
Haruka goes to buy Park a present after an event and is met by T-Set who berate and embarrass her. They’re stopped by Park who reminds them that doing such a thing in public can spread quickly on social media and the two relent. Haruka and Park bond over a shopping trip and Park talks about her past. As a child she was abused by her birth parents and taken in by a strict foster family and faced various issues due to her Korean heritage. She later started her career as a promising idol but became pregnant at eighteen which forced her to reveal that she’d been secretly married. She had an abortion due to putting her career first, but her husband left her as he believed he was holding her back in her dreams, her agency dropped her due to the fear of a potential scandal, and complications due to her abortion rendered her infertile. She founded Dyna Chair and wants Haruka to be able to succeed as she was unable to.
Park confesses she recently received a letter from her ex-husband who she is going to meet in Tokyo. Before that she leaves a fountain pen with Haruka which was a gift from her husband. She asks Haruka meet him and so Park can look her best for him. The next day she is found dead outside the office, apparently having thrown herself from the top floor of the building.
Shun Akiyama, looking to expand his Sky Finance money-lending business to Osaka, is called by his secretary Hana about Park’s death. He reunites with Haruka and details how Park borrowed 300 million yen from him to invest in Haruka. Due to that he doesn’t believe she would commit suicide and investigates with Haruka. He comes to the conclusion that foul play is involved.
Horie is then thrown from the building the following day with Akiyama catching Ogita and confronting a yakuza named Kanai. They manage to get away. Akiyama then examines the suicide note and comes to the conclusion it’s forged as Park had to use her left hand due to an injury from Ogita during an argument. He tracks down a forger in Sotenbori who was the one who made the note and tells Akiyama that his employer was the Yakuza he fought who he’s seen in the company of Naoki Katsuya, the president of Osaka Talents.
Akiyama investigates Osaka Enterprises and finds a heavily injured Ogita who confesses to killing Park accidentally when interrogating her and having to fake her death. She was targeted due to the letter her ex-husband sent her. During this Haruka wins the final round of the Princess League but is kidnapped by Kanai’s men shortly thereafter only for Katsuya to return her and reveal that Park’s ex-husband is none other than Goro Majima and that the letter reveals his whereabouts. He strikes a deal with Haruka over the phone telling her to go to Shin-Osaka Station. She agrees, but is met by Kanai who is beaten by Akiyama. Haruka and Akiyama head off to Tokyo with the letter in hand with Katsuya shortly behind.
In Nagoya Shinada is a former pro baseball player turned adult entertainment writer. He is approached by a strange, masked man who offers him twenty million yen (the amount he would have made in his rookie year) for finding out why he was blamed for stealing pitching signs from the Tokyo Gigants which led to a huge investigation over game fixing. Shinada mulls it over despite pressure from Takasugi to whom he owes a substantial amount of debt. After a talk with Milky, an erotic masseuse he frequents, he decides to go through with it and get to the bottom of the scandal. They track down Uno, the Wyvern’s former acupuncturist, who admits he was fired from the team shortly after Shinada. He remembers that it was probably because he found the misplaced phone of Manabe, another Wyverns player.
Shinada meets with Manabe at his yakiniku restaurant who reveals there had been game fixing going on with the plays being messaged via phone to the players with Shinada being the only player who didn’t know. Manabe urges Shinada to not pry further as there was a former player who was found dead after attempting to go through with the truth. Shinada returns to Uno’s clinic to think about who could have benefited from the scandal as even the Omi Alliance and Tojo Clan had their gambling operations shut down in the area. Shinada comes to the conclusion that the Nagoya Family benefited from it all as they established themselves in Kineicho shortly after the scandal. Shinada asks Takasugi to take him to the leader of the Nagoya Family, but Takasugi admits he doesn’t know anything about the organization and just claims connections in order to intimidate others. The three smell a gas leak and Shinada chases the saboteur to a construction site where he is crushed by falling bars. Shinada recognizes the man on the roof as his former teammate Sakai whom he confronts and is forced to fight. Sakai admits Shinada was sacrificed for the good of Nagoya but is crushed by a falling generator before he can reveal anything more.
Shinada then examines pitching data from the Wyverns and muses on how the team has taken a dive in quality, making him wonder if he wasn’t the only sacrifice for Nagoya. He and Takasugi head over to Ushijima and ask him about the Nagoya Family. Ushijima says he doesn’t know about the family’s inner workings, but claims that they’re far better for the town as before the scandal hit, Kineicho was ridden with crime. Just as they leave Shinada is contacted by Milky who claims her brother is being held hostage while Uno also calls to warn Shinada. Shinada heads to the docks for Milky who is tied up in a warehouse. It turns out it was a ruse and that she, Ushijima, and other members of the community are in fact the Nagoya Family. They hesitate on killing Shinada before Kobuta comes in intent on doing it, but Takasugi arrives in a fork lift to free Shinada. They battle through the docks chasing after Kobuta who Shinada beats. Manabe arrives and fights Shinada, though Shinada is quick to notice that Manabe let him win. He asks him who the mastermind of the Nagoya Family is to which Manabe gives him his cell phone and Shinada hears the voice of Fujita, his former manager.
The following morning the members of the Nagoya Family have turned themselves in and Shinada is met by his benefactor who is in fact Daigo Dojima, Shinada’s high school classmate. He gives Shinada his payment and tells him to stay out of anything in Tokyo, even saying he could get Shinada back into professional baseball. Shinada refuses, angrily hitting Daigo and saying he is sick of being manipulated. They fight to a draw and Daigo relents. On the train to Tokyo the evening edition of the newspaper reveals that the star pitcher of the Tokyo Gigants, Sawada, is being traded and Shinada races off to the Wyverns' stadium. Sawada admits he was meant to take Fujita’s place as the head of the Nagoya Family which was the purpose of the trade. The Nagoya Family was in fact just a puppet organization to the Kuroha family, a group within the Omi Alliance due to the organization in the midst of a power struggle. Sawada is meant to kill Shinada, but instead fights alongside him against the Omi Alliance soldiers. After the fight Shinada and Sawada have one last at-bat, Shinada hitting a home run off of Sawada’s curve ball. Content, Shinada says he can finally retire from baseball without regrets and heads to Tokyo.
As Kiryu arrives in Tokyo he quickly realizes he’s being followed by Baba who admits that he’s an accomplice in the Omi Alliance’s plan and that the main objective of the plan was to draw out Saejima and Kiryu due to them being seen as the pillars of the Tojo Clan. However, Baba is not working with Morinaga whose actions in Fukuoka were the doing of him and Aoyama. Currently three main families are vying for the Chairman position with the Watase, Katsuya, and another.
Saejima meets with the Osakan Detective who has tasked him with finding Morinaga while the detective tails Katsuya. Knowing that Morinaga can’t go to the Tojo Clan, Saejima heads to Purgatory where he meets with Kage the Florist about Morinaga’s whereabouts. The Florist says he had another client asking the same question and introduces Saejima to Aizawa who is still alive. He then tells the two of them that Morinaga is dead.
At the Kamurocho Hills Hotel Katsuya is willing to pay Akiyama five-hundred million yen in exchange for canceling Haruka’s debut concert. However, Akiyama believes there are other circumstances behind Katsuya’s decision and heads back to Sky Finance to find Shinada already there asking for a 320 million yen loan. He brings Akiyama up to date and says he needs the money to cancel Haruka’s concert as she might be in danger. Curious as to what Katsuya is planning, Akiyama and Shinada go to MAO Inc which is organizing the events. The president reveals that Park and Katsuya had been close friends for years, Majima and Park helping Katsuya after a career-ending injury and the idea that Dyna Chair and Osaka Talents being bitter rivals was in fact a ruse set up by Park and Katsuya to garner media interest. As such Akiyama and Shinada begin to doubt that Katsuya is really the culprit.
Baba and Kiryu see a broadcast saying Haruka’s concert has been canceled, making Kiryu even more certain of Katsuya’s guilt which Saejima and Aizawa also see. Kiryu tells Baba to relay a message to Haruka and heads off the Kamurocho Hills. Kiryu and Saejima fight their way through the Omi Alliance members separately until they reach Katsuya in his suite with Watase following after. On the roof of the hotel Katsuya admits he is not the mastermind, but had to trick Kiryu, Saejima, and Watase into showing up in order to lure out the culprit. Saejima fights Katsuya while Kiryu fights Watase before Saejima and Kiryu fight to a draw. They are then shot by Detective Serizawa who Watase and Katsuya say is Tsubasa Kurosawa, the Seventh Chairman of the Omi Alliance. Daigo shows up to intervene, but is shot by a traitorous Kanai.
Haruka is met by Nakai and T-Set at Dyna Chair’s Tokyo studio who say they canceled T-Set’s concert and will instead have a supergroup show with Haruka and T-Set performing as Dream Line. As they agree, Baba arrives and relays Kazuma’s message to her. Akiyama and Shinada then meet with Kiryu and Saejima at New Serena, Akiyama coming to the conclusion that Majima, Katsuya, and Park worked behind the scenes to draw out Kurosawa and that they need to cancel Haruka’s concert lest her life be in danger. Kiryu refuses to let that happen and the four plan a way to protect Haruka during her concert. Kurosawa is then met by Majima.
Before their plan can start, Kurosawa’s men, disguised as members of the Majima Family, arrive at Millennium Tower and begin opening fire. With Majima at the top of the tower and Haruka’s concert underway Akiyama and Kiryu stay behind to fend off Kurosawa’s men while Shinada and Saejima go through the tunnels to the Japan Dome with Shinada fighting Baba.
At the top of Millennium Tower Saejima finds Kurosawa who forces Majima and Saejima to fight to the death lest he signal for Baba to shoot Haruka. Saejima and Majima fight to a draw, but Kurosawa is unable to reach Baba as he chose not to shoot Haruka. Kurosawa attempts to kill Majima and Saejima, but is stopped by the intervention of Daigo. In the streets Akiyama fights Kanai before Watase, Madarame, and Kitakata reveal they’ve defeated Kurosawa’s forces.
At Tojo Clan Headquarters Kiryu finds Aizawa who is Kurosawa’s son. Kurosawa, panicking after his terminal diagnosis, wanted to leave Aizawa the entirety of the Tojo Clan and Omi Alliance as a legacy, though Aizawa is only interested in besting Kiryu in battle to prove who’s stronger. After an arduous battle Kiryu emerges victorious despite his wounds opening.
At the concert Haruka confesses to her audience about her past and how Kiryu was previously a yakuza. She announces she’s retiring from the entertainment industry before running out of the Japan Dome. Kiryu collapses in the snowy streets of Tokyo, but is found by Haruka, the two of them finally reunited.
The game had double the development time of previous games in the series, which generally had a one-year development cycle. The game was developed as something akin to being a reboot of the series, and dubbed as a "New Yakuza" by developers with the goal of having one of the greatest scripts and scenarios in the series' history. In addition, the game was developed on an all new graphics engine, previous PS3 games in the series used the Magical-V Engine, the same engine as Yakuza 3. The game was seen as a fresh start for developers, who treated Yakuza: Dead Souls as the end for everything developed for the series up to that point. On December 5, 2014, Sega announced Yakuza 5 would be releasing worldwide in December 8, 2015 as a digital download via the PlayStation Network.
Yakuza 5 received generally positive reviews release in western territories, while receiving critical acclaim in Japan. It holds a score of 83 out of 100 on review aggregator website Metacritic. The game received a perfect score of 40 out of 40 from japanese gaming magazine Famitsu. Hobby Consolas called it "one of the best games in the history of PS3" and "an incomparable piece of art that has everything: five main characters, five cities, an attractive script, lots of missions, a great combat system." Hardcore Gamer called it "one of the best games of last generation." PlayStation Universe praised the "complex storyline with lots of twists", the "cutscenes that push the PS3's visual capabilities", and the "myriad of mini-games and side quests" that "will give more incentive to keep playing once it is over", concluding it to be a "fitting swan song game for the PS3 era in the west." MeriStation said the "amount of content packed in the game is impressive, and the detail put in the cities' recreations is astonishing."
IGN said it is "steeped in Japanese culture to the core and exciting in its multiple storylines." GameSpot praised the "Engrossing storylines", "large variety of rich minigames", locales "alive with activity and diversions galore", "welcome surprise" pop idol chapter, and "Hard-hitting combat", but said the "Combat mechanics show their age". The Game Scouts said it looks "better than most recent next-gen releases" with "some of the best facial models" and "authentic" environments, stated the "writing is absolutely masterful, walking a fine line between satirical humor and serious gangster drama", and called it "a masterpiece", "one of the greatest games" on the PS3, and "right next to The Witcher 3" as a Game of the Year candidate.
The game sold 590,000 copies in Japan by April 2013.
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