|Developer(s)||Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio|
Windows, Xbox One
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 an action-adventure video game developed and published by Sega for the PlayStation 3. The game is the fifth main entry in the Yakuza series. The game was released in December 2012 in Japan, and localized for North America, Europe and Australia as a PlayStation Network download in December 2015. A remaster with improved resolution and frame rate was released for the PlayStation 4 on June 20, 2019 in Japan, and worldwide on February 11, 2020 as part of The Yakuza Remastered Collection. Versions for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One were released in January 2021.
The game features a new graphics engine, unlike previous 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. Yakuza 5 was followed up by the spinoff Yakuza Ishin and the prequel installment Yakuza 0 in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
The gameplay is relatively similar to previous games in the series, with a few changes. Similar to past games, gameplay is divided into two components: Adventure Mode and Combat Mode. Adventure Mode allows players to explore different areas and participate in side activities including mini-games and retro games such as Virtua Fighter 2 and Taiko No Tatsujin. The cities are also 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 second highest number of main protagonists of any game in the series, with the previous highest being Yakuza 4's four main protagonists (With Yakuza: Like A Dragon surpassing Yakuza 5 with a total of 7 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 general director Toshihiro Nagoshi and producer/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."
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In December 2012, the 7th chairman of the Omi Alliance, Tsubasa Kurosawa, is on his deathbed. With his apparent death, the truce between the Tojo Clan and the Omi Alliance breaks down, leading to potential war. 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, breaking the old traditional barriers of Clan territories in the process. In order to expedite this, the Clan's 6th chairman, Daigo Dojima personally leads the delegations sent to negotiate with the other yakuza in Fukuoka.
While in Fukuoka, Dojima meets with Tadashi Madarame, the patriarch of the local Yamagasa clan. Dojima then leaves to meet discreetly with Kazuma Kiryu, who has been living under a different identity as a taxi cab driver. Shortly after work, Kiryu is met by Dojima's bodyguards, Yu Morinaga and Masato Aizawa. They inform Kiryu that Dojima 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 Minoru Aoyama, the head of Tojo HQ, has taken the position of interim chairman.
Kiryu later meets Kazuhiko Serizawa, an Osakan detective with the Organized Crimes Unit. He warns Kiryu that he needs to meet with Omi Alliance Lieutenant Masaru Watase to prevent a war. Kiryu meets with Watase who reveals he has no interest in Dojima and doesn’t know his whereabouts, but he does reveal a lot of information was leaked by Aoyama. Kiryu 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 frames Kiryu for attacking Madarame and shooting Morinaga. Kiryu fights his way out, but Aoyama detonates bombs in the hotel to destroy the evidence.
The following morning, Kiryu finds out that a hostess he befriended, Mayumi, is Madarame’s daughter and was tasked with watching Kiryu at Dojima's request. Madarame reveals Dojima had gone into hiding as he believed that Aoyama was making an attempt on his life. With Dojima sorting out affairs incognito, Madarame gives Kiryu a letter for his subordinate, 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.
Kiryu proposes he take on Aoyama’s forces all by himself to minimize bloodshed and is victorious. Aoyama confesses his real intent to lure Kiryu out of hiding. Before Aoyama can reveal his master’s identity, he’s shot in the head by Morinaga, who is part of the conspiracy. Morinaga then shoots Kiryu in the leg and admits to murdering Aizawa, and he declares that Kiryu go to Kamurocho for answers. While Kiryu makes preparations to return to Tokyo, he hears on a radio broadcast that Goro Majima is found dead in Sapporo.
In Sapporo, Hokkaido, Taiga Saejima is serving out his sentence in Abashiri Prison with complications. Shigeki Baba, one of Saejima’s cell mates, is accused of stabbing one of Hiroshi Kugihara’s gang members on the same day as Baba's parole hearing. Saejima and Baba learn that Kugihara framed Baba in order to provoke Saejima. Concurrently, Saejima learns from Deputy Warden Seiji Kosaka that he’s been excommunicated from the Tojo Clan, learns of Majima's death, and learns his parole has been revoked by the Ministry of Justice, and that Kosaka's superior, who was supposed to make another appeal for Saejima's parole, is later found murdered. Sympathetic to their plight, Kosaka helps Saejima and Baba escape from prison, but is injured in the process, leaving Saejima's fellow cellmates Himura and Oshima to tend to Kosaka.
Saejima and Baba head to Sapporo to meet with Daizo Kitakata who is supposedly Majima’s killer. They kidnap him during the Snow Festival via the sewer system and he talks with Saejima. Kitakata reveals that Majima suspected a conspiracy within the Tojo Clan, but is shot by Baba to cover it up. Saejima eventually catches up with Baba, defeats him and spares him regardless, and is directed by Serizawa to Kamurocho in order to act as his informant, having also revealed that Kitakata survived the hit.
In Osaka, Haruka Sawamura is training for the Princess League J-pop 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 in order to keep Haruka's past clean. While training, Haruka and Park bond over a shopping trip, learning of the latter's previous aspiration as an idol and rough upbringing. Park confesses she recently received a letter from her ex-husband who she is going to meet in Tokyo. However, she is found dead outside the office the following day, apparently having thrown herself from the top floor of the building. Park's death attracts the attention of Shun Akiyama, who was in Osaka in order to expand his Sky Finance money-lending business. He reunites with Haruka and details how Park borrowed money from him to invest in Haruka. The pair come to the conclusion that foul play is involved since Park was not a suicidal person. Akiyama examines the suicide note and comes to the conclusion it was forged as Park had to use her left hand due to an injury from Haruka's dance instructor, Kan Ogita, during an argument. Right after, they witness Ogita and his partner Kamon Kanai try to kill another Dyna Chair manager Horie, but Akiyama stops them, after which Ogita and Kanai both escape. Akiyama later tracks down a forger responsible for the note in Sotenbori and learns the forger was hired by another yakuza (Which turns out to be Kanai) employed by Naoki Katsuya, the CEO of Osaka Enterprises. Haruka eventually manages to finish the Princess League finals and earn the respect of her rivals at T-Set.
Akiyama investigates Osaka Enterprises and finds a heavily injured Ogita who confesses to killing Park accidentally, having revealed that Park was targeted due to the letter her ex-husband sent her, and that her ex-husband is none other than Tojo captain Goro Majima. Ogita begs Akiyama to save him in exchange for his testimony to the police, but is swiftly caught by Kanai and killed, with the latter having revealed himself to have kidnapped Haruka. Kanai threatens to kill Haruka if Akiyama refuses to back down. However, Katsuya catches wind of this and reprimands Kanai before safely returning Haruka to Akiyama and Dyna Chair, and Katsuya shortly after calls Haruka and demands that she hand over the letter to him if she wants to keep her relationship with Kiryu a secret, to which Haruka agrees, after which Haruka learns of the truth behind the letter and about Park and Majima's relationship. She then reaches the train station, where Kanai once again tries to kidnap Haruka and take the letter by force, but Akiyama follows suit and defeats Kanai again. With the Princess League competition finals completed, Haruka and Akiyama then head off to Tokyo with the letter in hand with Katsuya shortly behind.
In Nagoya, former pro-baseball player Tatsuo Shinada is hired by a disguised Dojima to investigate Shinada's banishment from the league. In order to pay off a massive debt, Shinada investigates the scandal with the aid of loan shark and former fan Koichi Takasugi. During the course of their investigation, they learn the identities of the Nagoya Family members, and that Shinada's former manager, Fujita, is the mastermind. With the culprits identified, Dojima reveals his true identity to Shinada, having known him since high school. After a brief fight, the pair return to Tokyo, but just before they depart, Shinada reads the newspapers where he reads Yuki Sawada, his former rival, has been shifted from Tokyo Gigants to Nagoya Wyverns, Shinada's former team, thus prompting Shinada to rush to the Nagoya stadium. Sawada reveals the reason behind Shinada's banishment- the Omi Alliance's 7th Chairman (Then the patriarch of the Kuroha Family) found out about Fujita's role in the Nagoya conspiracy and used that information to blackmail him into fixing baseball games in Nagoya for the chairman's personal profit and to rise to the top of the Omi Alliance, forcing Fujita to make a puppet organization called the Nagoya Family, and even going so far as to have Fujita as the chairman of the rival Tokyo Gigants team and eventually the entire sport in the country, in order to finance an even greater conspiracy, but Fujita eventually revolts and reveals everything to Sawada in hopes of exposing the corruption. Right after, both Sawada and Shinada are ambushed by Omi assassins, but both of them emerge victorious, and eventually settle their baseball rivalry once and for all, after which, Shinada finally departs for Tokyo. Shortly after, Fujita signs his own resignation later due to being exposed by Shinada and decides to surrender himself to the authorities in a live public conference in order to expose the Omi Chairman's blackmailing, but Serizawa enters his office and promptly kills him.
As Kiryu arrives in Tokyo, he learns that Baba is 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. Kiryu learns that three main families are vying for the Chairman position with the Watase, Katsuya, and another, with Kiryu himself having encountered Watase at the beginning of the game in Fukuoka.
Saejima meets with Serizawa 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 and learns that Aizawa had faked his death and that Morinaga is dead.
Upon their return to Kamurocho, Akiyama meets Katsuya again and is paid the concert's cancellation fee of 300 million yen and an additional 200 million yen (500 million yen in total) for their troubles, but, despite the concert having been already postponed and given to T-Set instead, Akiyama refuses and leaves. Akiyama and Shinada then cross paths with each other at the Sky Finance office when Shinada asks for a loan payment from Akiyama to stop the Tokyo Dome concert, fearing that Haruka is the Omi Chairman's true target (After having learned from Sawada that the Omi's true intentions for the massive payout from the match-fixing scandals would be to fund a mass-scale assassination on the Japan Dome concert). Further investigation into Katsuya and his subsidiary MAO Inc. (The company responsible for arranging the concert), reveals that Katsuya was Park's close friend and Majima's brother-in-arms, and was not capable of ordering Park's death.
Baba and Kiryu see a broadcast saying Haruka’s concert has been canceled, making Kiryu certain of Katsuya’s guilt which Saejima and Aizawa also see. Kiryu tells Baba to relay a message to Haruka and heads off to 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 reveals himself to be luring out the actual culprit. After Katsuya, Watase, Saejima and Kiryu exhaust themselves from a lengthy battle with each other to lure out the actual culprit, all four of them are shot by Serizawa. Detective Serizawa's identity is revealed to be Kurosawa. Dojima shows up to intervene, but is shot by a traitorous Kamon Kanai, and Katsuya takes a shot meant for Watase.
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 Kiryu’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. Kiryu refuses to cancel Haruka's concert and the four plan a way to protect her. 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 shooting. 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 fights Baba under the Japan Dome. Shinada wins, and Baba attempts suicide with his rifle, but is stopped from doing so by a now-recovered Kosaka, Himura and Oshima.
At the top of the Millennium Tower, Saejima finds Kurosawa and is forced to fight Majima. 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 Dojima and Katsuya. In the streets, Akiyama fights Kanai before being relieved by Watase, Madarame, and Kitakata.
At the Tojo Clan Headquarters, Kiryu learns that Aizawa is Kurosawa’s son. Kurosawa, panicking after his terminal lung cancer diagnosis and having less than a month left to live, wanted to leave Aizawa the entirety of the Tojo Clan and Omi Alliance as a legacy, but Aizawa is only interested in defeating Kiryu. A wounded Kiryu defeats Aizawa and leaves the headquarters. At the concert, Haruka makes her connection to Kiryu public and announces her retirement from the entertainment industry. She then flees the concert venue.
In a post-credits scene, Haruka finds Kiryu bleeding out from his gunshot wound in the deserted streets of Kamurocho.
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.
A remaster with improved resolution and frame rate was released for the PlayStation 4 on June 20, 2019 in Japan. The remaster was released in English on February 11, 2020 as part of The Yakuza Remastered Collection, alongside remasters of Yakuza 3 and Yakuza 4, with a re-translated English script, restored content from the Japanese version, and a togglable option between Japanese kanji and romaji lyrics and English translated lyrics for the karaoke tracks.
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."
IGN Italy 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. GameSpot also liked the handling of her story due to how the character of Haruka has matured ever since her debut although the reviews had mixed opinions about her career. HobbyConsolas stated while idols might not be interesting to Western gamers, Haruka still offered more variety to the game.
The game sold 590,000 copies in Japan by April 2013. In Japan, approximately 21,047 physical units for PlayStation 4 were sold during its PS4 release launch week becoming the second best selling game of any format.
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