A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know The Yakuza Remastered Collection is an adventure role-playing game compendium exclusively for the PlayStation 4. It combines three gritty gangster action games: Yakuza 3, Yakuza 4, and Yakuza 5. All three games focus on stories in the Japanese underworld, with characters involved in violent conflicts that often have to do with perceived notions of honor and loyalty, what's right and what's wrong. Some key characters are clearly motivated to do good -- one is committed to protecting an orphanage -- while others are decidedly more self-serving and immoral. Combat's focused on vicious melee brawls, with the player's character punching, kicking, and wielding makeshift weapons to fight off groups of attackers. Players will see blood splatters, as well as people getting stabbed, shot, and tortured. Parents should also be aware that all three games include heavy drinking with characters becoming noticeably intoxicated, lots of sexual innuendo and objectified women such as pole dancers and club hostesses, plus very strong language, including the word "f--k."
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What's it about?
THE YAKUZA REMASTERED COLLECTION includes three complete PlayStation 3 games -- Yakuza 3, Yakuza 4, and Yakuza 5 -- remastered for PlayStation 4. There's little in the way of extra content or bonus features, but all three games have been visually spiffed up and rendered in 1080p at 60fps, meaning they look noticeably sharper than they did on PlayStation 3. As with all games in the Yakuza series, these three are largely set in specific districts within various Japanese cities, such as Tokyo and Osaka, and focus on the obstacles and adversities faced by large groups of characters, many of whom are current or former gangsters. Through lengthy narrative sequences, players watch as the protagonists are drawn into conflicts that they can't seem to escape, often to help those they care about or to defend their honor. This inevitably results in combat, which is mostly hand-to-hand and very visceral, featuring not just martial arts moves but also makeshift weapons. Different playable characters have different fighting styles, including unique finishing moves and animations. The series' open world design means players are also able to explore and engage in a variety of mini-games and side activities, ranging from golf and billiards to taxi driving and street dancing. Eventually, though, everything leads back to the franchise's hard-boiled crime drama, in which it seems clear that once you've become Yakuza, there's really no escaping it.
Is it any good?
This compendium doesn't provide a fresh or even defining experience, which would've required remaking them from scratch or inserting new content or upgrades. Instead, The Yakuza Remastered Collection exists primarily to allow PlayStation 4 owners to play every game in the franchise on a single piece of hardware (all of its predecessors and sequels are already available for PlayStation 4). Anyone who wants to play the entire Yakuza series, from Yakuza 0 to Yakuza 6, can now do so without switching between consoles. That may not be enough of a reason for past players to revisit these three intense gangster games, but it could be enough to bring in a new wave of players who've yet to experience Sega's Japanese crime drama. But they should go in knowing that, despite the resolution upgrade, there's really no mistaking these games for current generation releases.
The storytelling in all three games remains compelling. They're loaded with complex, conflicted, dramatic characters who always seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place and forced into action, for better and worse. Keep in mind, though, that you're in for countless hours of subtitled Japanese dialogue spoken by stiffly animated characters. While the melee combat provides plenty of fighting styles and techniques to master as you grow your characters, it's also decidedly unforgiving. These aren't button-mashers, they're games of skill and strategy. Taking the time to learn how to fight is essential if you want to avoid frustration in battle. But the biggest hurdle for some new players might simply be the presentation. The mid-numbered Yakuza games aren't ugly, but they can't compete with modern action games. Expect muddy textures and character models that feel a bit blocky. And while we're provided open world cities to explore, players will still encounter lots of frustrating invisible walls and inaccessible buildings. All of this said, if you're in the mood for -- and capable of handling -- a graphic crime drama, then The Yakuza Remastered Collection is worth thinking about, providing more than 100 hours of entertainment in a single package.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in the media. Is the impact of the violence in The Yakuza Remastered Collection affected by the motives that drive the protagonists? Were they truly justified in their violent behavior? What could they have done differently to avoid violence?
Which women in The Yakuza Remastered Collection are portrayed most realistically? Why do you think some of the women in each game are only presented in ways that objectify them?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Sega of America
- Release date: February 11, 2020
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures
- ESRB rating: M for Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Blood, Partial Nudity, Use of Alcohol, Intense Violence
- Last updated: March 5, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.