For nearly a decade and a half, the Yakuza franchise was all however unique to Sony’s PlayStation consoles. Apart from a Japan-only Wii U remaster of the primary two video games, each single mainline entry or spinoff was launched solely on the PlayStation 2, PSP, PS3, or PS4.
Then Microsoft got here alongside. Together with Kingdom Hearts and Remaining Fantasy, Yakuza has slowly change into a flagship Japanese collection for Microsoft’s Xbox Recreation Move service. It began underneath a 12 months in the past with the addition of Yakuza 0, and as of this week you possibly can play nearly each mainline Yakuza recreation on Recreation Move.
Couple this with the truth that the next-gen model of Yakuza: Like A Dragon continues to be unique to Xbox Sequence consoles, with a PS5 model not set to reach till March, and the inconceivable conclusion is obvious: Xbox — together with the PC department of the ecosystem — is now the simplest and finest approach to get into the collection.
What’s modified this week is the addition of three new mainline Yakuza video games. Remastered variations of Yakuza 3, 4, and 5 are all now on Recreation Move for Xbox and PC after getting a bundled PS4 launch in 2019. (You may also purchase the trio for $39.99.) These video games initially all got here out on the PS3, which means they wouldn’t in any other case have been playable on fashionable methods via backwards compatibility.
These aren’t significantly spectacular ports on a technical degree. Like most different Yakuza video games on the Xbox, they run at 1080p and 60fps with little obvious profit for the extra highly effective Xbox consoles. However actually, given the getting older supply materials, that’s completely positive.
What issues is that you simply’ll have the ability to play nearly your complete mainline Yakuza collection for the worth of a Recreation Move subscription. And I positively assume you need to do this, as a result of this collection is extremely good. There’s actually nothing like the best way Yakuza blends brutal violence, goofy comedy, and unbelievable pathos within the context of against the law drama motion RPG.
With out spoiling something, right here’s how I’d suggest entering into it:
- Begin with Yakuza 0. Usually you’d need to play the primary recreation in a collection earlier than tackling its prequel, however Yakuza is completely different. 0 is about a long time earlier than Yakuza, in bubble-era ‘80s Japan, and it’s extensively thought of to be the most effective within the collection. It’s the perfect place to start, and it’ll inform you all it’s essential to know in regards to the background for what’s to come back.
Subsequent, play Yakuza Kiwami. That is a full-on remake of the original Yakuza, which was launched for the PS2 in 2005. Kiwami got here out shortly after 0 and is technically very comparable, with a bunch of narrative callbacks to the prequel, which is why it is smart to play 0
- Up subsequent, Yakuza Kiwami 2. Like Kiwami, it is a remake of a PS2 recreation, 2006’s Yakuza 2. But it surely strikes to the PS4-era Dragon Engine, first seen in Yakuza 6, and it’s a a lot greater and extra completed recreation than Kiwami.
- Now play Yakuza 3, 4, and 5. At this level I’m guessing you’re fairly into the collection, so the prospect of three straight-up PS3 remasters received’t appear intimidating in any respect. I believe 4 is the most effective of those three video games, however you’re going to need to get via all of them.
- Watch for Yakuza 6: The Music of Life to come back to Recreation Move. That received’t be too lengthy a wait — it’s taking place on March twenty fifth. Or you possibly can simply play it on a PS4 earlier than then. However be sure to do play it, both method, because it’s wonderful.
- Now it’s time for Yakuza: Like a Dragon. In any other case often known as Yakuza 7 in Japan, I really assume you possibly can begin with this one too for those who actually simply wished to play the latest recreation. It’s very completely different to the others, with an all-new solid and turn-based battle system, and proper now it’s best on the Xbox Series X. However you’re going to get just a little extra out of it for those who’ve performed the opposite video games within the collection, so I’d maintain off for those who can. It’s additionally not on Recreation Move — you’ll have to purchase it individually. And as a remaining warning, it’s two or 3 times longer than many of the different video games. (However value it!)
You may additionally need to play Judgment, which is a pretty good spinoff set within the Yakuza Cinematic Universe, nevertheless it’s not vital to the general story and continues to be solely on PS4. I’d slot it in after 6 when you have the possibility.
The opposite Yakuza spinoffs aren’t actually value worrying about. There’s Kenzan and Ishin, two separate samurai-era video games that have been by no means localized into English. That was additionally the case for the PSP-exclusive Kurohyo and its sequel. And whereas Useless Souls, a PS3 zombie shooter set on the streets of Tokyo, did make it out within the West, you’re higher off pretending it by no means occurred.
I’ve been enjoying the Yakuza collection from day one on the PS2, however again then I by no means imagined it’d get so expansive or accessible. I’d suggest these video games to anybody, and the barrier to entry is so low now for anybody with an Xbox or a PC and a number of spare time on their palms. When you haven’t gotten into the collection but, it is perhaps the only finest purpose to subscribe to Recreation Move.