The Yakuza Remastered Collection, which is exclusive to the PS4, launched this summer with the release of a remastered version of Yakuza 3. The collection is set to expand with new versions of Yakuza 4 and Yakuza 5 as well, the latter of which will round out the collection on the 11th of February. We missed the release of Yakuza 3 because it happened during Gamescom, but now that the collection is past the half-way mark, let’s take a look.
For a franchise that started back on the PS2, the Yakuza Remastered Collection was great news to those who missed out on the earlier entries of the game. The recent Yakuza Kiwami games already remade the first two main entries, and Yakuza 6 is still a PS4 exclusive despite rumors of a PC version. With this new collection, which bridges the gap between 2 and 6, PS4 games can soon play through the entire Yakuza anthology – not counting the spin-off titles like Dead Souls.
Having now played through the remastered version of Yakuza 3 and a good chunk of Yakuza 4, it’s fair to say it’s safe to draw a few conclusions. Most importantly, this remastered collection is a great use case for how we can define what counts as a remake and what is a remaster. Coming from the two Yakuza Kiwami games, the new versions released in this collection can feel a little underwhelming – even though they’re still excellent games.
Part of the reason for that is that the Kiwami games were rebuilt from the ground up, not just boosting the audiovisual delivery with a new engine but also updating parts of the gameplay to modern day standards. Yakuza 3 and 4 got at least some of that, but not to the same extent, and why the jump isn’t as big is understandable as well.
While the first two Yakuza games were built for a PS2, the third, fourth and fifth game were PS3 titles – making for a much smaller gap in the technical sense (just look at the remasters for Uncharted, The Last of Us and God of War III for prime examples of this). That’s not to say that Yakuza’s PS3 adventures don’t feel a tad dated at this point though – both Yakuza 3 and 4 feature animations that aren’t as smooth as what we’ve seen in the Kiwami games and in Yakuza 6.
As a whole, the experience holds up very well even though the games show their age. If you played these games previously on a PS3 (or even still own them on that platform) then the incentive to dive back in isn’t as great this time around, but if you’re like me and have been playing these Yakuza games in the wrong order, then this remastered collection is a great way to make up for lost time. Not only have the visuals been updated, the translations have also been revised and everything runs at a smooth 60 frames per second at a resolution of 1080p. That’s a difference that shows, even if the animations aren’t up to what we’ve seen in games that were built for the PS4.