Any long time readers of our site, or viewers of the videos we produce weekly, know that I am an impossibly huge fan of the Yakuza series. The spiritual successor to the Shenmue series, Yakuza has been a rock solid franchise for almost fifteen years now. Between the open world insanity and attention to every little detail, the games are pure addictive fun. The only question that would remain is that purchasing half of the series at once is a great idea.
All three games that are included in the HD remaster were already on HD consoles, so they didn’t look terrible when they came out. The work done on these titles is in no way comparable to the work on the Kiwami titles — games that are closer to reworkings from the ground up than anything. But that doesn’t mean that any of them are bad. The games look better and run smoother than ever before thanks to the increased power, just not as great as the previous titles.
Yakuza 3 benefits the most from this process as, by some estimates, up to 20% of the content of the game (all side stories) was cut when the game first came to the states a decade ago. While none of the main story was ever touched, the main reason most people play these titles is the world building the insane things that happen between the main story segments — although the main story is still a solid reason to always come back — and cutting that content was always a blow. So for any fan this version alone is a must buy for the series.
The titles have been revised/entirely rewritten in some areas as well. This might not seem like a huge thing for most people, but over the course of some people’s lifetime the story of Yakuza has evolved and slightly changed, meaning that this was needed in some spots, and would simply vastly improve entire other areas.
The problem of this collection, though, is that it contains three massive games. The games themselves are all amazing and must play titles, without a doubt. The problem is that all of them ask for entire devotion of the player to complete. Yakuza titles are not short, basically taking as long as someone is willing to invest in them. Since one of the titles is not done until the player can simply invest no more time of their life and must move on, three titles at once seems overwhelming– no matter how great.
The Yakuza Remastered Collection is the definition of a monkey paw’s wish. Exactly what fans of the series want, or even people who got into the series with Yakuza 0 and have been playing the Kawami series, but something that they may never be able to finish. One of the complaints I have had in the past was that these titles were being released too close to one another, causing a fatigue on the brand. While each individual entry should score higher, the sum of the parts of this collection actually makes it less attractive if you know what you are getting into, and what it means. Buy it, complete the series, just know what you are getting into.