I just sat in a closed theater and watched a huge Yakuza 5 trailer, then played the game. My first-hand impression is coming soon, but first, here’s the info I grabbed.
Yakuza 5 will have five protagonists and take place in five different regions of Japan. This is a departure from the norm, as most Yakuza games stick to one area — most commonly, Tokyo. (A recent exception is Yakuza Asura Chapter: Black Panther 2, which takes place in Osaka.) The five cities seeing action are Osaka, Fukuoka, Sapporo, Nagoya, and of course, it gives due love to the (fictional) Kamurocho district of Tokyo.
Kazuma is a taxi driver in (I think) Fukuoka, when some old gangsters approach him and — big shock — try to convince him to join the old biz. Lots of old faces were shown in rapid fire, then Kazuma heard some troubling news on the radio. As he smashed the car corn with his manly fist, it blared loudly for like 10 seconds as the title screen appeared. The video showed a lot of customization options for his taxi, and advertised the fact that players can take taxi missions around town. It looks like a huge reference to Crazy Taxi, with Kaz weaving in and out of taffic and even going up on two wheels at one point. Speaking of Dreamcast references, Kazuma was also shown fighting someone while wearing a brown leather jacket, making him look frighteningly similar to Shenmue protagonist Ryo Hazuki.
Kazuma Kiryu’s adopted niece Haruka is one of the main characters, and her chapters focus on her rise to pop idol stardom. These include the dance battles we’ve mentioned previously, as well as having to do all the usual celebrity stuff like appear on game shows and do PR events. Her portion features the new Japanese standard feature of countless outfit changes. It looks like some people will be into the change of pace, while some people might be turned off by this style and these themes. Her story will have its dark side though, as she was shown having to endure seeing some horrible things. You know — mafia things.
At one point in the clip montage, someone’s dancing leg appeared to be dressed in Tatsuya’s signature outfit from Black Panther, so perhaps he might make a cameo appearance?
This game will feature an astounding selection of mini-games, from cards, to roulette, to batting, to chicken races, dice games, and more. There were even clips of the men hunting bears with a rifle in a snowy forest (presumably the Sapporo sections, as Hokkaido can get snowy). Dating sim elements and the hotess bar were shown, and even a sexy look at a bath house. That’s hot. (…Sorry…)
Given all that went on, it was no surprise to hear the narrator say that this is the largest-scale Yakuza game ever. Also some Japanese punk rock song was playing in the background. Huge fights were shown taking place in the streets, baseball diamonds, snowfields, and other loations.
Yakuza 5 will be released for PlayStation 3 this December in Japan. All numbered entries in the Yakuza franchise have come stateside, so this has a good chance, even though nothing has been officially revealed by Sega of America.
Look for my hands-on report from my gameplay session soon! For now I gotta get back on the floor!
This is part of what we saw in the theater. Far from the whole thing, but some: