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  • 8.8: When Yakuza 5 was first released, Famitsu gave it the rare perfect score of 40/40, and since no English release was in sight, many fans imported it and had to use guides to understand it. Now that it's out in the west, the first major review, coming from GameSpot, gives it an 8/10. The video review also critiques the game's combat, saying it "...lacks the sophistication of the Batman: Arkham Series or Assassin's Creed franchise...", both series known for not evolving combat in any major way. The comparison has been criticized by many. The text review also claimed the game shows its age because it lacks counters, despite counters have existed since the first game.
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  • Adorkable: Shinada maintaining his cheerful demeanour in spite of all the hardship he's faced in his life makes him come off as a jovial puppy at times.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Mirei Park. A Broken Bird who believed in passing one's dream onto others, only wanted the best for Haruka and sacrificed so much for her dream as well as her own, or a Manipulative Bitch who delivered an unnecessary guilt trip to Kiryu so she could push her own lost dream onto Haruka? Did she see her as someone too confined by yakuza ties to pursue a dream, or little more than a tool to regain her lost dream? Then there's also her reasons for acting as a mother figure to Haruka. Was it genuine affection towards her? Was Park simply addressing her past regrets knowing she'd soon be killed by having the letter? Was she exploiting Haruka's weakness of a lack of a mother figure to emotionally manipulate her?
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    • Haruka herself. Was being an idol really her dream, or did she only pursue it for the sake of the orphanage? Flashbacks lean toward the latter while the present-day story leans toward the former. Some players found it strange when it was announced that she was pursuing "her dream" as an Idol Singer when she flatly refused a similar offer of stardom in Yakuza 2 to be with Kiryu.
      • Letting herself get pushed around by T-Set. Was she "too nice" to fight back against them, or was she so used to dealing with dangerous underworld figures that she didn't know how to deal with girls her age?note  It can also be argued that she knew fighting back in any way could've hurt her image as an idol. The reason she doesn't fight has also sparked some very heated debates, although the game seems to support the idea that she knows she can't take on thugs larger than herself, and not because she's completely against the use of violence, as Kanai would find out.
      • She also gets a relatively minor case thanks to the air hockey game (generally reserved for the other male characters playing against female characters) including an option to stare at the opponent's chest, which Haruka is still able to do when she participates in one. Does this mean she's maybe into that sort of thing? Is she self-conscious about her rival's size difference? Or, since the option builds her Heat gauge faster than simply playing the game well, are we meant to interpret this as envy in the otherwise innocent upcoming idol?
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • A downplayed example. Saejima's initial distress and anger over the supposed death of his oath brother Majima fades rather quickly in the ensuing cutscenes. He justifies his lack of a desire to get revenge, stating that if Majima got himself killed, then either he's become too weak to put up a proper fight or the guy he met was just too strong for him to handle. In either case, he decides that he wants to meet the man who killed his brother primarily so he can hear what Majima's last words were since he owes his brother that much. While he admits that he's gonna miss having Majima around, his behavior is still incredibly mellow considering how hotheaded he was in the last game over Majima's supposed betrayal. It's entirely possible that he's resigned himself to the harsh reality that anyone can die in his criminal line of work. Not to mention, Majima himself subscribes to the idea of Strength Equals Worthiness so it would make sense that his brother Saejima would have a similar philosophy on the matter of strength.
    • Also Downplayed with Haruka. While the Idol training is shown to have it's fair bit of stress and having to move to Osaka came with it's own issues, it's rather odd that, despite her effectively forcing her own failed dreams on her, forcing her father figure to cut ties with her, and threatening to cut funding to Morning Glory to motivate her, Haruka is never hinted to bear any resentment towards Mirei Park, even coming to see her as a Parental Substitute. That being said, her story starts about six months after she started working under her, meaning it’s possible she started off resenting her only for it to fade with time.
  • Anti-Climax Boss
    • T-Set from Haruka's arc. While they're hyped up to be brilliant idols and the favorite to win the Princess League, they're actually pathetically easy to beat even on the harder difficulty. Really, you'd have to actually try to lose for them to beat you.
    • Played for Laughs in Kiryu's rematch against Yahata near the end of Part 1. If the player completes all the QTEs, Yahata goes down in one punch.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • One of the things people complained about in 4 and Dead Souls was that they had to play as three different characters before they could finally play as Kiryu. In Yakuza 5, Kiryu's chapter is played first.
    • Many fans were probably disappointed when it turned out Saejima was unable to visit hostess clubs and karaoke bars back in 4. The first thing Saejima does when exploring Himura's imaginative version of Sapporo? Visit Rose Hip, hook up with a hostess and take her out for karaoke!
    • Saigo was a Goddamned Boss in Yakuza 4 because he went against an unarmed Akiyama with a submachine gun and was Immune to Flinching. In this game, he's much easier, since he has a Dodgy Toupee which causes him to stop what he's doing if you manage to knock it off.
    • Haruka's stand-up comedy minigame was quite frustrating in the original release due to no onscreen indicator of when the player should input Haruka's next line. The remaster developers used an indicator (a banana moving along a graph) as a debug tool before deciding to retool it a bit and keep it in the retail game for player benefit.
  • Awesome Ego: Sosuke. Unlike most egotistical fighters in the series, Sosuke can more than back up his braggadocios attitude and smugness with some serious ass kicking skill.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Mirei Park, who didn't win any hearts when she was introduced as the one who convinced Kiryu to leave the orphanage, and many found the methods she used to convince him to let her take Haruka under her wing to be underhanded and manipulative. Others felt that her intentions were in the right place despite her demeanor, enjoyed that she was a strong, ruthless and intelligent woman who managed to beat the unbeatable Kiryu in a battle of wits, and agreed with her argument that his kids needed to pursue their own dreams. In spite of this, many warmed up to her when she revealed her sad past to Haruka and when it was shown what lengths she went to in order to make Haruka a successful Idol, although others believed her cold personality, the lengths she went to for the sake of her own fleeting career, her regrets contradicting her current actions, and forcing her own failed dream on Haruka made her anything but sympathetic. When she was later killed, many were determined to turn her dream into a reality, while others believed she got what was coming to her. See Unintentionally Unsympathetic for more.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The scene where Naoki Katsuya is doing one-thumb push-ups in his hotel room. While we're shown his backside and his strength, there's no explanation why he's in his birthday suit the entire time. Barely anything about the plot is revealed either so all we have is confirmation that he does in fact have an Irezumi back tattoo as the Chairman of Ousaka Enterprises of the Omi Alliance.
  • Breather Boss: Taking on Sotaro Komaki as Haruka to raise her level cap, especially compared to the others who have to face him and Sosuke at once. Her Amon battle, while no walk in the park itself, is also considerably less difficult compared to facing off against Jo and his brothers.
  • Broken Base:
    • After a three-year wait, Yakuza 5 being released as a PSN digital exclusive. Many were just glad to have the game regardless of the format, while others had contention with the 26 GB filesize, either lacking the storage necessary for it or having difficulty downloading such a large file. The game being released late in the PS3's life was also an issue for many who had sold their consoles and moved onto the PS4.
    • Fans were very mixed on Haruka's gameplay, where she engages in dance battles instead of brawling like the others. While many welcomed her parts as a refreshing change of pace especially in a game already filled with a variety of unique games, others didn't enjoy the change and felt her section was out of place in a setting with a dark crime narrative. Needless to say, a lot of people were hoping that when she was announced as a playable character, she'd follow in Uncle Kaz's footsteps and rock Japan by beating the ever living crap out of people (which is parodied here and here). Some others feel that her being a fighter would go against Kiryu's wishes for her to be better than him, or want Haruka to retain her innocence a little while longer, and some have gone so far to say that throwing a single punch would ruin her character forever.
    • While most fans enjoyed Shinada's character and found his Plucky Comic Relief to be a refreshing change to the mold, most were mixed on his gameplay and combat abilities compared to the other characters, while some even find him to be a poor substitute for Tanimura. His story was also met with mixed reactions, with one side enjoying the story behind the baseball scandal, which showed his moments of brilliance, while others felt a baseball story had little to do with the overall plot.
    • The game's epic and emotional finale is seen as one of the best in the series, but many were disappointed and confused by The Reveal of the game's Final Boss, Masato Aizawa, who is fought shortly after it's revealed he's the son of the game's real Big Bad, and felt he didn't nearly have enough screen time to flesh out his character and hype him up to be the game's final enemy. Others however enjoyed the twist, contend he fits well with the game's theme of pursuing one's dreams, feel that ridiculous plot developments such as these are part of the series' charm, and that the fight itself made up for it and was a fitting way to end the game.
    • Something that bothered some players was that for a story that emphasized following dreams and passing them onto others, at the end, after all the effort into making Park's dream come true, Haruka throws away her career as an idol when she realizes she can no longer bear to hide her past and be away from those she considers family - Kiryu. This led some to believe that the game's message was really about family or a place of belonging being more important than one's dreams and aspirations, or that leaving home to pursue something greater in life may not always be worth it. Others appreciated the message of the importance of family, and some even argue that Haruka realized that her real dream was something more important than being a star, or that it was more about her discovering her own dream instead of living out Park's. On the other hand, some claim that she actually did succeed in her goal of becoming an idol and making Park's dream happen by performing at the dome like she wanted, but like Kiryu in the first game, after fighting hard and sacrificing a lot to reach the top, she decided to give up the position after realizing something else was truly more important to her.
    • Some fans weren't pleased that "Bloody Moon" by Gospels of Judas, the Japanese version's opening theme, didn't make the cut when the game was localized. Many more were upset that "Wild Romance" by Kyosuke Himuro, which played during the fight between Tatsuo and Daigo also didn't make it, and was replaced by an unnamed instrumental rock song. Many complained that the drama found in the original fight was now gone, but many others enjoyed the new song just as much, if not more. Some even contend that the use of a vocal song (and the only fight to have one) made the fight more dramatic than it should have been, considering Shinada barely remembers Daigo and the two weren't really even that close.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: The Mysterious Man in a mask and fedora in Shinada's story is a disguised Daigo Dojima, which you can immediately figure out once you get a good look at his hairstyle and his voice. The disguise seems to be more for the characters rather than the audience.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • Playing as Saejima. Herculean Spirit aside, Saejima hits like a truck once the player gets used to his slightly slower (though not as slow as the Beast style from Yakuza 0) but appropriately heavier style than Kiryu as well as his very devastating charged finishers. Compared to his gameplay in 4, Saejima feels much more polished and refined, with much of the frustrating things about his gameplay in that game being trimmed down and improved upon here. His battle theme, "Hailstorm", exuding unbridled testosterone also helps, too.
    • Ultimate Match Challenge 9 provides an unusual case. Kiryu needs to take down around 20 enemies, however, they all get knocked out in one hit and never attack him, making for some easy beatings to blow off steam from some hard fights. For players who felt uncomfortable with some of Haruka's idol jobs or were dissatisfied by the rather positive portrayal of the industry, this can serve as an outlet for those feelings because the thugs Kiryu needs to beat are Haruka fanboys who are trying to get on stage an approach her during a performance.
  • Contested Sequel: While the game received critical praise, it's seen by fans as either one of the best entries in the series or inferior to its predecessors by trying to be too grand for its own good while suffering from the same gameplay and story problems as 4. Many fans enjoyed every aspect of the game from beginning to end with the game's new engine, improved combat, Anti-Frustration Features and variety of gameplay, while others were torn on the characters' unique side story quests, Haruka's gameplay, Shinada's combat and his story, and that some features, moves and mini-games from the previous games didn't return. Many agree that from a gameplay perspective it's the best in the series, but reactions to the story itself are all over the place, although some of those who claim the story is the worst in the series maintain that it's still leagues above those offered by its triple-A competitors.
  • Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game: quite the possibility with Haruka's part, with literally skippable gameplay portions that can be skipped without the story coming to a halt. Considering how divisive her gameplay can get, some definitely take up that choice.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Noa Amon, the only shown female member of the Amon clan, who shows much more maturity than Jo and the others by taking some well-needed advice by Haruka after her defeat. She also sings "So Much More" in the concert battle against her, which has made many curious who her voice actress is, and are disappointed her version of the song isn't featured on any of the soundtracks.
    • In a character popularity contest held after the game's release in Japan, Shigeki Baba came in at #6 following series mainstays Majima, Kiryu, Saejima, Akiyama and Daigo (in that order). Masaru Watase came in at #8, one step ahead of his predecessor Ryuji Goda.
    • For some fans, the real highlight of Shinada's chapter was the Loan Shark Koichi Takasugi, largely due to Show Aikawa's memorable performance and his fun chemistry with Shinada.
    • Masaru Watase, the successor of the already-popular Dragon of Kansai, who respected Kiryu and believed in making the Omi great again. He's among the top 20 in a poll for characters that fans want to see in Yakuza Online.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Haruka being the in-universe and (at the time) real-life postergirl for the Watami Izakaya chain is undermined by the fact that Watami was labeled a "Black Company" due to horrific working conditions that led to employee suicides.
  • Game-Breaker: Saejima's "Herculean Spirit" ability. Once you learn it, he is almost Immune to Flinching while in Heat mode, allowing you to spam his devastating combos without worrying about a thing. Pair this with his enormous health bar that be further strengthened with Tatsuya's training and it even makes his respective Amon boss fight a cakewalk.
  • Goddamned Boss: Kan Ogita. While he's not too terribly difficult, he utilizes a throwing move that's easy to fall victim to. The problem is that he spams it throughout the fight. Once you're caught in it, it'll be a few seconds before you regain control of yourself, and you're likely to get caught in it again the moment you do.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Did anyone believe for one second that they killed off one of the series' most popular characters, Majima, off-screen?
  • Memetic Badass: Saejima quickly became one after his chapter shows him fighting against a giant bear in a snowstorm with nothing but his bare fists. After he's thrown several feet into the air, he comes crashing back down with a punch so powerful that it knocks the beast out flat.
  • Narm:
    • One of the bigger complaints with the story and its boss fights is that some of the characters fight each other for completely nonsensical and silly reasons just to have a boss fight. Namely, Saejima vs. Baba, where Saejima fights him to make Baba fear death after preventing him from committing suicide. Saejima vs. Aizawa, where the former challenges the latter in a cage fight so he won't give up on his blood brother. Perhaps the worst offender is Shinada vs. Baba, where Shinada decides to fight him even though Baba had already decided to go against his orders to kill Haruka. Although Shinada says it's because he refuses to simply let Baba walk away as if nothing ever happened, believing he's also running away from the consequences he must endure (as Shinada himself did before), the message was lost on many players.
    • A pre-fight exchange between Kiryu and the final boss is seemingly lampshading the fact how unexpected, and even absurd, his role is.
    Kiryu: What are you doing here?
    The Final Boss: To be honest... I'm not really sure myself.
  • Narm Charm: Taiga versus a bear. Cheesy as hell? Most definitely. Epic and universally beloved? Even more so.
  • Older Than They Think: Kiryu's Taxi racing missions, unlike his regular driving missions, has him engage in highway street racing which also involve a lot of drifting. Many fans see the emphasis on drifting as an homage to Sega's earlier Initial D arcade racing games, but the drifting is more akin to one of Nagoshi's earliest hits, Daytona USA, where its main theme can be purchased as BGM.
  • Play the Game, Skip the Story: There are fans who feel this way about Yakuza 5, even with the whole series being as narrative-heavy as it is. With how massive the game is, it's very easy to get lost in the large scope of the story. This, coupled with the fact that its side content is the most expansive of the games, makes some players not bother with trying to keep up with the convoluted plotline and instead enjoy the characters and the highly varied gameplay the entry has to offer.
  • Rooting for the Empire: In a mild sense regarding the three Princess League songs. We're supposed to be rooting for Haruka as the more talented idol, but there's quite a few players who found themselves preferring T-SET's vocals over hers.
  • The Scrappy: A minor one, but the chef NPC Tatsuya, a Special Guest based on the real-life celebrity chef Tatsuya Kawagoe, is subject to some banter from the Japanese end of the fandom, given that his depiction borders on Character Shilling if not an outright walking advertisement who appears in every chapter despite not being particularly interesting. Not helping the matter is that the real world Tatsuya was under hot water shortly after the game's release for unrelated reasonsnote . Suffice it to say, fans had a field day with that one.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • As mentioned above, fans who aren't particularly fond of Rhythm Games (or the music that accompanies them) didn't care at all for Haruka's segments in the fifth game. Even some of those who did found her sections to be quite repetitive.
    • The game's Soul Points system. Even after you raise your level cap and max out your characters at Level 25, they will still have abilities yet to be unlocked. The only way to gain more Soul Points at that point is to play the IF8 mini-game, which awards one per play.
    • In the Finale, Haruka's inventory doesn't get shared between all playable characters unlike the other 4 fighters until the Premium Adventure. This means that unlocking Sotenbori Coin Locker will deprive the other character, especially Akiyama from it's content.
    • Premium Adventure Mode doesn't allow you to make Clear Save Data for New Game+, something the previous two Yakuza games didn't have a problem with. For many, this alone made playing Premium Adventure pointless since they couldn't carry over anything they did in that mode to a new story mode playthrough.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: After the previous game was considered one of the easiest in the franchise, 5 kicked things back up with more aggressive enemies that generally deal more noticeable amounts of damage, plus some damn hard fights and bonus content. However, it's partly mitigated by the fact that more potent upgrades are available to all, potentially allowing characters like Saejima to become a straight up Game-Breaker, utterly crunching the difficulty.
  • That One Boss:
    • The final battle against Kamon Kanai. He's fought alongside several of his men, and unlike other Flunky Bosses that tend to keep their distance, he's very aggressive and will attack you every moment he has with a knife combo that you can't escape from once you're hit. He's considered by many to be the toughest of the game's final bosses.
    • Sosuke Komaki is pretty tough to face alone, but it's even worse when you face him and his grandfather at once. Sosuke will not hesitate to use Dragon Spirit and both of then are able to use the Komaki arts, including Tiger Drop.
    • As usual, the Amon clan has at least one. The winner this installment is Jo himself. Coming in with a whopping 10 health bars for you to get through, and that's just the start. After getting through the first 2, Jo enters a permanent Heat mode with all of the Komaki school moves at his disposal, meaning one wrong move will get you chunked by the Komaki Tiger Drop. And once he's below half, the real fun begins. Jo gets a special version of Dragon Spirit that comes with a dash that is nearly impossible to dodge, sets you on fire and leaves you open for a punishing and seemingly never ending combo that utterly shreds your health bar. And don't count on heat actions, as he almost permanently spams his grab to drain your Heat. The only small mercy is that unlike the Amon duel from 4, there's a checkpoint system that prevents you from having to fight them all again if one person loses.
  • That One Level: The city of Tsukimono is only unlocked in the last chapter of Saejima's part, and is home to tight pathways and numerous invisible walls leading to constant and unavoidable Random Encounters.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • The race against the Spangled Meteor can be this if you attempt her challenge once it's introduced (as many did), as she's an exceptionally tough racer, and you'll probably have very few upgrades to your taxi by then. Although it's possible to beat her, you might be better off taking on the challenge later when your taxi is well upgraded.
    • The taxi mission involving you tailing a car. Ever played a mission like that in a game like Grand Theft Auto? Try doing it while following the rules of the road. Get too close or too far away and you fail. Break too many rules and the passenger gets unhappy with you. And if you run into a pedestrian or car (or more commonly, if a pedestrian charges into the side of you), a short cutscene plays that finishes by setting you further back. This will almost certainly cost you the mission, as it tends to set you too far back to catch up. And woe betide you if you get trapped behind a busy crosswalk.
    • A lot of people failed Saejima's "Cold Ramen" substory, where if walking too fast doesn't make you fall, all the helpless pedestrians sliding toward you will. Some found themselves distracted by the absurd hilarity of it and failed because of that alone.
    • Haruka's "Aspiring Comedians" substory for those who aren't fluent in Japanese, where Haruka has to not only respond with the correct line, but say it the moment his ends, leaving little room for error. Some of Haruo's lines end so quickly that the response needs to be known beforehand, and it's difficult to tell when he pauses and when he stops talking. Thankfully, the PS4 remake adds a timing bar to show when the best time to respond is, alleviating a good deal of the frustration.
    • Akiyama and Shinada's coliseum battles are much harder than Kiryu or Saejima's. Akiyama has no healing ability and both have combat less suited for coliseum battles. This is especially true for Shinada, as his weapon-based playstyle is severely hampered in most tournaments due to equipment being forbidden.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Yuu Morinaga, who was seemingly set up as one of the main antagonists of the game. Instead, by the time everyone makes it to Tokyo to face him, he's already dead. Adding to the fact that Aizawa is revealed to be the son of the game's Big Bad and is the Final Boss of the game, a sudden twist that many already had contention with, they felt Morinaga should either have been the game's villain instead, or set up as one only for Aizawa to overpower him onscreen to give players a real reason to fight him.
    • Akiyama's assistant Hana has minimal involvement in the plot, but she's limited to certain phone calls and doesn't make a physical appearance at all. Her profile picture is nothing but a desk, and when Akiyama returns to his office in Kamurocho, she's nowhere to be found. He assumes she's gone out, and she doesn't appear for the rest of the game... or the series for that matter (unless you count Ishin!).
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Akiyama is only able to partake in dance battles in two of his substories. Once that's done, the player isn't give the chance to dance as him again in the same file, not even allowing for a rematch against his opponents. Despite the mixed reception to the dance battles, a lot of players would have liked to be able to dance as him again.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: Shinada's chapter, which revolves around a baseball scandal that's largely unrelated to the main plot and ultimately has little connection to it. But as Broken Base above indicates, some fans didn't like how disconnected it was while others enjoyed what it offered to the game.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Before a Dance Battle starts, the faces of some of Haruka's opponents look rather artificial and creepy.
    • Haruka's generic smiling face is a little odd, too. It's a blank smile that makes her look like a living store mannequin.
  • Unexpected Character: After having four playable protagonists in Yakuza 4, many predicted that there would be a total of five come the next entry. But no one expected that the fifth playable character in a Beat 'em Up would be Haruka, Kiryu's adopted niece.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Mirei Park is introduced as a cold and manipulative no-nonsense businesswoman who convinced Kiryu to leave the orphanage and sever his ties to Haruka in order to hide her Dark and Troubled Past from the public for the sake of her idol career, and even threatened to stop funding the orphanage if she didn't make it big. It's later revealed that Park was a Broken Bird with Abusive Parents, and when she debuted as an idol at 18, she was already secretly married to Goro Majima and aborted his child without telling him, viewing it as another necessary sacrifice to save her career, in which he struck and left her; Park only seems remorseful that it resulted in her career and dreams falling apart, rather than how her actions hurt others. She dreamed of turning Haruka into the idol success story she couldn't be, perhaps to make amends for everything she had done, but also admits she was probably doing it to gain back her lost dream. She was even going to reunite with her ex-husband, but she was murdered before she could. Despite the narrative treating her with sympathy, with the cast urging Haruka and the other protagonists to honor Park and turn her dream into a reality, a good portion of fans accused Park of trying to force her own failed dream onto Haruka through underhanded and manipulative means, felt that she got what was coming to her, and her dream should have been left to rot. Some also accuse her of being a Hypocrite for pushing Kiryu into hiding for his former yakuza past, when she herself has ties to two currently active yakuza which indirectly get Haruka involved with the yakuza again.
    • The games released afterwards push her harder into unsympathetic territory. Yakuza 0 shows what a broken man her ex-husband Majima was and featured a substory ending in Majima liking the idea of being called "Daddy" after saving a little girl who insists on calling him that. He would marry Park four years later in 1992, who would abort their child behind his back, causing him to leave her in the same year, not wanting to get in the way of Park's dreams which ended up failing anyway. Park also takes a varying amount of responsibility for the events of Yakuza 6, as they can be traced back to Haruka's idol career, which Park had pushed her into and put much pressure on her.


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