A high quality remaster of Yakuza 3, Yakuza 4 and Yakuza 5, restored in glorious HD, has landed on Xbox Game Pass. These flashy, brutal brawling games also dive deep into individual gangsters’ stories within the heart of the murky Japanese underworld.

The Yakuza series has been a timeless gaming series, spanning many main line games and tonnes of spinoff titles, which for a long time were unavailable to Xbox players. But now, thanks to the miracles of remastering, it’s now available on Xbox Game Pass – allowing an entirely new generation of players to experience the emotional and incredible world of Yakuza!

I really cannot get over how satisfying the combat is! It’s easy to pick up and hard to master; from not only getting to know and then fluidly utilising the combos and weapons strewn around the environment, to unlocking all the different fighting styles that each had new and different combos of their own, you’ll have a fun challenge ahead.

The styles do change a little bit from game to game, but you can expect to see some similarities so you won’t have to re-learn the combat system entirely as you progress through the series. The ‘Brawler’ style is a very rough array of attacks balancing out speed and power, ‘Rush’ style really hones in on the speed of your strikes, and the ‘Beast’ style is a powerful combat style to really pummel your enemies and really deal as much damage as possible! Personally, I default to the Rush style to really feel like Jason Bourne.

I very rarely see such well-written characters with such interesting backstories in games. It really shocks me that any of the Yakuza titles haven’t won a Game of the Year award yet – but I still have hope for future titles! The dialogue, while obviously silly at times to provide some contrast to the very serious life inside the yakuza, deals with betrayal around every corner, sees every member fighting for a leg up, and you fighting to protect your loved ones. The entire series of Yakuza weaves a tale of Kazuma’s struggle with his family as well as within gang politics; I promise you it’s much more riveting when you play!

This is one of those narrative driven games that I just can’t hype up enough. Grand Theft Auto might be the old school king of open-world crime games, but any of the Yakuza titles beat it in story any day of the week! The sixth entry in the franchise, Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, comes to Xbox Game Pass in March, so get playing now to prepare yourself for it. If you play from now well into March and don’t sleep there’s just enough time (…I’m kidding, you need roughly 210 hours!) to catch up. Grab the popcorn and witness a game narrative unlike any other with the remastered Yakuza series, remastered for this latest generation of gaming.