Yakuza 3's infamously slow start sees series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu enjoying a relatively quiet life managing an orphanage on the sunny shoreline of Okinawa -- but it's not long before our hero is dragged into yet another dramatic feud between yakuza clans. Yakuza 3 was an ambitious jump forward for the franchise back in 2009, and ten whole years later, the remaster remains a robust experience.
Alongside a typically excellent story fit to burst with brilliant characters, the title does an amazing job of balancing serious narrative beats with totally off-the-cuff side quests and in-depth distractions like karaoke, golf, and hostess dating. Yakuza 3 really solidified the series' reputation as a meme-worthy sandbox, and exploring both Okinawa and Kamurocho is still a joy.
Running at a silky smooth 60 frames per second, Yakuza 3 Remastered feels great to play, even if the animations and character models are certainly showing their age. It can seem a bit stiff compared to more recent entries, but combat is largely a blast, and the game features some of the most memorable boss fights in the entire Kazuma Kiryu saga.
There's no denying that Yakuza 3, even in its remastered form, is rough around the edges -- especially if you're coming off the back of Yakuza 6, Kiwami 2, or Judgment -- but this is still one of the series' better instalments, and for our money, the best of the PS3 Yakuza trilogy.