Yakuza Kiwami Review – Remastered Kamurocho

By: Louis Edwards
 

 

Yakuza Kiwami is a throwback to the first installment of the series and has been remastered for the PS4. After ten years of aging, does the game make a successful time jump to 2017 or should it have stayed in the past?

Read on to find out.

 

Kazuma Kiryu is back and ready for more action. After taking the fall for his childhood friend and spending ten long years behind bars, he is back on the streets of Kamurocho and ready to shake the dust off of his fighting styles. The ex-Yakuza just wants to find his friends and live in peace, but what fun would that be for us, as he is dragged kicking and punching back into the life of the underworld.

If you’re looking for an perfect replication of the very first Yakuza game, you won’t find that here exactly. Sega reworked things that felt out of place or didn’t quite fit and created a story that is well written and entertaining, albeit slow to start. The story picks up where Yakuza 0 left off and the first couple of hours or so of Yakuza Kiwami felt almost tedious and uninspired as you had to find a ring, make a hostess happy, and feed a puppy. It’s all introductory as you meet the key players and learn the main storyline behind the game, as well as learn how to use the four different fighting styles available to Kiryu. Once you get past that, the game finally opens up the city of Kamurocho and really takes off.

Early on you find out that not only can Kiryu kick some serious ass and all the other Yakuza know it and respect him for it. Prior to his prison stint he was set to be a patriarch and head his own family so this guy is no slouch. Then along comes Mr. No Respect Goro Majima who wants nothing more than to continually try to kick your ass and test your skills. He’s basically a never ending tutorial level as you will see him again and again and again in all sorts of costumes and disguises as part of the Majima Everywhere system. That’s not a bad thing, though, as you’ll learn new moves and earn more combat points, which in turn are used to enhance Kiryu’s abilities and increase his health and endurance. Majima is a bit of a dick, but you’ll come to appreciate him over time.

Once you’ve reached the point in the game where Kamurocho opens up, there is much more to see and do. You can sing some karaoke, visit a hostess club, hit the batting cages, or check out a sexy lady wrestling game. The city, as in Yakuza 0, feels alive and fresh, with real world names and logos to see all over the place. The developer must have spent quite a bit of time reworking the city and making it feel fresh and new in order to reach the level they achieved. Impressive for a ‘remastered’ game and almost feels like it was built new for the PS4.

Yakuza Kiwami brings with it quite a bit of fun and excitement, but the story can occasionally be hard to follow. Time jumping back and forth can have you confused and wondering what exactly just happened and who did it happen to. Just remember to take mental notes anytime there’s a time jump and watch those cut scenes. While everything is spoken in Japanese, those subtitles are worth the read if you want to know the full story.

Yakuza Kiwami might be ten years old, but don’t tell Kiryu that as the game feels as young and vibrant as ever.

9