Game Reviews

Yakuza Kiwami Review: A remaster that holds its own against new releases


After finishing Yakuza 0 I knew I had to play the next Yakuza game available, and luckily for me the Yakuza remaster, Yakuza Kiwami had recently been released.

Yakuza Kiwami takes place in 2005. Kiryu Kazuma has just been released from a 10 year prison sentence to find out the Dojima Family has changed with the times, and not for the better. His brother, Nishikiyama, has also changed from his brotherly self to become a ruthless member of the family.

The story in Yakuza Kiwami is extremely gripping, but much shorter than that of Yakuza 0. Granted, Yakuza Kiwami came out over a decade ago. The story is extremely gripping as well, and it definitely doesn’t feel dated. Although, I personally felt some pacing issues about Midway through as it felt like is was chugging along without much happening. This isn’t true later on in the story though, as the story really picks up towards the end.

The graphics in Yakuza Kiwami are similar to Yakuza 0’s, which is great when it comes to the sheer detail of the world, but the game suffers from quite a bit of pop-in.

Everything from voice acting to the mini games is as consistent with the quality of Yakuza 0.

Sadly though, if you were looking forward towards more scantily-clad, softcore porn collectables then you may be disappointed. The collectables are the classic system from the original games. Hidden around the streets are locker keys that can be taken to storage lockers to unlock. Inside the lockers are various items such as health drinks, weapons, and items to sell for cash.

The three fighting styles from Yakuza 0 are back (only with Kiryu, of course, as he is your only playable character), and in addition you get Kiryu’s own dragon fighting style. In non-dragon styles you unlock the skill tree slots with EXP gained normally through fighting but unlocking dragon style skill tree slots is done exclusively through the Majima everywhere system.

During your normal time in and around the streets of Kamurocho you may be tracked down, or accidentally stumble upon, Majima. What you get is a fun

battle in the streets with Majima and sometimes some goons if he decides to bring them along. Your reward if you win is EXP to your Majima everywhere level.

As you rank up with the Majima everywhere system you unlock stats in your dragon fighting style skill tree. The system is meant to represent the 10 years of prison Kiryu has been through, and the fighting knowledge he’s forgotten with the time. It does a great job at encouraging you to look for a fight in the streets and sometimes finding Majima can be a hilarious accident when he’s hidden somewhere you would least expect.

A problem some people could have with Yakuza Kiwami is the boss health regeneration system. During fights bosses have the ability to stand still and regenerate their health at an extremely fast rate. While this can be countered by switching fighting styles to match the color of the enemies aura while the regenerate, it becomes extremely frustrating during some fights.

Although the regeneration may be another gripe on the combat system, it still comes off as fluid and is filled with extremely fun finishers.

After playing the main story and a few side quests I got about 22 hours out of Yakuza Kiwami, and could easily go back for more mini games and side quests.

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