Wednesday, 30 August 2017 08:20

REVIEW: Yakuza Kiwami (PS4)

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Yakuza: Kiwami is a remake of the 2005 PS2 game and it is technically the sequel to Yakuza 0 that was released earlier this year.

Straight off the bat you will notice a couple things. The PS2 roots, the fairly crude combat mechanics and long, no... very long dialogue sequences.

OK... so to be fair, this game is a complete remake of the PS2 original and that’s what you should expect... from a PS2 game.

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Apart from some of the absurdly long dialogue sequences, the game itself is actually a good and offers up hours of Yakuza fun. The problem here will be that it will be compared to the awesome Yakuza 0 when it probably really shouldn’t be, buuuut, i'm going to anyway.

Once again, you will be playing as Kazuma Kiryu running around the same streets you are used to beating up the same thugs. That said, if you have played the PS2 version, you won’t be expecting any surprises but the added dialogue and cut scenes do make for a more coherent story. Unfortunately some fairly large plot holes do exist, but I don’t believe this detracts from the game itself. I used to play this on the PS2 and I thought it was fun then. I still think it is fun now, but games have come a long way since 2005 and a lot of the time games such as this are under-appreciated.

The story goes above and beyond what most games have today and this is what I think makes this remake worth a look especially if you have played the original. Yakuza games aren’t known for in-your-face action from the get-go, but the first couple of hours of this one do kinda go in the opposite direction of action.

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Once you do get in to the action, you can be happy to know that the three main fighting styles from 0 are here... Brawler, Rush & Beast. Kiwami also has you unlock the same skills all over again with some reworked skill trees. Mind you, if you haven’t done all this in 0, it won’t feel so tedious. Dragon style is back, but it is harder to reach the full potential than it was in 0.

Fans of 0 will notice the second playable character from that game is here too. Just not playable. Goro Majima is back and is hell bent on challenging our hero at every turn. You will face up against Majima more times than you would like to count. While this is fun in the beginning, it does become a bit tedious after a while.

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The last-gen, wait... no... the last-last-gen origins do show through in what is a fairly enjoyable game. Though certainly not on the same level as 0. I can see what was trying to be achieved here with Kiwami, however I think it fell just a bit short. The biggest let downs for me has nothing to do with the graphical (The graphics have certainly been stepped up since it's PS2 days, that's for sure) or gameplay aspects of the game (it is a PS2 game), it is more the extended cut scenes and filler missions that don’t seem to fit in with the game that bring it down for me.

Yakuza fans will want to play this as it is part of the Yakuza family but I fear new players may get turned off the Yakuza franchise should they play Kiwami before 0.

At the end of the day, I did enjoy Kiwami as I had a fair idea what to expect from a PS2 remake. The biggest problems I see with remakes such as this is that the younger generation of gamers will not appreciate it for it is. Once you get past the first hours or so of Kiwami, the action picks up. It is certainly worth a play for Yakuza fans, but newbies should play 0 first, then come back to Kiwami.


Additional Info

  • Review Score: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Platform: PS4
  • Age Rating: ESRB 17+
  • Content: Blood, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol
  • Developer: Ryu ga Gotoku Studios
  • Publisher: SEGA
  • Genre: Action / Adventure