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Yakuza Kiwami Review (PS4)
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kiwami ps4 review yakuza


Yakuza Kiwami is a remake of the popular 2005 Playstation 2 action adventure, Yakuza.  The franchise has been popular in Japan, reaching up to 7 games at this point.  With the newest game in the series (Yakuza 6) finally being released in the west, there’s no better reason to revisit where it all started.

The game follows Kiryu, a dominant member of the Dojima family, a Japanese yakuza gang.  Organized crime plays the focus of the story, with main missions including hits, shady business deals, and in-fighting.  The overall narrative deals with several crime families in Japan, weaving a tale of betrayal and murder between them.  Kiryu and his associates find themselves in the middle of all of it, spurring motivation to take on the opposing gangs.

Yakuza Kiwami is far from a linear game, with the sizable city of Kumorocho wide open for the player to explore.  This fictional city resembles everything cultural and distinct about metropolitan life in Japan.  The city is full of side quests to complete, mini games to play, and shops and diners to shop at.  These locations and sub stories are fleshed out well and wholly worth seeking out.

Unlike most open world crime games, you rarely shoot a gun in Kiwami.  Instead, combat revolves around using multiple fighting styles in 3D brawls. As an experienced fighter, Kiryu knows a few diverse styles, all of which can be upgraded via skill trees.  You upgrade said skill trees using experience points earned while playing.  Combat feels great and the variety of styles ensures most players will easily find a favorite.  Between crushing finishing moves, unlockable combos, and violent fist fights, Yakuza Kiwami’s main gameplay is both rewarding and fun.

Visually speaking, Yakuza Kiwami makes an expected and noticeable upgrade on the original game.  Rebuilt in a new engine, the graphical quality resembles that of Yakuza 0, the latest game in the franchise before Kiwami.  Everything looks serviceable, but not incredibly impressive.  Luckily, the game runs well, with a consistent performance that rarely dips.  The frame rate and overall technical performance is commendable, something I appreciate as games get more and more demanding.

Generally speaking, Yakuza Kiwami is a great return to a PS2 cult classic.  For newcomers, it’s a great way to experience a game from over 10 years ago.  The additions and modernizations make it worth a replay as well.  Whether you’re a newcomer to the franchise or a seasoned veteran, Kiwami has plenty of content to keep you interested.  With a rumored remake of the second Yakuza game in the works, I can’t wait to continue Kiryu’s remastered story.

Rating: 8.5/10

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