PS4 Review: Yakuza Kiwami

The Yakuza series goes back to the start in this remake…

I’ve been a fan of the Yakuza series for a while, but I missed out on the original 2 entries and hoped that one day I’d get the chance to go through them…which is now a reality with Yakuza Kiwami and a remake of the second game has also been announced.

Yakuza Kiwami is a full-fledged remake of the original game, using what looks like the engine from Yakuza Zero to vastly improve the visuals of the original. There are also improvements to the overall framerate, textures, resolution, loading times and the game has changed to more incorporate the events from Yakuza Zero, while also fixing some confusing plot points from the original.

The biggest addition has to the added Majima Everywhere mechanic where your rival Majima will appear randomly throughout the game to fight you in crazy scenarios where he dresses up in different costumes or is hiding throughout the city. You’ll need to beat him a lot to get your upgrades fully done. It’s random and nuts, but it’s a nice addition.

As with other Yakuza games, besides the main story, there are plenty of sub-story side-quests and activities to do such as bowling, karaoke, a card-game called Mesuking, Mahjong and even dining out at restaurants or drinking at bars. You can also go to cabaret clubs and work on improving your rating with the girl at your booth so you can take her out.

Kiryu’s combat style is mixed into 4 different ways that you can switch with a tap of the D-Pad or a click of the analog sticks. You’ll find what works best for you, each style is unique and upgrades will give you more moves, more health and so on. You can also get weapons to use either from a vendor or from around the battle area, these can vary from street signs to bicycles and everything in-between.

Yakuza Kiwami sticks to the tradition of being voiced fully in Japanese with English subtitles. I remember playing Yakuza 3 and being confused at first, but I honestly can’t imagine the game with English voice-acting…it just wouldn’t work. The visuals and improvements to the performance of the game from the original are nothing short of amazing. I’ve seen videos of the original and was amazed by what they have done here.

The Verdict

Yakuza Kiwami is a great remake and a great way to get into the series or get reacquainted with the events of the first game. The new bells and whistles just make it an even more enjoyable experience. Definitely one of the finer remakes of this generation.

Score: 9.0