Yakuza Kiwami | Mini Review!

What is it?

Yakuza Kiwami is an action adventure game developed by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and published by Sega in 2016. It was ported to the West in 2017, and on PC two years later. It is a remake of the original PlayStation 2 game. Once a member of the Tojo Clan, Kazuma Kiryu is sent to jail for a decade after being accused of murdering his yakuza boss. In truth, he took the blame to save his lifelong friend and ally, Akira Nishikiyama. After his release, he sets off to track down his old friends, only to discover the clan has been robbed of ten million yen. As he sets off to find out what happened, Goro Majima of the Dojima clan stalks and battles with Kiryu in hopes of settling their rivalry.

Platform(s)

PS3, PS4, PC

Pros
Cons
Another fantastic plot with brilliant writing and hilarious jokes.
Mini-games are still lots of fun. Some are the same as before, while others have been tweaked a little.
Combat earns you XP to be spent on a slew of new upgradable moves for each fighting style, including an exclusive fourth one.
‘Majima Everywhere’ encounters are creative and challenging.
Some great songs in its soundtrack.
Still feels awfully familiar to Yakuza Zero in a lot of ways.
Can’t play as Majima anymore.
‘Kiwami’ finishers must be dealt to stunned enemies who regenerate health quickly.
Feels a tad shorter than the previous game.

Verdict:

It should go without saying that Yakuza Kiwami is infinitely better than its PS2 counterpart, considering much more refined and fleshed out its gameplay, music and graphics are in comparison. It’s a lot like the previous game, Yakuza Zero, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing most of the time. It still has a thrilling plot balanced between some humorous dialogue exchanges, though there’s no Majima story or additional areas to explore other than the already-sizeable Kamurocho district. Mini-games have either been given a fresh coat of paint or have been given some slight tweaks to their content.

A lot of moves, weapons and upgrades are carried over from the previous title. The combat and RPG mechanics worked really well, only you’re earning XP to spend on upgrades, which are much easier to learn. The new ‘Dragon of Dojima’ fighting style is sluggish at first, but by completing training and fighting Majima multiple times, you’ll earn bonus abilities that’ll eventually turn it into one of the best movesets in the game. Oh, and if you don’t mind sporadic mini-boss fights, then the ‘Majima Everywhere’ shouldn’t be a problem. It actually offers some very funny dialogue exchanges and unusual twists to certain battles. Alas, during battles with tough opponents like Majima, you must trigger a special move when they’re stunned (they healing at a rapid rate as this happens). Yet, having to fiddle around with the right move set and earning enough Heat in time to perform the move can be a real tease, as they become significantly weaker if you use them more than once.

Yakuza Kiwami is more of a continuation of its predecessor than a direct sequel. Chances are if you loved Zero, then this one will be just as brilliant, if a tad shorter.

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