Extremely Good Value: Yakuza Kiwami Review

Posted in Kulturecade by - October 18, 2017
Extremely Good Value: Yakuza Kiwami Review

Yakuza Kiwami is a remake of the original Yakuza game that came out on PS2. The remake adds the switching styles mechanic from Yakuza 0, the Majima Everywhere system and new cutscenes to help character development. The game was $30 new when I bought it, and it took me about 36 hours to get 63% completion. So the length of the game definitely warrants the price, especially when some $60 games are netting less than 30 hours playtime. However, how does the rest of the game fair? Let’s get into it

The game suffers from the same thing Yakuza 0 suffered from, great detail only on things that matter. The overall world and pedestrians moving about look pretty good. They still look a bit glossy and plastic, but definitely a PS4 glossy and plastic. However, the models for important people in the game still look amazing. You can still see the pores of each character in a cutscene. You can see each hair on a head, and Kiryu looks just as perfect as ever.

The models for the random guys you fight are a step above the regular pedestrians, but a step below the important people. You can really tell this when Majima joins in a fight next to the average jobbers. However, the animation for all the moves still looks great. The heat moves still look visceral, and the blood splatter is great.

Overall, the visuals in cutscenes models continue to amaze while the models for all the people that aren’t important are still left by the wayside. None of the game looks last generation though, so that’s a good thing. It’s just the standard visuals you should expect from a game in this series.

I’m happy to report that the story retreads the original story almost beat for beat. A few things are changed, but there are some cutscenes that are recreated frame for frame from the original. So what is the story?

Kiryu Kazama has been in jail for 10 years for a crime he took the fall for but didn’t commit. When he gets out he learns that his childhood friend, Yumi, has gone missing, and his best friend, Nishki, has gone off the dead end. The Tojo clan is in shambles after someone has stolen all its money, and there’s infighting to determine who will be the next chairman. Kiryu discovers a girl named Haruka who seems to be the key to it all and vows to help her.

The new cutscenes do a good job of showing Niski’s transformation from the character we knew in Yakuza 0 to the one we see now. This was definitely needed as the original version of the game didn’t dive much into this, and I, myself, was wondering how it happened.

For those who played the original, this game is a loving recreation of the original’s story that will definitely take you down memory lane. For those who never played the original, you’ll enjoy a roller coaster ride of emotions as you navigate the story.

The four style system returns from Yakuza 0, but the Dragon of Dojima style has gotten a huge overhaul. At its peak, it feels way more powerful in this game than the last. Once you completely level it up, it’s the most fun style in the game. The other three styles make a return with some tweaks that make them seem more fun. I rarely used Rush style in the previous game, but I used it a lot more this time around.

This game does a good job of making sure that each style has a job, unlike 0 did. I blasted through that game only really using Beast style, but Kiwami makes that almost impossible. I found myself switching styles much more frequently throughout one fight than in 0, and I had more fun because of to.

The game also adds kiwami attacks. These can be done to bosses when they enter a state to regain health. Each style has its own kiwami attack and you must match a style’s color to the aura the boss is giving off to know which to use. For example, if a boss is glowing yellow while regaining health, you know to use Beast style. Sadly you do have to unlock each of these for each style, but they’re all amazing attacks. I loved every single kiwami attack.

The Majima Everywhere system is how you upgrade your Dragon of Dojima style in the game, and, as a Majima fan, I loved every second of it. It reuses assets from 0 like his fighting styles and 24-hour Cinderella outfit. If you played 0, you’ll have an easier time-fighting Majima since you know the move sets of each of his styles.

I really don’t want to get much into this system because it’s so fun to experience that I don’t want to ruin it for anyone else. Just know you need to be prepared at all times for a boss fight against Majima because he will appear. He will appear when you least expect it when you most expect it and in places you
didn’t even think to expect.

Yakuza Kiwami is a great retread of an old game. The updates have helped it a lot but it’s still not without its flaws. The length is good but feels short. The side quests in this game are more mundane than in some of the other games. Also, while recreating scenes frame for frame is nice, some cinematography needed to be left in the PS2 era. Overall though, it’s a great value for $30. It’s also a great follow-up for those who entered the franchise at Yakuza 0, and to those who love the original.

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