The original Yakuza game was released a little over 10 years ago and at that time it was one of the most impressive feats of gaming seen. Over the years there have been about half a dozen sequels, and a small handful of spin-offs (only one of which never saw the light of day outside of Japan), and until the recent release of the prequel game Yakuza 0 has only ever really enjoyed mild success outside of its home country. Interestingly Sega seems to be taking everything that they learned from the previous game and remaking the original, with great success.
The most notable thing, for those that are returning from the original release, is the extra content added to the game—such as that tying it back to the events in Yakuza 0 and smoothing out some of the more bumpy spots in the plot. Although plot corrections aren’t the only additions, as there are entire additional side stories and the “Majima Everywhere,” system that basically allows for an almost boss level fight to be randomly encountered in the streets at any time – which is great because one of the problems with the original was difficulty leveling in the late game, and that takes care of any leveling up issues.
For people who are new to the series, coming in from the previous game, or have never played the first one, this title gives almost no reason to go back to the original as the entire experience is streamlined for simple enjoyment. Random NPCs will still stop the player on the street and ask for help to start side quests instead of having to search them out, battles have almost no transition between exploration of the city to speak of, and load times are cut down to the point of being forgettable. But none of that can hold a candle to the plot, which sounds standard on paper but is so expertly executed that it is worth the price of admission.
That price of admission, interestingly enough, is absurdly low as well; 30 dollars gets you the entire package. Granted, this is full remastering of the first game, and it is using many of the same assets that the prequel that just came out, the game itself is worth the price of admission and the simple experience to play. Mix in the new content, amazing graphics, and it is foolish to pass this game by. If you have a PS4 you simply owe it to yourself to pick it up. It is probably the best thing that is going to come out for the rest of the year.
Title: Yakuza Kiwami
Publisher: SEGA of America (North/South America), Deep Silver (EMEAO Territories)
Release Date: Aug. 29, 2017
Genre: Action RPG
Platform: PlayStation 4
Players: 1 for the main story/game