Yakuza Kiwami - PS4

Also known as: Yakuza Kiwami: Steelbook Edition

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Yakuza Kiwami (PS4)
Viewed: 3D Third-person, over the shoulder Genre:
Adventure: Free Roaming
Media: Blu-Ray Arcade origin:No
Developer: SEGA Soft. Co.: SEGA
Publishers: SEGA (GB)
Released: 29 Aug 2017 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 18+
No Accessories: No accessories


Originally released in 2006 on the PlayStation 2, Yakuza Kiwami was a commercial success in Japan and formed the basis for what has now become an open world series that has lasted for over ten years. The western release of the first game, however, made less of a splash. SEGA spent a great deal localising the game, including employing a voice cast of well-known actors in place of the game's original Japanese cast. The result was not universally popular, with many fans bemoaning the lack of Japanese audio track in the final release, arguing that what made the series special was the way in which it allowed players to immerse themselves in Japanese culture. SEGA did not repeat such extensive localisation with later releases in the series and with Kiwami they have instead created a celebration of not just Yakuza but also of Japanese culture in a similar way to the recently released Yakuza Zero.

Rather than shifting between two characters as Zero did, Kiwami instead focusses solely on Kiryu as he struggles to do what is right despite the unfortunate actions of his closest friends. Emerging from prison after 10 years, there are more than a few wrongs to set right as Kiryu seeks to maintain his honour.

Combat in Kiwami generally follows the same structure as in Zero, although experience points are now used to unlock new techniques and expand on heat abilities rather than the way that money was utilised before. As the game only focusses on one character the number of techniques and fighting styles is consequently a little more streamlined, although Kiryu is still able to change between brawler, rush and beast styles at will during fights. In addition, by fighting with Goro Majima at specific points in the game more moves can be learned for Kiryu's 'dragon style.' It is possible just to string together simple combos and succeed but unlocking higher tier techniques makes encounters with large groups of enemies extremely satisfying.

Yakuza Kiwami is a window into the origins of a series that's been reaching an ever wider audience in the west, and a great celebration of Japanese culture to boot.