YAKUZA KIWAMI

The boy with the dragon tat­too

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - CONTENTS - @Je­busF

When Goro Ma­jima ap­pears over your shoul­der dressed as a po­lice­man and want­ing a ruck while smil­ing and shout­ing in his ec­cen­tric voice, you’ll un­der­stand what kind of game Yakuza Kiwami is: one that hard-shifts from bor­der­line-non­sen­si­cal things (stab some­one in a fight, watch them run away un­harmed) to sin­cere, heart-wrench­ing scenes that show char­ac­ters with real depths. It all means you’ll fall for this uni­verse in a big way. A re­make of the first Yakuza on PS2, Kiwami has so much heart. From the hefty run­time to the di­verse char­ac­ters, taking in dif­fi­cult sub­ject mat­ter that isn’t of­ten ad­dressed along the way, it al­ways comes back to the story.

Se­ries stal­wart Kazuma Kiryu is just out of prison and em­broiled in yet more Ja­panese or­gan­ised crime. Trou­ble tends to fol­low Kiryu, and although he’s ten years out of the Yakuza game, part of his story is about re­dis­cov­ery: his pow­ers, his strengths, and how he’s never re­ally changed. In a world ruled by gang bosses who are ab­so­lute scum, Kiryu is the fly in their oint­ment, the wolf among the sheep, and other clever analo­gies that will make you stroke your chin in won­der.

At the cen­tre of Kiwami is Ka­muro­cho, a neon-filled fic­tional district of Tokyo that is as much a char­ac­ter as Kiryu him­self. Bustling and full of life, it plays host to the weird and won­der­ful peo­ple that make the game so amus­ing. As well as the sub-sto­ries that make the place feel so well re­alised, there’s a Sega ar­cade to test your retro gam­ing skills, and karaoke bars to hit up. Ka­muro­cho begs to be ex­plored, even though it’s ba­si­cally a red-light district, go­ing so far as to in­clude a dirty video shop and “soap­houses”.

BRIGHT FIGHTS

When he’s not ex­plor­ing, Kiryu is a phe­nom­e­nal fighter, with four dis­tinct styles to switch be­tween. Each can be im­proved by un­lock­ing skills with points earned by brawl­ing. Com­bat is bru­tal, and you can per­form heat ac­tions, which are ex­cru­ci­at­ing (of­ten en­vi­ron­men­tal) fin­ish­ers that would make a cage fighter squirm. Fancy pick­ing up a mo­tor­bike and smash­ing your en­emy’s face in with it? Yakuza has you cov­ered, my friend.

Thanks to the lengthy cutscenes and mes­meris­ing Ja­panese voice act­ing, it’s easy to for­get this is a re­make built in the Yakuza 0 en­gine, but there are mo­ments that re­mind you it’s an old game: get­ting stuck on a small bit of the en­vi­ron­ment, com­bat that could do with a few more moves, a cou­ple of in­cred­i­bly frus­trat­ing late bosses, and a few too many back-track­ing mo­ments.

If you’ve played the orig­i­nal then you’ll love the fact Ma­jima is in the game more, and the up­dated vi­su­als are a hit too. But if you’re new to the se­ries, you can send us your thank you let­ter later. This is what’s been miss­ing in your life.

VER­DICT

“SHIFTS FROM BORDERLINENONSENSICAL AC­TION TO HEART-WRENCH­ING SCENES.”

With a world that you’ll end up know­ing by heart and char­ac­ters you’ll want more of, Kiwami is unique, mov­ing, and se­ri­ous: ev­ery­thing you love about games. Adam Cook

The com­bat is bril­liant. Ev­ery punch feels like it could launch a cow across a foot­ball pitch.

INFO FOR­MAT PS4 ETA OUT NOW PUB SEGA, DEEP SIL­VER DEV SEGA

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