Overall score 87

Kiryu and former brother Nishikiyama take center stage as hero and villain respectively in this remake of the classic initial entry to the long-running Yakuza franchise. Following suit from prequel Yakuza 0, Kiryu can battle punks, thugs, Yakuza, and more with four different fighting styles that can be improved via skill points.

Yakuza Kiwami is a 2017 remake of 2005’s Yakuza, it is developed and published by SEGA, it is currently available on Playstation 3 (Japan only), and Playstation 4.

Editor’s Note: A PS4 review copy of Yakuza Kiwami was provided by SEGA, review will be treated as first time playthrough.

Majima’s playful antics with Kiryu-chan returns.

It’s never been a better time to be a fan of SEGA’s Yakuza franchise, with earlier entries getting remade, as well as new entries being made, 0 has become an absolutely perfect introductory piece to the series and it couldn’t had been released any sooner. Coming off the heels of 0’s incredible success is the first entry into the “Kiwami” line, HD remakes of the first couple of games with extras packed in to keep them fresh, and Kiwami 1 does it’s job almost flawlessly just as 0 did.

The Dragon of Dojima is back.

THE GOOD: Yakuza Kiwami being a remake mostly retains the elements from the original, while adding in some from 0, including Kiryu having the ability to switch between four different fighting styles. The story follows Kiryu ten years after taking the fall for an unspeakable act committed by true culprit; former brother Nishikiyama. Now Kiryu has been banished from the Yakuza and everyone under the sun wants to kill him as he looks for his lost love Yumi and takes care of a little girl named Haruka. Kiwami’s story van get very emotional and very dark, but given it’s title that’s less than surprising. The Japanese voice acting is preformed to an extremely believable extent to the point of the final scenery before the ending being a real tear jerker. Gameplay is classic arcadeish like beat ’em up action, and throughout the game world there’s a ton of side quests and activities to do from gambling to pocket car racing.

The brave Haruka Sawamura.

THE BAD: You can’t continue the game freely after the end game point, you’ll have to go through a “new game plus” which is unfortunate.

A bundle of activities to do on the side await you in Yakuza Kiwami.

OVERALL THOUGHTS: Yakuza Kiwami is continuing the trend of classic games being remade from the ground up for audiences of both old and new into modern day masterpieces. Full of things to do on the side and an emotional story to boot, fans coming off the heels of Yakuza 0 will feel right at home here.

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