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[Review] Yakuza Kiwami

Yakuza Kiwami, developed and published by SEGA and DeepSilver, is an open-world beat 'em up and a remake of the very first Yakuza game.

You follow the story of Kiryu Kazuma, a yakuza of the Dojima clan. When his best friend Akira Nishikiyama murders the yakuza boss Dojima for attempting to violate Kazuma's childhood friend Yumi, Kiryu decides to take the blame and goes to prison where he spends 10 years. After being released and returning to Kamurocho, he quickly realizes that a lot has changed.

As you wander the streets, you will often find yourself in fights with random street thugs which can be an annoyance at times but you will gain experience points used to unlock new abilities when you beat them. Kiryu can use 4 different fighting styles, each coming with their own strengths and weaknesses. The Dragon fighting style however can not be levelled up using normal EXP. Instead, you will need to defeat Goro Majima. This is the new "Majima Everywhere" system, in which the one-eyed psycho will appear in the most random locations to fight you.

Like Yakuza 0, the game offers not only the main plot but also several substories which you can clear to gain additional experience, items or money. Several side activities like karaoke, pocket circuit car racing and others make their reappearances. You will also earn so-called CP for fulfilling side-missions (not to be mistaken for the previously mentioned substories) you can use to buy ability bonuses from Bob Utsunomiya who will wait under the gate to Kamurocho. You can get free DLC, which will be released in months after the release, from him as well.

Yakuza Kiwami comes with redone HD graphics for PS4 able to run on 1080p/60fps and re-recorded voice lines from the original japanese cast (which also means no english dub). Additionally, new cutscenes have been added to tie-in with the story of Yakuza 0 more easily.

The game is one of the best I have played so far this year. Not only does it have a captivating plot, there is also a lot of diversity in terms of gameplay, stunning visuals, interesting characters and an amazing soundtrack. As a fan of the Yakuza games, I am highly impressed. It deserves 9 out of 10 stars.

Yakuza Kiwami comes out both physically and digitally on August 29 worldwide, exclusively on PS4.

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