Yakuza Kiwami for PS4 is a complex remake of the first installment of Yakuza series. The original version of the game debuted on PlayStation 2 in 2005. All titles in the series were developed by Sega. For many years since its debut the series gained many fans and is especially successful in Japan (where it is known as Ryu ga Gotoku). It even received comic and movie adaptations. Ten installments of the series were released until 2016, including a few spin-offs. Yakuza Kiwami offers not only completely new visuals, but it also introduces changes to gameplay mechanics and previously unavailable story sequences that link it stronger to the prequel released on PlayStation 4.
Yakuza Kiwami for PS4 takes place in 1995, eight years after the events of Yakuza 0. Kazuma Kiryu, the main protagonist of the series, is a high ranked member of Tojo clan. One night, the patriarch of Dojima family (that works for Tojo) kidnaps a friend of Kazuma named Yumi. A close colleague of the protagonist, Akira Nishikiyama, joins Kazuma in the chase. He reaches the girl as first and he kills Dojima, thus shaking the foundation of Tokyo’s criminal underworld. Kazuma takes the blame for the murder, allowing Nishikiama to escape from the crime scene. All he asks him is to take care of Yumi.
After ten years the protagonist leaves prison. He finds himself in a completely unfamiliar world. The Tojo clan is at the brink of a civil war caused by 10 millions of yens gone missing from the organization’s vault. The situation is somehow related to Kazuma’s friend, who also cannot be found. The protagonist decides to get back into the yakuza world, rebuild his position in the “family” and find Yumi.
Yakuza Kiwami for PS4 uses improved gameplay and combat systems from Yakuza 0. The title is an action-adventure game, in which the action is presented from a third-person perspective. Although the series is frequently called the Japanese answer to Grand Theft Auto, in fact both series are very different. Yakuza Kiwami, similarly to other entries in the series, is more linear and it doesn’t offer a large sandbox city or the possibility to drive cars. Instead of that, the player can explore a few smaller locations based on Tokyo streets that offer many attractions and were created with great detail.
Kazuma defeats his opponents by using fists. Four combat styles are available, each of which has unique moves and spectacular special attacks. The player can also use improvised weapons like bottles, traffic signs or bikes. The protagonist develops his skills by unlocking them on a special ability wheel.
In addition to main plot missions, there are many side quests available as well. The title also offers various minigames and optional activities in places like casino, karaoke bar, hostess club or amusement arcade. Goro Majima’s challenges are a novelty in the series. Majima is one of the greatest rivals of Kazuma and he appears in various places, frequently in a funny way. Then he challenges the main protagonist.
Yakuza Kiwami for PS4 was built from scratch on a new graphics engine that supports 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second. The developers recorded anew all dialogues and they created new cutscenes. For the first time ever the Western players can enjoy the original Japanese voice cast – Yakuza for PlayStation 2 was released only with English dubbing outside Japan.