In January of this year, I told our readers about the adventure thriller Yakuza 0, which carries players to Tokyo in the 80s and reveals the secrets of the origin of the protagonists of the popular video game series. Despite the fact that it was a prequel of the entire franchise, the first in the light yet appeared the original Yakuza, released in 2005 for the Sony PlayStation 2 console. Developers from the company Sega, led by the permanent Toshihiro Nagoshi decided that it would be nice for modern players to get acquainted with the very history with which it all began once. So the light and there was a remake of the original game called Yakuza Kiwami for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
The game: The game: The game: Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
Genre: Action / Adventure
release: August 29, 2017
Publisher: Sega, Deep Silver
It was thanks to the excellent sales of the 2005 game that Sega’s bosses once gave green light to the Yakuza franchise. And they have not lost their way, because today more than 10 million copies of the games of the series have been sold. The secret of her success is easy to explain. An interesting story with a careful study of the stories of individual characters, political intrigues and personal dramas, an unusual combat system, unexpected blotches of other genres and, of course, charismatic and noble protagonist – Kazuma Kiryu. So it turns out that at the output we have something like the American GTA, but only made in a very Japanese style, flavored with a huge number of all sorts of mini-games and other ways to entertain the player. To break away from the Yakuza series is really very difficult, so they are well tailored and indulge the desires of the players.
Yakuza Kiwami’s plot almost completely repeats the events of the original game. It all begins in 1995 with the fact that Kazuma selflessly takes responsibility for the murder of the mafia boss, which was committed by his childhood friend Akira Nishikiyama. For this, the protagonist receives 10 years in prison, after which the story continues only on the day of his release in 2005. For a decade that Kazuma has been behind bars, much has changed. His friend Yumi is missing, and the friend for which he sacrificed for years of his life, betrayed their common mentor for the sake of establishing his own yakuza family, and now he does not want his old friend to know. Kazuma’s release from prison is accompanied by another loud murder of the Yakuza boss and the loss of 10 billion yen from the mafia “obshchak.” In other words, something here is definitely not clean, and the main character will have to figure it all out. If the story Yakuza 0 told us about young people trying to find their place in life, then Yakuza Kiwami is a more adult story about love, loyalty and inevitable betrayals.
To the greatest joy of millions of fans of the series, Yakuza Kiwami was not just another penny HD-remaster, which is so popular these days, but a full-fledged remake, created almost from scratch. After 12 years the game was finally transferred to a modern graphics engine, due to which, the characters now look even more alive, and the environment – as detailed as possible. The result was really impressive, even though Yakuza Kiwami used not the most modern graphics engine Dragon Engine, but only its predecessor. On the same toolbox was created game Yakuza 0, about which I wrote a little higher. So, if you are a Sony PlayStation 4 player, be prepared for a wonderful picture of 1080p with a more or less stable 60 frames per second (on PS3, of course, the picture is much more modest). Although, as in the case of Yakuza 0, there are still unclear textures and low polygonal objects in the game, the project is “cross-gene”. Although against the background of general beauty, these shortcomings do not cut eyes so much.
The developers have decided not to limit visual improvements. Players no longer have to admire the boot screen at the beginning of each fight with opponents. From now on all fights begin instantly, which is very cool, comparing the game with the original. From the game Yakuza 0 in the remake migrated combat system, which includes four different fighting styles of the protagonist, between which he can switch at any time with the help of the D-Pad. The first style is Brawler. Balanced attacks, counterattacks and fast enough escape from enemy strikes will allow you to go through most of the game without any problems. The second style is Rush. Kazuma becomes incredibly fast and brings down on the opponents’ heads a downpour of blows. The third style is Beast. The protagonist becomes a hulking tank, whose strokes are best not to miss. In this mode, the unit protects it from blows from all sides, and even Kazuma automatically lifts from the ground items that can be used as weapons.
Completes the four styles – Dragon. This is the ultimatum style that the protagonist owns. But there is one small snag: during his years in prison, Kazuma lost most of his fighting skills and now you can regain the honorary title of “dragon” only by completing a chain of quests related to our old acquaintance – Goro Majima. Defeating this colorful yakuzu in numerous fights scattered throughout the city, the protagonist will learn the long-forgotten techniques and become an increasingly serious opponent for his sworn enemies. In addition to Majima, you can train with other masters of martial arts. But all this, of course, is optional and not necessary to enjoy the game.
Heat Scale, filled during fights and making the protagonist stronger, will allow players to perform various special attacks, as well as using a completely new movement – Kiwami (not for nothing that word fell into the name of the game). When your opponent enters a state of recovery, a special icon will appear above it. It is at this point that a player can make an unrealistically spectacular and powerful attack, which takes away most of his health from the enemy. Without Kiwami, fights with the bosses would turn into a sophisticated torture of players, taking away a lot of time. Pumping the character is divided into four separate screens, each of which is responsible for its direction of development. The Soul category improves your heat attacks, Tech provides the three main styles with new moves, the Body increases the health scale and the stock of the main character’s stamina, and the Dragon accordingly returns to it long-forgotten skills. A total of 48 enhancements that are unlocked with the help of the CP (Completion Points), which the player receives for completing the game and performing various quests.
It’s very nice that absolutely new story scenes have been added to the game, clarifying some moments of the story, previously not completely understood by the players. For example, what exactly happened with Akira Nishikiyama while Kazuma was in prison? How did he get to the point where he turned from a best friend of the protagonist to a natural villain? Yakuza Kiwami will answer this and many other questions thanks to the expanded narrative and additional story inserts. Moreover, for a while you will even be allowed to get used to the role of this character and see the world through his eyes. Especially for the game in the studio the actors who voiced the original and recorded completely new dialogues gathered, and also overwrote most of the old ones. And I really like that in this game there is an opportunity to interrupt the passage for a while, and then go back and press the button “Previously in the game …” to remember on what you’re staying. This function, like modern television series, in general terms, will tell you about the story and remind you about key events.
Yakuza Kiwami would not be herself if she did not offer players a huge amount of all sorts of side missions and mini-games. Traveling through the narrow streets of the virtual Kamurötö (interpretation of Kabuki-cho – the real-life quarter of Tokyo), you will often stumble upon people who need your help. In total there are 78 such stories in the game that will allow the player not only to gain additional experience, but also to better penetrate the atmosphere of the Land of the Rising Sun. Some side-quests will be funny, and some are so touching that they are quite capable of squeezing out a tearful tear from you. The game, as before, is extremely emotional and causes in the player a sincere empathy for the characters. For the performance of side quests you will receive CP points, extra money, valuable items and even new military equipment.
In terms of mini-games, the remake remained faithful to the original. Entertainment in the game a huge amount. Want to – play mahjong, dice, blackjack, roulette or shogi. Want to – sing in karaoke, play billiards, bowling, darts or try to set a new record in several arcade machines. If you and this is not enough – you can visit hostess clubs, where you will most certainly be happy with Japanese beauties who are eager to pass the evening in the company of a generous gallant client. The game has “achivka”: try all menu items in all cafes and restaurants. For this you will also receive valuable experience. In passing, it will be possible to taste a variety of alcoholic products. Of course, no one pushes you to these entertainments. You can go through the game, while not being distracted by any mini-games. But still they remarkably diversify the gameplay and allow you to recover in between the particularly dramatic moments of the plot. In addition, the game includes a cooperative mode for two players, in which you and your friend can compete in bowling, darts or billiards.
The developers promise for several months to release for the game completely free DLC with various content. You can get access to these bonuses from a clown named Bob, whom you can find in the game at one of the crossroads of Kamurute. At the same NPC you can exchange earned CP points for various cool items, perks and rare weapons. Despite the advantages I’ve listed, there are also problems with the game, of course. For example, they strongly irritate the moments when they say to you: find a certain character or such a location, but a corresponding mark does not appear on the city map to simplify the task assigned to you. This problem existed even in the era of PS2, but why it could not be corrected to the output of the PS4 version of the game – I will not put my mind to it. Probably, the developers simply do not want to pamper players with too frequent clues. But in modern video games, this is perceived as a highly annoying relic of the past. Another somewhat annoying is not always an obedient game camera, although for the series this problem is traditional.
- The plot is still fascinating, even despite its 12-year-old age.
- The game looks great thanks to the complete processing of graphics in 1080r.
- Each character was repainted from scratch and remarkably animated.
- The game manages to balance on the subtlest edge between comedy and drama.
- Most of the dialogues have been re-recorded with the involvement of original actors.
- For the first time players will be able to find out what happened while Kazuma was in jail.
- The advanced combat system migrated into the game straight from Yakuza 0.
- As usual, the game has a lot of great side-quests and mini-games.
- A wonderful opportunity to remember or discover classics.
- A lot of free game content in the form of DLC.
- The original problem related to navigation remains in the game.
- Traditionally, not the most adequately behaving gaming camera.
Once again I clearly understood for myself that Yakuza is one of the most expensive games in my heart. Acquainted with her in the distant 2006 (in Europe the game came out a year after Japan), I still can not part with my favorite characters and the raging passions of the world of Japanese organized crime. Yakuza Kiwami is a great opportunity to get acquainted with the classics of the Japanese gaming industry, which has never looked so luxurious. The developers have done everything to ensure that modern players feel as comfortable as possible. In this virtual world, you can spend more than a dozen hours, while receiving very bright emotions and enjoying a superbly scripted script that some modern Hollywood filmmakers can envy. The only thing I dream about for a long time is that once the games of the series are translated into Russian, so that as many of my compatriots as possible can get acquainted with these magnificent works. I put Yakuza Kiwami unconditional 9 points out of 10 and remind you that the remake of Yakuza 2 has already been officially announced and will be released within the next year.