Over the year’s I’ve heard a lot about the Yakuza games. However during the Playstation 2 era I was an XBox gamer, and besides these are Japanese games that, while released in the west, never made a huge impact here in the UK.
Kiwami is a remake/remaster of the very first Playstation 2 Yakuza game for the Playstation 4, and it’s got a UK release so at last I get to see what all the fuss has been about.
The game is often touted as a Shenmue sequel because it is an Open World game and made by Sega. However it’s much closer to their earlier Streets of Rage games than it is to Shenmue.
The open world is very small and really not very open. There’s one or two shops you can go in for food other wise it’s bounce between about half dozen locations to further the underlying story.
The meat of the game is gang fighting that pretty much happens every two or three steps. It’s impossible to progress the story without having a dozen scraps first.
Overall it’s a very, very PS2 era game. Yes the graphics have been updated. They look a little better than PS3 era for the most part. But the underlying gameplay hasn’t really been updated. There’s far too many cutscenes, the world isn’t open enough, camera angles can be a bit funny, there’s just no depth.
Ultimately it’s the story that sells these games and it is an interesting enough story. It’s just the format it’s being told in doesn’t work for me. I get the feeling that jumping on the GTA bandwagon was a bit of a mistake.