The world's greatest wrestledad and his lovable best frenemy are back in Kamurocho town, as Yakuza Kiwami is out now on PC. It is: a remake of the first game in Sega's Yakuza series of open-world brawler RPGs. Which was: exclusive to PlayStations for 13 years, only taking its first steps onto PC in 2018 with the prequel Yakuza 0. It also is: very good. Spread the word around.
Yakuza is the tale of Kazuma Kiryu, a Tokyo gangster with a heart of gold and fists of steel. One minute he's dispensing fatherly advice to children, the next he's leaping into the air with a man hauled above his head for a megaslam. World's greatest wrestledad. Opposing him is all sorts of underworld drama, as well as (most importantly, to me) best frenemy Goro Majima, a wiry psycho with a heart of... not gold, something that's kinda warm but also weird - uranium? Having been introduced to the series on console, I'm delighted to see more on PC.
This was our boy Brendy's first Yakuza game, and he had plenty of praise in his Yakuza Kiwami review. Oh sure, some elements are definitely weak, but Kazuma Kiryu is enough of a kind and helpful wrestledad to get past them.
"This piecemeal boy scout questiness is why I've been happy to punch my way through it, when any other GTA-like would likely make me shrug," Brendy said.
"It isn't the fighting that sells it (although that does get more satisfying and varied as you unlock new moves in a skill tree). But the nonsense side quests and daft plot unfolding throughout. It swings from silliness to melodrama to heavy stuff in a way that can sometimes be jarring, but is mostly gratifying. In its soapiest moments, whenever some secret or plot twist is revealed, the camera zooms into the faces of its characters, as their eyes widen to the sound of a big dramatic 'dunnnn!' Ten billion yen has been stolen. Dunnn! A Yakuza chief has been killed. Dunnn! It's wonderful."
It is wonderful.
Yakuza Kiwami is out now on Steam for £15/€20/$20. £15! Bargain.
Yakuza 0 was one of my favourite games of 2018 and I am glad Brendan will surely back me up on Kiwami later this year.
Yakuza 0 and Kiwami are the only ones Sega said they'd bring to PC, but surely they were testing the waters for more? Yakuza Kiwami 2, the remake of Yakuza 2, hit western PlayStations in August 2018 and Kiryu's story reached its end with Yakuza 6 in April 2018, so there are more shiny modern ones potentially waiting in the wings. Fingers crossed, gang.