Yakuza Kiwami Review Roundup

What do critics think about the Yakuza remake?

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The second Yakuza game of the year arrives today for PlayStation 4. Coming eight months after the release of Yakuza 0 (and well over a year after it first launched in Japan), Kiwami is a remake of the very first Yakuza, which originally debuted on PS2 back in 2005. This new version features a number of improvements over the original, including re-recorded dialogue, updated visuals, and other touches to help modernize the classic title.

Are these changes enough to make Yakuza Kiwami worth a look? GameSpot critic Peter Brown thinks so, calling the game "a faithful adaptation where it counts" and the "perfect starting point for newcomers" in our Yakuza Kiwami review. We've collected a sample of other Kiwami reviews and their scores below. For a wider look at the game's critical reception, be sure to visit GameSpot sister site Metacritic.

  • Game: Yakuza Kiwami
  • Developer: Sega
  • Platform: PlayStation 4
  • Release: August 29
  • Price: US $30 / £30 / AU $63

GameSpot -- 8/10

"Kiwami does a great job as both a remake of the original Yakuza game and as a sequel to Zero. Despite that combat remains more of a bump in the road than a rewarding pursuit, it's a no-brainer for existing fans of the series, and shouldn't be overlooked by newcomers, even if Zero passed them by. There's nothing else quite like Yakuza, and Kiwami isn't afraid to show it." -- Peter Brown [Full review]

Polygon -- 7/10

"Yakuza Kiwami makes it clear just how far the series has come, and just how far it still has to go. It's keenly designed to bring newly minted Yakuza fans more firmly into the fold by providing all the contemporary comforts they might expect, while also giving longtime fans more to chew on than a shot-for-shot remake ever would have. It's a patchwork, for better and for worse, and as much as I enjoyed my time with it, there's no denying that some of those patches are looking more tired than others." -- Janine Hawkins [Full review]

US Gamer -- 4/5

"Sega remastered the original Yakuza in high style. Using an updated engine, the team behind the series added new character models, re-recorded voice acting, and an expanded city of Kamurocho, all in 1080p at 60 FPS. Yakuza Kiwami bleeds love for the original game. If you haven't played any Yakuza, this is the release to get. If you have, this is a great remaster of a former cult-favorite. It's not as full-featured as current Yakuza releases, but it's still a great time." -- Mike Williams [Full review]

Game Informer -- 8.5/10

"I had a lot of fun with Yakuza Kiwami, but it occupies a strange place. I commend Sega for the extra lengths it took with the remake--including replacing the Western actors from the original release with all-new dialogue from the Japanese actors--but feels like a relic at times. The game's overall scale is still impressively large, but there's only one main area to explore. Visiting the first entry, enhanced as it is, certainly gave me a greater appreciation for the strides that the series made later. That's probably not what Sega was hoping for here, but it's unavoidable considering the close proximity to Yakuza 0's release." -- Jeff Cork [Full review]

Destructoid -- 8/10

"Really, you can't go wrong with Kiwami. I would have liked it if every aspect of the game had been fully redone, but we don't see remakes like this come along often. I can deal with a few stumbling blocks when the core quality of what makes Yakuza so unique and engaging remains untouched. At least now more people can have a chance to experience this classic, which is the best thing about Kiwami's existence." -- Peter Glagowski [Full review]

Eurogamer

"Coming so soon after Zero, it's perhaps inevitable that Kiwami feels like a slight downgrade, even if, all things considered, it's superior to the original. Those who only discovered the series for the first time this year should find the chance to catch up with Kiryu and Kamurocho hard to pass up. As for Yakuza veterans, it's a fascinating comparison piece, not least for the opportunity to experience the story in its native language. As good as Mark Hamill was as Majima in the western version of the PS2 original--a particularly fitting piece of casting, since he does feel like the anarchic, garrulous Joker to Kiryu's stoic, taciturn Batman--a game so steeped in Japanese culture definitely feels better subbed than dubbed." -- Chris Schilling [Full review]

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