The Yakuza series is a vastly underrated collection of games that seems to have come into a new renaissance as of late. Always a niche title that we were lucky if SEGA even decided to localize (an in a case of a few of the games in the series, got localized with chunks removed for cost and “cultural” reasons). Lucky for us though, the last several entries in the franchise (Yakuza 5, Yakuza 0 (the set in the eighties prequel I reviewed here) and even the zombie spin-off Yakuza: Dead Souls) did get to make the trip to our shores, and thankfully the game we’re here to talk about today, Yakuza Kiwami, got the US localization treatment as well.
Yakuza Kiwami (Japanese for “extreme” I am told) is a remake of the original PS2 game in the series, simply titled, Yakuza—which kind of puts it in a weird place. It has to go up against the recently released Yakuza 0, all while being a remake of the oldest game in the franchise. That’s a lot to juggle, but luckily Yakuza Kiwami mostly succeeds.