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PC Port Impressions: Yakuza Kiwami

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After the suc­cess­ful port of Yaku­za 0 last year, it’s no sur­pri­se that fans would be eager­ly awai­ting the series’ return to PC. After a rather leng­thy wait, Yaku­za Kiwa­mi has final­ly made its way to Steam, chan­ging litt­le but still deli­vering an over­all impres­si­ve port.

Yaku­za Kiwa­mi is a remake of the very first Play­Sta­ti­on 2 game in the fran­chise, attemp­t­ing to link Yaku­za 0’s events to the ori­gi­nal sto­ry with vary­ing degrees of suc­cess. It was initi­al­ly released for Play­Sta­ti­on 3 and 4 in Japan, but only its PS4 ver­si­on ended up making its way to the West. The gene­ral sto­ry is unch­an­ged – Kiryu is jai­led for 10 years after taking the fall for his child­hood fri­end Nis­hi­ki, and returns to Kamu­ro­cho right as pro­blems start to ari­se once again – but the­re are a few extra sce­nes to incor­po­ra­te what we lear­ned about the cha­rac­ters in 0. Some of the­se work rather well, espe­ci­al­ly the new cuts­ce­nes that focus on what hap­pen­ed to Nis­hi­ki while Kiryu was in pri­son. His cha­rac­ter was some­what lacking in Yaku­za 1, so this addi­ti­on plus the sto­ry of Yaku­za 0 real­ly help to impro­ve the sto­ry over­all.

Unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly not all chan­ges are for the bet­ter, and in some cases chan­ges weren’t made when they should have been. The ope­ning chap­ter of Kiwa­mi has a redo­ne tutorial/character intro­duc­tion and it’s honest­ly not very good. You’re forced to back­track mul­ti­ple times, and it just takes too long for what should just be a short intro­duc­tion befo­re the sto­ry real­ly begins. Many cuts­ce­nes also look dated due to using the same ani­ma­ti­ons and came­ra move­ments from the PS2 ori­gi­nal. Even with the impro­ved gra­phics this makes cer­tain sce­nes feel dated com­pa­red to the new­ly added ones.

Speaking of gra­phics, the­re is litt­le to dif­fe­ren­tia­te Yaku­za Kiwa­mi from 0, sin­ce they both use the same engi­ne and most of the assets from the lat­ter game are used here. It’s not an ugly game by any means, but it’s still easy to see in pla­ces that this used to be a PS3 game. The­re do seem to be some impro­ve­ments when it comes to nor­mal NPC models, sin­ce they don’t look as bad up clo­se, but if you loo­ked at screen­shots of both games side-by-side it would be hard to tell the dif­fe­rence (if you obvious­ly igno­re the older loo­king Kiryu). The PC release sup­ports both reso­lu­ti­ons hig­her than 1080p and ultra-wide­s­creen, though it’s still not going to be the best game to test out your new 4K moni­tor.

Kiwa­mi is an over­all decent remake, even if it does feel a litt­le repe­ti­tious in pla­ces. The mul­ti­ple styles are still here and seem a litt­le out of place. Unlo­cking moves for the dra­gon style is also awk­ward due to the Maji­ma Ever­y­whe­re sys­tem, which requi­res you defeat Maji­ma during various situa­ti­ons around Kamu­ro­cho. It seems like an inte­res­ting way of unlo­cking moves at first, but making Kiryu’s ico­nic move­set so weak for the majo­ri­ty of the game seems like a stran­ge design choice. Ano­t­her car­ry-over from 0 is most of the miniga­mes, many of which weren’t pre­sent in the ori­gi­nal game. It does add some extra con­tent, but it can be hard to moti­va­te yours­elf to do the same miniga­mes again even with new subs­to­ries tied to some of them.

As for the port its­elf, it’s near iden­ti­cal to the one Yaku­za 0 recei­ved last year. A recent patch for that game gave us a tas­te of what chan­ges would be in-store for this port, which amoun­ted to only a few minor menu opti­ons and bug fixes. Asi­de from that, this is just as solid a port as the last one that bene­fits from the various other updates 0 had. The afo­re­men­tio­ned reso­lu­ti­on opti­ons are wel­co­me and the game runs rather well over­all. The amount of gra­phi­cal opti­ons are a litt­le basic, but most peop­le shouldn’t have much issue get­ting the game to run at 60 fps even if they don’t have the recom­men­ded com­pu­ter specs.

If the­re was once cri­ti­cism to be made with the PC ver­si­on of Yaku­za Kiwa­mi, it would be that issu­es that have remai­ned unfi­xed in 0 are still pre­sent here. Tur­ning down the volu­me in-game leads to ever­ything soun­d­ing muf­fled ins­tead of just quie­ter, and tab­bing out of the game while in bor­der­less win­do­wed mode will occa­sio­nal­ly cau­se the game to chan­ge to regu­lar win­do­wed mode when tab­bing back in. The­se are rela­tively minor pro­blems and they’ll hope­ful­ly be fixed for both games over the next few mon­ths.

Conclusion

This is yet ano­t­her solid port from Sega and it shows that they’re com­mit­ted to making sure that the Yaku­za series does well on PC. Once the last few pro­blems have been iro­ned out, this will be ano­t­her game that sets the stan­dard for PC ports in the future.

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