A remake of the first Yakuza game, which was originally released in 2005 for PS2, Yakuza Kiwami is a generous package. In addition to rebuilding the entire game from scratch in the newer engine that was used for the 2015 prequel Yakuza 0, the story has also been expanded, giving fresh insight into the travails of stoic central hero Kazuma Kiryu.
It also creates a bigger role for fan-favorite antagonist Goro Majima, who now pops up in surprising and sometimes ludicrous locations throughout the game while disguised as a cop or even a gaudily dressed hostess to offer a challenging battle.
The combat has been upgraded too. Kiryu now has a selection of four fighting styles to play with, imported from Yakuza 0, bringing even more depth to what was already a well fleshed-out game. The violence is brutal and unflinching, as Kiryu stomps his opponents’ heads into the pavement or beats them with a bicycle, all performed with simple yet satisfying combo presses.