Yakuza / Yakuza Kiwami

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JaySevenZero
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Yakuza / Yakuza Kiwami

Post by JaySevenZero »

Here's where you can contribute your thoughts and opinions of Yakuza Kiwami for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

A friendly reminder to all that where feedback for the podcast is concerned, we love it - but self-editing (brevity) is appreciated. We do want to include a breadth of opinions where appropriate, but no-one wants a discussion podcast that’s mainly reading. Better to save yourself time and cut to the chase if you can.

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Workyticket
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Re: 447: Yakuza Kiwami

Post by Workyticket »

After falling in love with the franchise with Yakuza 0, Kiwami was an enjoyable, if slightly lesser experience. Its roots as a remastered PS2 game are unmistakeable, lacking the depth found in the other games, but it was still worth it for the introduction of Haruka and Nishiki's gut-wrenching heel turn.

Whether I would recommend it to others is a tricky one. If you fell for the characters and world of the series with 0, it's an easy recommend. Those looking for smoother and deeper gameplay, however, might be better off skipping to the much more fully-featured Kiwami 2.

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Alex79uk
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Re: 447: Yakuza Kiwami

Post by Alex79uk »

Completely agree. Zero was my first entry in the series and I had such high expectations for Kiwami that it ultimately just couldn't deliver on. The story wasn't as strong, the combat more limited and the side activities no where near as diverse. The real kicker for me was the complete lack of arcade game, something I spent a good chunk of time on with Zero. And no, I'm not counting that horrible insect card battling thing!

That said, Kiwami still was an enjoyable game. The world is as atmospheric as ever, and the story was OK, if a little dull and plodding in places. It picked up towards the end, though.

The biggest shock for me was seeing Majima in this game. He'd inexplicably transformed from ultra cool and calm gangster to irritating clown for no apparent reason. The story just never explains how on earth he made that jump. He really bears no resemblance to his previous incarnation whatsoever.

I would recommend this game to anyone who had enjoyed a Yakuza game before, but I would strongly suggest starting with Zero, as playing this one first may even put you off the series. Fortunately things picked back up with the incredible Kiwami 2 - my personal favorite so far - but that's for another show.

THREE WORD REVIEW: Majima!? What happened!!?

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Jobobonobo
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Re: 447: Yakuza Kiwami

Post by Jobobonobo »

I had a really good time with Kiwami and I definitely want to stick around for the rest of the Yakuza series but it does feel ever so slightly disappointing compared to the godly Yakuza 0. Substories, for example, were a bit more samey with Kiryu constantly uncovering and failing for various scams. I am unsure if the substories were a part of a general theme in Kamurocho becoming more cynical and corrupt or if the game was adding character development by Kiryu being exceptionally naive. One big plus for me was his relationship with Haruka and his desire to protect and reunite her with her mother. His little chats with her as they go through town were some of the most sweet and innocent moments in the game and Haruka being more streetwise than she lets on makes her character gel well with Kiryu. So Kiryu’s newfound parental duties were nice little additions to his character. Overall, Kiwami did some good work for deepening his character overall.

I wish I could say the same for Majima. He went from a suave, unpredictable badass with a heart of gold to an irritating nuisance, constantly interrupting you as you go through Kamurocho. While some of his attempts to ambush you were pretty humorous, having to be constantly on the lookout for him got pretty draining towards the end of the game. Whenever I heard “KIRYU-CHAN!” while wandering the streets I just kept thinking “No no, not now”. Also there are some points in the main plot where he does some truly despicable stuff such as him kidnapping Haruka just to give Kiryu an excuse to fight him which massively undoes his character development in 0. This entry was a major downgrade for his character and I hope he gets better treatment in future entries.

I did like that some of the character and story elements from 0 carried onto this game though, such as helping the Pocket Race fighter find an heir to his little shop and Majima meeting up with his old tutor. But that is the thing with this game, playing 0 beforehand does make this experience better as the main plot itself which involves Kiryu going up against his old friend Nishiki is all the more tragic considering their close friendship in the previous game.

Ultimately, I would say give Kiwami a go but only after you played and loved 0 which I certainly did. Without that context, it is a good game but I am unsure if I would be as invested in this world and its characters if I started with Kiwami.

THREE WORD REVIEW: Go away Majima!

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Simply Wunderful
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Re: 447: Yakuza Kiwami

Post by Simply Wunderful »

Every since I've owned a PS2, I've always wanted to play Yakuza, but have always glossed over the franchise. I couldn't tell you way, maybe I'm a magpie that gets distracted by shinier objects. Either way, the franchise always appealed to me, and during this prolonged house arrest the UK I'd under, I noticed that I had Yakuza Kiwami, a remake of the game I wanted 15 years ago, installed on my PS4. Confused, and somewhat giddy, I finally picked up a Yakuza game for the first time.

The controls were easy to grasp (styles a-la Devil May Cry), it felt good to play, the story was surprisingly heartfelt, which I didn't expect at all, but something felt off. I knew the Yakuza franchise would grow and broaden the variety of its content as the series progressed, but I'd be lying if I said that I felt said variety in this installment lacking in distractions. Sure, it's fun to beat your way through countless thugs on the streets of Tokyo, but I craved a bit more. Every side quest felt copied and pasted on top of each other, it came to a point where I basically trusted no one, and I would be correct, because the person who initiated the quest, turned out to be someone trying to mug me.

That being said though, the mini games in this series have always been something that attracts me. Some of these could be full games, they're that developed. I lost a lot of time in playing pool and it's variants when I should be tracking down my brother Nishiki, which kind of leads me into my main problem with this remake. While the story was well told in some places, I found myself not feeling threatened by Nishiki at all. I'm aware they develop him more from the original PS2 release and how his rise in the Dojo Clan changed him, but I barely felt threatened by him. You don't get to interact with your "brother" very often, and when you do, it doesn't feel like he cares much either.

When you interact with what you know will be the final boss, you should feel something. Snake's interactions with the Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3 do this well. Someone you love betrays you, you interact with them throughout the story (through cutscenes, just like how you interact with Nishiki), and you are shown to be far weaker than them. You build up your strength and tactics through your journey, until you reach the endgame. You feel pained about what you had to do to the Boss, someone you ended up caring for because they're a well developed and fleshed out character.
Spoiler: show
Pulling that trigger is still one o the hardest things a game has made me do
. Yakuza on the other hand, you have a drinks with Nishiki, and the next time you see him, it's the boss battle. That's about all the interaction you get with him, face to face, until the final boss fight. I wanted to really get to know this guy, but he just sort of turned out to be wasted potential. So when I beat him at the end of the game, I shrugged it off, as I am one to do with any random Tokyo street thug. Majima on the other hand, in my opinion, is the better point of reference for a compelling "villain". He constantly shows up to show you how he can be a threat, though he is incredibly easy to beat at times, but his fighting style changes and he as well adapts as you adapt and become the very best you can be. I feel a slight pinch of fear and joy simultaneously whenever hear, "Kiryu-chaaaaan~", from somewhere nearby. Not something something I can say about Nishiki, unfortunately.

Yakuza Kiwama is a good game, it's pretty good in fact. Side quests seemed a bit like an afterthought and the story felt at odds with itself at times, but in played like a dream, had some (weirdly) well crafted mini games, and most importantly, Majima, a man who I want to be best friends with and at the same time have nothing to do with. This game is a great starting point if you're looking to get into this franchise, i know I've certainly been enticed by the adventures of Kiryu and the Yakuza.

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Superuser
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Re: 447: Yakuza Kiwami

Post by Superuser »

I played the Yakuza 1 and 2 PlayStation 2 games in 2016. I remember how underwhelmed I was with the first one, considering the huge series it launched, and how pleasantly surprised I was with the second. It was arguably the best game of 2006.

As I'm the only one who's played Y1 for PS2, I'll include some comparisons

This game carries over many of its flaws, save for the combat system. In Yakuza 1, you could not change your direction mid-combo, so you punched the air most of the time. It also had fixed camera angles, and the strangely episodic storyline we see in Kiwami. On the whole, this was a much more linear game than Kiwami, and was meant to be played like that. You could not even go back and complete previous quests. There was no premium adventure mode, so it's strange that they kept that warning before the final boss. It was also impossible to 100% complete if you didn't immediately catch the dine-and-dasher at the start, for instance. It was a rough game.

Until Yakuza 7, Yakuza 1 was the only game with an English dub. It was maligned, but I thought it was great. Playing Kiwami, I noticed how much flavour was taken out of the dialogue. The original scored a world record for F-bombs in a game at the time as any impoliteness was translated as cursing.

The more faithful translation of Kiwami often comes off flat. The legendary quote of Kiryu 'Just your bad luck <pause> To run into me.' was replaced with something lame like 'Let's fight'. The whole game has dull dialogue and flat characters. It was before the series found its identity and was still trying to be a serious crime drama. There are a couple of new quests in this game that call back to Yakuza 0. They have markedly more vivid writing.

And so little has changed. I can tell you the cutscene direction is identical, with the same camera angles and even the same lighting, lip syncing and animations. The walk animations in cutscenes look as if our musclemen are holding in a poo. The lip syncing and voice acting has been transferred from the PS2, save for the new cutscenes about Nishiki's change to a villain. You can really tell because their mouths flap up and down, despite their much more detailed faces. The models and lighting look really flat in cutscenes. They miss the Yakuza attention to detail; there's a bomb in an important cutscene that can only count down to 27.01, it resets to 27.59 after that!

The other change is with Majima, who now randomly shows up to fight you. In the original game, you only see him at the start in 1995, at the batting cages and finally the soapland. You bump into him all the time here, with increasingly ridiculous schemes that get you to fight him which I really enjoyed. However, I suggest people stick with it as he becomes the legend he is in Yakuza 2. Most of the stuff here was written retrospectively and you can tell; his personality changes a lot between 1 and 2.

In terms of combat, I suggest people up this to Hard difficulty if they've played 0. I didn't have the problem others did with gun and knife enemies; I got items and abilities that meant I didn't get staggered. Also, drink lots of booze to almost always have heat. Kiryu is at his best as a high-functioning alcoholic.
The exception is the second-to-last boss, who has to be the hardest and most frustrating of the series. I used my entire inventory of health items on this guy, and it took me over an hour. So the final final boss took me at least 45 sweaty minutes to beat! I really regret stayed on Hard mode for the last battle.

At the end of the day, this was a budget rerelease of an old and underwhelming game. It was discounted even at launch in Japan, and you get the sense it was quickly put together. I think it's still better than the PS2 game, even if you try that on emulator as I did (to skip the constant loading ). I'd only recommend it to fans, and new people should start with Yakuza 0. I'd still urge people to go on to Yakuza 2 as it's one of the series' best, and I think the PS2 version of that has a lot going for it to this day.

Three word review: Play Yakuza 2


PS: This is unrelated, but in Yakuza for PS2, every single mob in the game was pre-scripted, and had a hilarious line dissing you just before the fight started. There are gone since Yakuza became more of a free-roam, but I really missed them going back. Their retirement also highlights how the series has changed from the highly scripted adventure it once was.

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Superuser
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Re: 447: Yakuza Kiwami

Post by Superuser »

Simply Wunderful wrote: May 16th, 2020, 10:18 am Metal Gear Solid 3 spoiler:
Spoiler: show
Pulling that trigger is still one o the hardest things a game has made me do
.
Off topic but I must admit, it didn't shake me as much as it did others. You know from the start it will have to be done, and you and Snake have had a lot of time to take in your mission. Still, an amazing and memorable finish.

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Simply Wunderful
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Re: 447: Yakuza Kiwami

Post by Simply Wunderful »

Superuser wrote: September 18th, 2020, 11:12 am
Simply Wunderful wrote: May 16th, 2020, 10:18 am Metal Gear Solid 3 spoiler:
Spoiler: show
Pulling that trigger is still one o the hardest things a game has made me do
.
Off topic but I must admit, it didn't shake me as much as it did others. You know from the start it will have to be done, and you and Snake have had a lot of time to take in your mission. Still, an amazing and memorable finish.
Oh most certainly, but it doesn't make it any easier. I remember hanging on that screen for about 10 seconds longer than I should have. I just love MGS3. One of the best in its field and on of the best games I've ever played.

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ThirdDrawing
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Re: 447: Yakuza Kiwami

Post by ThirdDrawing »

I've also played the original Yakuza 1 and Kiwami. I agree with many of Superuser's critiques of the remake.

While I prefer the Japanese voice acting, I think some of the translation is a bit too literal compared to the PS2 version that was finding its footing and creating the characters for the game.

Majima attacking you throughout the game really started to get on my nerves after a while and I wish there was a way you could have turned his encounters off in the game, or that it would at least give you a break sometimes.

As for bosses, I'm looking forward to see how people react to the Shimano boss fight. (I cursed a lot during that fight)

I will say I thought the combat was generally improved from the PS2 games and didn't feel as haphazard as in the original game. (Though I've tried the demo for Yakuza 7 and am really looking forward to the turn based combat)

I liked it overall, and I'd give it an A for effort but B in execution.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (29.11.20) - 447: Yakuza / Yakuza Kiwami

Post by Megadirt »

I owned Yakuza on the PS2, and got 3, 4 and 5 on the ps3 and never played them. That was in my peak game hoarding days. Part of the reason I avoided them was because I assumed it was going to be a GTA clone. I got sent a review copy of Yakuza Kiwami not long after I had started to miss Sleeping Dogs and was willing to give it a go.

It became apparent pretty quickly that Yakuza was more like an RPG equivalent of Streets of Rage or Tekken Force Mode and almost nothing like Grand Theft Auto. Before I had even finished playing the first one I had bought 0 and (later was given a review code for 6 and Kiwami 2) and the sense of humour, mini games and incredibly well developed fighting mechanics instantly made this one of my favourite franchises.

Some of the side quests were a bit too much for me, Majima everywhere was fun but disruptive, and some of the trophies were more tedious than I could be bothered to deal with, walking hand in hand at a snails pace for what felt like the length of Japan for example. Overall I have convinced countless others to become followers of Kiryu-San with an intensity bordering on Majima's.

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