Yakuza Kiwami

In October, I started playing Yakuza Kiwami on the PS4. I’d been interested in this game series for a few years now, especially after seeing it raved about on the Playstation Access channel a few times by some of the hosts. So of course when it was one of the PS Plus games awhile back, I snagged it.  And OMG I am so glad I did!

This has to be one of the most awesome games I have played in ages! I  it so much! The story is complex, moving, kept me guessing, and was thoroughly engrossing. The only reason I didn’t full-on boo hoo at multiple parts was because I Twitch streamed my whole game playing experience (and on the finale one, you can totally hear me tearing up a little before I tamped it down).

Kiryu made for an awesome hero: a yakuza, yes, but with strong moral fiber, his own code of ethics, and while he can kick butt and take names, he is totally wrapped around a little girl’s finger! And don’t you dare abuse any one who might be around him or try to scam people in his town! Yeah, I may even have a bit of a fangirl crush on him

I also really liked the other characters as well. Shinji, Date, Mizumi, Haruka, etc. All of them just well developed, none of them perfect (well, except maybe Haruka, she is 9 after all LOL), and all of them just trying to do their best they can.  Majima, in particular, was also just plain fascinating. In many ways, he is Kiryu’s opposite: violent, often unnecessarily so, much more willing to kill just for his amusement, and yet he also is living by his own code and he does have some clear boundaries, and can even be kind when he wants to be. I’m really looking forward to Yakuza 0 just to learn more about him.

All in all, I played around 50 hours I believe, with maybe half of that being playing through most of the 78 available substories, fighting Majima randomly, romancing the hostesses, and playing the various mini-games (the racing was my favorite).  I did not get 100% completion, as I did not finish all the Majima everywhere items, the coliseum, the completion log, or getting back the dragon abilities.  I did most of Haruka’s whims but gave up on the second karaoke because me and rhythm rapid-button pressing do not work well together.

The graphics are amazing, of course. OMG, the rain is so pretty! And the detail in the streets! And even little details like it seems like every single freaking thug, even in a huge brawl where I had to fight through like 30 or so, had their own names! That’s such a little thing, but it really is also a nice touch and attention to detail.  I really felt like I was moving through a Japanese neighborhood, and all the sounds were spot on.
The gameplay itself was initially a bit challenging for me. The fighting aspects almost feel like an actual fighter game rather than a typical action-adventure game.  It took getting used to the controls, and my first day playing, when I put in almost 2.5 hours, my hand and wrist were hurting from all the button-mashing!  Figuring out the differences in the fighting styles took most of the game and I was still learning new tricks, but I eventually got pretty good with it and won most of my battles, even with Majima, unless I messed up and ran into him while out of healing items LOL

I could go on and on about this game, lord knows my poor partner has endured my gushing about it since I started LOL I’m really really glad I finally took a chance in playing it, and I can’t wait to play Kiwami 2 to see where Kiryu and friends go from here.

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If you’d like to watch me playing, all of the videos from my Twitch stream are up on my YouTube in a convenient playlist.  Suffice to say, later videos have spoilers – though the final video has no visual ones since, despite the games 4+ year age, streaming of the video was blocked so you can just hear me talking while I finish up LOL