The Yakuza series has been getting bigger with every passing year, but some potential fans have been barred from entry due to the games being PlayStation exclusives. Thankfully, Sega has started to turn that around and, alongside a number of other modern Sega classics, brought the iconic Japanese crime-drama games to a bigger audience, by porting some of the most recent entries to PC for the first time. Yakuza 0 landed on Steam in 2018 with a picture-perfect PC port, and now it’s time to revisit the very beginnings of the Yakuza franchise with a PC port of Yakuza Kiwami.
I was a little concerned when I first started my PC copy of Yakuza Kiwami up; the intro video didn’t have any audio and when I started a new game the opening cutscene was also silent. I didn’t think it would be a huge deal, because there aren’t many pre-rendered videos in this game, but then I got into combat a few minutes later and noticed that no sound effects were audible there either. I knew something big wasn’t quite right. Once I restarted the game and verified the local content via the Steam properties window, all of the game audio was properly playing.
A rough start, sure, but once I got past that hiccup I was left with a PC version of Yakuza Kiwami that was just as impressive as I could’ve hoped for it to be. Like Yakuza 0, the graphical differences on Ultra settings aren’t drastically different from PS4. Even so, a sharper resolution, smoother shadows and tighter textures make this the best that Yakuza Kiwami has ever looked. Framerate was consistently solid during my time with the game, as well.
Much like Yakuza Zero, this PC port of Kiwami has full keyboard and mouse support, but it isn’t the recommended playstyle whatsoever. This is an action game designed for play with a controller, and the taunting message “REAL YAKUZA USE A GAMEPAD” that displays every time you start the game serves to remind you of that. If you want to play on a keyboard, you’ll still be able to do everything in the game with ease, but it’s simply a more enjoyable and natural experience to play this with a gamepad, the way it was intended.
This port doesn’t boast any massive content additions or new features, besides one thing: autosaves. The original Yakuza Kiwami release on PS4 had no autosaves and made you save your game at the telephone booths littered throughout the game world. On PC, Kiwami has frequent autosaves that occur as you play. On top of that, you can save at almost anytime through the pause menu. Autosaves and easier manual saves are an absolute blessing, and really make a difference with a game like this.
I can yap and yap about how much I love the Yakuza series. I love it. A lot. I understand, though, that not everybody has the hardware required to experience it in full. Even with the extreme popularity of the PlayStation 4, some people lean towards Xbox One or have built hefty gaming PCs. Sega is making an earnest effort to bring these games to a bigger audience with these PC ports, and their stellar work is wildly appreciated. PC gamers with a passion for action need to check these games out, and existing Yakuza diehards might want to consider grabbing a PC copy of Kiwami for future playthroughs. With a gamepad.