A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Between storylines about revenge, kidnapping, murder, and betrayal, there are opportunities to help complete strangers. Main protagonist frequently voices very progressive, inclusive views, generally encourages people to be kind to each other.
Positive Role Models
Even the most noble person you meet is either already a criminal or aspires to be one. Even people who have inclusive, kind attitudes will later attack, pummel others.
Ease of Play
Although there's a lot you can do, you'll be spending most of your time fighting with many different styles. Getting good at fighting requires considerable investment of time, leveling up, learning new strategies, and luck with button-mashing.
Violence & Scariness
Characters engage in fistfights that involve weapons, scripted special moves (like shoving nails into enemies faces). Some scenes allow players to engage in gun fights, featuring screams of pain, large blood-splatter effects. Some cut-scenes show intense acts of violence including torture, disfiguration, murder.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some missions let players become more intimate with female characters; as relationships escalate, players can earn video clips of real women posing in lingerie, swimsuits, partially nude in bathtubs.
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Frequent use of all kinds of profanity by almost every character.
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Products & Purchases
Latest installment in long running Yakuza franchise.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
During course of game, players can order, drink whisky at bars/restaurants -- status icon indicates drunkenness. Consuming alcoholic beverages provides minor bonuses in combat. Characters also shown smoking frequently.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Yakuza Kiwami is an action-adventure game and is a remake of 2005's Yakuza, which originally came out on the PS2. Given the story that follows the lives of gangsters in Japan, mature themes persist. There's violence at nearly every turn, and players use various weapons to seriously harm and injure enemies. There are lots of scenes with torture and gore. Characters use every profanity you can imagine, and they often have occasion (and incentive) to frequent bars and drink heavily. Bartenders will stop serving drinks after a while, and although characters are never shown drunk, they are seen smoking cigarettes. Some missions allow you to become intimate with female characters, and via some mini-games, you can unlock images of women in lingerie.
Is It Any Good?
For this long running series, it's always unfortunate to see how well each entry balances its repetitive tendencies (nonstop random battles) against its goofy sense of humor. Yakuza Kiwami, while technically a remake of an older game, boasts a couple of new plot lines that up the absurdity -- the most prevalent one is the "Majima Anywhere" mode, in which rival gangster Goro Majima tries to both train and challenge Kazuma Kiryu to be a better fighter by randomly appearing during the game to goad Kiryu into a fight. It's not always greatly implemented, and can be jarring for parts of the game where Goro did originally appear -- for example, he'll remark what a surprise it is to see you when, thanks to the new content, he had just appeared moments before to fight you. Other new elements are better implemented, perhaps because it trims plot points that just don't apply to series any more, making for a tighter game experience.
Still, at its core, Yakuza Kiwami is an open-world game. That means you spend most of your time running around and fighting other characters, which can become dull after a while. Fortunately, like all Yakuza games, this game does what it can to offer variety and charming weirdness. You can frequent batting cages, race remote-control cars, and visit hostess clubs to forge relationships with ladies working there. As geeky as it might sound, interacting with hostesses can be surprisingly fun -- conversations can go in any number of directions and even when you think you are picking the "right" response, you'll learn how you may have been insensitive or dismissive. It's far more refreshing than punching, kicking, and performing things that lots of other games have you do anyway. But you have to be rather patient as the clever, unique activities only open up after hitting certain milestones in the game. If you're intrigued by the weirder elements, and you're willing to put up with a lot of repetitive play, just know it takes about 10 hours to really start enjoying them.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.