In 2005, a legend was born on the PlayStation 2 - the legend of Kazuma Kiryu, the Dragon of Dojima, in his video game debut with Yakuza. Now, 11 years after that release, a new generation of players will be able to experience the incomparable action and drama of the Yakuza series with the rebuilt-from-scratch HD remake exclusive to PlayStation 4, Yakuza Kiwami. "Kiwami" means Extreme, and the game takes that concept to heart. It's not an HD-remaster or up-rezzing of PS2-era textures. Yakuza Kiwami was recreated from the ground up exclusively for the PlayStation 4. That means every visual element was optimized for the 1080p/60fps environment, every line of the script was re-recorded by series actors and for the first time in the West, gamers will be able to hear the original Japanese language track. Then there's the game itself! The PS2-era brawling gameplay is refined for the current gen with Kazuma Kiryu fighting his way through the ranks of Yakuza, only to wind up protecting a young girl whose aunt (and who happens to be Kiryu's childhood sweetheart) is missing...along with 10 billion yen.
Like the original game, Yakuza Kiwami is an action-adventure game with role-playing elements set in an open world environment and played from a third-person perspective. The player controls protagonist Kazuma Kiryu as he explores the streets of Kamurocho, a fictional district of Tokyo based on the real-life KabukichÅ district. In addition to the main story, players will randomly encounter enemies on the street to battle, as well as meet people that will offer Kiryu side quests which can be completed for rewards. Similar to the prequel Yakuza 0, Kiwami features four fighting styles that the player can switch between in combat: the balanced Brawler style, the slow and heavy Beast style, the weak but quick Rush style, and Kiryu's traditional Dragon style. Players will earn both money and experience points by defeating enemies or completing side quests. Experience points can be used to acquire upgrades for Kiryu such as new techniques or an extension to his health bar. Money can be spent to purchase equipment or healing items, or to play various minigames and side-activities such as gambling, karaoke, and the card battle game Mesuking. Completing certain objectives will also grant the player special Completion Point currency; this CP can be spent to receive additional bonuses, such as special items or character upgrades. Kiwami introduces a new gameplay system called "Majima Everywhere", in which rival character Goro Majima will appear frequently to challenge Kiryu to a fight. Majima will appear randomly during exploration, as well as in predetermined challenges based on the player's progress in Majima Everywhere. Defeating Majima in different scenarios will increase the player's Majima Everywhere rank and unlock new abilities in Kiryu's Dragon style. Similar to the plot of the original Yakuza, the game centers around yakuza lieutenant Kazuma Kiryu and his decision to take the blame for a murder committed by his friend Akira Nishikiyama, spending ten years in prison before being granted parole. A free man, Kiryu discovers that Nishikiyama is now a powerful yakuza boss, his childhood friend Yumi has gone missing, and everyone is searching for ten billion yen that was stolen from his former organization, the Tojo Clan. As war erupts throughout the streets of Kamurocho between many different factions (including government agents and the Triad), Kiryu makes it his mission to find Yumi and the missing money, as well as to protect Haruka, a mysterious young girl whom everyone seems to be after. Eventually, this quest ends with a remorseful Nishikiyama sacrificing himself to kill Haruka's father, a corrupt politician bent on destroying the Tojo, and Yumi dying in Kiryu's arms from a gunshot wound. Rather than give into despair and allow himself to be arrested again, Kiryu leaves the Tojo and becomes Haruka's adoptive father. However, the story also introduces two new plot lines focused on Nishikiyama and Majima, a ruthless Tojo captain and Kiryu's rival. In the latter's case, he is reintroduced as a sadistic and brutal yakuza who comes to despise Kiryu for his belief in the Tojo's traditional code of honor, which he regards as hypocritical. When Kiryu refuses to allow Majima to provoke him into physical combat, he swears to one day exact his revenge. The same day Kiryu is released from prison, Majima challenges him to a fight and wins, pointing out that Kiryu's once unbeatable combat skills have grown rusty after a decade behind bars. Feeling that it would be unfair to fight Kiryu at anything less than his physical prime, Majima arranges a series of elaborate scenarios to manipulate him into fight after fight, posing as, among other things, a taxi driver, a hostess, a police officer, a bartender, an idol, and even a zombie, as well as repeatedly ambushing him or just challenging him to fight on the streets. Though he initially regards Majima as a nuisance, Kiryu comes to recognize the usefulness of his efforts. He also realizes that Majima (albeit grudgingly) idolizes him for his strength and reputation and considers him his only true equal as a yakuza, to the point that he allows one of his men to stab him rather than Kiryu and gets shot helping his rival fight off an ambush by mutinous yakuza. Once Kiryu regains his abilities, Majima will challenge him to one final fight, after which he vows to continue fighting Kiryu for fun rather than to prove a point.