This is not an official review of Yakuza 0, nor is it an official review of Yakuza Kiwami. It can’t be. The former released on PC last August, making this writeup more than six months overdue—or four years, if we time it to the original PS4 release. Kiwami’s PC port is only a few weeks old as I write this, but I just finished Yakuza 0 this week and have only managed to put a few hours into the follow-up.
That said, I can’t believe it took me so long to give this series a shot.
Okay, maybe it’s not that surprising. The Yakuza series is coming up on fifteen years old now, but until last summer’s Yakuza 0 port the games had been primarily released on PlayStation (and uh...Wii U, of all places). And from talking to friends who are longtime fans, the early games were rough. The core was there, the key elements that make the series so special, but it hadn’t quite gelled yet. The first two games to hit PC are modern Yakuza experiences, of a sort. Yakuza 0 is a prequel made a decade after the fact, and Yakuza Kiwami is a remake of the original game in the same engine as 0.