The Yakuza series has seen a major resurgence thanks to the great Yakuza Zero and then Yakuza Kiwami of last year. With the renewed interest, it meant that Yakuza 6 had a lot to live up to in terms of pleasing old fans and keeping new ones invested. Unfortunately, while Yakuza 6: The Song of Life keeps the series’ highs, it has even lower lows.
Yakuza Kiwami is the name for the HD remaster of the original Yakuza. Released in 2005, the Yakuza series has been an almost spiritual successor to Shenmue. While the series has developed a cult following, it hasn’t achieved mainstream success, and why Sega is essentially doing a redo for new fans. If you didn’t like Yakuza Zero, Kiwami won’t change your mind, but this is definitely more than just a repackaging.
The Yakuza series has been a cult hit from Sega and a spiritual successor to Shenmue. The series is a similar mish-mash of designs and genres just like Shenmue was. While Yakuza 0 is the latest in the series design-wise, it’s a prequel in terms of the story. If you like or dislike the series already, then I’m not going to change your mind, but new players will find an interesting, and very Japanese-styled game to get into.
In an earlier look at Sega’s exit from the console market I touched on how much was riding on the success of the Dreamcast. Specifically on Shenmue, that Sega hoped was their ace in the hole.
The backing that Sega gave for Shenmue was unprecedented at the time: Developed by Yu Suzuki who was one of Sega’s top developers, a planned trilogy and a cost of 47 million dollars to make. Shenmue’s commercial failure was one of the nails in the coffin for the Dreamcast. This is a shame as to me; it still is one of the finest games I’ve played.