I finished Kiwami today and I assume a lot of people who got the game on launch have played enough to form an opinion by now, so I wanted to hear what you guys thought of the game!
Personally the game was mostly what I expected. The story holds up and is still good. The pacing and storytelling is a bit rough around the edges and not as deliberate as later other entries in the series. It`s understandable though considering almost all the cutscenes are just the cutscenes from the ps2 games with nicer graphics. The presentation is still good, but not as great as the other entries in the series and the character work is also for the most part not quite as good. The new Nishki scenes are great though and do a great job of fleshing out the character. It`s also great to have Haruka back and every scene she is in is great.
The substories were not as wacky as they have become in recent entries. A lot of the ones that were from the original game were also fairly samey and simple. There were some good ones from that original bunch though and a lot of the ones they added in Kiwami were pretty good though. I thought there was some pretty fun follow ups/ callbacks to substories from Yakuza 0.
The combat I actually liked more than in Yakuza 0 (for the most part). I liked most of the small tweaks they did to the system and I think all the styles are a lot fun to use. The difficulty being higher in this game also means I couldn`t just mash my way through the game and boss fights were both more fun and more satisfying (in general). While some bosses are good there are some of the bosses and combat encounters, especially near the end of the game, are kinda weak and make certain sections not as exiting as they should be. The last boss is very good though and ends the game on a high note which is nice. The kiwami/extreme heat actions are fun the first few times, but after that get dull and annoying. They are not a huge problem, but they are the one change in the combat from 0 I did no like.
The Majima Everywhere system was a lot of fun. The fights are a lot more fun then Mr. Shakedown and the reward are more exciting. There is also some really funny stuff there and it does some good character building for Majima. His personality in Majima everywhere is more similar to how he is in other games in the series, but it does clash with the story cutscenes that are unchanged from the original game where he acts very differently. It`s pretty weird and jarring, but is not that big of a deal and I am really happy with Majima Everywhere.
The minigames are for the most part what you would expect, but the hostess clubs actually surprised me. In previous games I found the hostess club dating stuff to be a grind and kinda dull, but I actually enjoyed it a lot in this game. I don`t know it`s just better writing or changes they have made to how you interact with the hostesses, but I actually really enjoyed it and thought the conversations were interesting.
So to sum up: While it is a bit rough around the edges I think Kiwami is still very good and the lower price more than makes up for it`s shortcomings. It`s not the best Yakuza game, but it`s a good one and it has a really good price.