There's something magical about video games set in the real world. At the intersection of the fantastical and the mundane you get to become the hero of our very own world while taking in some of the most beautiful vistas our planet has to offer, all from the comfort of your couch.
The places we visit in games are usually one-off affairs; we shoot or puzzle ourselves through a level and are done with it, always impatient to get to the next stage and exciting new sights. Many games recognise that virtual spaces are more than just levels whose walls funnel us through a series of obstacles. They allow us to spend time exploring or simply being in those spaces. Many RPGs, for example, let us return to locations we visited dozens of hours earlier, perhaps subtly changed by the intervening time or our actions. In the Animal Crossing series, the miniature world changes subtly in our absence, and NPCs will even admonish us for staying away for too long.
Way, way back in early February 2016, Digital Foundry ventured to the Japanese PlayStation Store and picked up a digital copy of Yakuza Kiwami. We hoped that Sega would consider bringing this excellent PS4 remake to the West and just over 18 months later, it's finally happened. To mark the occasion, we've decided to republish our original analysis. If you've enjoyed the Yakuza titles, or want to check out the series for the first time, we reckon it's well worth a look.