Yakuza: Kiwami 2 is the second remake where dragons collide. A cult classic and what many consider Toshihiro Nogoshi’s swan song for the PlayStation 2, Yakuza 2 represented an evolution of the mechanics, story telling, and the foundation of the modern Yakuza games.
Yakuza 2 originally released on the PlayStation 2 in 2006, Yakuza 2 was lost in the shuffle between the hype for the incoming PlayStation 3 – and a scurry for gamers towards high definition graphics. It wouldn’t make it to the western shores well into the PS3 life cycle- and became unfortunate victim of poor timing and a changing market place. Well times change, and so do release cycles. Ryu ga gotoku Studio have gone above and beyond with Yakuza: Kiwami 2.
There’s a power struggle in Japan’s criminal underworld and the Tojo Clan are in a vulnerable state, the Omi alliance from Osaka, Japan want to take advantage of the Tojo clan’s vulnerability as they plan to conquer the streets of Japan. The clan turn to their former chairman, Kazuma Kiryu so he can negotiate a peace treaty on behalf of them. Ryuji Gouda, one of the leaders of the Omi alliance doesn’t want peace and wants Kazuma Kiryu dead. Kiwami 2 has a powerful story that makes you care about the characters and their backstory including fan favourites like Goro Majima.
The game offers a new story mode where you get to play as the mad dog himself titled “The truth of Goro Majima”. The story takes place a few months after the events of Yakuza 1 and features former love interest Makoto from Yakuza 0. I enjoyed playing with Majima as the gameplay felt different as his fighting style felt more complete. Goro Majima is fully equipped with his trademark knife but you won’t get to upgrade his skill or stats.
The gameplay is pretty much similar to previous Yakuza games with a few tweaks and improvements. Character progression is pretty much the same as Yakuza 6. Players earn points by defeating opponents, eating and playing the mini games. Players can also earn extra points by completing chapters from the main story including sub stories. The points you earn can be used to upgrade your fighting skill which includes your heat action. The combat is always addicting and the most satisfying part of any Yakuza game. You can equip weapons, such as guns, knives, baseball bats and switch up by using the D-Pad if you’re fighting a boss. If you played Yakuza 6 already then you’ll feel familiar with Yakuza Kiwami 2. There’s no screens loading when you encounter enemies or when you go in and out of shops, restaurants or bars but you do get screen loading screens when you decide to use a taxi.
Kiwami 2 has plenty of mini games to entertain you with. Players can visit Club SEGA as an escape route and play arcade classics, such as Virtua Fighter 2 and Virtua-On. Players can still enjoy karaoke and a bit of gambling at the underground casinos from the previous games. Kiwami 2 has other mini games, such as the Battling Cages and the Golf ranges. Clan wars also makes a return from Yakuza 6, as you fight wrestlers and a large number of minions. You continue to fight across a number of waves and once you beat them, they join your clan and there’s also storyline attached to this mini game.
The Four Shine Cabaret hostess Club also makes a return and plays the exact same way as 0. Players can make as much money as possible and challenge other managers from other hostess clubs. Players can level-up Hostess members and recruit as many as possible. You get bronze, silver, gold and the platinum class hostesses. The platinum class hostesses are portrayed by some of Japan’s top models from the adult film industry. You get to customize your platinum hostesses with new dresses, hair, makeup, eyeliner and fancy jewellery. There’s also a separate story line for this mini game.
One of my favourite mini games added to Kiwami 2 was the gravure model photo shoot which is an all new mini-game that was never introduced in any other yakuza games. There are actual places in Japan where you can take pictures of models for a certain price. You get to watch an actual video of two models interact with you, your main goal is to attach a few words together to create a sentence to build your relationship with the models. Once you succeed, you unlock more videos with the models wearing different costumes.
The graphics in Yakuza Kiwami 2 doesn’t disappoint. SEGA’s new dragon engine which is used in Yakuza 6 is being used in full effect, as the character models look a lot more detailed than Yakuza 6. The animations looked superb and the attension to detail in Kamurocho and Sotenbori is also amazing to see. The lighting on the objects and surface made the overall game look much more realistic. The only downer for me was that Kiwami 2 is 30fps on PS4 pro, which is a little disappointing since Yakuza 0 and Kiwami 1 were 60fps.
Overall Yakuza: Kiwami 2 delivered with great story telling and superb gameplay, the mini games were fun as players can easily get distracted with all the entertainment the game has to offer. Yakuza: Kiwami 2 is a must for any fan out there.
A review code was provided by SEGA Europe to review
Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Publisher: SEGA Europe
Release date: 28/08/2018
Platform: PlayStation 4
Version Reviewed: PlayStation 4
“Yakuza: Kiwami 2 has delivered with great story telling along with some of the best combat”