Yakuza Kiwami 2 is a remake of Yakuza 2, a PlayStation 2 game from 2008. The Yakuza series has been a fan favourite in Japan for many years. However, it is now starting to gain a fan base outside of Japan. Last year we were treated to two Yakuza games, Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami.
Yakuza 0 was a game that allowed you to jump into the series without ever having played a game. And, Yakuza Kiwami continued that trend providing a compelling experience with a rich and wonderful world to explore. Fast forward a year, and Sega have given us Yakuza Kiwami 2. This game continues the story of the Kojima Dragon where you must face your biggest rival to date—Ryuji Goda, Kansai Dragon.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 Details
Platform: PlayStation 4
Genre: Action RPG
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
A war is coming
Yakuza Kiwami 2 does a great job of continuing where Yakuza Kiwami left off. The story is centered around a clan war that began when the Tojo clan leader was killed. It has been a year since the event of Yakuza Kiwami and Kazuma Kiryu is once again pulled in to the mafia life.
Despite his retirement from the Tojo Yakuza clan, Kazuma finds himself involved in an internal war between the Tojo clan and the Owi alliance. Ryuji Goda, son of the patriarch with whom we have just agreed on a peace, makes Kiryu his number one enemy.
Your journey is spread over 16 chapters and mostly takes place between Tokyo and Osaka. If you are new to the Yakuza series, I would highly recommend starting out with Yakuza Kiwami first. Otherwise, you might be a little lost in this game’s story.
As with previous games in the Yakuza series, combat is the heart of gameplay. It is largely inspired by Yakuza 6 and thus partially abandons the old system. You can pretty much use anything as weapon. Bikes, signs, knives, baseball bats, you name it!
As you battle enemies, your Heat Gauge will increase. Once filled, this will allow you to take down your opponents in style with impressive combos. Yakuza Kiwami 2 includes a skill tree that you can use the points you earn by completing a variety of quests. Categories include strength, agility, spirit, technique, and charm. I really liked this as it allows you to customize your character based upon your gameplay style.
However, what I like best about Yakuza Kiwami 2 is the variety of things you can do. You’ll find story checkpoints with long scripted encounters and cutscenes. And, you’ll also find that there is plenty of room for exploring. You can bowl a few frames, practice your batting, play Sega games in the arcade or compete on the Pocket Racer Circuit.
It’s safe to say, you’ll never be starved for entertainment. In some ways, the Yakuza series is about being part of something larger. Most of the time that comes through by watching Kiryu struggle to maintain his deep sense of loyalty to his friends, family, and clan. Sadly, this is often at his own expense.
Rebuilt from the ground up
Although Yakuza Kiwami 2 is a remake of a game a PlayStation 2 game, you would never know it. The game uses the same Dragon graphics engine from Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, and looks absolutely beautiful. Additionally, the audio has been remastered and the voice acting is amazing! The range of emotions portrayed by the various different characters in the game is top notch.
New to Yakuza Kiwami 2 is the story of Majima, Mad Dog of Shimano. His story takes place between Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2. Not to give too much away, but after meeting him and fighting him, I’m curious to know him more about him.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 is one of this year’s best remakes
I really enjoyed my time with Yakuza Kiwami 2. Most games populate their spaces with forgettable or one-dimensional NPCs. However, Yakuza Kiwami 2 contains characters that have complex motivations, and who make difficult choices. Through that struggle, the characters become real. As a result, this game becomes a compelling game about the people around you.
I loved walking through the streets and meeting all sorts of people. Helping them through their troubles brought a deep sense of bonding with complete strangers. Every sidequest is constructed to display the depth and complexity of being human.
The Yakuza series has been popular in Japan for quite sometime and its nice to see that it’s gaining a large following outside of the country. If you’re a fan of the Yakuza series, you won’t want to miss Yakuza Kiwami 2. If you are new to the Yakuza series, I highly recommend picking up Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2 together.
+ A captivating story
+ Memorable characters
+ Interesting and varied sidequests
+ Authentic and detailed world
– Fighting can get repetitive after a while
– Some enemies don’t even put up a fight
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF YAKUZA KIWAMI 2
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5/5
Overall Rating 4.4/5 (88%)