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Review: Yakuza Kiwami 2

Only a Dragon May Stay

In terms of rendering of classic games, the ideal goal should be to improve aspects of the source material lacking due to technological constraints. While taking some freedoms with plot and structure, I still feel that Yakuza Kiwami is the best way to experience the beginning of Kiryu Kazuma's journey. It adds more content, polishes the presentation and is readily available at a budget price.

Yakuza 2 is, however, often regarded as the absolute best record in Kiryu's history of history. With a jazzy soundtrack, gloomy atmosphere and some great side marks, tinkering with any aspect of the package will be a gift for a certain number of fans. If you hoped for a 1

: 1 recreation of Kiryu's second outing with Kiwami 2 you will be disappointed. Having said that, if you can allow yourself to see past your nostalgia for the original, you will find a package that is more complete and polished than its inspiration.

It really depends on what you're looking for.

2 (PS4 [reviewed with a PS4 Pro]]
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega [19659006] Issued: December 7, 2017 (JP) August 28, 2018 (US, EU)
MSRP: $ 49.99

Yakuza 2 (and by extension, ] Kiwami 2 ) picks up one year after the events of the first game. Serie protagonist Kiryu Kazuma visits the grave of his father figure, Kazama Shintaro, when the fifth chairman of the Tojo clan, Terada Yukio, comes to him with a request. Terada needs Kiryu to prevent a war that breaks out between Tojo and Omi Alliance after the events of a year earlier. Before Kiryu can access the situation himself, assassins kill Terada and force Kiryu's hand in the matter.

It follows a plotline that has a huge amount of turns and finally looks Kiryu comes face to face with Good Ryuji, a fan's favorite villain. Goda is a man who basically wants to see the world burn, trying to climb to the top of the ladder to be the only true dragon in Kamurocho ( Yakuza s main setting). His hand in the case becomes apparent later in history after some shocking revelations that most people will see come a mile away.

Summary of the plot Yakuza 2 is difficult mainly because of how everything goes out. New characters are introduced quite regularly to the centerpiece and their roles in history so that they fade in and out between the chapters. The police who take Kiryu in custody, Sayama Kaoru, resemble Goda because she is essential for getting Kiryu into action, but becomes underutilized. In fact, it can be said too much Yakuza 2's story.

It tries to build God as a threatening villain, but he is only present for five of the 16 chapters of the game. In fact, you kick the ass in Chapter Four and he disappears for another four chapters just to tell you that he gives you a deadline. After that, he is basically gone to the conclusion, and I am totally confused as to why someone is in love with him. He has an interesting backstory, sure, but he does not feel like an ultimate threat to Kiryu.

Sayama also starts with all spunky and violent, but slowly because the game throws all sorts of willing developments in her direction. Towards the middle, she begins to develop feelings for Kiryu, but then the information about her past gets her back to her original self-esteem, retrieving information from Kiryu apparently just to give a blow. If there was any aspect of the original game I hoped Kiwami 2 would take up, it was so blown up is the main plot.

This is not the worst story of The Yakuza ] series has ever been told. It's not even a bad thing, just something that feels more like a soap opera than the first game or someone else who will follow. If you can stop yourself from reading between the lines, you may even be shocked by any of the turnarounds that happen. To me, after playing every other game in the series before this I saw all the revelations that come a long time before they happened.

As some fan will tell you, though Yakuza is not just about its plot or dramatic twists. The main issue with this series is how it knows when to shut up and be a video game, which gives you great opportunities to snuggle thugs around or enjoy the sights and sounds of Japan. In an interesting mirror, Kiwami 2 is an improvement over Yakuza 6 in much the same way as Yakuza 2 further developed aspects of the original Yakuza .

Initially, that kind of flow and foundation fight from Yakuza 6 tightened much in Kiwami 2 . Kiryu can still flop when he is attacked, but his moves generally feel faster and his combinations are interrupted to a much lesser extent than in his PS4 debut. The upgrade system is still missing in cohesive progression, but now there are signs in the game world that teach you movements, making your development more organic. It is not Kiryu who remembers to remember a heat supply, but learns to watch videos, take lessons with his teacher (a returning Komaki) or help civilians in need.

In addition, it is both Kamurocho and Sotenbori who feel much more flattery than the cities that populated Yakuza 6 . Kamurocho has a fully restored Champion District, complete with extra bars and side missions, and the underground Colosseum provides returns, giving you more opportunities to upgrade Kiryu further. If that were not enough, old minigames will return to the top of some of the content, such as its introduction in Yakuza 6 . There is yet another playable version of Virtual-On in Club Sega, which is just amazing.

I'm really in awe of how the "Clan Creator" mode from 6 got worse, but the rest of Kiwami 2 feels like the game Yakuza 6 could have had more development time. Kiryu has several heat actions (the series's signature finishes movements), the game looks and goes a bit smoother (on both Pro and Base models) and the overall presentation is more like classic Yakuza than the changes 6 made to the formula.

About the only aspect, one can say Kiwami 2 falters in is the presentation of its story. The voice effect is far and away much better, but each cutscene uses the same method as the first Kiwami did. Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios copied exact camera movements and animations from the PS2 game and plopped them into this new engine. While honoring the original kinematic direction, it stops making certain moments feel sober.

Then it's changing the soundtrack, which is not as drastic as anyone wants you to believe. While a few cutscenes change melodies in a way that I can not defend myself, the majority of Kiwami 2s cheese consists of remixes from Yakuza 2 . "Outlaw's Lullaby," feels especially much more extreme and the final match mood provides a sense of finality and attitude that was not present in the original. Perhaps this may hurt the overall atmosphere of the PS2 class, but it does not feel in place for a Yakuza game (apart from the truly terrible credit song of Japanese Reggae Metal Band SiM).

As with problems with Kiwami 2 they sort of reflect the same issues as the original Yakuza 2 had. There are no unlocked climax punches, bowling and pool are absent and some of the gambling games are MIA. This was also a problem in Yakuza 2 (which did not contain karaoke!), But you would think a remake could fix it.

If you are also a purist, you will be incredibly upset when you remove the "Shinseicho" region. I would not call it very central to the experience, but having a distinct district be condensed in the backlots of Sotenbori is disappointing. The series Yakuza has always doubled as digital tourism and has less exploration just sucks. The least Sotenbori is bigger than the original incarnation, but incredible rooftops do not really replace the Tsutenkaku tower.

All this and I have not even mentioned the inclusion of the "Majima Saga" story. Brand new to Kiwami 2 players get a short three-story story explaining Majima's departure from the Tojo clan before the events of Yakuza 2 . With the return of Makimura Makoto from Yakuza 0 this short story is never necessary for the main world of Yakuza 2 .

It's even worse that I remember much of the cheap DLC we saw in the early 360 / PS3 era. Majima lacks any kind of progression and overstyres to the point that everyone meets just turns into a button stop. While you can still bring mini-games to earn money, you're basically falling under items during this run-up. It makes all side activities meaningless and mostly comes true as something that had just been explained in a single cutscene during the main game.

At least, Majima's chapters are not limited to the main campaign. They lock up along your progression to play in your free time, so that it does not interfere with the flow. You can even ignore them, as I almost did before you wrote this review. While it's nice to see new content, this is the one aspect of Kiwami 2 that feels rushed.

Overall, I think my feelings on Kiwami 2 are held back by the game as Yakuza 2 . Perhaps I did a bad service by playing all the later entries first, but Yakuza 2 feels like a relic from an earlier era. Being rebuilt on a motor that is not fully utilized does not make this the best recovery either. If you can see past some mistakes, you'll find a Yakuza experience that fans are sure to love.

For my money, it's the best way to experience this special story and improve enough of the game to make a nice time sink. Perhaps some aspects could have been tweaked to be more faithful to the source material, but the worst thing that could happen is that you want to play the original to see the changes in advance. It is not such a terrible outcome.

[ This review is based on a retail store from the publisher.]

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Yakuza Kiwami 2 Reviewed by Peter Glagowski



Solid and definitely an audience. There may be some hard to ignore mistakes, but the experience is fun.
How to score: Destructoid reviews guide

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