Last year Yakuza Kiwami was a strong rediscover of the original PlayStation 2 classics. Enough interest was seen in that release to guarantee the same treatment of Yakuza 2 in Yakuza 2 Kiwami . Does Dragon Engine do this open-world 2006 game justice? Or is Kiwami the remake series that is destined to be a one-hit miracle? Learn this and more in our Yakuza Kiwami 2 review.
Déjà vu? Déjà vu!
Yakuza Kiwami 2 follows the same story of Kazuma Kiryu as he tries to live a normal life after retiring from Yakuza, but of course he is quickly recalled as the Tojo clan is in dire straits once more . Lots of famous characters give a return, and the cutscenes have been reworked for this recovery as well. There are lots of stories to bring along. In fact, for those who may have skipped both the first Yakuza Kiwami game and prequel, Yakuza 0 Kiwami 2 has a reset function that spends time describing most, if not all the big moments in the two previous games, leading up to where the player finds Kiryu. It really helps to make people speed up or to update players' thoughts that may not have played a Yakuza game for a while.
With so much emphasis on history, struggles take almost a backseat. Almost. Yakuza games have always been brawlers, and Kiwami 2 is no different. Heat treatments provide returns, including some brand new. For the ignorant, a Heat-action adds special post-movement to Kiryu's repertoire, most of which are context-conscious. For example, if Kiryu has a pair of chopsticks fitted in one of his weapon tracks, using a little heat meter when asked, he will grab his fingers to an enemy in a vice-like grip and then pummel them for a good goal. Other examples include throwing people over railings, slamming bikes on top of them, or striking an enemy with a turntable, including a knee to ensure that the blade really goes deep. There are a lot of creative options for the player, and most actions are cheap to unlock when it comes to XP.
Fat and Happy
These experience points can serve on completing assignments and there are five different categories of experience to collect. Restaurants and convenience stores can help Kiryu to get more XP as well. Each authentic food or drink fills Kiryus's stomach, which slams when he gets into multiple matches. If he is too full, he can not eat anymore, and as such he will not be able to upgrade his abilities. Then this game mechanic helps to ensure that the player goes out and explores the city, or at least engages in the next story assignment or searches for a page request. It's fun to see which restaurants offer the best XP for the yen.
Talking more about battle is Kiryu's main feature, although it's a new chapter with a playable Gojo Majima. Outside of the match, Kiryu can equip all objects he buys or picks up of knocked enemies, up to three at a time. Elements have a certain number of applications where they can no longer be used in combat and must be repaired, dumped or sold. While these elements can give Kiryu a leg on their competition, since they do not last long, he will be forced to trust his fist and Heat bar. The fight feels a bit stiff to begin, although locking skills that parrying can help. Still, there are no chances to change a motion between animation, and dodging is not as responsive as one can expect. Although battle can be frustrating, Kiryu can buy strong health drinks before the match, and the player has essentially unlimited lives in each match, and both ensure practically that the player will develop the story. It is one of the main reasons for playing a Yakuza game. After all.
It's more alive in Japan than a Yakuza than just getting into battle. Playing on an arcade (remember?) Is an option, complete with working Virtua Fighter and Virtual On arcade cabinet, claw machine game, occasional page quest or two, and a weird unit called Toylet, which creates a game out of urination. (Yes, you read it right.) Other nightlife activities include getting drunk in one of dozens of local bars (the drunk status stays for a while unless Kiryu upgrades a particular state), stings out at a restaurant or visits an adult DVD store and rent a room for a few minutes. While the main campaign can take the average gamer 20-25 hours to complete, the additional activities and side guards will easily shed the length to 40 hours, maybe more.
Sounds Like Home
Soundwork is faithful to original release. Japanese audio is subtitled with English text, for example. Translations are very well done, although the words are a little too informal for some situations. Ambient sound for each place is also credible, whether it's inside a SEGA arcade, fancy restaurant or even a bath.
Dragon Engine has done an admirable job of bringing Yakuza 2 their photos up to date. Apparently all assets have been renewed to be presented with up to 4K resolution, and the result is impressive. The fictional areas of Kamurocho and Sotenbori should be known to those who have played earlier entries while showing new details every so often. All shops and restaurants can now also be seamlessly included, which is good to see.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 is a faithful return to a PS2 classic. Whether it takes the city, interacting with people, or going into casual restaurants, there are always many things to be concerned about when they do not play the main campaign. The fight still feels a little stiff, but this should be affordable and overcome with ample storage space for healthcare products in any case. Yakuza Kiwami 2 is a simple purchase for anyone who has a passing interest in the series Yakuza .