Until recent years, SEGA's Yakuza series has fought to get a foothold outside of Japan, with the obvious exception of dedicated fans who salivate all that Kazuma Kiryu has to offer. While some entries in the franchise remain exclusive to their native country, recent months have seen it explode in popularity after the celebrated release of Yakuza 0 .
Like someone who fell in love with Yakuza before it was cool, it was a pleasure to see it embraced so lovingly – and so many. And it's the perfect time to jump in as SEGA reflects its steps through a back directory that the majority of players are not yet discovered.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 restores the 2006 classic with far more than a simple remaster. Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has created a tailored experience using the same technology as its sixth section and it looks, plays and tells a story so beautiful I can not help but recommend it. Related: Upcoming PS4 Games
Yakuza 2 was originally released in 2006 and was a swing song for PlayStation 2 in the midst of a world that moved into the HD generation and it knew. There was still an iconic, recognizable aesthetic, but could not compete with the progress that ran out in front of it. It is also incredibly difficult to get hold of now, with used copies for at least 60 kroner at the time of writing.
So, Kiwami 2 is a new chance of varieties, and a new opportunity for budding fans to follow the story that began in Yakuza Kiwami . After leaving his role in the Tojo Clan to become a normal civilian, it's just a matter of time until Kazuma Kiryu has been withdrawn to the corrupt underworld who had a hand in creating him.
This time it involves the murder of his clan chairman, a disaster incident that falls into a brilliant conspiratory story with abundant twists. Much like Kiwami, this is a shot-by-shoot remake of the original, with few exceptions. Cut scenes assume the same editorial direction, while major events remain the most untouched.
This is a blessing and a curse, as archaic techniques and rusty encounter design lingers despite the otherwise beautiful visual presentation. It may take a few seconds for transitions to take place so that you stay uncomfortable when the pacing appears to play capturing. This was a noticeable error in all along with inconsistent performance on the PS4 Pro, although it definitely is not a deal-breaker.
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Technical issues aside, Kiwami 2 is a pleasure to play. Combat is brutal and satisfying, by adopting a near-identical system to Yakuza 6 with an outstanding driving style extended with multiple upgrades and special features to unlock. While I approached the narrative conclusion, I still found myself discovering new ways to eradicate bullets that dared to cross the Dragon of Dojima path.
Heat Moves returns a return. These hilarious violent techniques are activated by pressing the triangle button, context sensitive, depending on weapon or environment where you are. A new addition to Kiwami 2 is Allied, Citizens of Kamurocho and Sotenbori who will throw Kiryu a weapon when instructed if you have completed the necessary side guards to unlock them.
Of course, these are predictably ridiculous with octopus, guitars and even buns of the frame are thrown on enemies. Kiwami 2's combat system is not crowded and you can conquer most meetings with the same combination string. Despite this, it remains engaging throughout, never failing to satisfy. Combine this with a rewarding progression system and it's hard to really complain. Related: Best PS4 Games
Exploration plays an integral part of Kiwami 2, and both places will be known for the series theaters in Tokyo Kamurocho and Osaka's Sotenbori. The former haunting hill feels like an old home after so many years, the setup burned in my mind as the city council I grew up on. It's almost nostalgic to walk the streets, knowing exactly where I'm going and why.
This familiar knowledge also replaces any criticism I want with SEGA reuse of the same environments with each passage. Kamurocho is a sign in itself in the Yakuza universe and plays an important role in the story as you bounce between buildings and signs with whom Kazuma Kiryu has established relationships.
The Red Light District looks like the real thing too. If you are a firm believer in virtual tourism, this is the second best before you book a plane to Tokyo. Nor should Sotenbori be ignored, as it gives an equally amazing transfer of Osaka's Dotonbori district, with all the living excessive power you expect from it.
Kiwami 2 establishes a sense of place that still feels unmatched in its attention to detail. Streets, buildings and citizens occupy them feel vibrant and reactive to Kazuma Kiryu's actions, whether he bumbles over them on the street or helps them in one of the many stories of the game.
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Works as a form of page assignments, sub stories are crazy and unpredictable escapades in Kazuma Kiryu. You can find yourself enjoying the awful mixtapeen to an amateur streak or fighting a horror of Yakuza, hanging out of obscure fetish games. Kiryu does not tickle, but he will not hesitate to let fist fly if someone leaves the queue. And yes, it will be quite strange.
Side stories are complimented by a generous selection of mini-games spread across cities Kamurocho and Sotenbori. You can dive into arcades for a rude boost of Virtua Fighter 2, beat Batting Cages, or even compete in a cabaret club tournament that can absorb hours of your time. It's just the tip of the iceberg about what Yakuza Kiwami has to offer.
After greeting hours on Kazuma Kiryus travel, you begin to unlock the chapters of Goro Majima Saga. This mode is an entire campaign in itself, introduces a new playable character with its own match options, quests and more. Again, attention to detail is admirable and it is a treat to immerse yourself in a fan favorite character from a new perspective.
I will not ruin anymore, as the dumb amount of surprises hidden from the depths of Yakuza Kiwami 2 is worth discovering for yourself, and I'm pretty sure a handful has already gone under my nose.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 is another spectacular entry in the long-standing series. It brings the 2006 classic into the modern generation with beautiful visual, engaging and melodramatic history that hits all the right notes.
The vast amount of content offered across several modes and cities is an accomplishment in itself, made even better by the way Kiwami 2 immensely bites players in the culture that inspired it.
Kazuma Kiryus travel may have concluded in Yakuza 6, but the way SEGA allows players to experience their entire story with so few obstacles is a pleasure to see.