SEGA has now released the latest entry into their ground up remakes of the Yakuza series, this one being Yakuza Kiwami 2. Unlike the first title, this one is created from the ground up for the PlayStation 4 using the same incredible engine that Yakuza 6 used. So is Yakuza Kiwami 2 worth your money? Let’s find out
When Yakuza 2 came out way back in the mid-2000s, I always considered it to be one of the best sequels made and for the most part I feel like the game’s story holds up, especially if you are coming from Yakuza Kiwami. You really see what the writers are trying to do with this game. In Yakuza Kiwami 2 the Tojo Clan is still suffering from the events that happen in the first game and are in the brink of war with the Omi Family, with no other choice the Tojo Clan calls for the help of Kazuma Kiryu to save them. While the first Yakuza game was all about internal conflict within the Tojo Clan, the sequel does a well job establishing other clans and introducing a lot of new characters.
The game’s main villain, Ryuji Goda, is also a nice contrast from Yakuza’s Nishikiyama. In the first game the conflict with Nishikiyama was more personal due to him being a childhood friend of Kazuma and always lived in his shadows. On the other hand Goda has no ties to Kazuma and strictly wants him gone so he can be the only person using the only Dragon in Japan. Yakuza Kiwami 2 also features , one of the better written female characters in the series with Kaoru Sayama. I thought the team did a good job showing Sayama and Kazuma had similar upbringings which lead them to polar opposite destinations in life. Kazuma turned to the Yakuza life, Sayama choose being a detective.
My main issue with Ryuji Goda is that in the end he doesn’t get much screen time and motivation. Wish they did more with him especially in this Kiwami 2 remake. Regardless Yakuza Kiwami 2 features a 20+ plus hours main story filled with a diverse cast of characters and a tons of twists along the way. I did start noticing while playing this version of the game that Yakuza Studios tweaked a lot of the way the game is presented, but seemed to make up with new content elsewhere. For example Yakuza Kiwami 2 features two areas including Kamurocho and Osaka.
The original had a small district area that has been removed in the remake. So Yakuza Kiwami 2 is totally not a one to one remaster, but tells the story well enough that new users can absorb and appreciate the storyline. But I really wish they’d have kept everything intact as it was presented in the original, but what you going to do. The first Yakuza Kiwami game did the same. I still feel like a lot of the writing and ideas still hold up as a great sequel. While Yakuza Kiwami 2 having some missing content sucks, Yakuza Studios at least gives you a brand new unlockable story mode called “The Truth about Goro Majima” which includes some returning characters for Yakuza 0. Its a pretty cool addition that is exclusive to this version of the game.
If you have played the first Yakuza Kiwami title, you would know that the game was basically built inside of Yakuza 0. Yakuza Kiwami 2 is the same deal only this time its built within Yakuza 6, which means its using the brand new Dragon Engine made from the ground up on the PlayStation 4. If you have just played Yakuza 6 a lot of stuff will feel like deja vu regarding the gameplay, but the game does tweak combat just enough to make it feel refreshing. I also like that we finally have the ability to carry weapons back.
Graphically Yakuza Kiwami 2 is right up there with Yakuza 6, which if you recalled in my last review I considered one of the best looking Japanese games released this generation. While graphically it looks up there with Yakuza 6, the motion capture in Yakuza Kiwami 2 looks dated because the studio decided to pull the motion capture data from the old PlayStation 2 releases which is pretty noticeable if you have been playing the newer releases. While noticeable at first, you become used it as the game goes on.
One of the things that makes Yakuza games so massive is the amount of extra content they include and Yakuza Kiwami 2 includes a good mix of play spots including a ton of gambling mini games including Blackjack, Shogi and Mahjong. But if gambling isn’t your thing you can always go golfing, hit the batting cages or even sing some korake. Yakuza Kiwami 2 also has a few play spots with their own stories including a new and improved cabaret club and even the return of Yakuza 6’s clan creator starring Majima Goro’s construction crew! The game also features arcades including a full version of Virtua Fighter 2, Virtual-On and the ability to try out SEGA Toylets (an actual product in Japan). If all these extra features aren’t your thing the game has dozens of sub stories to complete, which include a mix of old sub stories and brand new ones.
SEGA really did cram Yakuza Kiwami 2 with as much content as they could. Its no secret that Yakuza 2 was my favorite entry in the franchise and Yakuza Kiwami 2 is a pretty good remaster. While I wish they didn’t change little things here and there, it is a modernized version of the original story with a ton of new and extra content.
- Remake with all of Yakuza 6’s improvements
- Additional story mode added starring Goro Majima
- Crammed with extra content
- YOU CAN CARRY WEAPONS AGAIN!
- Missing and changed content
- Motion capture reused from the PS2 game
- Lots of reused content from Yakuza 6