YAKUZA KIWAMI 2
Yakuza Kiwami 2 takes place one year after the events of Yakuza 1. The remake expands upon the original story filling any plot holes from the earlier version and reworking the dialogue to make it more suitable for a modernized audience and with more accurate English subtitles. The game focuses on an intense rivalry between two dragons, Kazuma Kiryu of the Tojo clan and Ryuji Goda of the Omi Alliance. Each one feels that there is only room for one dragon in all of Japan. This leads to all out war between the two Yakuza clans.
Kazuma Kiryu once again is dragged back into the world of organized crime in Japan after a recent war between two rival factions, the Tojo Clan and the Omi Alliance from Kansai. He is suddenly brought back to action after the current leader of the Tojo clan is killed and this sets off the events of the game. Kazuma has to find out who is behind the killing and the real reasons for the hostilities. He learns of an old feud between the Korean mafia and the Tojo clan during the mid 80s when the Koreans were massacred by the Tojo clan.
Sayoma is a new character introduced in the game. Known as “The Yakuza Huntress”, Detective Sayoma is feared by the Yakuza as she views them as a blight on Japan and plans to eradicate them. She is the only female detective on the force and is no pushover in combat. She reluctantly helps Kazuma Kiryu in his quest to find out the truth behind the gang war and she hopes to put an end to the gang war between the Omi Alliance, Tojo clan and now the Korean Mafia. The chemistry between the criminal and the cop develops into something more romantic and closer despite opposite personalities and backgrounds.
Kazuma Kiryu uses one fighting style “Dragon Of Dojima” and its quite similar to his fighting style in Yakuza 6. With some tweaks, his fighting style is no holds barred and more dynamic and fluid. As the game progresses, enemies will get a lot more difficult and new moves are going to be required to take them down. Stats are utilized in the same way as in Yakuza 6, such as being able to increase the damage and health Kiryu can take, learn new moves and improve your skills in minigames like increased xp or increased finace rates for Hostess clubs.
Boss fights are over the top as ever and in one fight you can battle two tigers. The people you befriend on the street in substories can help in combat by pressing triangle at the right time to pick up the object and take out the enemies. Extreme heat actions make a return in this game and are powerful attacks when you get a full heat bar. You can pick up weapons and keep them and be able to repair them. You can also buy weapons and enhancements for them. This feature was removed from Yakuza 6. Similar to Yakuza 6, after completing stuff on the completion list and winning in combat, you earn stat points to improve Kiryu’s health, attacks, defense and increasing the heat meter.
The game uses the same engine from Yakuza 6 and the graphics look just as great. The series is now becoming more modernized while still retaining its traditional elements. The story itself is really well written and like other games, it feels a lot like a Yakuza cinema film. The series trademark character development is back and goals are not really clear at first and there are many different plot twists and setbacks that prevent Kiryu from knowing what is going to happen next. Voice acting is really good and it still feels like a Yakuza film and most of the cast reprises their roles in this version.
The combat is more refined and is updated as part of the newer engine and more modernized mechanics. It is much more dynamic and free flowing rather than restrictive and set in only one location.
The game is fairly long with about 16 chapters. It has an extensive recap early in the game detailing all of the events from Yakuza 1 in case the player is new or forgotten about the previous events. Yakuza Kiwami 2 reintroduces Sotenbori and Kamurcho and the new redesigns looks great and immersive. The designers did a great job making these cities look like the original locations, while expanding the world and making it less restrictive. The buildings and world are more realistic and detailed.
Being able to move in first person view and being able to take selfies make a return from Yakuza 6, where Kiryu can make a variety of expressions. This feature is also available to Majima during his playthrough. The seamless transitions into shops and buildings are back and its very useful. You can still get kicked out of stores for a certain amount of time after wrecking them. There are a lot of items to purchase and food to eat to recover health because of the games’ massive economy. Like in Yakuza 6, eating food gives you bonus stat points to increase the power of Kiryu’s abilities. He has a hunger meter that has a limit of how much he can eat and going to fights helps reduce the hunger to eat more food. The ability to discover different kinds of combinations of food to get more bonus stats makes a comeback in the remake. Vending machines are back where you can have a variety of drinks that gives you temporary bonuses such as increased rate of item drops and attack damage.
Goro Majima has his own side story filling the gaps between Yakuza 0 and this game and it gives a full and satisfying conclusion to him and a certain important character in Yakuza 0 who was involved in the “empty lot” incident back in 1988. He uses his mad dog fighting style from Yakuza 0 and he has his own abilities and skills as well. It takes up to 3 chapters and only a few hours to complete. He can also participate in many of activities Kiryu can take part in.
The game has a mixture of new and old mini games from the previous series. You can video tape softcore porn in this game and you have to form coherent sentences while filming by pressing either the x, circle or triangle button and the main goal is to fill up the porn actress you are filming heart meter in order to get her to more sexualized poses and strip down slowly. You unlock more videos to shoot as you play through and it gets more pricey as well. You can watch videos and buy videos as well and Kiryu gives an analytical viewpoint of what he just watched no matter how bizarre or sexual the video he watches may be. Some videos you can even learn new abilities for combat.
Toylets is an actual game in Japan and it makes an appearance here. You have to hold r2 and l2 to in order to increase the pressure of urination. You are graded depending on how well you have urinated and you win a prize depending on your score. But you can only go once you have drunk enough liquids in the game. Virtua Fighter 2 and Cyber Troopers Virtua On are playable in the Club Sega arcade. The Sega Claw machine makes a return. Many gambling games like poker and also puzzle games like Shogi make a return.
Kiryu can work as a bouncer which is something of a vigilante being paid to take out criminals all across Kamurcho. Hostess club makes a return from Yakuza 0 where Kiryu becomes a manager and his main goal is to win 4 championships in order to make his cabaret club Four Shine, the most popular in Japan. Its expanded upon from Yakuza 0 and most of the championships have their own rules, such as which hostesses you can use. In order to reach the championships, you have to outdo other clubs in sales and fans. Once you win the championship, not only can you get to the next league, you also recruit other platinum hostesses.
You could go out on dates with hostesses and you have to choose the right answers in conversations and the higher the affection rate the more better they become at their job. There is a wide variety of hostess to choose from, either by recruiting them or by finding them through sub stories.
Yuki is another character reappearing from Yakuza 0. She is in charge of the club and helps Kiryu run it. There is a wide variety of customization for improving and decreasing skills for platinum hostesses returns. Hostesses now have their own personality traits and this is useful in order to bring even more higher sales.
Oil barons are a new feature where at the end of the mini game, you have to button mash square in order for him to give you millions of dollars in yen. Clan Creator is revised where in Yakuza 6 it was on the offense, now it is on the defensive. It focuses on a side story where you, Majima and his construction company fight corrupt real estate agents trying to buy over his projects. They are played by real life popular Japanese wrestlers. You face them off in multiple waves until the final boss and his henchman show up. The main goal is to protect your construction equipment from waves of enemies. You can improve your workers with a Majima Construction President award to increase their stats rather than use your own stats as in Yakuza 6. In addition, you can upgrade your construction equipment to take more damage from enemies.
Fighting coliseum is back where you get to be pitted against many MMA fighters, wrestlers and criminals in an underground fighting ring. Winning them allows you to fight more skilled opponents and fight in different types of deadly rings in exchange for rare prizes. You could recruit some of them to fight against the corrupt real estate agents in Clan Creator. You can fight street bosses from the street occasionally after defeating a certain number of enemies. After defeating the street bosses, you can recruit them to your clan in Clan Creator. Some of the characters in sub stories can be recruited to fight along side you as well in Clan Creator.
New to both hostesses club and Clan Creator, is being able to run marketing ads to recruit new hostesses or fighters for a price and the more expensive they are, the higher the quality of the fighter or hostess.
Returning from Yakuza Kiwami is Kiryu’s adopted daughter Haruka. You can be able to spend time with her outside of the main storyline and you have to do exactly what she says when playing minigames or going to eat. Raising her trust meter allows you to get small rewards like sweets. Most of the mini games are very entertaining and light-hearted fun stuff to do outside of the main story.
The replay value of the game is high thanks to the extra content and stuff you can do.
The series patterns of flaws and bizarre development designs makes a return.
The dragon engine still has its clunky physics and objects and enemies flying around the place when least expected. Collision detection feels bouncy and awkward because of this. Backtracking and going all over the place, and revisiting places you already just finished in order to complete just a single mundane objective is tedious and an unwelcome feature.
One of the most convenient and useful features introduced to the series in Yakuza was auto save. Unfortunately, it is removed from this game so you have to manually save frequently by going to the pause menu a lot. Some parts are not fully voiced even though in Yakuza 6 they were fully voiced cutscenes all in real time.
The music is quite good. There are some of the songs from the series from Yakuza 0, Yakuza 1, and Yakuza 6 along with original songs. Karaoke plays the same way as in yakuza 6. The game is well done remake expanding upon what Yakuza 2 originally made and reworked into a more modernized version.
It gets 4 stars out of 5.
Yakuza fans are going to definitely enjoy this remake as it maintains the original ground concepts with more refined and modernized gameplay mechanics. The Yakuza series is just getting themselves started and I am definitely looking forward to the upcoming spin offs Judge Eyes and New Yakuza when they become available.