It seems we are long passed the days of praying for new Yakuza releases, this is the second release of the year for the franchise and with another coming later on (the fantastic looking Fist of the North Star spin off) the Heat meter continues to rise in this once obscure series. Is this remake EXTREME enough to warrant a purchase or is it all wearing just a little thin now? Read on to find out!.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 is a remake of Yakuza 2 which originally released on the Playstation 2, much like it’s predecessor it’s a complete remake rather than a port and actually uses the Dragon Engine from Yakuza 6 rather than the previous Kiwami’s older engine. The story has been tweaked in places slightly but it’s still the same fantastic tale of treachery, honour, violence, hostess clubs and Daigo that is has always been.
Picking up after the outstanding finale of Yakuza Kiwami, Kiwami 2 follows the tale of everyone’s favourite Dad/Crime Buster/Ex or Current Yakuza/Overall badass as he intends to bring peace to his clan and punch any fool who dares get in his way. I could honestly fill this entire write up with the story but I’ll leave that for you to enjoy, the fact this is the game which introduced Ryuji Goda who I personally feel is THE Yakuza bad guy but also my favourite NPC character Daigo alongside some Tiger punching antics only scratches the surface of what I would describe as the best narrative in the Yakuza series.
Due to his ever growing popularity an extra scenario involving Majima has been added showing what happened to everyone’s favourite one eyed psychopath with a heart of gold. This one is especially interesting for those who went through Yakuza Zero and enjoyed his epic rollercoaster there, familiar faces and revelations abound in this scenario.
An extra special shoutout to the depth and quality of the translation here, even passerby comments are fully translated and caught me off guard with the words used, I never thought I’d hear the words “Turnt” in my favourite Dad/Japan simulator, neither did I think I’d ever find myself having to Google said word…….
With Yakuza Kiwami 2 using Yakuza 6’s Dragon Engine, Kamurocho & Sotenbori have never looked better, unlike Yakuza 6 the whole city is available too & the more modern Sotenbori should once again please fans of Yakuza 0 or even those re-experiencing this title for the first time since the Playstation 2 era.
Character models have never looked sharper and the already fantastic looking cutscenes somehow managed to look even better, everything is grittier, the lighting is outstanding and the weather effects really tip the scales even further, Yakuza Kiwami 2 is a beautiful looking game and took everything visually Yakuza 6 did and improved it even more!.
Framerate & screen tearing plagued Yakuza 6 which was a shame as it made it seem slightly inferior to the titles that came before it, praise be to Ryuji that those particular kinks have been ironed out and the game runs with a consistant frame rate and I didn’t spot any screen tearing, the extra time working with the engine really worked out here and shows the future of the series is as bright as the lights of Tenkaichi Street.
Another aspect of the Dragon Engine that has improved is the combat, Yakuza 6 while good did seem somewhat limited in it’s combat system especially removing the Style switching, this once again isn’t in but the range of moves has vastly improved and the combat has never felt tighter. Heat actions still look and feel fantastic and even fighting generic street thugs has never felt so moreish.
Once again the game retains it’s EXP system which is tailored to how you play the game, each action you perform be it eating or side quests will netyou a bit of EXP set across different styles such as Brawn, Heat, Vigour, it’s down to you to figure your playstyle and build up in the areas you need to, always helps to visit every eatery and drinkery for a cheeky EXP boost.
Alongside it’s amazing story Kiwami 2 has more than enough side content to keep you happy, outside of it’s additional scenario there is also a plethora of the brilliantly written Side-Stories, Virtua Fighter 2 and Virtua-On to play at the arcade (Do yourself a solid if you haven’t ever played “on” and head over ASAP), Karaoke, Mahjong and even Clan Creator returns which a nice roster of classic New Japan Pro Wrestling wrestlers for any fans of Nippon based rasslin’ (May want to check back with us soon on this subject). Cabaret Club also makes a welcome return, lots of collectables to find any allies to befriend who will appear mid scrap and throw you a weapon. Yakuza Kiwami 2 has the additional content nailed down.
The side stories once again have some fantastic writing and some of the finer nuances of Kiwami 2 are held here, the comedic double act in the earlier sections of the game are a personal highlight and you can bet your bottom dollar that some of these side quests are just downright bizarre. The great thing about all these stories is that you can take something away from each and everyone of them. They don’t impact the main narrative but they certainly add more than a little to the overall main package and allure of Yakuza Kiwami 2.
Yakuza has always been a series I have nothing but love for, a series I’ve done nothing but pitch to anyone who’ll listen and a series I have seen grow and improve as it’s gone on, despite Yakuza 6 feeling rather stripped back it was still a more than memorable experience and the best game I’d played around it’s time. Kiwami 2 is here now and I’ve struggled to find anything wrong with it, the pacing is fantastic and starts off much faster than other titles in the series, they fixed every issue I had with the Dragon Engine, they have added more content and more story, Virtua Fighter 2 and Virtua On!, the series has never looked so good, there just isn’t much I can really say as a negative.
The only issues I can think of with this title are rather nit picky, an area from the original has been removed and replaced but it doesn’t really effect the game, the game doesn’t really re-invent the series but being it’s a remake that isn’t something I would of expected and there was one or two instances where the frame rate dropped slightly, other than that I really can’t complain about anything with this title. Yakuza Kiwami 2 is extreme by name and extreme by nature, it’s the series masterpiece and using Yakuza 2’s story as the spring board to compile eveything the team has learnt to create the perfect Yakuza game has in my eyes made this game an untouchable and legendary title.