Yakuza Kiwami 2 is the second remake developed by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and it’s a direct sequel to the first Yakuza which was originally released on PS2, these Yakuza games get better every time and they continue to evolve. Since Kiwami 2 is an import, this game isn’t available in the western market and Sega haven’t confirmed a release date for the west but with the success of Yakuza 0 and Kiwami 1, it’s pretty safe to say that we may see Yakuza kiwami 2 localised for the west in the near future.
There’s a power struggle in Japan’s criminal underworld and the Tojo clan are in a vulnerable state, the omi alliance from Osaka want to take advantage of the Tojo clans vulnerability and conquer The streets of Japan. The Tojo clan turn to their former chairman, kazuma kiryu so he can negotiate a peace treaty on behalf of them, Ryuji Gouda who’s one of the leaders of the omi alliance doesn’t want peace and wants kazuma kiryu dead, the story gets deep and personal as you get the understand the characters more. Kiwami 2 has a powerful story that makes you care about the characters and their backstory including fan favourites like Goro Majima, you get to meet him later in the game and you’ll notice a change with Majima, it seemed like Kiryu was a static character and Majima was dynamic as the story went further.
The game also offers a new story mode where you get to play as the mad dog himself titled “The truth of Majima Goro”, the story takes place a few months after the events of kiwami 1 and it also features former love interest Makoto from Yakuza 0. I enjoyed playing with Majima as the gameplay felt different and his fighting style felt more badass, he’s always equipped with a knife but you won’t get to upgrade his skill or stats.
The gameplay is pretty much similar to previous Yakuza games with a few tweaks and improvements, character progression is pretty much the same as Yakuza 6, you earn points by defeating opponents, eating and playing the mini games, you can also earn more points by completing chapters from the main story including sub stories, the points you earn can be used to upgrade your fighting skill including your heat action. The combat is always addicting and it’s most satisfying part of the game. You can equip weapons from guns, knives, baseball bats and switch up by using the D-Pad if you’re fighting a boss. If you played Yakuza 6 already then you’ll feel familiar with the Kiwami 2, there’s no screens loading when you encounter enemies or when you go in and out of shops, restaurants or bars but you do get them when you decide to use a taxi.
Kiwami 2 has plenty of mini games to entertain you with, they’ve added some Sega arcade classics like Virtua Fighter 2 and Virtua-On when you go to Club Sega, you still get to play the karaoke Rhythm game and they still have the underground casinos from the previous games. They’ve added other mini games such as the Battling Cages and the Golf ranges, UFO catcher is still there along with other mini games like the clan wars which is a strategy based game taken from Yakuza 6. You defend Majima’s construction project against these wrestlers and a large number of minions, you Fight them for a number of waves and once you beat them, they join your clan and there’s also storyline attached to this mini game.
Another Mini game that was brought back from Yakuza 0 is the cabaret hostess club, it’s the Four Shine which was the same club that was managed by Majima in Yakuza 0, it plays the exact same way as 0, you make as much money as possible and challenge other managers from other hostess clubs, once you win they end up joining your team, you level up your Hostesses and recruit as many as you can while doing so, you get the bronze, silver, gold and The platinum class hostesses. The platinum class hostesses are portrayed by some of Japan’s top models from the adult film industry. You get to customize your platinum hostesses with new dresses, hair, makeup, eyeliner and fancy jewellery. There’s also a separate story line for this mini game.
One of my favourite mini games added to Kiwami 2 was the gravure model photo shoot which is an all new mini-game that was never introduced in any other yakuza game, there are actual places in Japan where you can take pictures of models for a certain price. You get to watch an actual video of 2 Models as they interact with you, your main goal is to attach a few words together to make a sentence to improve your relationship with the models, once you succeed, you unlock more videos with the models wearing different costumes.
The graphics in Yakuza Kiwami 2 doesn’t disappoint, they use the dragon engine which it used in Yakuza 6 but it felt more polished and the character models looked a lot more detailed than Yakuza 6, it seems like the engine might be modified, the animations also looked superb and the level of detail in Kamurocho and Sotenbori is also amazing to see. The lighting on the objects and surface made the overall game look more realistic. The only downer for me was that Kiwami 2 is 30fps even on PS4 pro which is a bummer because Kiwami 1 was 60fps and I felt like it was a step back.
Overall the game delivered with great story telling and some the best combat in an open world game, the mini games were fun as always and you can easily get distracted with all the entertainment the game has to offer. Since the game is only available in Japan you won’t get English texts so there’s gonna be a language barrier, you can still find a way to translate the Japanese text if you use the photo feature on the google translate app on your smart phone incase you get stuck on a certain sub story. The game also had its bizarre and wacky moments and it felt like a satisfying experience. Kiwami 2 is a must for any Yakuza fan out there.