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Yakuza Kiwami 2 review
by GameItAll

Sega has been capitalizing on the new-found love for the adventures of Kiryu Kazuma, so far releasing 3 games within two years with amazing results. The prequel and remake of the original PS2 title helped pave a way for the emotional end of Kiryu's journey in Yakuza 6, and yet new fans still want more adventures in the Japanese crime world. (Who am I kidding, us old school fans wanted that too.)This brings us to Yakuza Kiwami 2, the second Yakuza game to come out this year and a remake of the PS2's Yakuza 2. Like the first Kiwami, Kiwami 2 features several updates to the game including additional sub-stories, new mini-games, a major graphical and quality of life update as well.

Yakuza Kiwami 2 continues one year after the 10 billion yen incident chronicled in the first game. Kiryu stepped down from the Tojo clan in order to live a quiet life with his new adopted daughter Hakura. After visiting the gravesite of those who died in the first game, Kiryu is approached by the current chairman of the Tojo, who asks his advice in a situation between the Tojo and the Omi Alliance, a rival Yakuza gang. However the meeting is a trap and the chairman is murdered, Kiryu decides to help the Tojo Clan once again by helping to stop a possible war. Like any other Yakuza game, the story from there twists and turns in a dramatic fashion as Kiryu becomes the target of multiple factions while figuring out the mastermind pulling the strings.

Kiwami 2 has the benefit of using the Dragon engine that was introduced in Yakuza 6, giving the game plenty of detail in the world and animation. In terms of gameplay, this has made the game extremely smooth, as the streets are crowded with people, combat is fast-pace and allows moving from shops on the streets to combat with no load times.

While most of the combat has remained relatively unchanged in format, as players can still pick up random weapons off the streets and use Heat actions to deliver devastating blows. However the multiple combat styles from Yakuza 0 and Kiwami are gone for heavier focus on the Dragon Style, while still delivering the flow from Yakuza 6, giving a sweet middle ground between both games.

Speaking of borrowing content from the latest iteration, Yakuza 6's Clan Creator makes a return with some massive improvements. The new Clan Creator gives more of a Tower Defense style where you have to guard construction equipment with your generals which can be hired or found by completing sub-stories. I found myself enjoying it a lot more than last time, which was a bit of a hit or miss for us.

Of course this wouldn't be a Yakuza game without plenty of side content and distractions to keep you from stopping a war between the two biggest gangs in Japan. The side stories for Kiwami 2 remain as over the top as ever but provides great rewards from new ally heat actions which can be pretty comedic (the S&M Barker and the Plumber were two of my favourites), while the Sega Arcade complete with the arcade versions of Virtua Fighter 2 and Virtual-On, as well as the return of Darts. Meanwhile a new Golf mini-game has proven to a bane in my existence with its addicting and frustrating Closest to the Hole and Bingo games.

One mini-game I didn't expect to return actually received a major update, and that would be what I like to call the "Sexy Chat". In Yakuza 6 this was represented by a cam girl show where Kiryu talked to a model online. In Kiwami 2, this mode gets much more personal as you're talking directly to the model and snapping a variety of photos as an amateur photographer. Instead of pressing buttons to chat with the model, players are able to put their on phrases together with a variety of results. This was surprising difficult to do correctly in order to unlock the next level, and for some reason left me feeling less perverted then the situation in Yakuza 6.

To add to the ridiculous mini-games is the Sega Toylets. These were real-life urinals that measured your urine's stream quantity and pressure while rewarding you with some small but entertaining games. In Yakuza, Kiryu has the option to relieve himself at a Toylet after drinking at the many restaurants in the two cities available. Players can control the force of Kiryu's stream which drains his bladder in an attempt to beat the small game. It's a weird mini-game but like everything else in Yakuza, it's somehow extremely entertaining.

Also making a return is Yakuza 0's cabaret clubs. There is an entire sub-story around this game similar to the Clan Creator, where you are able to recruit girls from Sub-Stories or by other means to work as a hostess in a club that needs help getting to the top and are thrown into a Cabaret Grand Prix. Kiryu will have to advertise the club, manage the girls, assign them to tables and take orders to keep customers happy and revenue pouring in.

It's easy to dismiss this game as more Yakuza, as much of the game is more of everything we love of the series from its dramatic gangster story, its white-knuckle brawling and its ridiculous distractions that keep the series great, but what makes Kiwami 2 stand out above the other releases so far is the vast improvement to nearly every quality of life item thanks to the Dragon Engine. Developers pushing HD remakes and re-releases need to take notes from Sega, this is how you make a remake.

Review from
«Blew my mind»
«Can’t stop playing»
«That ending!»

Other reviews8

Yakuza Kiwami 2 (PC) - Finished on April 9, 2021.
Combat in Dragon Engine finally starting to take form, Peak Remake of a Peak Game
great game solid antagonist I wish they kept sayama with kiryu in future parts too
Good game, but bad graphics.

I’m not sure if this is just an issue on Xbox Series S, but the light in this game is terrible. Like bad enough to cause me headaches.

Other than that, it is way better than Kiwami 1, but still not as good as Yakuza 0.
A stunning reimagining of an already great game. Some content was cut it honestly doesn't impact the game too much.
«Can’t stop playing»
«OST on repeat»
Some of the fights in the late game start to drag on, unless you cheese with weapons in which case they're over in the blink of an eye.

That said, best of the formula I've played so far. Engine is great, fighting mechanics actually matter, environments and animations are amazing, and a secondary quest that I actually felt compelled to complete this time with its own narrative structure and side stories.
My personal favorite entry in the Yakuza series. The ending got me angry but the game is just so damn fun. It’s between this and Yakuza 0.