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First Bite: Yakuza Kiwami 2




Yakuza Kiwami 2

Yakuza Kiwami 2.

Yakuza Kiwami 2 is the sequel to last year’s Yakuza Kiwami. The remake of Yakuza 2 for PS2, Kiwami 2 runs on the Dragon Engine, which was originally developed for the 6th entry of the series. Furthermore, Yakuza Kiwami 2 is a native PS4 title. This makes it a technical upgrade compared 0 and Kiwami, which were natively released on the PS3.

Taking place one year after Kiwami, protagonist Kiryu Kazuma now lives in Osaka, Japan. No longer the Patriarch of the Tojo Clan, he relinquishes the title to an ally from the previous title. Shortly after the opening of the game, however, enemy Yakuza members murder the patriarch. The Omi Alliance, the longtime rivals of the Tojo Clan, attempt to start a war. Kiryu is tasked with going to Osaka to bring a truce to the leaders of the Omi Alliance. Therefore, Kiryu’s adventure starts in his home of Kamurocho before venturing to Sotenbori.

For those who played Yakuza 0, Sotenbori is familiar territory. The geographical layout is similar. If you’re familiar with the restaurants and locations of the previous game, you’ll certainly recognize it.

New fans to the series will quickly get into the game’s beat ’em up mechanics. Featuring difficulty levels from Easy to Hard, it’s great for any newcomer or veteran. It takes a number of RPG elements, puts them into an open-world city, and lets you play the story out. You can do side-quests along the way as they become available. I’ll comb over the similarities and differences that Yakuza Kiwami 2 sets apart from its predecessors.

What’s different in the latest game?

As mentioned earlier, Yakuza Kiwami 2 runs on a modified Dragon Engine. An unfortunately downside is the drop to 30 FPS. However, the game features some new animation as well. Kiryu’s sharp walk and running are a bit more realistic, to include even stumbling into walls and bikes. You can enter shops and no load screens transitioning between them. Much of the game is shot in one take. If you’ve played God of War, you may be familiar with this take. This means longer loading times initially, but no loading screens when entering new areas.

Yakuza Kiwami 2

Kaoru Sayama, the Yakuza Huntress.

Kiryu no longer has multiple battle styles. Fighting revolves largely around his Dragon Style. As a result, combat has changed a bit. More enemies will surround you at a time. Moreover, you can also use a new throw combo. This allows you grab and swing enemies to your heart’s content. While relegated to a Heat action in previous titles, this move will become familiar as you’re fighting off mobs of enemies and throwing them into each other.

Yakuza Kiwami 2

Experience is no longer spent on a circular skill tree. Rather, you get experience in multiple categories. You can then spend points on battle actions and even personal actions, like sprinting dash. You also have a new hunger meter. When you’re eating at a restaurant, the food you gain heals your HP and also gives you EXP.

My experience through the streets of Sotenbori.

As a fan of past titles, I’m recognizing Sotenbori bit-by-bit. Coming off one year after beating Yakuza 0, the streets of Osaka still look similar, but more detailed now. New shops have arisen, while trademark features, like the crab restaurant and the bridge, are still there. The Sega Arcade also makes its return. Sorely missing from Yakuza Kiwami, you can play Sega arcade games once again.

The selection is different from the previous game’s selection, which consisted of OutRun, Space Harrier, Super Hang-On, and Fantasy Zone. Now you’re playing Virtua-On, a 3D mecha fighting game, and Virtua Fighter 2, a fighting game released in 1994. In addition, there’s a new addition called Toylets. This mini-game allows you to play whenever nature calls. There are two different mini-games to go with it and three difficulty levels. Just another layer of the absurd, yet creative humor you can only find in Yakuza.

Also, the hostess cabaret club mini-game from Yakuza 0 returns. Dress up your hostesses as best as you can and serve your customers at a cabaret club. Do your best and clear the side-quests, taking on rivals and recruiting new members. Goro Majima, who’s also in the game, was the original cabaret host in Yakuza 0.

Yakuza Kiwami 2

Part of the game will also take place in Kamurocho, to include the very beginning. However, you can’t access much of it until later in the game. Much like in 0, you’ll travel back and forth between the two cities as well.

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Whereas 0 and Kiwami played quite similarly, Yakuza Kiwami 2 definitely has a different feel to it initially. The controls feel a bit more fluid, the game added animations, and Sotenbori gives off a richer, prettier feel than Kamurocho did. People in Osaka speak with a different dialect, and the region definitely has its differences. But it also has many similarities, such as the thugs that constantly ambush you for money. Not to mention the many people seeking your help in side-quests, the stores, the arcades, and the mini-games.

As a fan of RPGs, and games with RPG elements, I strongly recommend this title so far. As far as PS4 titles go, I’ve played the past Yakuza titles, NieR: Automata, Persona 5, Nioh, and more. This series is worth checking out for any fan of Japanese-developed titles on PS4. If you enjoy well-written sidequests and tons of action, check out the game. You can try out the Yakuza Kiwami 2 demo on PlayStation 4 now!

Yakuza Kiwami 2

Thank you for reading up on our preview. Are you familiar with the past titles or will this be your first Yakuza game? Let us know in the comments below!


Rango has been gaming since 1993. He loves Action/Adventure, JRPG, and Platforming games the most. When he's not writing reviews, he competes in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments.


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