Name: Yakuza Kiwami 2
Released: 09.05.2019 (PC)
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4
Reviewed on: PC
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose
I’m gonna be honest here, I have no experience with the Yakuza series (I have met the actual Yakuza when on a trip to Japan, but let’s not talk about that). However, I do like Japan, and as far as I knew Yakuza Kiwami 2 was sort of a GTA set in said country. There was only one thing to do – Asobi Hajimeru.
A year after abandoning his former life in the Tojo Clan behind, Kazuma Kiryu is called back into action when the clan’s Fifth Chairman, Yukio Terada, is murdered by assassins from a rival organization, the Omi Alliance. Returning to Kamurocho, Kiryu must find a new chairman for the Tojo Clan and prevent a full-scale war between the Tojo and the Omi, bringing him into conflict with Ryuji Goda, the legendary “Dragon Of Kansai” of the Omi Alliance. In addition, the new “Majima Saga” scenario comes exclusively to Kiwami 2 explaining how Majima came to leave the Tojo Clan following the death of his patron.
It did take some time for me to get into the story, I must admit, and for my part, it got a bit confusing with different names, clans, and places. Then again, I am however terrible at remembering who’s who in Game of Thrones, so that might not say too much. If you are into the Yakuza series or want to start playing it, I do suggest playing the first game first – which I didn’t. Yakuza Kiwami 2 does, however, come with quite a lengthy explanation of what has happened before, during the prologue sequence. All things considered, there is a story to be done, but don’t expect a “story of the year.”
Yakuza Kiwami 2 is a remake of the 2006 Yakuza 2, and unfortunately, it feels a bit like just that, a 13-year-old game that has gotten minor updates. By all means, it’s not a bad looking game, but in this day and age with Red Dead Redemption 2, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice and GTA V, Yakuza Kiwami 2 just falls flat when compared to those titles.
One thing I definitely have to praise though is the sound design in Kiwami 2. It feels like I’m in Japan, and although I am unsure what the actual Yakuza listens to, the background music seems very fitting indeed. The rest of the sound design is very good, although not precisely Japanese, by itself.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 is an open world, action-adventure game. Once more, imagine GTA, set in Japan with the Yakuza. Personally, I tried playing as a (kind of) nice Yakuza leader, without murdering (too many) innocent souls. The gameplay mostly consists of fighting, running around and doing missions. Of course, you can walk around not doing missions, but I found the in-game world to feel rather empty after a short while.
What I did miss was more (illusion of) choice, without it being all Life is Strange of course. Some minor choices would have improved the game drastically for me, for example, whether or not to have someone killed, spare them, or whatever. Still though, Yakuza Kiwami 2 far from disappoints with its gameplay, it just lacks that little extra.
The control system in Yakuza Kiwami 2 is pretty much basic, and if you’ve played action-adventure games you know what to expect, and you won’t be disappointed. Personally, I did find the controls for running around to be a bit too sensitive for my liking, with Kazuma reacting way too much to the smallest of input.
The fighting is also quite straight-forward, with a system of attacking combos, guarding yourself and making sure you’re not surrounded. It’s kind of like GTA (and Uncharted I think, although I’ve never played it, merely watched let’s plays) although not as fancy and smooth.
Regrettably, the replay value of Yakuza Kiwami 2 isn’t the best I’ve ever encountered. By all means, there are side missions and stuff, but I found most of them to be rather boring and bland. It never really gave me anything personal for playing more than the required amount of missions, and once played through, Yakuza Kiwami 2 feels very much completely finished.
Story - 7/10
Graphics - 7/10
Gameplay - 8/10
Controls - 8/10
Replay Value - 6/10
User Review( votes)
Foremost, I must say I definitely comprehend why the Yakuza series has such dedicated fans. It has some good gameplay and a great soundtrack to get lost just listening to the world around you. For my part Yakuza Kiwami 2 got a bit boring when not playing the story missions, and the world feels like it’s at a stand-still when I wasn’t nearby. It’s nevertheless an enjoyable game though, and I might give the other games a go as well.
- Good gameplay
- Decent controls
- Great soundtrack
- Takes some time getting in to
- Not the most replay value