"There Can Only Be One Dragon!"
Yakuza Kiwami 2 like the first Kiwami, is a “built from the ground up” remake of the original Yakuza 2 released on the PlayStation 2. It continues the crime-ridden adventures of Kiryu Kazuma, the Dragon of Dojima. It has a compelling story, addicting mini-games, bizarre side quests, a wide cast of characters from fantasy and reality, realistic environments to explore, and kick-ass action! Similar to how Kiwami takes from the mechanics of Yakuza 0, Kiwami 2 utilizes the Dragon Engine that was introduced in Yakuza 6.
Beginning after the events of Yakuza Kiwami circa Dec 2006, Kiryu and a young Haruka find themselves at the graves of three major characters from the last game. Through a series of intricate and detailed flashbacks, Yakuza Kiwami 2 offers an extensive summary of what occurred in the previous game and how Haruka came into Kiryu’s charge, a relationship that would carry through all six games in the series. After the newest Tojo Clan chairman is assassinated, Kiryu takes it upon himself to visit Sotenbori, the home turf of their rivals, the Omi Alliance, in a bid to broker peace and prevent an all-out war.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 shares the same form and function as Yakuza 6: The Song of Life. That’s because the game was rebuilt using the new Dragon Engine, giving it all the flash, flair, and distinct gameplay mechanics seen in the most recent game. As Kiryu, you’ll wander the neon-soaked and restaurant-lined streets of Kamurocho and Sotenbori, a fictionalized city in Osaka that previously served as Majima’s stomping grounds in Yakuza 0. Defeating enemies is as easy as stringing together punches and kicks to knock down their health bars while random objects, such as street signs, bicycles, pots, safety cones, and a collection of standard melee weapons, can be used to add a little flair to the fight.
Each successful hit a Heat meter that adds fun and dynamic combat options. Instead of kicking someone in the face with Kiryu’s nice shoes, pick up a safety cone and bash it against their face! Weapons and everyday objects can trigger special animations when the Heat gauge is active. Not only do these special actions look fun and silly, they deplete a significant amount of health, making them useful when dealing with boss characters.
The most heavily touted feature added to Yakuza Kiwami 2 is the new mini campaign featuring fan favorite Goro Majima: The Mad Dog of Shimano. As you complete chapters in the game, you’ll unlock these bonus vignettes that can be played from the main menu. Majima does not level up or unlock any moves, and the real reason to play this is for another glimpse into the mind of Majima. The only carryover from this campaign to Kiryu’s story is by earning enough money to leave “gifts” to be used in the main story.
The story, seen from Majima’s perspective, follows what he was doing before the events of the game, and a chance for him to revisit some of the locales and people we met in Yakuza 0. Unfortunately, if you were hoping for a full on campaign like in 0, the Majima chapters are on the short side.
With as much content as Yakuza Kiwami 2 has to offer, it was really hard to put down and made me want to come back again and again. It’s a solid game that any fan or newcomer could enjoy, though playing Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami as first games would offer a better experience. You can't go wrong with the price tag of $49.99 and you get a solid 30 hours in just enjoying the story content, and it has so much more to offer. This game is KASANOVA APPROVED!