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Game Review: Yakuza Kiwami 2

Yet another remake of the successful Yakuza series by Sega and Ryu ga Gotoku Studio, Yakuza Kiwami 2 is sure to blow away all fans, new and old alike.




Genre: Action-adventure game
Developer: Sega, Ryu ga Gotoku Studio
Initial release date: 7 December 2017
Platform: Playstation 4, Microsoft Windows

Storyline

The story takes place a year after the events of Yakuza Kiwami with a shot of Kiryu's lean and muscular body in the bedroom. Woken up by the sweet and adorable Haruka, they both decide to make a trip to pay respects to their own family. Things took a turn for the worst when they witness the fifth chairman of the Tojo Clan, Terada, assassinated in cold blood. The group of hitmen revealed that they are from the Omi Alliance of Sotenbori, Tojo Clan's equivalent of Kamurocho. With an anxious grip on the letter Terada gave him, Kiryu makes his way to the Omi Alliance, in hopes of making an alliance between the two overlords of the Japanese Yakuza world.

However, his trip gets interrupted when he meets the son of the current chairman of the Omi Alliance, Ryuji Goda. Also, known as the Dragon of Kansai, Ryuji Goda is a headstrong man with strong ideals. Naturally, their ideals and interests did not align with one another, resulting in Ryuji saying a few words that established a tension between the two dragons.



"There is only room for one dragon in this world."

Gameplay

In Yakuza Kiwami 2, the team over at the studio brought extensive changes to the gameplay. Firstly, brawls felt more natural and lifelike. Not only that, fights can even make its way into several buildings and stores, giving the game its realistic effect. One change that made fans across the world rejoice was the fact that you could now enter buildings without having to wait an eternity for it to load, which ruined the immersive gameplay Yakuza had to offer.


More importantly, the graphics in Yakuza Kiwami 2 underwent a significant upgrade, without having a major performance impact. The streets are crowded with detailed bystanders that have their own stories. They even cheer you on in a fight from time to time. This made me feel as if the Non-Playable Characters (NPCs) were actual humans behind a screen as they even had topics to talk about. The two towns of the Yakuza series look even better than before with the latest engine and graphics update. Kamurocho, like always, is a hustling and bustling city that offers a wide range of services; bars, eateries, arcades, and even a batting centre to satisfy your baseball needs. It brings out the liveliness of the town with every NPC chatting amongst themselves while walking towards their own destinations. Sotenbori, on the other hand, is packed with massive billboards, signs, and advertisements. It's the perfect place to have a great time with your friends and family. They even give you the freedom to travel between Kamurocho and Sotenbori to sightsee freely, something which you could never do in preceding Yakuza games.

Substories

Similar to all Yakuza games in the series, substories are incorporated in the game to spice up the interactions Kiryu has with the civilians of Kamurocho and Sotenbori. They are basically side-quests that you can do in your free time or whenever you want a pause from the usual punch and kick scenarios in the game. They add a certain level of enjoyment in which players get to see Kiryu interacting with NPCs and his amusing reactions to their ridiculous requests. From preventing a scam to even buying a pair of briefs for an unfortunate gentleman, substories cover all aspects of entertainment, sometimes even adding in a touch of modern-day issues for the player to relate to.

Majima Saga

Unfortunately, in Yakuza Kiwami 2, you can't play as Majima in the main story. However, don't fret just yet. Once you have advanced to a certain part in the main story, you'll unlock Majima Saga. What's that? Well, instead of incorporating Majima into the playable main story, the folks over at Ryu ga Gotoku studio instead made a separate story for Majima. You can play as Majima and have his own fighting styles, which I personally was a huge fan of ever since Yakuza 0. However, since it's a side story, it isn't as long as the main story. Despite that, by the end of Majima Saga, I'll guarantee that you would have gone through a box of tissues.



Cabaret Grand and Bouncer Missions

If you were an aficionado of the cabaret club mini-game that existed in Yakuza 0, rejoice! The mini-game is back in Yakuza Kiwami 2 with more beautiful hostesses. Tackle your way through the Cabaret Grand Prix, a league formed to find and advertise the most popular cabaret club in the business. As you progress in the Prix, you will unlock platinum hostesses, which are your best ones. Moving forward, you can trigger special events with said hostesses that will reward you, or rather, them with plenty of experience. All in all, the end goal of the cabaret club is to make sure that each patron leaves with a massive grin.



Bouncer Missions, on the other hand, are bounties with varying difficulties that you can take up in a certain club in Kamurocho. Most missions end with you having to take out a mini-boss, while certain ones have a time limit. They reward you with items that may help you progress easier into the main story, so be sure to keep an eye out for them!


Overall Impression

Whether you're a fan or not of the Yakuza series, picking up this game is definitely worth its inexpensive price. You get tons of content that can easily stretch up to over a hundred hours if you decide to complete the game to its entirety. If you enjoy a game with a simplistic goal of beating up every bad guy into a pulp while having its serious and emotional moments sometimes, this is the game for you. From the main story to the ridiculousness of some side-quests, you will be on the edge of your seat seeking more.

Overall rating: 4/5

Written by Yeon Hee

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