Developed by:SEGA Published by:SEGA Genre(s):
  • Action Adventure
  • Platform:
  • Sony
  • Cost:$49.99 ESRB Rating:MATURE Players:1-2 Release date:August 28, 2018 Reviewed on:PS4

    Yakuza Kiwami 2

    There is something to be said about any game franchise that can survive decades worth of console changes. This is especially true for the Yakuza series, which has become rather popular in the US – a difficult task considering its potential competition. Because of this, I have to applaud SEGA for “reintroducing” us to Kazuma Kiryu and the gang as opposed to just releasing sequels. Not only are they leveraging the nostalgia of those who bought the original games, they’re also bringing their new fans up to speed.

    Yakuza Kiwami 2 takes place a year after the events of the previous entry. Our good friend and main protagonist, Kazama Kiryu, is back with his ever so stern face. Things were peaceful away from the Tojo Clan. Kiryu’s only concern was building a life with Haruka Sawamura. Unfortunately, Kiryu’s reputation makes it hard for him to be a regular civilian. That, along with a brewing war between the Togo Clan and the Omi Alliance, forces him back into the thick of things. Making matters worse is the Alliance’s leader, Ryuji who’s hell bent on proving that there is only one “dragon” left in Japan.

    For those that don’t know, one of the things that makes the Yakuza series so special is its story. Yakuza Kiwami 2 is no different in that regard; it isn’t as strong as some of the other entries in the series, but it’s still entertaining. The serious, yet melodramatic displays of…well, everything, results in a charming tale that’s episodic in nature (given how it continues with each game). The second thing that this series is known for is its vibrant open world. Whether in Kamurocho or the new Sotenbari location – fictional districts/cities set in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan respectfully – there are endless places to play games, eat, drink, and do other weird stuff I probably shouldn’t mention in a family setting. These packed environments put some of our open world titles to shame; not only does it feel like I’m in Japan (not the real place but a representation of sorts) but there doesn’t seem to be any wasted space.

    While the story and environments (including the mini-games/activities within) offer up tons of fun, the combat is still lackluster. No matter how many different games I play in the series, there seems to be little to no growth in that area. In Yakuza Kiwami 2, the fighting feels like a chore; a ton of button mashing and seemingly random encounters that impede my journey through the plot. And the fact that this is a remake doesn’t excuse this fact, considering I’ve been doing the same sort of combos in the past four Yakuza titles (including Yakuza 6). I often found myself rushing through fights and just doing the exact same moves repetitively until the fight was finished by a heat action or charged move. That held true when the game switched to Goro Majima, despite his acrobatic fighting style.

    The clan battles and cabaret management missions are welcome returns though. In both, you must recruit employees to help keep your business afloat. Apart from that, they are totally different styles of play. In the clan battles, you take a real time strategy approach and direct clan members in battles to help protect Majima construction. In Cabaret management, you’re running a bar with ladies that you also direct towards the attendees. I’m not always comfortable making the women talk to creepy dudes while they drink. Because this is seemingly a part of the culture (and wasn’t outright offensive), it was able to provide a nice change of pace. Both activities require you to upgrade your employees so that they can help you make money and continue to build up the Tojo empire.

    Begin a remake and all, Yakuza Kiwami 2 has been upgraded visually. As I played through the main story, I would go back and look at the video comparison of the PS2 version in pure awe. The difference in between the two are breathtaking and the cities in-game benefit most. The amount of people on screen at any given time has increased a great deal. Even the locations you can’t enter looked great. I’d sometimes walk into the closed doors expecting to be let in given the detailed interior (looking through the windows). The sense of detail, even with the NPCs, is fantastic. Another facet of the game that cannot be undersold here is the voice acting. Every time I play these games, I feel like I’m taking part in a live action anime adaption. The actors take these rolls incredibly serious and it comes across in the characters delivery. Every situation is personified by each voice actor and the soundtrack always perfectly melds the scene together.

    Yakuza Kiwami 2 is just like the previous released games in the series. A good story, great voice acting and music, a wonderfully foreign environment and lackluster combat. It’s frustrating loving the lore as much as I do, begrudgingly playing through the game because the fighting is so boring. Here’s hoping that SEGA doesn’t something different with the inevitable Yakuza 3 remake. Of course, I won’t be holding my breath!

    Edit: We mistakenly had Yakuza Kiwami 2 rated as an Early Childhood title. It’s actually rated M for Mature. We’ve since corrected this mistake.  



    Yakuza Kiwami 2 is only hindered by its lackluster combat.



    The visual upgrade is astounding.



    Just like other titles in this series, the voice acting/music is great!

    Replay Value:


    Despite the bad combat, I enjoyed Yakuza Kiwami 2 story and mini-games. So much so, that I’d play through it again.

    Final Score:


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