So far on PS4, we've seen a prequel, a sequel, and a remake and now, we have yet another remake. Yakuza Kiwami 2 is a complete reimagining of the second game in the series so let's see how much ass Kiryu kicks this time around.
As someone who loves variety in his games, Yakuza Kiwami 2 definitely impressed me. Whereas I felt the first Kiwami was more linear and unvaried, Kiwami 2 presents a large chapter-based campaign that's full of surprises lurking behind every corner. From brawling on the street with thugs to duking it out with bosses as well as goofy real-time simulation battles to a urinal mini-game, you're bound to love the insanity that's constantly thrown at you as you play through this epic adventure.
Thankfully, Yakuza Kiwami 2 has superb graphics which makes sense because it's not a port of a PlayStation 3 game like Yakuza 0 and the first Kiwami were. In fact, I'd say it's the best looking Yakuza game to date and even surpasses Yakuza 6 which is impressive because that game's visuals blew me away. The city streets are incredibly lively and vibrant and even each side-street and alley is full of detail. Everything really comes to life at night with gorgeous lighting that makes Kiryu's fluid animations all the more badass.
Another aspect of Yakuza games that I always look forward to is humour and Yakuza Kiwami 2 has plenty of it. Some memorable moments include sticking a pole up a boss's butt then launching him away and helping a flamboyant photographer out by posing shirtless as he pervs out. These moments are even funnier when you consider Kiryu's constantly serious demeanor.
Kiwami 2 wouldn't be a Yakuza game if it didn't feature awesome street fights. Luckily, the combat is extremely satisfying for the most part. The best moments of battles are when you trigger a special attack only to watch Kiryu brutally beat on his foes. These mini-scenes consist of bone-breaking action sequences that'll make you say "Oh, snap!" It's possibly the most violent Yakuza game to date but watching the blood fly after a particularly brutal assault is definitely more satisfying than it is shocking.
All of that being said, the combat system itself is fairly basic compared to some other titles in the franchise. You don't get different fighting styles so the fighting system feels a lot like the one in Yakuza 6: The Song of Life which I personally found to be rather disappointing. Also, I would sometimes perform exceptionally awesome combos only to have an opponent stop me before I could finish which seemed random and was always irritating. I still don't fully get why that happens but it's still very annoying.
Finally, the open world in Yakuza Kiwami 2 is as small as fans of the series have come to expect which is nothing new but when you compare it to other AAA titles, it can be quite claustrophobic. Aside from that, I found the story to be disjointed and less engaging than other games in the series. It's action-packed and fun-filled, that's for sure. However, actually becoming immersed in the plot is difficult due to its general lack of focus. It's no Yakuza 0 when it comes to storytelling, that's for sure.
Fans of Kiryu's crazy adventures will love Yakuza Kiwami 2 as it's full of over-the-top action and ridiculous scenarios. Even with its somewhat disappointing combat and story, it's a must-have for anyone who loves action games.
- + Lengthy and varied campaign
- + Fantastic visuals with a great sense of humour throughout
- + Combat scenes are more brutal than ever
- - Still has a pretty small game world
- - Combat system lacks variety and can be irritating at times
- - Story isn't as engaging as previous games