Yakuza Kiwami 2 (PS4) Review
To say that this is a gold age of Yakuza is an understatement. Years ago, being a fan of the series meant that loving the series was to truly know suffering. From odd censorship issues, to games either being delayed for years in the west, or just never coming out, it was a difficult saga to be devoted to. In the last year the west has seen four different titles, two remakes and two new titles – five if the Fist of the North Star title is included as some do. This, possibly, is the only problem with the titles. Each title is rich, and deep with more side content than most games have in total; releasing this much back to back can be overload.
A Yakuza game can easily provide over 80 hours of content, and that is just the estimate placed that most people reach before they finally give up and move on to another title. None of the experience is bad, either, the problem is that it is so rich it is like eating an amazing chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and chocolate filling, and chocolate chips on top. There is a certain decadence to be had in eating it, but going after the entire thing might put one into a diabetic coma.
The mechanics of the game compare more to the sixth title and not the previous Kiwami game; this makes sense as Yakuza 6 came out before this title in Japan and Kiwami 1 came out directly after 0. This is probably the biggest advantage of the title over the previous title, as the one thing that 6 had going for it was the streamlined leveling up and battle anywhere system. Instead of having various styles, as in the last Kiwami, it seems the choice was made to go with the more traditional system seen is most other entries.
The other main draw is the mini games, which is about as hit and miss as it is with other titles. The problem with the games is that some arcade titles will randomly start to feel like a part of the series, like Virtua Fighter or Fantasy Zone, so when one of them goes missing – Fantasy Zone in this case – it feels like there is a hole in the arcade lineup. Opa-Opa is almost a character in the series at this point. Aside from the arcade games there are the standard bar games, and various other interesting activities that end up being way better than they have any right to be.
It should be no surprise either, the plot of the game is on point this time around. As with most other games in the series the core story is better than most books that are published in a given year, and the production of the cutscenes rival most movies. There have been changes since the title came out years ago, although what they are –aside from the content with Majima – would be lost on me as I played the game over a decade ago and have probably forgotten more about the series then I actually remember.
When it comes down to it, this is a game that anyone should buy. The Yakuza titles are timeless, and the Kiwami titles are beginning to prove this. It doesn’t matter if they are played now or in ten years, a great story and amazing content with tight controls will remain fantastic regardless of the time that it played in. The actual only problem with this series, at the moment, is that it is coming out in such rapid fire fashion that it is hard to keep up with, as there is not only not enough time in the day to play it all, but there isn’t enough time in the year to enjoy it all. Thank you, Sega, for doing this, but you might want to slow down a little, and give us time to breath between releases.