Probably the best Yakuza game yet: Yakuza Kiwami 2

Hi hi, it’s a-me, back for another gaming review.

Work has been incredibly hectic so I have been taking a mini break. But now that I’m back…

After playing Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami, I bought Kiwami 2 in a heartbeat, and it’s going to be a hell of a ride.

I played this game in the PS4 Pro by the way. PC is coming in May 7th.

Story

I should say, this probably is THE best Yakuza I have played in terms of story so far.

The pacing feels slower, but the game overall feels significantly longer than Yakuza Kiwami, 0 is still the longest though.

Character developments is going on pretty slow and mundane. But once the game reached the midpoint, things started to accelerate. Romance became a serious driving force to the story developments in the later stages.

This game also made me cry quite a lot. No matter it was a sad part or an extremely relatable one.

“Ya know… I gave up findin’ that kinda happiness. I got nothin’ against romance, but… But thinkin’ this way got me this far. Made me who I am today. Not that anybody’d know how I feel… Nobody but me.”

– Sayama Kaoru, Yakuza Kiwami 2 (2018)

This game helped me generate a sentence about my lifestyle. This scene made me weep for quite a bit.

The amount of deaths is toned down quite a bit now, compared to the previous game, but it is still kind of worrying.

The climax was also comical as the antagonists keeps popping up after the previous one falls. There was actually little to no buildup to the climax.

The ending felt rather inconclusive, leaves me hanging about the Kaoru x Kazuma pairing. It’s actually sad to see Kaoru having no role from this game onwards. She has a great personality that brings out the best of Kazuma. They are probably the best pairing I have even seen in a video game.

This game has also a photoshoot minigame that requires you to pull off some pickup lines on girls. Beware that portion is VERY NSFW, not porn level, but erotic enough to arouse me. Going to be totally honest here.

Actually beside the main game, there is a Majima saga parallel storyline which serves as a sequel to Yakuza 0. It was short, but still pretty sweet. It gives me a sense of closure from Yakuza 0 because I wasn’t happy with how this couple ended. Still not happy about how the couple turn out, but at least it has officially come to a close. I like how Makoto hasn’t changed a bit after so many years.

I love this game, and I will replay this one till the end of time.

Gameplay Mechanics

The combat system here is totally different from the previous 2 games. It is actually simplified compared to the overly complex Yakuza Kiwami. The stat system is also pretty straightforward now. During a big boss fight, when the enemy has a final bar of health, you will be able to trigger a final blow on your enemies with extreme brute force.

The heat actions also gets overly simplified as well, which is kinda sad. Heat action damages also got nerfed pretty bad, sometimes I feel that normal moves can clear HP faster and more effectively than heat actions.

But overall, still a great simplification, I don’t like the complex system from 0 and they made it kind of even more complex in Kiwami. That’s a great change of pace.

Graphics

This game uses a totally different engine from Kiwami and 0. They used the Yakuza 6 engine this time and it looks amazing.

0 and Kiwami do look kind of flat and lacking of depth sometimes, but this game solves all of those problems.

A totally different shading techinque, better reflections, better looking shadows. The amount of gore has also boosted by a significant amount. Impact and destrusction physics looks incredible too, but all of that comes with an expense, frame rate and resolution.

PS4 gets 900p while 1080p is only on the Pro. Both consoles only run the game at 30 fps. I was initially disappointed by those numbers. But after playing the game for about an hour, I can feel the difference in graphics and it actually was an okay tradeoff.

This game gives my PS4 Pro a decent workout and also a pretty large amount of heat. My PS4 Pro can still heat up a lot even inside an AC room.

A lot of the characters gets facial modelled into the game, so that is another plus.

Music

The music still as epci as ever. But the audio controls is SO limited that you can only adjust the master volume. I cannot find toggles for individual sounds. I do find the music to be rather loud compared to the voices. They do not have automatic attenuation so that made things a lot worse.

But BGMs still pretty great, smashing things gives out a satisfying noise. Just need some audio controls.

Cast

The cast list looks pretty jampacked with so many great people.

Kuroda Takaya, Hisakawa Aya, Aika, Tenryu Genichiro, Hakuryu, Ugaki Hidenari, Tsuchida Hiroshi, Kinoshita Houka, Momonogi Kana, Yamaji Kazuhiro, Muto Kenji, Nomura Kenji, Miyake Kenta, Asuka Kirara, Chono Masahiro, Iwasaki Masami, Obara Masato, Amada Masuo, Kouchi Mio, Tanaka Miou, Sawashiro Miyuki, Takeda Naoto, Kugimiya Rie, Choshu Riki, Choshu Riki, Hino Satoshi, Tokushige Satoshi, Takahashi Shoko, Sugata Shun, Sakuya Shunsuke, Terajima Susumu, Saizen Tadahisa, Kageyama Takashiro, Koyasu Takehito, Fujinami Tatsumi, Fujiwara Yoshiaki, Mikami Yua, Kimura Yuichi.

Hisakawa Aya here has hit the spot for me. Accent girls have always been my weakness. She was voicing a Kansai character so naturally, Kansai dialect was used.

Her voice is equally gentle and aggressive, making her the perfect voice for the role. Her chemistry with Kuroda is just fantastic. This is the main reason I want to play again, the chemistry is just there.

Score:

Story: 9/10
Mechanics: 8/10
Graphics: 9/10
Music: 8/10
VAs: 9.5/10

Highly recommended, you may play this game without Kiwami as there are summarized flashbacks of the previous game. As for the Majima saga story, you do need to play 0. So might as well just play both games first before approaching this one.

That’s pretty much it for me, 2nd impressions of Spring 2019 will be out by tomorrow the earliest.

I will see you guys then!

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