The cat is out of the bag for one of the planned Yakuza announcements for this weekend. A listing for Yakuza Kiwami 2 went up on the Taiwan PlayStation Store, and was quickly spotted by fans. Details are currently scarce, but we do know that the remake of Yakuza 2 will run on the Yakuza 6 engine (read our E3 2017 preview to find out why this is a meaningful enhancement) unlike Kiwami, which ran on Yakuza 0‘s engine. A Japanese release date was also confirmed, and Yakiza Kiwami 2 will be released on December 17, 2017. If it’s anything like the first remake, it’ll be faithful to the original while also adding new scenes to flesh out the story, and will add in extra mini-games for players to participate in.
Our review of Yakuza Kiwami went up earlier this week. Here’s what I had to say about the remake, which releases in North America next week:
The other major issue that Kiwami runs into is some annoying game design that stems from the 2005 original. Yakuza has never had the greatest encounter designs (don’t even get me started on the final fight in Yakuza 4), but a lot of the fights in Kiwami boil down to the game throwing 20 baddies at Kiryu. Playing on normal, I never died during combat, but getting crowded and knifed repeatedly by foes ends up being more annoying than a satisfying challenge. There’s also a pretty lame car shootout sequence (tip: remember that you can slow down time during that scene so you don’t fail it three times like I did). Yet, for the most part, the sub-standard design doesn’t bring down the story. It all mostly ranges from serviceable to fun, and the fantastic localization and storytelling more than make up for some frustrating moments.
As a remake, Kiwami is a triumphant success. Not only is it leaps and bounds more playable than the PS2 original, the additional scenes help flesh out character motivations. This all makes the story of Kiryu’s rise feel more special, and it’s a perfect continuation for those who recently played Yakuza 0. There are some disappointments, though, as just roaming around Kamurocho feels like a step backwards from previous games that featured multiple cities to explore, but that’s just an unfortunate side-effect of being a remake of a much-less ambitious title. The new bells and whistles make Yakuza Kiwami a worthwhile time no matter if you’ve played the original or not.
Additional projects from the Yakuza developer will be announced on August 26.