The 411 on Sega's HD remake.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 is the PS4 remake of 2006 classic Yakuza 2.
Much like the first Kiwami title, this is a HD remake built with care and craft, albeit with the added addition of the popular Clan Creator from Yakuza 6.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 is a faithful rendition of its PS2 predecessor, with some bells and whistles to enhance the experience—like that Clan Creator, for instance.
Story-wise, though, players can expect another engrossing love story, along with the addition of recurring series anti-hero Goro Majima as a playable character.
Here's the official synopsis from Sega:
One year after the 10 billion yen incident, Kazuma Kiryu begins to build a peaceful life with Haruka Sawamura. Tearing him away, an assassination threatens to erupt in an all-out war between the Tojo Clan and the Omi Alliance. Kiryu, the Dragon of Dojima, must travel to Sotenbori, Osaka in an attempt to broker peace between the rival clans, but Ryuji Goda, known as the Dragon of Kansai, will stop at nothing to get his war. In this world, there can only be one dragon.
Like the 2006 original, we imagine, albeit with smoother gameplay and HD graphics (more on that later).
At its core, Yakuza Kiwami 2 is an action-adventure game set across a sprawling Kamurocho, the fictional Japanese red-light district in which Yakuza (mostly) takes place.
Which brings us to...
Making this possible is the transition to Sega's Dragon Engine, the very same one that powered Yakuza 6: The Song of Life.
It allows for improved physics and refined gameplay, and players ought to notice a significant upgrade in the combat department.
Here's how Localisation Producer Scott Strichart views the transition from one console era to the next:
Everything looks incredible in the Dragon Engine; Sotenbori has never felt so alive. And things have only gotten better since Yakuza 6. The battle system is snappier, there are some new charge attacks you can weave into your combos, the Heat Actions are more numerous and brutal, the weapon system is back, Kamurocho’s Champion District and West Park area are re-opened…
In order to bring Yakuza 2's HD revival into perspective, here's a side-by-side comparison. No prizes for guessing which is which.
Kamurocho is bursting with life and personality, and if you happen to wander off the beaten track, you'll discover a wealth of fun and frivolous mini games to while away the hours.
From Karaoke to Golf, Virtual-On to the Gravure Photo Studio (pictured here), every inch of Kiwami 2's vibrant world is filled with things to do.
Even the damn toilets are fitted with electronic distractions.
Despite selling close to 132,000 units on launch week, Kiwami 2's sales figures were still the lowest debut for any Yakuza title in Japan.
Sega has since come out and said that the HD remake "performed strongly," so perhaps word-of-mouth and general buzz helped boost sales figures.
Here's hoping for a similar performance in the West.
If you're still perched on the fence, why not try out the official Yakuza Kiwami 2 demo? It's still available on PlayStation Store as of this writing.
Curious to see Yakuza Kiwami 2 in motion? We've got you covered.
Not only will Sega ship a pretty steelbook for Kiwami 2, there's also a beefed-up Special Digital Edition that comes packing the following in-game content:
Our own Paulmichael Contreras handled the review for PSLS, and it seems he liked Yakuza Kiwami 2 quite a bit, writing:
Yakuza Kiwami 2 is a faithful return to a PS2 classic. Whether it’s taking in the town, interacting with the people, or running into random restaurants, there’s always plenty of things to stay busy doing when not playing the main campaign.