Game review: Yakuza Kiwami 2 on PC is a stylish crime drama
What has changed though is the graphics. Kiwami 1 was based on the same engine used for Yakuza 5 on the PlayStation 3, while Kiwami 2 is based on the tech used for PlayStation 4 game Yakuza 6 – the most recent mainline entry. The difference this makes on the PC is immediately obvious with much more flamboyantly realistic visuals, as the neon-hued streets of Kabukicho light up like never before. There are more pedestrians around too, creating a much more convincing sense that you’re exploring the nightlife of a major city.
There are lots of other small improvements too, including much faster load times – which helps both when exploring and in faster transitions into fights. There’s also a much-improved map that makes tracking down side quests a lot easier. The only noticeable technical flaw is the simplistic ragdoll physics during combat, but we’re not sure whether that’s just an oversight or an attempt to maintain the feel of the original game.
Kiwami 2 also adds a new prequel scenario featuring fan favourite character Goro Majima and Makoto Makimura from Yakuza 0. It’s split up and peppered in and around the main story but the fact that there’s any new content at all is very welcome. (We assume all this is in the PlayStation 4 version as well, but we never had time to play that as it released right at the same time as Gamescom last year.)
Although the more humorous side quests are just as entertaining as usual, Yakuza 2 is definitely one of the weaker entries in the franchise. The original was obviously rushed and while the story is desperate to appear epic and important it really just feels shallow and overblown. Which only makes this remake seem even more impressive, by turning such a flawed framework into a game that’s almost as entertaining as the series’ best.
Yakuza Kiwami 2
In Short: An excellent remake that manages to overcome the flaws of the original and offer a glimpse at what a next gen Yakuza game might look like.
Pros: Kamurocho and Sotenbori have never looked better, with great visuals and a real sense of vibrant realism. Interesting characters and fun, and often very funny, side quests.
Cons: The plot is all over the place and overstuffed with shallow villains and nonsensical plot twists. Repetitive combat in terms of both scenarios and the lack of moves.
Formats: PC (reviewed) and PlayStation 4
Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
Release Date: 9th May 2019
Age Rating: 18
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