by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
Since I haven’t told you this in a while – play Yakuza. Play. Yakuza. It’s such a phenomenal series, and Yakuza Kiwami 2 may be my favorite of the franchise so far. It would have been Yakuza 6, but that annoying baby crying made me want to scream, and then throw my controller into the ocean (since the bawling came through my PS4 controller and not my headphones). So, Yakuza Kiwami 2 is officially on Steam, and with it comes the East vs. West War, as the Dragon of Kansai, decides there doesn’t need to be more than one Dragon in Japan. One of them has to go, and it’s sure not going to be Kiryu, who admittedly doesn’t really care about the title in the first place. All of the action, the excitement, the gorgeous cinematics, and the fun (but sometimes infuriating) mini-games are ported from the Playstation 4 to the PC as Yakuza 2’s remake hits PC. But how does it all come together?
Visually the game is perfection. It looks absolutely beautiful on the PC, just like it did on PS4. It might even look better than the Playstation edition, thanks to the power of my PC. However, I am a little disappointed. One of the things I’ve harped about in every single Yakuza release has come back to haunt me yet again here on Steam: It doesn’t save my Display Settings! All I want is for the game to default in Borderless Window because I alt-tab/move to the other monitor a lot for this game. There’s a lot of stuff to know, and to need to search for (especially when running the Cabaret), and having the game pause every single time I even think of looking at the other monitor is really frustrating. Please patch this, SEGA. I implore, plead and beg – this is the worst feature of Yakuza on PC. There aren’t too many things that I have to harp about – but no matter how much I love Yakuza Kiwami 2, I found a few. One minor complaint is that it does not use PS4 control notifications with a PS4 controller. No matter what, I see the Xbox One buttons. It’s not a big deal, but it can be distracting.
But one of the things that are just wonderful about this game is how it continues to do so much with small areas. You have two towns to visit, Sotenbori and Kamurocho. Both towns feel distinctly different, and both offer so much to do with every square inch of the city. Personally, I like Sotenbori more, because it’s the home of Club Four Shine, the Cabaret that Kiryu inevitably winds up running, much like Goro Majima does in a previous Yakuza title. Speaking of which, Kiwami 2’s exclusive Majima Mode is back! There are some people that don’t think it fits or makes sense, but it’s a beautiful story that gives more depth to the Mad Dog of Shimano, and I’m glad it’s in the game. I do wish it were longer, or that it was tied into the actual game rather than shunted off to the side. Regardless, I enjoyed it, and if you don’t want to play it, you definitely don’t have to.
Another sound point to pick up Yakuza Kiwami 2 is the price. It’s about 20 bucks, and it comes with the DLC for both the Cabaret Club and the Clan Creator, giving new characters to make both of these modes a little easier. Honestly, the two Club Girls don’t make the modes too much easier, just a bit of something extra for Love/Party people in the nightlife. However, the overwhelming amount of characters you gain for the Clan Creator mode practically trivializes it. Though, receiving awesome New Japan Pro Wrestling characters squad was a nice touch. Other than that, the DLC gives a couple of cool weapons for Kiryu, that can help you in a tight spot. I don’t really use weapons often, other than passing Bicycles, Trash Cans, and Baseball bats, but they can’t hurt!
Play. More. Yakuza: 4.5/5:
This is a brilliant port of Yakuza Kiwami 2. This engine has some minor graphical issues, mostly restricted to clothes being occasionally weird and ragdoll physics, but it’s not something I’ve seen a whole lot of in my personal playthrough. It’s a terrific game with a fun story, though the ending did make me scream in first confusion, then delight. The change of having side-stories found via an unlockable skill instead of an equippable item was a huge change and one that I was overwhelmed by seeing that. In previous games, you had to wait potentially to Chapter 5 or 6 to find the Side-Story Finder, so you wind up having to search for them on the Internet.
Now I can just open my map, run to where the action is, and engage in the silly, occasionally somber side stories that this franchise is famous for. There are thugs to beat up, skills to unlock, a wealth of stories to explore, and delicious foods to eat. If you should want even more knowledge about what Yakuza Kiwami 2 offers, here’s my review of the PC port. Plus, if you missed out on the previous games, but want to know the story, Kiwami 2 offers up some backstory during the tutorial. It only costs around 20-30 bucks (physical release, at least), but it’s worth so much more. There’s so much to love about the Yakuza franchise. From its accurate depictions of the era and places it takes place in, the frenetic, furious combat, and the memorable story/characters, if you’ve been slacking and not playing Yakuza, fix it! It’s not too late!
A code was given for purposes of this review.