Yakuza Kiwami 2-Recensione
I have already introduced the game in the recent preview, explaining the context for those who have not tried the original and introducing some of the news about secondary activities, graphics based on the new Dragon Engine and development of Kazuma Kiryu. In short, the good-hearted yakuza finds himself embroiled in a war between east and west, Kansai and Kanto, Sotenbori and Kamurocho: the only way to prevent it is to get involved again, investigate the murder of the fifth president of the Tojo Clan and prepare to face Ryuji Goda, the Dragon of Kansai who will repeatedly seek direct confrontation with Kiryu.
Narratively, Yakuza Kiwami 2 enters right among my favorites and with the new Dragon Engine it's all incredibly more beautiful to behold. Story and characters have not changed since the original version, there has been a greater accuracy in the English localization and you can choose to get lost in the memories of Kiryu at the beginning of the adventure to reconnect to the events of Yakuza Kiwami, from which a exact year. However, there is the Majima Saga, an unpublished content divided into three chapters to be unlocked during the main game: it is a story focused on the eccentric dandy and anti-hero par excellence, bothersome and indispensable, where the reasons why he dissolved the own clan to go to the building and will even see the return of his love interest, Makoto Makimura, the blind girl of Yakuza 0. Despite being separated from the main story, the developers made sure to connect them at the gameplay level because through Majima Saga we will be able to transfer money and gifts to Kiryu.
It is a very short content, which will take you no more than a couple of hours if you decide to face the secondary fights, and violent compared to Kiryu. Majima is indeed known for being brutal in the fight and his style reflects his personality. Very fast, so much so as to be even difficult to manage, he prefers the use of the tantō (literally a short sword and the same weapon that his left eye cost) to his fists with which he juggles wildly when the famous Heat Actions are activated .
Although Kamurocho and Sotenbori are familiar to the players who have followed the series in recent years, Yakuza Kiwami 2 expands horizons even further by providing many more clubs and activities. Are you feeling in the mood for a game of Bingo Golf? No problem, 1000 yen is enough to test your skills and get a special prize. Or maybe you are more attracted to the idea of siding with Majima to grow his business through violent road raids managed as if they were an RTS? The Clan Creator also allows you this.
Imported directly from Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, streamlined from the point of view of the HUD despite the fact that little additions have been made in terms of gameplay, it puts us in charge of nine characters to be deployed in the game to fight anyone who wants to put their feet on Kamurocho Hills. Without going into too much detail, the first four fighters on our list will be able to show off their skills by paying in cash (which will be obtained constantly over the course of the skirmish), each of which then needs its own cooldown time. They can be offensive, defensive and supportive for both the troops and the materials we are protecting - on which the success of the various missions depends. The recruitment takes place through flyers, which however may not always be successful, and going to talk to certain characters after their side missions. It didn't take much to improve a content that had already made life in Kamurocho even more lively in the sixth title.
Always a fundamental part of the Yakuza experience, minigames are around every corner ready not only to entertain us but also to unlock the manuals to learn different actions depending on the weapon used, for example with the golf or baseball bat. In fact, abandoning the fighting styles that characterized the first remake, Yakuza Kiwami 2 joins Yakuza 6 once more and adopts a unique style, which can be improved by spending the experience points in the Battle Skills and in the Heat Action as regards the combat itself, or in the Life Skills and Stats if we are interested in more general aspects of Kiryu. Of course, wandering around the city neighborhoods eating excellent sushi while doing karaoke one's passion is important, especially now that Sotenbori in particular is incredibly rich and detailed, however gangster life would not be complete without a few fist fights.
After all, Yakuza is a continuous transition from dialogues and moments of relaxation to memorable explosions of violence. Which the developers know well and not surprisingly they have committed themselves to refine the fight even more to keep the level of interest high: no matter if you have already faced a hundred and more fights, you will always welcome the deluded who believe they can put you carpet - be they delinquentelli or the toughest yakuza.
For those who are beginners and feel suffocated by the number of enemies that could surround him, just hold down the square or triangle in order to concentrate the energies and deal heavy blows that break the guard and throw far more opponents at once. For all the others, the strategy applies for concatenating bare hands, weapons collected on the spot, or already present in the inventory, and Heat Action. I particularly appreciated being able to now collect the weapons dropped by the opponents and "pocket" them (by pressing down on the D-pad) to prevent them from being lost at the end of the battle: if you are a person like me and you love earning money just to not spend it never, except when it comes to eating, is the perfect system to put away an arsenal to be exploited when necessary.
Finally, do you remember the Extreme Heat Mode first introduced in Yakuza 6? Well, Yakuza Kiwami 2 takes it back in full but instead of having it available from the beginning, you will have to progress through the story, face a secondary mission and then unlock it in one of the skill branches. A simple touch of the R2 button will allow you to unleash the dormant power of the Dragon of Dojima, making it insensitive to enemy hits and unlocking not only new Heat Actions but the ability to take and exploit heavy objects that were previously prohibited as weapons: for example the motorcycle. Excellent for quickly getting rid of a large number of enemies, this mode is equally perfect when you challenge a boss who has in turn exceeded the limit, to avoid consuming your medical supplies.
In short, SEGA went to work so that the fight appeared even richer than it already was despite relying on a single style of struggle, adding many more Heat Actions often available after the secondary mission of reference and expanding the area of the clash until inside restaurants or convenience stores (with the consequence that shop assistants will refuse to serve you immediately, afterwards): the furniture can be thrown or destroyed and do not believe that these places are a free zone when you want to escape from a fight. It will not happen often, however the enemies will have little scruple to load you even inside an elegant restaurant, and it is these small touches that demonstrate all the care of the developers.
Despite the implementation of the Dragon Engine, although refined compared to the version used in Yakuza 6, the movements of Kiryu are a bit slow and weighed down during the struggles but unlike the sixth chapter that had suffered in some cases also in the general performance, Yakuza Kiwami 2 settles on stable 30fps. The same jagged edges found in the PS4 Pro version of Yakuza 6 have been significantly reduced, like the bizarre shimmering effect. For the rest the fluidity in the interaction, without any loading between one area and the other, the reworking of the films with shots worthy of a TV series that give the game a very cinematic cut and the refined beauty of Kamurocho and Sotenbori make Yakuza Kiwami 2 one of the best titles in the series, capable of keeping up with the breathtaking environments of Yakuza 0 and the attention to detail in the sixth chapter. If you are passionate, there is no reason not to buy it.
I played Yakuza Kiwami 2 on a PlayStation 4 Pro connected to a Samsung UE40MU6400 TV, downloading it from the PS Store thanks to a code provided by the publisher Koch Media. I have a total of about forty hours which includes many side missions and moments of leisure with minigames. The game is not localized in Italian.