Yakuza Kiwami 2

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Catherine Le Nevez
@catherinelenevez
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Among the numerous figures that make up the eastern mythological pantheon, the dragon stands out for its strength, glory and grandeur. These are certainly sublime characteristics, sometimes too overwhelming: it is therefore impossible for two specimens of this genus to be able to coexist in the same kingdom without any encumbrance. As repeated several times during the saga created by Toshiro Nagoshi, “there is room for only one dragon”. Prevail and survival, two pillars on which Yakuza Kiwami rests its foundations 2. After the exciting conclusion of the sixth and final chapter, Sega allows us to retrace our steps, to that distant 2006, during which we witnessed for the first time to the clash between Kiryu Kazuma and Ryuji Goda, the dragon of Kansai. Never an epithet like "Kiwami" - which can be translated into English as "Extreme" - would have been more appropriate for this roaring adventure: the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has succeeded in the arduous task of combining the best elements of Yakuza with the new technology of Yakuza 6, taking it to extremes and perfecting the game formula, seasoned with a pressing plot and numerous twists. As eager to learn more about the future of the series, we would be lying if we said we didn't want all the other chapters in Dragon Engine to be remakes. The announcement of the remastered versions of the episodes published on PlayStation 3 is certainly a happy event, welcomed with the pleasure of many, but the desire to see this graphics engine at work again is really strong. Without further ado, follow us through the streets of Kamurocho, for our review of Yakuza Kiwami 2.



A year has now passed since the incident of the Millennium Tower and the ten billion yen: leaving the ghosts of the past behind, Kiryu and little Haruka are preparing to start a new life together. Before leaving the chaotic urban agglomeration, the two decide to say goodbye to their dead one last time, amidst lost loves and old friendships. Although the cemetery is a sacred place where silence and recollection prevail, the clamor of war knows no rules and formalities: our protagonist is joined by Terada, current president of the Tojo Clan, who warns him about the imminent clash between the criminal organization and the Omi Alliance of Osaka. Leaving for Sotenbori - a neighborhood already known to most after the events of chapter zero - to mediate between the two clans and avoid a series of bloody massacres, we will first have to find a young and rebellious Daigo Dojima. It goes without saying that almost nothing goes as predicted, throwing us into a series of misadventures and situations with an apparently impossible solution. Unlike what is proposed by the sixth episode, the main antagonist of Kiwami 2 is one of the most loved by the audience of the series: Ryuji Goda, the dragon of Kansai, is a charismatic, violent and ambitious leader, obsessed with his own rise to power. The final clash between the two heavyweights of East and West is an event expected for the duration of the adventure, which will not fail to amaze us with various reversals, including dark puppeteers, machinations and betrayals.. As if that were not enough, the three totally unreleased chapters starring Goro Majima are added to the evergreen plot of Yakuza 2: the creative team has allowed us not only to take on the role of the powerful and unpredictable "Shimano's Mad Dog" again, but also provided the answers to numerous questions, which have remained open since the events of the 80s. One of the biggest problems of The Song of Life were some portions of the game that were decidedly slower and without particular bite. Fortunately this is not the case with Kiwami 2, which reserves several twists at the end of each parenthesis. The large number of filmed sequences could perhaps make lovers of the purest action turn up their noses, but believe us: the quality level of the direction and the interpretation of the actors will be worth every single minute of viewing. After the main adventure - with a total duration of about fifteen hours - you can, as usual, restart the game with the New Game Plus or continue in the free exploration of the environments. The side stories feature really well-written little adventures, more in number than Yakuza 6 but definitely fewer when compared to the plethora of those in Yakuza 0.



The second Kiwami is a product that well balances the offer of the two aforementioned titles, both from a qualitative and a content point of view.

Some of the most successful businesses in the past are making a comeback in a big way: we're talking about Clan Creator and cabaret-club. The first takes over in all respects the structure of the Kiryu Clan, placing us in the role of manager for Majima Construction. The latter basically requires you to defend your outpost from enemy assaults, recruit stronger and stronger men and upgrade all the equipment at our disposal. Both the mechanics and the missions follow the same plot as the Clan in Yakuza 6, with some minor changes. To get our hands dirty we will no longer find the anonymous hordes of minions, but all the individual fighters added to our ranks, with unique offensive and defensive skills. For its part, the Cabaret Grand Prix - in addition to being a real drug - does not in any way alter the formula of the Club Sunshine of Yakuza 0: the experts of this mode will be perfectly at ease and will be able to cash in large sums. of money without too much effort. These two very welcome inclusions are able to drastically increase the number of hours it takes to complete the game: the most sensible will be able to accumulate a hundred very well. To all this are added the various mini-games, from arcade cabinets to Japanese chess of Shogi, from Blackjack to cursed Mahjong. In this regard it would be good to open a parenthesis. That these are available and that Kiwami 2 asks us to take part in them is certainly a good thing: what is difficult to digest is that, to complete the Completition List and obtain the Platinum trophy, it will be necessary to become particularly skilled in each of them. Without taking into account the RNG factor, exceptions aside, a Western player could hardly finish a Shogi or Mahjong match with exorbitant advantages. Its intrinsically Japanese nature is undoubtedly one of the main reasons why many appreciate the saga, but perhaps such requests could get on the nerves of our local public: it would be like asking the Japanese to defeat "Don Antonio, the king of scientific Scopone ”Down at the village bar. In addition to gambling, there are also much more relaxing activities, such as the inevitable karaoke or perverse photo shoots for hard flesh and blood actresses. We will also be able to engage in chaotic and hilarious clashes at the Coloseum, absent in the previous Yakuza 6, where we will face anonymous opponents, well-known faces and even ferocious animals.



The combat system, the true skeleton of the entire offer, has been inherited from The Song of Life, maintaining the singularity of the style, the numerous Heat Actions and the great accessibility even for beginners. By charging the Heat bar to the maximum we will be able to activate the Super Heat Mode, with which to unleash a storm of devastating blows on our enemies, while bringing the boss on duty to the limit of exhaustion you will get an ad hoc final move called "Feel the Heat ”, With which to conclude the clash in a spectacular way. Completing objectives and defeating enemies will make us accumulate points, to be spent in the different sections, divided by physical, mental and social skills. This time, however, it will no longer be enough to complete the single main campaign to find a Kiryu in maximum physical condition, but we will also have to complete most of the secondary tasks. The realism of the battles of Yakuza 6 is opposed by the more arcade and spectacular spirit of Yakuza 0. In the final chapter of this huge odyssey we had underlined how the clashes with the bosses had lost that particular scenic appetite. This time, however, we were able to see how the music has changed, with the return of multi-life bars and the always dear QTEs. Thanks to the reintroduction of these characteristics, the comparisons - especially those of the final bars - have been more long-lived and exciting.. Also worthy of mention is the possibility of using weapons, which range from normal iron clubs to crazy lightsabers, allowing us to often overturn the outcome of some encounters. Unfortunately, net of all the technical improvements made by the Dragon Engine, the camera turns out to be too much of a dancer, at least as regards the fighting, often placing oneself in blind spots or corners with poor visibility.


USEFUL INFO

The game was completed on the standard PlayStation 4. To then test the performance improvements, some game sessions were also carried out on the PlayStation 4 Pro. Being part of a saga so full of characters and events, it is advisable to first recover both Yakuza 0 and the first Yakuza Kiwami. In case you are particularly impatient, you will find some explanations filmed right in the first moments of the game.


Duration
  • The main adventure has an average duration ranging from fifteen to twenty hours of play.
  • By completing the game at 100% (good luck) you can also accumulate over one hundred hours.
Structure
  • Map that can be explored on foot, with a small size but an incredible density.
  • Acquisition of skills and enhancement through accumulated points.
  • Action with RPG colors and a very strong narrative component.
  • Both New Game Plus and free post-final continuation are available.
  • Division into chapters: sixteen for the main plot and three bonuses starring Majima.
  • A multitude of activities and side missions.
Collectibles and Extras
  • Locker keys in Osaka and Tokyo
  • Legendary weapons
Game Card
  • Game Name: Yakuza Kiwami 2
  • Release date: August 28 2018
  • Platforms: PlayStation 4
  • Dubbing language: Japanese
  • Texts language: English

From the artistic point of view, Kiwami 2 stands at very high levels as regards the saga of the Dragon of Dojima. The face models during the filmed sequences do justice to the performances of actors such as Susumu Terajima, who brilliantly portrayed the dark detective Jiro Kawara. Likewise, the dubbing in the original language is excellent as usual, able to easily convey the tension and the great pathos of the dialogues. The subtitling work in English was carried out in the best possible way, with an understandable and never too abstruse language. The absence of Italian is a lack on which one could well or badly turn a blind eye, noting how often in Yakuza the images can speak even for themselves. The sound accompaniment unfortunately fails to give great pearls as in the past (Yakuza 3 and Yakuza 0 still remain undefeated), with the exception of the themes of Kei Ibuchi, Ryuji Goda and the credits. In terms of performance, the title of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio does an excellent job on the PlayStation 4 Pro while still presenting some small defects - such as sporadic aliasing over long distances and some rare drop in frame rate - on its standard counterpart, without however creating particular annoyance. to the player. The districts of Kamurocho and Sotenbori, with their contrasts of green and red, remain particularly pleasant to explore, always saturated with neon signs and suggestive places to photograph.

In conclusion, Yakuza Kiwami 2 is the most complete, vast and varied experience of the entire series to date, with an engaging storyline and immersive and fun gameplay.. Before going into this second "extreme" adventure, we obviously recommend that you retrieve the previous Zero and Kiwami, both to get to know each face and event better (don't worry, there are numerous explanations filmed in the first few minutes) and to better master each mechanics… provided you have a few hundred hours at your disposal. The perfect balance in quantitative and qualitative terms between Yakuza 0 and Yakuza 6 has given life to an excellent product, a must for any fan of the Kiryu Kazuma saga and enjoyable even for less experienced players.. Before putting Kiwami 2 back on the shelf and feeling complete, you will have to sacrifice a large part of your free time.

Farow's review
Graphics

In Yakuza Kiwami 2 we find a Dragon Engine now well run in and in great dust. After the first experiment of the sixth chapter, the development team learned how to best use the graphics engine, obtaining excellent results, especially with regard to the filmed sections and the rendering of the faces. Excellent not only the lighting system but also the quality of the textures and the management of the game physics. Absent on PlayStation 4 Pro, we still find some small technical defects on its standard counterpart, such as aliasing over long distances and some sporadic drop in frame rates.

84
SOUNDTRACK AND DOUBLE ROOM

The soundtrack does not offer pearls of particular value as in the past but it is still possible to find some quality traces, especially that of the final battle and the credits. The real strength of the Kiwami 2 audio sector, however, lies in the dubbing in the original language and in the actor's performance of some protagonists.

89
GAMEPLAY

The gameplay of Yakuza Kiwami 2 is the result of many years of experience, experiments and refinements. To date, the playful offer proposed is the best of the entire Dojima Dragon saga, both in terms of size and quality of content. The combat system has been made more accessible, less woody and enhanced by the inclusion of more realistic body and object physics. Hitting your hands and giving "head in the mouth" has never been so satisfying. On the other hand, the excessive difficulty of some minigames typical of the Japanese tradition, necessary to 100% complete the game, is difficult to digest: the frustration factor could sometimes demoralize you.

90
Total Rating scale
88
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