(The Yakuza Kiwami 2 demo is only available on the Japanese PSN Store. You will have to create a Japanese PSN account to play the demo).
The remaster/ remake of Kazuma Kiryu’s first adventure was an absolute treat. It was given the HD treatment, it added fun new content that wasn’t in the original PS2 release and it introduced Kiryu to a new audience. Yakuza Kiwami was a remaster done right. Now Yakuza 2 is getting the same treatment as its predecessor, remastered for a new generation and is getting new content as well. The demo I played showcases a small chunk of the game but enough for me to have opinion on how it could end up. Is Yakuza Kiwami 2 a good remaster? From the demo I played, it looks like Yakuza Kiwami 2 is doing Kiryu’s second outing justice.
There wasn’t much story in the demo but you do get to see Ryuji Goda, the antagonist of Yakuza Kiwami 2. The demo starts with a cutscene where Kazuma Kiryu and a young Daigo Dojima are having a conversation on a train heading towards the city of Sotenbori. When the cutscene ends, there is a bit more chatter but after that, the city is yours to explore.
My first playthrough of the demo I focused solely on the story. You head towards the Grand (a Hostess Club that people who played Yakuza 0 will remember fondly) and you are unable to get a seat upstairs as you need VIP access. Once you obtain what is needed you are then able to go upstairs and watch a tense cutscene unfold. Eventually Kiryu has to have a fight here against some goons but as you’d expect, they are no match for the Dragon of Dojima. Your reward is another tense cutscene between Kiryu and Goda. When the cutscene ends, the demo ends too. There’s not much story content in the demo but if you’ve played the original release of Yakuza 2, then you know how it all pans out.
Whilst there isn’t much story in the demo, there is plenty to do in Sotenbori. There’s plenty of activities to do and a never-ending supply of punks to beat up. The iconic karaoke was available to play in the demo but unfortunately there was only one song playable. It’s a shame but it was fun and don’t worry, there will be more songs in the full release. There are no batting cages or bowling in Sotenbori but there is a new activity, “Indoor Golf”. Now indoor golf might sound boring but it’s actually quite fun, I played the golf mini-game quite a bit and became somewhat addicted to it. Karaoke will always be my favourite mini-game in the Yakuza series but, will indoor golf take second place away from the Pocket Car Racing? (I really like the Pocket Car Racing mini-game) That remains to be seen but it’s definitely a fun way to pass the time in Sotenbori.
There are other activites in Yakuza Kiwami 2 but they are the ones we see in every game in the series like, Darts, Shogi and Mahjong. There is the Sega Arcade of which has Virtua Fighter 2 and Virtual On but unfortunately they weren’t playable. It’s a shame as I’d like to play those classics on PS4 but oh well. The UFO catcher was playable though and I got a prize from it.
There is another pastime that Kiryu can do and from what I can gather, Kiryu goes to watch a dirty movie. You see nothing other than Kiryu leaning so close to the TV that he nearly wears it for a hat and expressions of relief. The Yakuza series has never feared going into the weird and wonderful territory, so fans should expect things like this. There could be more activities like this and if there are, then they weren’t playable in the demo.
There are some sub-stories in the demo which was cool. A quick and easy sub-story involved a civilian being harassed by a rather unpleasant man and so the civilian asks for your help. You can say yes, which results in you having a fight with the unpleasant man. You can say no and just walk away, of which the scared member of the public remains scared and continues to be bullied by the man. Kiryu’s a good guy though so I helped him out. There’s a sub-story involving a guitarist on a bridge, a chef whose knife isn’t in the best condition and a woman dressed rather scantily in the street. The sub-stories are weird and wonderful, just like they always have been. Some sub-stories return from the original release (I would imagine all of them return but I’m not sure) and there may be some new ones. I can’t wait to see what strange predicaments Kiryu finds himself in as a result of doing the sub-stories.
Combat is pretty much the same as it was in Yakuza 6 so if you’ve played it, then you know how it works. If you haven’t played Yakuza 6 then check out my preview of the Yakuza 6 demo to read about what the combat is like. Fighting feels a bit smoother in Yakuza Kiwami 2 but that is to be expected, Extreme Heat Mode returns and you can take the fight into some interiors and trash the place. The Heat Gauge is different this time around. In Yakuza 6 there are “Heat Orbs which is effectively a meter. In Kiwami 2 the Heat Orbs are gone in favour of a more traditional gauge/ meter.
Health meter is still the same as it always been. One difference in Yakuza Kiwami 2 is that key enemies/ bosses have more than one layer of health. In Yakuza 6 bosses only have one layer of health but as a result their health doesn’t go down as quick as usual. Kiwami 2 brings back the different coloured layers of health and as such fights last a little bit longer. Changes aside though the combat in Yakuza Kiwami 2 still does the most important things well, it is in-depth, fun and very satisfying.
Like Yakuza 6, Kiwami 2 has a photo mode that is accessed from the game’s phone. You can take photos of whatever you want and there are few filters that you can play around with. It’s not the most in-depth photo mode but it’s a welcome addition. Also who doesn’t to see Kiryu take selfie. I took a number of photos with the camera. I’ve put them in a nice slideshow of sorts below for you to see.
My time with the Yakuza Kiwami 2 demo was fun, I would’ve liked more activities to have been playable but there was enough there to keep me occupied for around two hours. It runs well as I did not experience a dip in the framerate. The biggest problem I had with the demo was that the camera could be very fiddly when I was in certain stores but, this may be fixed in the full game.
I had fun with the Yakuza Kiwami 2 demo and it’s nice to see that the Yakuza team are redoing their older titles for new generation. If you’ve played the original Yakuza 2 release on PlayStation 2 then I wouldn’t worry about Kiwami 2, as from what I have played they are doing Kiryu’s second outing justice.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 will release in Japan on December 7. There’s no word on a western release as of yet but given how well the recent Yakuza releases have done, it is only a matter of time before we hear something.
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