The Yakuza series is a Japanese bullet-train without any breaks, and it’s been taking English fans by storm these last couple years with a bevy of localized hits arriving in quick succession. The latest meaty Yakuza release to leave Japan is Yakuza Kiwami 2, the PS4 remaster of the original PS2 sequel.
While Kiwami 1 took the skeleton of Yakuza Zero and used it to remaster a classic entry, Kiwami 2 is built on the back of the new Dragon Engine from Yakuza 6. This remake doesn’t just spitshine the graphics and add a few extra wrinkles to Kiryus face, though. It adds a whole suite of new activities, features, and upgrades to the game that make this a package worth checking out, even if you just beat Yakuza 2 on PS2 yesterday. We’ve been playing the first few chapters of the game and here are some of the biggest additions that you won’t want to miss.
Virtua-Fight In Classic SEGA Arcade Games
Yakuza games are known for being packed with plenty of minigames, but recent entries in the series have outdone themselves by including full versions of other SEGA games to be played at arcades in the game-world. Yakuza 6, for example, had playable versions of Puyo Puyo and Virtua Fighter 5. Since Yakuza 2 takes place in the early 2000s, the arcade-lineup here is a bit more retro. You’ll be able to go to Club SEGA and play Virtua Fighter 2, as well as cult-classic robot arena-fighter Virtual-On. If you’ve got a pal, you can even do versus matches in Virtua Fighter 2 straight from the main menu of the game.
Same Town, New Sights
In the original version of Yakuza 2, your time is split between the familiar city-scape of Kamurocho, and a brand new district in Osaka called Sotenburi. This region only appears in a couple of Yakuza games, but it’s back in Kiwami 2 and it’s gotten a massive facelift you have to see to believe.
Much like the jaw-dropping amount of detail put into Kamurocho for Yakuza 6, Sotenburi is filled to the brim with gorgeous lights, explorable stores, and interesting NPCs. If you’ve played the original Yakuza 2, the new version of Sotenburi is mind-blowing, and it’s absolutely worth exploring from head to toe.
Literally Take The Piss
In real-life Japan, SEGA has their hands in many pots. They have huge stores and arcades all over Japan, and in some of these locations, they have very unique urinals installed. At these urinals, your pee-stream is used to play a quirky video game on the television display in front of your face. Yeah. For real.
If you want to take a crack at it but don’t see yourself taking a piss in Japan anytime soon, you can live vicariously through Kiryu with the new pissing mini-game in Kiwami 2. Just like real life, if you go to select bathrooms in the game world, you’ll be able to piss your way to victory in a fun-for-all-ages minigame.
Command & Conquer
One of the biggest new features in the previous game, Yakuza 6, was the new Create-A-Clan side activity. It’s making a comeback in Kiwami 2, and it’s even bigger than before. In this, Kiryu can train and customize his own clan of street fighters by recruiting enemies off the streets and converting them to his side. You take your Kiryu Clan into RTS-style missions, where you have an overhead view of the battle area as you command dozens of soldiers to run through the streets and defeat enemy battlers.
There isn’t any base-building or upgrade-path manipulation, but the resource management and hordes of fighters make this a fun treat for anyone with an RTS itch. If you’re a fan of old-school Japanese wrestling, a handful of classic pro-wrestlers even appear in the mode as recruitable fighters and boss encounters.
Experience Life As Your Favorite Eyepatched Maniac
Easily one of the most iconic characters in the Yakuza franchise is the Mad Dog himself, Goro Majima. He’s been present in practically every game, and his unique personality and charisma have made him a huge fan favorite. He’s popular enough to have gotten a hugely expanded role in the first Kiwami game, and he’s getting similar treatment in Kiwami 2.
You’ll be able to experience a brand new side-campaign where you play as Majima and encounter Makoto from Yakuza Zero. For fans of that game, this isn’t the first time we’ve gotten to play as Majima, but it is the first time we’ve gotten to play as Majima in his modern, crazy Mad Dog form, which is bound to be exciting for long-time fans.
Life Is A Cabaret, Old Chum
It’s hard to imagine Kiryu Kazuma as the kind of man who’d sit behind a desk and file paperwork for an established business, yet Kiwami 2 sees him doing just that with the return of the Cabaret Management minigame.
Kiryu gets recruited by Club Four Shine to help them boost their business and take home the prize on the Cabaret Club Grand Prix. The amount of stuff going on in this side-activity is honestly kind of insane. You’ll be recruiting new cabaret girls, customizing their appearances, managing their interactions with customers, and experiencing a slew of new side stories along the way. If you thought the one thing missing from the Yakuza series was dress shopping, your prayers have finally been answered.
Punch an Actual Tiger In The God-Damned Face
Theres a long-running motif of animals being present throughout the history of the Yakuza franchise. Giant animal tattoos define a proud Yakuza man, and these animals are a reflection of their status, their strengths, and their beliefs. You’ll clash fists with the men who bare these tattoos, but you rarely come to battle the actual animals themselves.
What if you did, though? What if you literally fought an animal? What if, in Yakuza Kiwami 2, you literally fought giant twin tigers with nothing but your two fists? As shown in several trailers, Kiwami 2 does that, y’all. It does it and though we haven’t reached that point in the game yet, it’s going to be incredible.
This fight was in the original game, sure, but with the improved combat engine and gorgeous visuals, kicking giant cat ass has never been better. Go use a Heat Move on a tiger. It’s what Kiryu would want.