The remakes are a tough one to peel: the thin line that separates “too much” from “little” is really faint, difficult to notice. Is twisting a title to adapt it to modernity right or wrong? Is it better to remain faithful to the original, despite being born in a different historical era? The beauty of Yakuza remakes - seen with Yakuza Kiwami and back now with Yakuza Kiwami 2 - lies in the choices that are made from time to time. Last year we had the opportunity to discover the birth of the myth of Yakuza, but this year this title brings one of the most beautiful feuds of the saga, the one between Kiryu e Ryuji, in addition to the appearance of the character of Daigo Dojima. But let's start with order.
The sins of the fathers
As you will see in the Yakuza saga the theme of consequences often returns, we could even say that everything that Kiryu does, the Dojima dragon, always starts from mechanisms triggered by him (or by others), a bit like the Butterfly Effect. In this case the problems are generated precisely by the consequences of the events of the first chapter: after having solved everything, power gaps begin to shake both the interior of the Tojo Clan, and the stormy relations with the Osaka gangs, the Omi Family.
To solve everything, Kiryu will go on a journey with Daigo Dojima, son of the deceased Sohei (seen at the beginning of the first chapter), to clash with Ryuji Goda, son of the head of the Omi Jin Goda Family. Ryuji will be a real Kiryu doppelganger, as he has more or less the same fame in Kansai, even being called the Dragon of Kansai. His goal, among many, will be to defeat his rival and enemy to become the Dragon of all Japan.
Yakuza 2 it marked a step forward in the saga because, in addition to being able to revisit Kamurocho, this time the adventure also brought our hero to Osaka, the new city for the series. Both return in this Yakuza Kiwami 2, faithfully reproduced in aesthetics, a little less in content.
Different and better
The developers have decided not to render Yakuza Kiwami 2 - rightly so - a remake made with a stencil: generations change, the sector evolves and experience improves points of view. For this the whole game has undergone some small changes to improve the usability of the game.
La history main has undergone slight changes, almost imperceptible, to improve the fluidity of the story: at the time some scenes were unfortunately handled poorly, and these changes make the plot more understandable and clear. For the substories instead the changes have been greater: some of these have been merged, others canceled or inserted in other situations: the choice in this case was aimed at avoiding too many breaks between one scene and another. Yakuza is already known for being full of tempting mini-games, capable of making us spend hours away from the game plot, and the substories are no less.
Great and different improvements have also been introduced in the combat system: Yakuza Kiwami 2 takes a lot from Yakuza 6 (also because of the graphics engine they share), removing some now senseless moves in favor of other signature moves seen in subsequent chapters. But the real big leap forward was taken by taking and improving an almost unique game feature of the second chapter: Yakuza 2 featured many different weapons to use, and the remake is no exception, adding more to the list.
The sum of all this means that Yakuza Kiwami 2 reaches an almost perfect rhythm, which manages to intersperse adrenaline sections with reasoned parts, making Kiryu's journey never boring. Certainly the game maintains its long cutscenes, but if you approach such a title, it is a price that you have to take into account.
Two worlds collide
We do not speak of course Kamurocho e Osaka, but of the Dragon Engine and modern Yakuza features. In fact, the game features two great additions to the cauldron: an unpublished story dedicated to Goro Majima and Clan Creator, seen in Yakuza 6. In the first case, the adventure intersects with that of Kiryu, and tells the point of view of Majima in about three chapters: it does not maintain the great freedoms of the main title, but presents some fun and brutal fights, very different from those of the protagonist. The Clan Creator brings back everything that made them famous in Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, with battles, gang building and unlockable characters. The minigames remain more or less the same, and the beloved Cabaret Club (seen in Yakuza 6 and Yakuza 0) returns.
Developers with this Yakuza Kiwami 2 they wanted to create a hybrid, a chapter capable of striking the soul of fans of the series who want to experience the epic battle Kiryu against Ryuji, but at the same time make new players fall in love with all the gameplay mechanics that have made the saga famous. In a sort of time bubble, the past of the plot of Yakuza 2 and the present of the gameplay of Yakuza 6 are mixed in a title that unites, this time with a single generational distance, the whole saga of the most beloved Japanese mafia ever.
The part of the eye
Technically the Dragon Engine it is exploited at maximum power: the problems seen in the previous titles have been solved and, except for small smears due to the very nature of the engine, we can say that in Yakuza Kiwami 2 you will see the graphics engine used in the best way. The sound has not received many changes, apart from a few acted scenes shot again due to recasting of some characters, and as usual the dubbing remains only Japanese, but has subtitles of various kinds.
Basically, we talk about added value. Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2 have only one portion of name in common: in the first case, the basic dough is the same as Yakuza 0 but with a drop of Yakuza 1, that is the story; Yakuza Kiwami 2 instead manages to take the ingredients of Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, but mixes them in different doses, creating something new and better, different. We have defined remakes of the productions based on the copy paste, but SEGA e Amusement Vision they managed to find the right dosage so as not to ruin the game either on one side or the other. We were talking about it in the beginning, the thin line that separates the too much from the little is really faint. Yet it exists, and Yakuza Kiwami 2 is an example of it.