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Parents' Guide to

Yakuza Kiwami 2

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Classic Japanese crime sequel gets rebuilt and revamped.

Yakuza Kiwami 2 Poster Image

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For roughly 15 years, this series has told the epic tale of Kazuma Kiryu's struggle to leave behind his past as a member of a crime family and the events that keep pulling him back to it. Yakuza Kiwami 2 turns back the clock a bit, retelling the chapter first told in the PlayStation 2 classic, Yakuza 2. The game has been rebuilt from the ground up, and it shows. The visuals are crisp, colorful, and detailed. It's hard not to spend a lot of time in this open-world adventure just admiring the scenery and taking in everything the city has to offer. Players can stroll into Club Sega and play some classic arcade games, have private photo shoots with a couple of models, or work off some tension in the batting cages. While these mini-games do earn players a little extra experience, money, and other items, they also break up the action and make things feel more real. After a while, walking around the city can lose a little bit of its charm, thanks to the long pauses between activities. Still, it's an interesting way to get a glimpse at some Japanese culture that players might not otherwise experience.

Of course, players don't just spend their time lounging around and taking in the nightlife. There's a lot of action, and it's also been revamped for the remake. Although combat might seem like just a simple beat-'em-up, it's actually a complex mix of timing and chaining moves together. The fighting can feel sluggish at times, and it can be frustrating when an enemy breaks up a combo and beats the player down for a bit. But there's also a thrill in things falling into place, watching a foe get beat in a successfully executed Heat Attack. Over time, players will start to get used to the more methodical combat system, making it easier to fine-tune Kiryu's martial arts prowess, though it never feels quite as responsive as it should. Rounding out the content, the added Majima Saga scenario is almost a full game unto itself. While the gameplay doesn't necessarily feel like anything new, it's a lot of fun to step into the shoes of the outlandish, half-crazy "Mad Dog of Shimano" and see the fan-favorite character get some real development.

Game Details

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