Just about two months ago, I took a look at Yakuza Kiwami‘s premiere on PC. The crux of my thoughts involved being nostalgic for the era of PS2 games with straightforward plotting and action. Now, on the eve of Yakuza Kiwami 2‘s PC re-release, I marvel at just how much difference time can make. While both games have their roots on the same console, Kiwami 2 benefits from the more advanced Yakuza 6 engine. Where Kiwami seems to revel in perfecting the past, Kiwami 2 brings the past forward into the modern day and this quick turnaround is quite thrilling.
In fact, thanks to a lengthy story summary chronicling every beat in the first game, it might even be recommendable to start with Kiwami 2. The sequel’s city just feels alive, with more corridors and back alleys to wander around in. When people talk about Yakuza, they speak about digital tourism. The unique ability to visit and explore a particular snapshot of Japan’s recent history. After playing through a chunk of Kiwami 2, it’s easy to see exactly where everyone is coming from and feel drawn in by the city streets.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 PC | Taking it to the streets
The streamlined combat system also draws the player in. Upgraded alongside the engine, Kiwami 2 no longer features four distinct fighting styles with unique skill trees. Instead, you get points in different categories for pretty much anything you do, and you can invest them in stat boosts or new abilities. Whether you’re punching thugs or throwing chairs around, the action is as great as ever. It’s a modern translation of brawlers that adds layers of depth and complexity while retaining the genre’s simplicity.
Even in my first few hours, it felt like I was chipping away at upgrades and learning the ropes fast. Even with plenty of story setup and drawn our story scenes, there’s a great sense of momentum throughout the proceedings. You’re free to lose yourself in optional activities and alternate conversations, but there’s always something nudging you back on track. Even more so than the first Kiwami, scenes play out with a cinematic flair that many games would die for.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 PC | A bicycle built for ballyhoo
Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have already played Kiwami 2 upon its initial release, you know all this already. Much like the first port, Sega and their partners have done an amazing job bringing this PS4 game over to personal computers. Even on modest hardware, the game runs with few technical hiccups at any framerate your monitor can muster. The odd tend of lacking an in-game “Quit to Windows” function remains. Even so, this port handles tabbing out and minimizing perfectly. It even pauses cutscenes for you if you really need to hit your email during a long story segment. How convenient.
Despite being on PC, Yakuza Kiwami and its sequel also both feel like gamepad experiences. If you want to try both styles, switching between keyboard and controller works as you expect. The game moves with you, picking up inputs from wherever they come from. Still, throwing goons around Mario-style and aiming your bicycle tosses really requires the firm touch of a thumbstick. One quirk of note, several of the store menus will have you confirm purchases with the “back button” equivalent. You know, the two overlapping windows on an Xbox One pad? Whatever that’s called. It’s just odd as not that many games use the button for anything vital, even back before it was confusing.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 PC | Another quality computer release
With both these releases and Catherine, Sega has proven its dedication to top of the line PC ports. It’s certainly gotten better in recent years, but it’s still great to see a Japanese company embrace the platform and make its games last. PC games aren’t bulletproof when it comes to preservation, but they certainly last longer than their console counterparts. When a port comes along and the worst problem is that you have to use Alt+F4 instead of a menu option, you’re coming out ahead.
As for the game itself, while Yakuza Kiwami did offer a glimpse at a PS2 game with all the bells and whistles, Kiwami 2 bridges the gap. It takes you from the series’ roots to more modern iterations, acting as a great stepping stone for players who haven’t yet spent hundreds of hours experiencing Kiryu’s tale. For people who want to return to Yakuza 2, Kiwami preserves the game in a pristine and improved condition. For those just starting their journey, the improved mechanics and better pacing makes Kiwami 2 a great starting point if you’re not dead set on playing every game the series has to offer.
GameRevolution played Yakuza Kiwami 2 on PC via Steam with a copy provided by the publisher. For more Kiwami 2, be sure to check out our full review of the PS4 release.