With Zero, Kiwami, and 6 all earning Western releases as of late due to fan demand, it was only a matter of time before Yakuza Kiwami 2 made its way to store shelves in the United States. There’s never been a better time to be a Yakuza fan overseas, especially with series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi recently going on the record to state that the forthcoming Yakuza 3, 4, and 5 remakes would be coming stateside simply due to high demand. Given the years it’s been since fans have played any of the original games and the generational upgrades the medium has made since its PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube days, it’s worth pointing out all the differences between Yakuza 2 and its Kiwami 2. Fans will find that a lot more than just graphics has changed, as gameplay and story elements have also evolved with time.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 Differences: Gameplay
Like the recently released Yakuza 6, Kiwami 2 gives players the freedom to experiment with different fighting styles and new heat moves as they see fit, though Kiryu in this title does have a playstyle unique enough to set it apart from other remakes in the franchise. Whereas some parry and counter moves like Tiger Drop do seamlessly transition into Kiwami 2, a lot of the controls and techniques offered in previous entries are completely different this time around.
Seeing as how this is the second game built in Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s Dragon Engine, animations are smooth and combat feels tight and refined. Once players start investing in skills, they’ll see their combo speeds rapidly increase. There are tons of customization options to find here, too, especailly with weapons being thrown into the mix. A wide variety can be carried in your arsenal and up to three can be used during combat at any given time. This makes the most sophistication that the series has seen so far, and a grand departure from the original Yakuza 2.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 Differences: Story
All the original cutscenes and main story elements of Yakuza 2 remain in Kiwami 2, unraveling a tale that’s just as compelling as it was when fans first witnessed it during the PS2 era. An amazing amount of care had been put into recreating Yakuza 2‘s fantastic narrative beat-for-beat, and it certainly shows.
Though nothing major has been altered from a story perspective, some substories have been removed so as to retain focus. Many of the quests that have been removed have been replaced by new quests that are just as fun as the original Yakuza 2 side missions. Some connect to more modern games in the series like Yakuza 0, even. It should also be noted that as players progress through Kiwami 2‘s main scenario, they’ll be able to unlock additional, never-before-witnessed chapters in the form of the Majima Saga, putting users in the shoes of the franchise’s iconic anti-hero for an enjoyable three-hour experience.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 Differences: Graphics
Perhaps the most noticeable difference between the original Yakuza 2 and Kiwami 2 lies in graphics and presentation. Kiwami 2 represents the series as its pinnacle in terms of visual fidelity, as some environments have been rendered more beautifully than Yakuza 6 before it. Textures pop off of food and light gleams off of metallic objects. Though Kiwami 2 runs at 30 FPS like 6, there’s hardly any noticeable slowdown during fights and the action all effortlessly flows on-screen. Characters look incredibly detailed during cutscenes and the cities of Soutenbori and Kamurocho have been recreated with painstaking accuracy, too.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 Differences: Cut Content
As was the case in the first Kiwami entry, some content has been cut from the original Yakuza 2, most notably in the form of minigames and substories. Though some missions have been merged into others so as to provide more clarity, some classics like the Club Adam host organization have been removed entirely. Bowling and pool have also been removed, and players can no longer visit shrines as guests. Some fan favorite tracks like the introductory music and the Hayashi fight theme music have also been cut in favor of new sounds, and the entire Shineseicho section has been removed, presumably for how little importance it plays in the main scenario.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 Differences: Clan Creator and Cabaret Club
Last but not least, Kiwami 2 sees the return of the popular Clan Creator from Yakuza 6, complete with Network mode so that diehard fans of the franchise can try their luck at placing within the top ten rankings on the leaderboards. The Cabaret Club minigame also returns, though this time tasks places with managing their own business. For more on these, check out our dedicated guides.