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Yakuza 2 the 2nd game in the series with a great story

9.5

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
20 to 40 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Surprisingly good"

Summary

Yakuza 2 is the 2nd game in the series made for the ps2 and it has improved a whole lot from the first yakuza game which makes people think why didn't they do this for the North American release for the first yakuza

You play as the protagonist Kazuma Kiryu an ex-chairman and ex-yakuza mafia soldier has decided to try and live in peace with his niece Haruka. A few years have past from the first game and now a new plot has appeared when a Korean mafia group the Jingweon steps in and causes havoc. During this time the Omi clan from Osaka is waging a war against the Tojo clan from Tokyo. Kazuma must re-enter the crime underworld to resolve this problem.

The game has improved in many ways such as a better combat system, sharpened game graphics which looks a lot better than the first one and now their is no longer the off sync and bad english translation. Like all good japanese games they decided to keep the japanese voices and go for the good old english subtitles. Which surprisingly work pretty well.

This time instead of concentrating on Tokyo's Kamurocho you also head to Osaka with its very own side quest's. The stuff such as the hostess club's mission and the cage fights in purgatory remains intact. But they could have added more like they did to Yakuza 3. But still its a good package and its a good way to keep you playing when you're not following the story. If you have a Yakuza 1 saved game you will receive some beginning items from your niece Haruka which is good for people who is just starting out the game.

My last thoughts are that this game can add a lot more but with the new story, new location's and secrets to find also more side missions like owning a hostess club will keep you busy for awhile since after you beaten the game you have the choice to choose adventure mode which mainly focuses on the side quests but harder.

The Verdict:

Story: Nice continuation from the last Yakuza
Gameplay: Improved battle system means harder to die
Graphics: Sharpened textures which makes the game look good on the ps2
Overall Score: 9.5/10




Minor tweaks and minor additions since last time, but the game is a million times better than the first one.

8.5

Superb
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Amazing"

Summary

Well, I'm pleasantly surprised; I actually finished Yakuza 2 on my Playstation 3. Anyways, the original Yakuza has actually done well. Sure the sales might not have been the best, but it was and still is considered a gem among the PS2 library, and given the huge success it was in Japan, SEGA of course started making a sequel, which was released 2 years later.

Story
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The story takes place one year after Yakuza 1, Kazuma, former 4th chairman of the Tojo Clan, and has retired with Hakura (Yumi's daughter). When paying respects to his dead friends, the 5th chairman Terada visits Kazuma, and tells him of the state that the Tojo Clan is in (it's falling apart) and is seeking to make a truce with the Omi Alliance in Osaka. Unfortunately, Terada dies and Kazuma is now tasked with creating a truce with the Omi alliance, though things won't be that easy.

The story is actually better than the first one. There's more emotions going on and there's actually some touching moments and some really good plot moments, though it does end up being a bit clichι around the end, the story grows to a small halt during the middle chapters (9-12) and towards the end, it's just one villain stepping in over the other, but the story is still better than the first game.

You don't need to play Yakuza 1, in order to play and enjoy Yakuza 2, because the game has a very detailed recap of Yakuza 1, though it's reconmended for the emotional effects.

9.0

Gameplay
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The original Yakuza was a mix of GTA style freedom (without cars) and JRPG's. You ran around exploring like in a GTA game and battles were random encounters and you upgraded your character with experience, JRPG style. And well... not much has changed here, you still run around doing the same things as you did before, though that doesn't mean that there's been a few additions and tweaks.

First of all, the combat has improved a bit. Everything's moving by a bit faster now, and there's a small lock on system, when holding down R1. It works well for dodging attacks, and it's also possible to tweak attacks, so if you hit blind, just twist the analogue stick in the desired direction and he'll hit that way during combos, it certainly improves the battles a lot, though you will hit blindly sometimes. The game also adds some quick time events, though they have a habbit of appearing in akward places and doesn't quite work.

As with exploring, there haven't been a lot of new additions. There's a few new mini-games and you now have Osaka (fictional Sōtenbori and Shinseicho parts) to explore as well, and it has it's own set of mini games, hostess clubs and locker keys.

The game is split up to 16 chapters, and it takes around 15 hours to finish this time. However, the fun side stories returns and their both funny and rewarding, so there's lots of reason to do these, so the replay value is pretty high.

And before I end this, there's not a lot to say about Yakuza 2's gameplay, because it's almost the same as the first one, with some added tweaks and minor stuff.

8.5

Graphics
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The environments and graphics looks a bit better than before and the cut-scenes are improved as well, having a more cinematic feeling than the first game. Though the frame rate does go down a few times and there's some low quality graphics some places.

8.5

Sound
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The voice acting is a million times better this time around. There's only Japanese voice acting and not English, but after the first game, you won't mind it. But the Japanese voice acting has some minor faults as well, though not bad. The music and atmosphere in the game is still amazing and really makes you feel like you're in a living breathing city.

9.5

Overall
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There's not a lot to say about Yakuza 2 really. It's the same as the first game, with a few tweaks and minor additions for the better and it ends up being a even better game than the first, and still a gem in the PS3 library.





If you thought the origional Yakuza was good, then this long awaited sequel will blow you away.

8.5

Superb
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent:
20 to 40 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Old-school"

Summary

INTRO: Yakuza (1) was a great, refreshingly unique game. It offered you a large open world to explore, very satisfying gut wrenching violence, and an absolutely epic story. Yakuza 2 offers more of the same, but has made tons of fantastic improvements, added lots of new features, worked hard to cover up most of the originals short comings and continued the epic story brilliantly.

GAMEPLAY: The general gameplay of Yakuza 2 is more or less un-changed from the first game. Under all the free roam and story telling its just a simple little brawler that requires you to bash buttons as fast as you can until all your enemies are bloody pulps on the ground. But you don't see me complaining! Its so very satisfying to slam some poor sods face into a stone wall, break some gangsters nose with a powerful fits, or even smack someone around the head with a mountain bike! You might think that this gets old after a while, but it really doesn't! It is so fun and addictive, that whenever you come back to the game you will be just as satisfied as before. But fighting and playing through that awesome story isn't all there is to do. Yakuza 2 gives two large cities to explore. Within these cities there is loads of things to do, such as side quests and mini games, and even a dating sim! Mini games are a big feature and tie in with the side quests at certain points. You can hit the nets for some baseball, have a shot at golf, head down to the bowling alley, and maybe visit an arcade or casino. But the most interesting mini game lies within the many Cabaret Clubs in the game. Here you can entertain hostess' with gifts and conversation to gain some XP than is used to improve your brawling skills. You can even manage your own club and become a host and this is also good fun. Besides these places, there is a massive range of restaurants and cafes that you can go in to get XP and replenish your health bar, plus there are shops in which you can buy items required for story missions side quests XP and just for general use in the game (such as bandages to restore health). These things are not essential to the game, but are very welcome. They add to the realism of the cities, and help drag out the story even more. Graphically it looks great for a PS2 game, especially when your walking down the neon streets that are fit to burst with pedestrians. And the sound in the game is probably the best of any PS2 game, and that's no exaggeration. But its not all perfect, the camera angle can be woefully bad, and invisible walls prevent from going to parts of the world you think you can. And a more minor issue is the hundreds of long cut scenes, but this wasn't bad for me, as I like cut scenes and these are so well done and well polished. But its worth mentioning for those who don't like them, as they cannot skipped and could become annoying.

GOOD: Great graphics and sound, very fun and satisfying gameplay, good exploration features, gorgeous and well polished cut scenes, a host of brilliant side quests and mini games, fantastic realism, and a story to rival many gangster films.

BAD: Camera angles can get horrific, cut scenes are very frequent and very long which could annoy some people.

OVERVIEW: Yakuza 2 is generally a great game with tons of positive features and excellent gameplay choices. But some negatives unfortunately hold it back a little, but not enough to stop this game from been one of the greatest open world, action adventure games ever made.





Kazuma Kiryu is back with more allies and facing more powerful enemies (spoilers for the first game).

8.0

Superb
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Been there, done that"

Summary

Nishiki was defeated. The peace has returned to Kamurocho. Kazuma renounced his place as the fourth chairman of the Tojo clan to live happily with little Haruka. Everything seems to be ok now. Right? No, of course not. There is more in a Yakuza story than meets the eye. In this game, you find that the clans Tojo from Tokyo and Omi from Osaka are about to break in a war. The reasons seem to be greater than simple rivalry. It involves the Korean mafia, feelings of anger and revenge and the unknown past of a Osakan police officer called Kaoru Sayama.
I have nothing to complain about the story. Although it isn't as good as the previous game, it is good enough to keep you playing through the whole thing. You'll see several characters from the previous game. Some of them are still their good old selves. Other people seem to have taken a different path in life and might surprise you a bit. Some of the new characters will be by your side from the beginning until the end. Some of them may not. Let's just say the game has enough surprises to entertain you. And, once again, if you're looking for something that gives more action than story, this may not be the game for you. The strong point of the Yakuza series seems to be the story. Which does not necessarily mean that the gameplay is not good.

If you played the previous game or even Yakuza 3 or any of the spin-offs, you'll feel familiar with the gameplay, for it didn't seem to change much. What made a great difference, specially compared to the previous game, is that the target-lock feature works far better (but it is still not working as good as in Yakuza 3). The Heat Actions work as before, the level-up system and abilities work in the same way. You can still pick up objects from the scenario to use as weapons as fire weapons are as useless as in the previous game, since they cause little to no damage to the enemies.
One thing that was in the first game but now has a stronger presence are the Active Time Events, which happen more frequently during the fights. While I don't completely disapprove ATEs, I wouldn't complain if the time reaction weren't so short.

The background sounds seem to be as good as the previous game, but without the irritating random voices loop. There seems to be a greater variety of things that your allies say if they're following you, though. If you run too fast, as soon as you stop running, Haruka will be panting. No, this will not change your life, but it is something cool I noticed.

One bad thing I noticed in the game and was probably present in the first game, but for some reason I noticed only now: as you walk through the streets of Kamurocho (or Osaka), you'll frequently see people "appearing from the nowhere". Once again, nothing that will change your life, but is not very pretty.

The minigames for Yakuza 1 are back. Bowling, baseball, the batting cage, mahjong, the casino games... everything.
The subquests are also available and now show a couple of details that may make things a little bit easier. Once again, most of them require that you fight or run from one side to the other. They may not be the most amusing thing ever, but it's a nice way to get some experience... and are a good way to spend some time in the game if you happen to grow tired of the main storyline.

With a good story and dozens of different activities, Yakuza 2 is a must-play for everyone that enjoyed the previous game.




Epic gangster action adventure filled with drama, romance and brutal violence.

9.0

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Easy
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Amazing"

Summary

One year ago, Kazuma Kiryu left it all behind...
Marking the anniversary of his split from Yakuza life, Kazuma and his adopted daughter, Haruka, visit the graves of his Yakuza family to pay their respects. There they get a surprise visit from Terada, the chairman who Kazuma put in charge of the clan last year. After the two had met, Terada is assassinated by a rivaling Yakuza clan. Kazuma soon learns that a new war is brewing in the underground, and thus his peaceful life comes to an abrupt end.

Yakuza 2 once again puts you in the shoes of Kazuma Kiryu, a former member of the Yakuza. The story picks up one year after the incidents of the first Yakuza game where Kazuma put an end to his previous Yakuza lifestyle. Now, Kazuma is told to bring a peace treaty to the opposing Yakuza clan, but this proves to be harder than it sounds as some are strongly opposed to the idea – and indeed looking forward to a full blown underground war.
This is an action adventure game that mixes fighting, exploration and an intriguing story with lots of surprising plot twists. Exploration is done mainly by wandering around in Tokyo and Osaka city, looking for clues and information about the current situation. With that said, the game offers some freedom of movement as you are free to explore the surrounding area as you see fit – visiting shops, bars, hostess clubs, video arcades and checking out the dark back alleys and its shady population.

Yakuza 2 builds heavily on the previous Yakuza game in every way. You will be revisiting many of the same locations - some look familiar while some have been rebuilt. Other than that, this sequel brings lots of new features such as more mini games, Japanese voice overs, new unlockable game modes, more fighting moves and more weapons. Basically it's more of the same, but now polished to perfection.
The game follows up on the events of the first game very closely, making some references to past events, and is therefore best experienced if you have played the first game before. There are several returning characters and the relationship between those and Kazuma has developed, so players who are new to the series and starting out with this game are missing out on a lot of back story. There is, however, an option to recapture some of the key events from the previous game, so it is still possible to enjoy this as a stand alone experience.

Navigating through the crowded streets is easy because the game uses a very simple control scheme and you always have access to an overview map. Most often your mission objectives are pinpointed on the map. Fighting has a central role in the game, and there are plenty of thugs to fight out there – both in the form of random encounters and key confrontations that progresses the story forward.
Yakuza 2 can be played on three different difficulty levels, and for average gamers, the fights are typically very easy to come through. Obviously the fighting sequences aren't meant to challenge you to the max – rather, they are there to mix it up and keep you on the edge. Also, if you happen to encounter a battle that you can't manage, you'll be given an option to lower the difficulty level temporarily for that battle.

During fights the game uses a slightly more advanced control scheme - most buttons have a function; you can kick, punch, grab, dodge and block as well as pick up weapons and pull off combos and finishing moves. You will need to learn how to combine these moves to the best effect in order to stay alive during some of the harder battles.
Combos are done by stringing together punches and kicks. The combos all follow an easy to learn pattern so fighting feels smooth right from the start. You can of course unlock more combos, special moves and abilities to add some complexity to it. As such, the fighting aspect gets a little deeper as you learn more moves, but generally it is very simple and straight forward.
Comparing the fighting in the first Yakuza game, it should be said that it's much more fluid in Yakuza 2. There are more moves, and attacks can now be directed in the middle of a combo, which gives you much more precision.

During combat you'll need to keep an eye out on two different gauges; one represents your health and when it is emptied, your game is over. You can heal yourself by using items or eating food at various restaurants. The other gauge is called Heat and it increases and decreases depending on how well you are fighting; taking damage causes it to decrease while dealing damage makes it increase. Once the Heat gauge reaches a certain level you'll be able to pull off various finishing blows, also known as Heat Actions. These are powerful attacks that deal a lot of damage but they, in turn, deplete your Heat gauge. Perhaps the biggest advantage with Heat Actions are that you can use them even on knocked down opponents. Heat Actions are available to weapons as well – these are entirely dependent on what weapon you're currently wielding.
Keeping the Heat gauge high can give you other benefits than just powerful attacks. For instance you can be harder to knock down or your damage output becomes greater. It all depends on what moves you've learned.

Armed combat is always a preferred alternative to unarmed combat as weapons tend to have better reach and deal more damage. The downside is that weapons break over time due to usage – most weapons break after just a few blows. There is a durability indicator tied to each weapon and it shows how many hits it can deal before breaking. Heat Actions also wear down the weapon's durability, so you can maximize your damage dealt by using Heat Actions rather than normal swings.
There are tons of different weapons that you can use. Everything from improvised weapons such as furniture, bowling balls, insect spray, bikes and sign posts to more refined instruments such as swords, shotguns, hand grenades and batons. On top of that, there are lots of opportunities to use the environment to your advantage. For example you can throw enemies down from ledges, smash faces against walls and break backs over handrails. Every now and then you're accompanied by a partner. They will fight alongside with you, and you can even perform special co-op moves.

Fighting and completing side missions earns you experience points, and these can be distributed on three different aspects of combat training; Mind, Body and Soul. Depending on how you distribute your earned experience points you'll unlock new abilities and moves. You can also further expand your arsenal of moves by acquiring moves from other sources such as learning secret techniques, typically as a result of completing a side mission. All in all, there's around 100 special moves to discover in the game.

While in combat you can rotate the camera to better follow the action. This is done with the right thumbstick. You can also reset the position of the camera by a simple button press - and at certain narrow places the camera will get stuck behind walls or simply insist on pointing in the wrong direction. Luckily this is easy to adjust, even in mid-fight, so it poses minimal frustration at worst.
While exploring the city you can not adjust the camera other than to zoom in on details. While this may sound restricting, it really doesn't get in your way that much. Each street is viewed from a different camera angle and the cuts between one angle and the next can be confusing sometimes. Eventually you'll adapt to it though, so it's really no big deal at all.

You can save your progress at special telephone boxes that are spread across the city or by visiting special hideout locations, where you can also store items that you've found in your adventure. If you die in a battle, you're given the option to simply retry it from the beginning of that fight. Thanks to this, you won't have to reload your saved game just because you failed at a fight.
On a similar note, loading times overall have been greatly reduced compared to the first game, making this a much smoother and enjoyable experience.

Yakuza 2 is one massive game. The area in which the game takes place is isn't too large, but the story takes about 18 hours to play through, and could easily take 20 or even 30 if you're going to spend time with the mini games, secrets and side missions. As far as mini games go, here are some examples of what you may find; golfing, bowling, UFO catchers, hostess clubs, a first-person arcade fighting game, casinos, shogi, dice games and mahjong. On a related note, you can also manage a hostess club of your own, and try to win Haruka's friendship by buying her gifts.
Visiting hostess clubs is obviously about getting to know a girl, but if you really want to impress a lady you'll need to know her preferences and act accordingly – meaning giving her the right compliments, gifts and keeping in touch.
The story will take you through many intense situations and battles, and there's lots of variation and unique content, even in the many side missions.

Aside from the normal story mode, once you beat the game you'll unlock three additional game modes, namely; Premium New Game, Adventure Review and Scenario Review. Premium New Game lets you start a new game while keeping your character from a previous cleared game save. This is perfect for those who want to continue training their character and collecting items. Adventure Review lets you freely explore the world and its mini games and Scenario Review lets you replay any cutscene from the story.
The status screen (accessed by pressing the Start button) shows various completion data. For example you'll see your best scores for each mini game and how many hostess club girls you've befriended. Maxing out these can unlock certain secret bonuses too, so there's quite a lot of reasons to replay this game even if you've beat the story.

The biggest strength of Yakuza 2 is its extremely well written and thrilling story. The story has clever plot twists at every turn. You'll never know what will happen next, and there's a large amount of life lessons that can be learned from all the artful dialogue and philosophies that are depicted in the game. The characters are all colorful and believable in their context.
There are a few occasions where you aren't given any clues as to where you're supposed to go, and some of the solutions are somewhat farfetched. These issues are negligible on the whole though.
The subtitles are displayed on the bottom of the screen. The text is all white, so occasionally if there's lots of bright backgrounds it can be hard (but never impossible) to read. But again, this is a minor issue and not worth complaining over.

The graphics are extremely good looking for a PlayStation 2 game. The city areas are full of life, detail and activity, and the character animations are incredibly well done. Some of the details you'll find do exist in real life, so there's an authentic feeling to it all. Much like in a real town, there's a lot to discover if you care to look for it. The most astonishing detail may be the facial animations of the characters – you can really read the emotions off of people's faces when they speak. Also, all the cutscenes are extremely well directed – giving you lots of interesting camera work to enjoy while the story progresses forward.
There's not much negative to say about the graphics – this is one of the richest visual experiences you can have on the PlayStation 2, and the hardware is obviously used optimally. The game runs without any visible drops in the frame rate too.

The music in the game fits the theme perfectly. There's lots of intensifying background music as the story builds up, as well as more melancholic pieces for the dramatic portions. Also the ambient sounds of the city are very enjoyable – you'll hear music coming from stores, noise from the video arcade and bustling from all the people around you.
As mentioned, this time around the developers have made the right decision and kept the original Japanese voices. This is extremely welcomed by many fans, as we are finally able to hear the voice acting as it was intended.
Also the sound effects are top stuff – the grunts, taunts and screams uttered while fighting sound great. Heat Actions never fail to satisfy with their associated bone breaking smacks either.

Yakuza 2 is very similar to its predecessor game Yakuza, but it improves on everything. The fighting sequences are much smoother and more fun to play, the loading times are shorter and the story is longer and even more intense and epic. The level of detail and the amount of content in this game is simply amazing. Its story has everything to make it intriguing; drama, romance and violent conflicts.
If you're looking for an unforgettable action adventure that will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride, then this is it.
7.5

Great
7.7
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