Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yakuza Retrospective Part 2: Yakuza 2 for the PS2





Hello everyone, and welcome to part 2 of Cam’s Eye View’s Yakuza Retrospective! So, as you all know, I liked the first game, yeah, it had its faults and demanded commitment, but it was a great game. I just wish I knew about this series sooner so I could find a good condition copy of the game, but I know some people would rather rent it to see why it was so great. So, let’s dive into the sequel and one of the better late-coming PS2 games from 2008, Yakuza 2. If you liked the first game and wanted to bash some more skulls in Japan, we’ve got a sequel that definitely brings in more Japanese crime syndicates to fill your prescription of skull bashing. Now, granted, nothing much has changed, but there are some pretty good improvements. So, let’s clean off your brass knuckles, whip out Rosetta Stone Japanese, and read on about Yakuza 2! Personally, I wouldn’t recommend going through the hassle of Rosetta Stone, but do what you want.


The game’s story takes place an entire year after the first game, with Kazuma Kiryu is living with young Haruka as basically father and daughter. While going to the cemetery to pray for some characters that were in the last game, the 5th Chairman of the Tojo Clan meets Kazuma to discuss some business, but is then assassinated. Kazuma finds out that there are some more major clan wars going on and some foreign mafia groups from Korea are getting into the mix of things. A lot more twists happen, and we get to see what has happened to some characters from the past game. Now, this is a long game, so make some popcorn and get a few beers or whatever you drink, and get ready to go through a lot of text and cut scenes.

The gameplay is very similar to the last game with a huge city to run through, and people, who for some reason get mad by just looking at you, ready for your fists. There are some more mini-games, like a first person fighting game that is fun, but most of the game is the same as the last one, but with some minor changes. This time, the game takes place in Osaka and in the Shinjuku district in Tokyo. There are multiple missions to do, like help a guy get a specific doll from those crane games, catching a freeloader, and picking off Yakuza people. The fighting has been improved with a lock-on feature that you can implement, that makes you strafe from side to side when focusing on a single opponent. This means no more flailing around when enemies sneak up behind you to hit you. The rest is the same, a blue bar will fill up where you can execute special moves, and you get health from normal items and can buy disposable weapons like guns and swords. Kazuma can also help out in a host club as one of the side stories in the game. It’s like a dating simulator, so basically, say the right things and get more money. Another improvement they’ve added is that you can finally play on the easy mode from the beginning instead of the last game where you started out on normal and then if you died too much get switched to easy mode. The mini-games range from the crane games, slot machines, the first person fighting game, Mahjong, Shogi, batting cages, golf, and many others. Again, you get a lot of stuff to do, just like in the GTA series.

Yakuza 2 definitely takes control of the PS2’s power, since the game looks amazing! It still has a lot of that Japanese film noir charm and is executed well. The language stays as Japanese with English subtitles, which is great since the voice acting in the last game seemed called in. The music is also very well done with calming music and rock and roll sounds. Four different people composed the soundtrack. The four people are Hidenori Shoji (F-Zero GX), Hideki Sakamoto (Echochrome and Shinobido), the third is Norihiko Hibino (Bayonetta, Ninja Blade, Zone of Enders, and Boktai), and Takahiro Izutani (also Bayonetta and Ninja Blade). It’s interesting since the Metal Gear Solid games often pop up between these 4 composers. Just a fun little fact I thought I would tell you all. Overall, Sega did a great job giving this game a great presentation.

However, it does fall flat on some areas that are kind of surprising to me. While I didn’t mind the length of the last game, for some reason I don’t like how long this game is. In my opinion, it is kind of boring. Maybe it’s just how long and tedious these chapters can be. It also doesn’t help when it comes to finding certain people, and then the map doesn’t show you where that person is. I also think that the game borrowed too much from the last game and is more like Yakuza 1.5.

All and all though, this is a good game. It’s very solid, and the story is quite captivating with love and betrayal everywhere you look. It is much more of a polished game, and it is better than the last game in a lot of ways. I would recommend picking this game up over the first one, but I think both games are very good. Now then, it’s time to get Yakuza 3 since we got Yakuza 4 this year, and a newly announced Yakuza game with zombies was announced, so it is a good time to be a Yakuza fan.
This game gets an 8 out of 10

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