Arts

Games: Yakuza Kiwami 2 gives PS2 classic "a facelift that deserves to be ogled"

Neil McGreevy

Yakuza Kiwami 2 (PS4)

By: Sega

WHILE there's still a PS3 whirring dutifully under many a telly, the fossilised PS2 is practically a museum piece – hence Sega remastering the original Yakuza with modern day fixin's.

Last year's Kiwami (Japanese for 'ultimate') is now joined by its sequel for a final hurrah of Japanese goon-kicking on PS4: like the original Kiwami, fans are getting a reimagining of the mid-noughties classic, but powered by the all-singing Dragon engine developed for this year's series swansong, Song of Life.

The result means Yakuza has never looked better.

Betrayal, honour, rickety alliances and shady cops all return to Kiwami 2's bustling cityscapes of Kamurocho and Sotenbori as Kiryu battles through Japan's criminal underworld.

Given its 12-year-old bones, Kiwami 2 isn't as nuanced or in-depth as recent entries, but the amount of digital Botox slathered on its pores is incredible, with impeccably detailed lighting and textures, nimble, seamless battles and a fresh cast of esteemed Japanese Thesping.

It all clocks in at around 15 hours if you stick to the path, but with many more hours of footering to be had.

Combat does away with the three fighting styles of recent games, focusing instead on just light and heavy attacks, blocking and nabbing items, while you can now recruit wingmen to help out during dust-ups near their home turf.

With weapons just as important as fisticuffs, battles are strewn with blades, clubs and guns to be picked up and unleashed or stashed for later use.

Being Yakuza, street-beatings are peppered with a litany of diversions: its casino, arcade games (Virtua Fighter 2 and Virtua-On the headline attractions this time) golf and karaoke will help fritter away the hours.

Best of all, Yakuza 2 includes a version of Toylets, Sega's interactive urinal game that was installed in their Japanese arcade bogs. These mini-games reward both pressure and accuracy as players keep an eye on wind speed and direction.

Given my middle aged prostate is the size of a Chihuahua's head, it's all a pleasant reminder of when I could tinkle like an industrial hose.

Cabaret club management makes a welcome return as you keep punters happy in three-minute bouts of assigning comely lasses and reprimanding busy hands, while the standalone Majima Saga chapters will sate fans' appetite for series favourite the Mad Dog of Shimano.

While Yakuza diehards may be suffering from burnout (this is the fifth release in two years), the decision to delve into this stone cold PS2-era classic should be Japan-easy. From playing pimp daddy and shanking gangsters in the guts to playing bingo with hot urine, Kiwami 2 has something for everyone – or at least a certain type of person.

And while plans are afoot to bring remasters of Yakuza 3, 4 and 5 Westwards, this is the last to receive the fancy-pants Kiwami treatment, with a facelift that deserves to be ogled.

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