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Yakuza 2 Impressions |



  • Unique Brawler RPG:. This has all the dialog trees, story focus, character development, and side-quest structure of a traditional RPG, but the standard RPG stat-battles are replaced by melee-centric brawling.
  • A LOT of game: I spent a full twenty-five hours before I beat the main story mode, and I’d estimate that I skipped 85% of the optional side-quest/mini-game content. This is a BIG game. This easily the most story and quest content of any title I’ve played in the past two years.
  • Host/Hostess Bars: This is a mostly dialog-tree based dating sim. It’s surprisingly charming. Unfortunately, I missed the “massage parlor”.
  • Atmosphere: I’ve never been to Japan, but this really nails the feel of roaming the streets of urban Japan, or at least what I imagine that would feel like. There is tons of detail in the city. One example of this, is the absurdly detailed food/drink system in the game. You can order various types of food and drink from the dozens of restaurants, bars, convenience stores, and lounges throughout the game and there is a side-goal of trying all the different food types.



  • Story: The story-telling and dialog is on par with a serious 80’s action movie without any sarcasm or joking self-references. Sometimes, I could quiet my inner critic and enjoy the experience, but other times, the story was just too dated and corny and I had to skip over it. Most gamers already know whether they like or tolerate this kind of Japanese video game writing.
  • Technology: By now, most of us are acclimated to PS3 tech, so going back to PS2 is a big drop. And this isn’t even one of the more technically polished PS2 titles like Jak 3 or God Of War. The graphics look very blocky and crude and highly aliased. And all the 2D interface screens feel very old and clunky compared to other 2008 titles. BTW, I still do all my gaming on an SDTV (about to upgrade), so it’s not the resolution itself at all.
  • Mini-Games: This game has well over a dozen side-quest mini-games such as Shogi (a kind of Japanese chess), Mahjong, gambling, golf, batting cages, a weird 3D arcade fighter game, and a business sim game. I’m impressed that they built that much content, and many of these games are highly detailed, but only a few are really fun to play. If I want to play Shogi or Mahjong, I’d rather play a freeware version on my PC.
  • Core Combat: The combat is fun, it has a ton of detail, and there are a bunch of cool slo-mo special attacks to pull off, and there’s a very detailed upgrade system, but it gets repetitive over the long length of this game.


Bottom Line

If you like detailed, epic Japanese RPGs, brawler combat, organized crime fiction, and can tolerate dated tech, then this game is definitely for you.

Yakuza Kenzan has already been released for the PS3 in Japan and the true sequel, Yakuza 3, is scheduled to be released in Japan in Spring ’09. I’m really excited to see these come to the west. The tech improvements alone will fix one of my biggest gripes with this title.

  • Gibb

    (sorry for using this comment section, didn’t have any other option)

    Help!.. anyone.. how can I register myself again to this blog? I used to have a login (Gibb), but since the WordPress thingy I can’t login anymore. The register link shows a 404-page

  • Gary

    There is a register option right at the bottom of this page.

    As for Yakuza 2. I bought it and was enjoying it but then I got sidetracked and never went back to it. I ended up trading it in as there were a few PS3 games due that I wanted and it was just gathering dust..

    It’s a shame but that’s how my gaming seems to have gone now. Very few games seem to hold my attention for long.

  • My attention falls when finishing the game becomes like a job. I’ve had that with Grid and midnight club: LA …

    some games I get because I read good reviews and when I actually have em… the’re absolute crap (cfr all lego games)

  • I played this for a while and forgot about it. I need to get back into this game and finish it.

  • It didn’t help that I was playing it on my 40″ HDTV and through my PS3. The technical flaws really were exposed on an HD TV which is not a criticism of the game.

  • darrin

    Yes, I did need to push myself to play this game. That’s a bad sign that everyone here felt the same way. Some of the quests and mini-games slowed it down. Better games hold the attention of the player better. The old-tech made it worse. When I get an HDTV, I will have even less tolerance for games like this.

    But there’s a lot of cool stuff in this game if you have the patience to find it. I’m still excited for one of the PS3 sequels.

    Sl33py, the Lego games were awesome for playing with kids, but they’re all pretty much the same game. And I think everyone has got a game based on positive buzz and been disappointed.

  • Gibb

    BTW: is this out in Europe yet?

    (as stated before, the register option below shows me this: Error 404 – Not Found.)

  • I guess Henning turned the register option off maybe?

  • It’s been out in the UK since September I think Gibb, not sure about the rest of Europe.

  • Gibb

    As of this date I haven’t seen this game in any Belgian store.

  • Cool Gibb’s also a Belgian 🙂

    you can order it from , no import rights (it is Europe) and the pound is currently rated at 1.18€ (extremely low) and thus cheap for us 🙂

  • Gibb

    *waves at SL33PY*

    thanks for the tip!