Yakuza 2 is a slightly strange chapter in Sega’s charming crime drama series. It doesn’t quite capture the accidental magic of the first game or the blend of soap-opera drama and zany side quests that were perfected when Yakuza went HD with its third chapter.
It drags series lead Kazuma Kiryu—the lovable, titular criminal—into a more straightforward action-movie plot. There’s a car chase, ticking time bombs, a lady love interest (the only one in the series), and enough revenge schemes to fuel a whole season of television.
But now Yakuza Kiwami 2’s slightly forgettable bombast has been cleaned up for the PlayStation 4. And it cleans up pretty well! Like the previous Kiwami, this is a full-on remake of the PS2 original. This time, it’s all running in Yakuza 6’s Dragon Engine—bringing with it the graphical bells and mechanical whistles of that most recent release. Combat is more physics-driven than most other games in the series, and the progression system forces you to engage with Kiwami 2’s fictional cities of Sotenbori and Kamurocho more than usual in order to level up. Oh, and it can get really hard.