Quick Thoughts – Yakuza Kiwami 2 & Yakuza 0

After recently finishing and thoroughly enjoying Judgment, a spinoff of the Yakuza series, I went back and started playing some of the older games of the franchise. The time I’ve spent with the series in the past was really enjoyable but I have never been able to finish a game to completion. Judgment is the first game in the universe that I actually managed to finish.

Combat in Kiwami 2

So, I jumped back into Yakuza 0 but then I managed to snag a copy of Yakuza Kiwami 2 for the Xbox One from Sega PR. At the time, I didn’t know it was also coming to Xbox Game Pass but that didn’t really matter. So, for the last week, I’ve been swapping my time between Yakuza 0 and Kiwami 2. I haven’t finished either (I would say I feel like I’m at least ⅓ of the way through Yakuza 0 and just over halfway through Kiwami 2) but I wanted to share some thoughts on both games.

It’s really interesting playing two very different games from the same series. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing this but it’s a great way to see how development has changed over the course of the two games. Yakuza 0 originally released in 2015 with Kiwami 2 coming to PS4 in 2017 (using the Japanese release for both). Yakuza 6 and Kiwami were released between the two and I’d love to go back and play some Yakuza 6 if possible just to see more of the changes that took place between games.

What really pulls me into the series is the game’s protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu. He is just so interesting and engaging. I’m fully invested in his actions and it should come as no surprise that I want to see how he evolves in later games. 

As I wrote in my Looking Back for Judgment, I also love Kamurocho. Seeing the changes of 1980’s Kamurocho of Yakuza 0 and the 2000’s era in Kiwami 2 is quite refreshing. It’s also fitting that both games also take place in the Sotenbori district of Osaka. It was months in the real world when I last played Yakuza 0 in Sotenbori but when I first touched down in the district in Kiwami 2 I was instantly taken back and began to remember events from Yakuza 0 and the locations of certain businesses from the prequel.

The games aren’t perfect. W