|System: PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Amusement Visions||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 9, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
In the technical department, Yakuza 2 fares well against other last-gen games. Considering this title was originally produced in 2006, the graphics are very good and character models have a good amount of detail.
However, this title does suffer from some seaming and shuttering issues throughout. The camera is also a constant problem, as it's completely fixed and automatically switches perspective frequently. The recurrent camera switches make traversing across complex maps difficult, as it is easy to lose your bearings when the camera view changes. Despite these technical issues, however, Yakuza 2 still looks good for being an almost two-year-old last-gen game.
One area where Yakuza 2 unquestionably soars is in the music department. The score was produced through a collaboration of seven different prominent video game music creators, including noted Metal Gear composer Norihiko Hibino and Echochrome composer Hideki Sakamoto. The result is a sweeping score that matches the epic scope of the Yakuza story. The music is quite moody and conveys the dark undertones that underline the story. The soundtrack is definitely worth downloading or importing, even if you are not that interested in the game itself.
The voiceover in the game is also very good. There is no English voiceover option, but this is probably a good thing because the Japanese voice over helps keep you immersed in the game's setting. All the characters are fully voiced during the different cinema scenes, and the vocal performances are top-notch. Even if you don't understand the language, all the emotion and drama conveyed in the game come through quite well in the vocal performances.
Yakuza 2 is not for everyone. Much like Metal Gear Solid 4, it has a cinematic style that often trades gameplay for story. However, the story in Yakuza 2 is definitely something that will stay with you, and must be experienced for fans of gangster culture, Japanese history, or anyone who appreciates a well-told and deep narrative. If you don't mind the long cut-scenes, you'll be treated to some fun and memorable gameplay with a battle system that doesn't disappoint. Yakuza 2 may have its faults, but if you only pick up one more game for your PlayStation 2 before you officially retire it, let it be this one.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor