By Jeriaska . July 16, 2008 . 12:39pm
Sega is making authenticity a high priority with Yakuza 2, a tale of the underworld of Japanese organized crime. The sixteen chapters of the upcoming Playstation 2 title were penned by Hase Seishu, a writer of popular crime novels, and the North American release on the show floor of E3 will include the original Japanese voice cast with English subtitles. In this installment there are more businesses to be explored than in the first game, including licensed restaurants that exist in reality and specialize in exotic dishes like snake soup and blowfish. In Japan, the story of the Yakuza series has been seen as convincing enough to garner a film adaptation, directed by Takashi Miike.
The game begins on a scene of reminiscing. The protagonist Kazuma Kiryu has decided to live a quiet life away from crime, and thinks back upon the events of the previous two years while visiting the gravestones of his lost gang members. The reflection upon the circumstances of the previous title is designed to catch players who are new to the series up to speed about the events leading up to Kazuma’s departure from the Tojo Clan, his custody of a girl named Haruka, and the uneasy pact with Osaka’s Omi Alliance.
Things are quickly going downhill for Kazuma's allies, and the character finds himself in the position of having to step in and barter with their rivals, the Omi Alliance, for peace. Outbreaks of violence are being perpetrated by younger yakuza in Osaka, whose goal is to grow stronger and ultimately target the Tojo clan in Tokyo. While Kazuma is known as the dragon of Tokyo, there is someone gaining a reputation as the dragon of Kansai, who firmly believes there is room for one dragon alone in Japan. The rivalry refers back to the Japanese-language title of the series–Ryu ga Gotoku, or “Like a dragon.”
As Kazuma Kiryu, the player explores Osaka and Tokyo to gather clues on how to bring a stop to yakuza violence. The game’s cinematic score includes a roster of experienced videogame musicians including Hidenori Shoji (Yakuza), Hideki Sakamoto (Echochrome) and Norihiko Hibino (Metal Gear Solid series), among others. Among the gameplay features, the game’s brawling sequences are more intense than before, and the ease with which the player can change directions and target enemies on all sides is an improvement over the original. The character can equip clothing and weapons that raise his stats and will level up upon defeating enemies and completing certain missions. There are also special fighting moves activated by a heat gauge that unfold in brief cinematic sequences. More information on the title will be available leading up to the release on September 9.
Images courtesy of Sega