The Yakuza series is experiencing a qualitative change
The seventh part is in Japan, but in the Western version it was decided to remove the number 7 to reinforce the idea that it is a new entry for those who want to try the series, and it was published with English for the first time Voice acting provided in the series after the first part. Why did you decide to specifically market this part as a new addition? Because it is the first part after the end of Kazuma Kiryu’s story and the new hero Kasuga Ichiban takes his place, and because it is the first part that abolishes the series’ famous combat system and replaces it with a role-playing system closer to what you get expected from Japanese role-playing games… like Dragon Quest.
This means that Like A Dragon is a game with many challenges. The challenge of starting a new story after the end of Kazuma Kiryu’s journey, the challenge of introducing a new hero to fill the void left by one of the most famous video game heroes, the challenge of introducing a new combat system, a new region, and selling the series to new players who have been put off by the large number of its parts in the past. To what extent has the game managed to overcome these challenges?
Quite a lot actually, at least in terms of story and characters. Like A Dragon tells the story of Kazuma Ichiban, a yakuza from one of the small families of the Tojo clan. Ichiban spends 18 years in prison to protect one of the family’s big names, but when he comes out he is surprised to find that the world has changed a lot in those years, that things have become more complicated and that he is not in the family is more welcome. A series of events leads Ichiban to begin a new life in which he and his friends must climb the social ladder from the bottom up, but things become even more complicated when he becomes embroiled in a vast conspiracy, the scale of which is difficult to understand are, and a war between major Yakuza organizations in Yokohama.
The story of Like A Dragon is one of the best in the series
At least in the beginning. The drama is strong, the comedy is funny, the characters are compelling, and the heavy moments have weight. The first half of the game was more varied than you would expect from a Yakuza game, as each chapter was almost separate from the previous, focusing on Ichiban’s adventures in a new world and his introduction to its rules and people. In my opinion, this was not a negative moment, but rather the most enjoyable time of the experience for me, and this was evident in the writing of the wonderful characters that the Yakuza team is known for. The second half, where the stories began to connect and the dimensions of the conspiracy emerged, wasn’t as strong as what we saw in parts like 0 or even the final team game, Judgment, but there was no shortage of enthusiasm and poignant moments. and the game had an excellent ending in its final chapter.
The star of the party was undoubtedly Kasuga Ichiban himself
Who not only fills the void left by Kiryu Kazuma, but is also perhaps my favorite hero of the series ever. Ichiban fully embraces Kazuma’s principles and embodies the same idealized male version of what it means to be a Yakuza, except he is not as adept at always upholding those principles. Ichiban makes mistakes, fails, and evolves. His less serious personality contributes to the comedic side of the story, and his great imagination and love of role-playing games serve as justification for new game systems. The rest of the characters who accompany Ichiban on his journey are also good, except that there is a clear interest shown in the first three that does not extend to the rest of the characters who join him and who do not even appear in most of the film clips and have little influence on the story.
The combat system in Like A Dragon is simple and fun
It is based on the idea of hitting an opponent’s weak spots to knock them down and then dealing as much damage as possible to them while on the ground, reminiscent of the Shin Megami Tensei series. The similarity with the series in the gameplay systems does not end there, as you will find a system for developing your relationships with your team members that reminds us a lot of the famous social links system of Persona. There is also a system for changing jobs (job system), which is not much different from the famous system from Final Fantasy V, but its introduction is relatively late, in addition to the great effort required to level one new jobs for you I have turned old jobs into a system that does not encourage testing and experimentation, and I have tried to find the best A job as quickly as possible so that I ignore the system and the waste of time is minimized keep as possible.
Speaking of wasted time
The second half of Like A Dragon is full of moments that I saw as an attempt to extend the game’s lifespan. The game once asks you to collect 3 million yen to complete the story, and at other times it gives you a boss 15 levels higher than you. They are all moments that forced me to stop playing the story and engage in boring development processes that highlighted the problem of repetition and lack of options in the combat system.
On the bright side
The collection of mini-games and side stories is one of my favorites in the series so far. There’s the usual dose of quirky comedy mixed in with dramatic moments that hit you when you least expect it. Even the mini-games here, many of which offer decent narrative content, particularly the cinematic game and the company management game, an improved version of the club management game in Yakuza 0, which was one of my favorite games in it.
Graphically, the series is at its best so far
And the Dragon Engine still manages to amaze me up to this moment, even if the cinematic clips have become noticeably nicer than the gameplay parts, which can sometimes be annoying in a way. In terms of audio, the game offers a very good album that combines the series’ well-known musical style with melodies that sometimes sound as if they came straight from Dragon Quest, Ichiban’s favorite game. Outside of these two categories, some of the game’s tunes attempt new and stranger things, including my favorite tune in the game, the boss fight tune from Chapter Twelve.
“Like A Dragon” is an excellent addition to the Yakuza series
And a successful start to the journey of its new hero Ichiban. RPG systems often fail to live up to the narrative ambitions and the team’s lack of experience in the field is evident in many moments, but at worst they are a successful foundation with room for improvement and I would very much like to play another installment based on builds on this foundation.
The game was reviewed prior to release using a PS4 copy received from the publisher
Pros and Cons of Yakuza: Like A Dragon PC Game
- Compelling Story and Characters: The game offers a strong and engaging story with well-developed characters. The drama, comedy, and emotional moments are all well-executed, making it an enjoyable experience.
- New Protagonist: The new hero, Kasuga Ichiban, fills the void left by the previous protagonist and is a standout character in the series. His personality, mistakes, and evolution make him a likable and relatable protagonist.
- Unique Combat System: The game introduces a new combat system that is simple and fun. It focuses on hitting an opponent’s weak spots and dealing maximum damage, similar to the Shin Megami Tensei series.
- Mini-Games and Side Stories: Yakuza: Like A Dragon offers a collection of enjoyable mini-games and side stories. These provide a mix of quirky comedy and dramatic moments, adding depth to the overall gameplay experience.
- Impressive Graphics: The game showcases impressive graphics, especially with the Dragon Engine. The cinematic clips are particularly visually stunning.
- Great Soundtrack: The game features a well-composed soundtrack that combines the series’ signature musical style with melodies reminiscent of Dragon Quest. The boss fight tune from Chapter Twelve is a standout track.
- Repetitive and Time-Consuming Gameplay: The second half of the game includes moments that feel like an attempt to extend the game’s lifespan. This can lead to repetitive gameplay and time-consuming development processes.
- Limited Job System: While the game introduces a job system, it is relatively late in the game and requires a significant effort to level up new jobs. This can discourage experimentation and limit the player’s options.
- Weaker Second Half: The second half of the game does not maintain the same level of strength as the beginning. The story connections and conspiracy dimensions are not as strong as in previous installments.
- Lack of Influence from Supporting Characters: While the first three characters accompanying Ichiban are well-developed and influential, the rest of the supporting characters have little impact on the story and are not prominently featured.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Yakuza: Like A Dragon PC Game
1. What is the storyline of Yakuza: Like A Dragon?
The game follows the story of Kazuma Ichiban, a yakuza from one of the small families of the Tojo clan. After spending 18 years in prison, he discovers that the world has changed and he is no longer welcome in his family. He embarks on a new life, climbing the social ladder and getting involved in a vast conspiracy and a war between major Yakuza organizations in Yokohama.
2. How is the combat system in Yakuza: Like A Dragon?
The combat system in Like A Dragon is simple and fun. It involves hitting an opponent’s weak spots to knock them down and dealing as much damage as possible while they are on the ground. The gameplay is reminiscent of the Shin Megami Tensei series.
3. Are there any role-playing elements in Yakuza: Like A Dragon?
Yes, Yakuza: Like A Dragon introduces role-playing elements to the series. Players can develop relationships with their team members, similar to the social links system in Persona. There is also a job system that allows players to change jobs and develop different abilities.
4. Are there mini-games and side stories in Yakuza: Like A Dragon?
Yes, the game offers a collection of mini-games and side stories. These include quirky comedy mixed with dramatic moments, and many mini-games offer narrative content. The company management game, in particular, is an improved version of the club management game in Yakuza 0.
5. How is the graphics and audio in Yakuza: Like A Dragon?
The graphics in Yakuza: Like A Dragon are impressive, with the Dragon Engine delivering stunning visuals. However, some players may notice a difference in quality between cinematic clips and gameplay parts. The game offers a very good soundtrack that combines the series’ well-known musical style with melodies reminiscent of Dragon Quest.