Innovation makes Yakuza: Like a Dragon an excellent game that breaks conventions and invites newcomers.
Grandiose absurdism. The Yakuza series has stood for this for years, alongside a stoic protagonist and an extensive real-time combat system. Still, it’s time for some commotion, because Yakuza: Like a Dragon breaks with the established order. The game is no longer an action game, but a real JRPG, complete with turn-based combat system. However, according to SEGA, the game stays true to the series and doesn’t lose the Yakuza soul. Brave words, but not without reason: the dragon’s heart still beats just as strongly.
When Ichiban Kasuga, a subordinate member of the Arakawa family, has to pay for a murder he has committed, he does it without blushing. After eighteen years behind bars, however, a lot has changed. The famed Tojo Clan has been banished from Kamurocho and the Omi Alliance rules in its place. Ichiban investigates and ends up in Yokohama, where a power struggle between Japanese, Korean and Chinese mafia is about to get out of hand. Ichiban meets new friends and together they fight their way through intrigue, politics and the most bizarre scenes. Although Yakuza: Like a Dragon is not a spin-off, you don’t need to have played any of the previous games to run. Newcomers are brought up to speed, and veterans are eager to understand why the once mighty Tojo Clan has fallen. Yakuza: Like a Dragon brings another crime drama to enjoy.
Ichiban is also a great protagonist to pull the cart. Like the other Yakuza heroes, he has a heart of gold, but the similarities end there. He is a game addict, a footstep and above all very loud and brash. Moreover, his unbridled imagination is an endless source of entertainment. Because of his love for Dragon Quest, he sees the world effectively differently. Enemies change from normal men in suits to bizarre pencil peddlers, hackers pretending to be wizards, and hobos dressed in nothing but a garbage bag. Building relationships with allies increases unique stats such as Passion and Style. They have an effect on your skills. A sewer becomes a dungeon with treasure chests and clothing stores, real weapon shops. Because the boundary between reality and Ichiban’s fantasy completely blurs, you will start to believe in his dream world and you walk the entire game with a big grin on your face.
That line is being blurred even further with the all-new turn-based combat system. Ichiban and his team of colorful friends take turns fighting all kinds of scum. Just like in previous Yakuza games, they stop you on the street. Initially, the system arouses suspicion, because how can this now support the explosive action of Yakuza? However, the opposite is true. Due to the large amount of skills, buffs, debuffs, summons and customizable jobs, the combat of Yakuza: Like a Dragon is much more varied and even puts the chaotic madness in an even brighter spotlight. Moreover, the ‘auto-combat’ is quite skilled and you can speed up simple street fights by letting the AI do the work. This adjustment to the combat system brings a breath of fresh air through the Yakuza range. It’s a fantastic adaptation for a series that has been doing too much of the same for way too long.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon takes place for the most part in Ijincho, and not in Kamurocho. The city in Yokohama has a completely different face thanks to a great diversity of neighborhoods. With a harbor, shopping streets, a China and Koreatown, a business district and so on, there is a lot of variation. As a result, walking around the city is absolutely no punishment. In addition, there is also a large amount of lovingly and detailed designed mini games. There is a real kart racer with multiple cups, a golf game and a management simulator in which you save a candy store from bankruptcy. The games are just as addictive as the main game. In other words, they easily make you forget that more than just your high score is at stake. Traditionally, there is also a SEGA arcade with classic games and a grab machine, but the new games completely steal the show.
Nevertheless, there are small, but noteworthy comments. For example, combat uses QTEs that increase your damage when completed. However, their timing is so tight that you barely hit them making you miss out on your bonus. You can switch off the QTEs in the options menu. However, that means you can’t take advantage of the gameplay benefits they offer at all. In addition, you not only have side missions, but you also work for a hero agency where you solve all kinds of small jobs. That’s just too much occupational therapy. These chores are not very interesting. In addition, they are not of the same quality as Ijincho’s other attractions. Furthermore, the English acting is wonderfully from art, but not everything was translated, so you regularly hear Japanese cries. Finally, there is a graphics multisampling bug at the time of writing. As a result, the graphics are distorted by a glassy haze in some scenes. They are minor flaws that can generally be avoided, but still enough to make the game just not a perfect experience.
Ultimately, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a daring but highly successful experiment that revitalizes the Yakuza series. Ichiban is a great new protagonist, the innovations around the RPG systems integrate seamlessly into the existing Yakuza mechanics and Ijincho is perfect for playing the virtual tourist. SEGA has a new hit, the innovation of which has been granted a long life. Dragon courage is bearing fruit.
For the Yakuza: Like a Dragon review, Sander played on the PC. Yakuza: Like a Dragon is out November 10 on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Xbox Series X / S. The game will also be playable on PlayStation 5 from March 2, 2021.
Source : IGN