Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name Review

The Yakuza/Like a Dragon franchise has gone via many modifications through the years. The existence of a “Gaiden” recreation is amongst these modifications, offering an alternate perspective throughout main occasions occurring as a part of the principle collection. This recreation was at all times meant to be shorter than a mainline title from the beginning, even falling wanting spinoffs outdoors of the principle story. However how properly does Gaiden handle to carry its personal, and will RGG Studio proceed to pursue extra entries prefer it?

Return of the Namemuch less Dragon

Picture: SEGA

After life-changing occasions from Yakuza 6, a well-recognized face underneath the codename “Joryu” finds himself on the heart of a conspiracy centered across the Tojo Clan and Omi Alliance. Whereas doing what he can to stop his true id from leaking, Kiryu should navigate the intricacies of this plot with the assistance of Sotenbori civilians and his personal two fists. Alongside the best way, he can meet acquainted characters from earlier video games, with a number of returning faces being significantly sudden. Between each the principle story and aspect content material, there’s quite a bit for long-time followers to take pleasure in.

Newcomers may discover themselves a bit extra alienated from this entry, although it’s actually not designed to be a “starting point” for Like a Dragon. It’s actually refreshing to see so many ties to earlier video games when most titles have been comparatively self-contained outdoors of their intros. However it does really feel like they may have gone additional, particularly with just about all story content material being revealed in trailers beforehand. The recreation misses its likelihood to incorporate a sure iconic second outdoors of a mere reference, and the lead-in for Infinite Wealth is virtually nonexistent. It’s complicated and considerably regarding to see how a lot SEGA is prepared to disclose within the video games’ trailers whereas not truly having all that a lot left to disclose within the video games themselves.

Regardless of the shortage of protection, Gaiden’s full story content material remains to be partaking and spectacular. These wishing for Kiryu to interrupt out of his self-imposed “prison” might be upset, however anybody searching for an emotional and intense set of occasions will definitely be happy. High quality of characterizations may be left to viewer interpretations, however there’ll nonetheless be loads of thrilling moments all through Gaiden that rival a few of the most climactic moments within the franchise.

Coronary heart-Pounding, Face-Pounding Fight

Picture: SEGA

Between Kiryu’s new bombastic Agent Type and his acquainted Yakuza Type, the fight in Gaiden manages to be in contrast to any recreation earlier than it — and that’s an announcement meant in one of the best ways doable. It retains related mechanics to Judgment and Misplaced Judgment, although it focuses much less on juggling foes and extra on rapid-fire grounded combos and dodges. Mixed with the varied armies of enemies gamers will encounter directly, it makes for some particularly partaking and difficult gameplay — particularly on the very best problem.

Whereas the Agent Type isn’t too spectacular at first, upgrading its devices to extra simply handle enemy teams turns it into efficient crowd management. In the meantime, the Yakuza Type is ideal for one-on-one fight, with an elevated pace that lets Kiryu sustain with probably the most highly effective and hulking opponents. Upgrades for these kinds are performed with cash slightly than EXP, retaining the same improve model to Yakuza 0 and permitting gamers to top off on loads of therapeutic objects. This permits gamers to really feel rewarded way more usually for finishing fights and substories, whereas the issue of enemies finally ends up being centered extra round their harm and assault kinds. It manages to be a great way to power gamers to enhance if they need probably the most problem they’ll get out of the sport.

This problem extends to boss encounters. Many of them retain Misplaced Judgment’s “super attack” system, however a lot of their regular strikes might be surprisingly robust to deal with when enjoying recklessly. Many of those encounters additionally lack QTEs, and whereas which may appear to be extra of a constructive for some gamers, it additionally means loads of the intertwined cutscenes and choreography lack any kind of enter. It’s all nonetheless top-notch, however it might’ve been good to have a number of extra prompts right here and there, particularly throughout the last boss battle.

On that word, the ultimate fights may be a few of the greatest in the complete franchise. High-notch music, an intense final encounter, and characters with weighty story presence make the finale of Gaiden stand tall when in comparison with its predecessors. The last boss alone exhibits how far the collection has come by way of beat-em-up gameplay, together with how a lot of a disgrace it might be for the builders to desert this model fully.

Content material Past Story

Picture: Assault of the Fanboy

When it comes to its important story, Gaiden doesn’t go a lot additional than The Kaito Information relating to content material. Aspect content material, then again, is definitely in a position to rival that of different video games. Gamers can count on minigames equivalent to golf, karaoke, billiards, shogi, and even poker. That is solely the floor of enjoyable aspect content material obtainable, with SEGA arcade classics offering distinctive experiences that couldn’t be loved at residence till immediately. It truly is a deal with to see these games-within-a-game, making Gaiden really feel extra like a traditional Yakuza recreation even with out having related story size.

The spotlight of Gaiden is the Coliseum, which is sort of presumably one of the best main aspect mode obtainable within the franchise up thus far. The number of every battle is first rate sufficient, however one of the best half is getting the prospect to truly play as characters aside from Kiryu. This provides gamers the prospect to check out strikes from primary enemies and well-known bosses, one thing they may solely ever do earlier than with the assistance of mods. It’s disheartening to see three of probably the most beloved characters locked behind DLC for this mode, however not less than the content material inside that additional fee is much extra worthwhile than a easy beauty.

After all, substories make a return as properly, with loads of cameos and references that some followers might need by no means anticipated. Sadly, a number of returning faces are solely teased slightly than introduced again in full, which is a disgrace when there’s already so many connections to be made. Regardless of this, the substories current inside the recreation nonetheless handle to be enjoyable and even thrilling at occasions, with some sudden twists and turns scattered all through. It might be laborious to suggest Gaiden with out all this aspect content material, however with it, the sport is definitely worthwhile at its diminished worth level.

Yet one more piece of aspect content material is an included demo for Infinite Wealth. It’s not a very huge demo, nevertheless it’s good to get a really feel for the upcoming title alongside its enhancements upon programs launched in Yakuza: Like a Dragon. If nothing else, it actually continues to justify Gaiden’s existence as one more piece of enjoyable, additional content material…although it nonetheless appears like an additional assembly between Kiryu and Ichiban is lacking between the 2 video games.

Ultimate Ideas

Picture: Assault of the Fanboy

It’s not usually {that a} recreation with a lot missed potential manages to make up that potential so properly in nearly each different space. Gaiden won’t be all the pieces it could possibly be, however what’s there may be completely unbelievable from begin to end. The fight is on level, the content material is nice, and the story beats coated by Gaiden handle to be emotional and impactful in so some ways. Hopefully RGG Studio retains the beat-em-up model for future entries, and in the event that they find yourself making one other Gaiden title to proceed that model, hopefully it finally ends up being way more bold with its story.


Regardless of missed potential by way of its important story, Like a Dragon Gaiden makes up for it with unbelievable fight and improbable aspect content material. Hopefully RGG Studio continues to broaden on the beat-em-up model as an alternative of going all-in on turn-based fight, as a result of Gaiden provides one of the enjoyable gameplay experiences of the franchise.

Reviewed on PC

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