The game also includes a playable demo Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth as a bonus.
The Like a Dragon (formerly known as Yakuza) series continues to grow in global popularity, and each installment is a bigger event than the one before it—not just in terms of popularity or sales, but also in terms of quality, plot, and a masterfully developed character tree. their journeys and relationships. Subtitled “Gaiden” (the word means “side story”), the latest title further confirms this upward trend of the series as it looks and plays a bit better again, masterfully filling in the missing parts of the story between the sixth, seventh and upcoming eighth installments of the series. Even so, it can be played as your very first Like a Dragon game.
- Platform: PS5 (reviewed) PS4, X1, XSX|S, PC
- Date of publication: 9/11/2023
- Manufacturer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio (Japan)
- Genre: action RPG
- Czech localization: No
- Multiplayer: yes (minigames for two)
- Data to download: 52 GB
- Game time: 15+ hours
- Price: 1220 CZK (Steam)
The treacherous life of an agent
Kiryu, the protagonist of the original series, faked his own death at the end of his journey in the previous episodes in order to cover his tracks and prevent all kinds of enemies from trying to attack him by attacking his loved ones, especially the children from the Morning Glory Orphanage. The “Daidoji” organization helped him fake his death, but in return reserved the opportunity to use his services from time to time. As their agent, he earned the nickname “Joryu” and vowed never to reveal or compromise the secret of his original identity. But when a seemingly routine operation at the port degenerates into a bloody and fiery inferno, it becomes clear that someone from the outside has found out the truth. Not only Kiryu is in danger, but once again his loved ones, including the children from the orphanage.
I’m not sure to what extent this was the intention of the writers, but as the story keeps getting more complicated and tangled, more mysterious characters and factions enter it, there are really unexpected betrayals or revelations and so on… the creators really managed to create an impression, that you are playing a spy drama. Your gadgets are more or less all designed for combat, but the “no one is who they seem, trust no one” theme works perfectly. It helps a lot that the authors are excellent storytellers, so not only is the story as a whole interesting, but the dialogues are very effectively charged with emotions and the words of the heroes will pump adrenaline into your veins, or they will hit you painfully when there is a sad or touching twist in the story. the story.
The authors are excellent storytellers.
Thanks to this, they were able to induce surprisingly strong emotions in me from the very first scene in the game, but that was nothing against what awaits you in the later chapters. When I observe the cadence and quality with which the creators manage to release new parts of their series about organized crime, I wonder what would have to happen in order for the creators of the Mafia series, with which Like a Dragon has a lot in common, to achieve similar performance. Of course, it’s worth admitting that the Like a Dragon games are noticeably improving in terms of the setting, but otherwise they carefully monitor the scope of the game environment (they recycle a few specific simplified city districts) and, for example, even in this part of the series, you will find dialogues that have text only and lack dubbing.
Brawls and other pastimes
Gaiden is a shorter game in scope (the story will take you about 15 hours if you don’t focus on the side content) that also sells for a lower price. Originally, it was supposed to be one of the chapters of the upcoming eighth part of the main series (Infinite Wealth), which is gradually growing under the hands of the creators. So at first they thought they’d make it a standalone DLC… and finally decided it deserved its own game. They reportedly managed to create it in just six months, which seems completely unbelievable considering how elaborate it is. In addition to story missions, it offers a whole host of side activities and mini-games, some of which will probably surprise you with their scope and depth.
It offers a plethora of side activities, some of which will probably surprise you.
Among the most prominent activities is a red-haired informer and “broker” named Akame, who develops her business in the alleys of Sotenbori. Among other things, she takes care of the homeless, who also act as her informants. With your help, he will develop his network and activities, which leads to the gradual unlocking of a whole constellation of smaller optional missions where you help various civilians in the city. This activity has its own system of rewards and unlocking additional layers. The wrestling ring in the brand new “Palace on the Water” location is similarly elaborate. Here, too, you will be able to unlock new rewards and even hire and upgrade teammates, with whom you can then go into the ring for truly epic team battles with great rewards.
The combat system is original this time, i.e. a real-time thresher (the seventh and eighth parts have turned into a classic turn-based JRPG). The main novelty of this game is the presence of gadgets that you can access as an agent. These include thin wire, attack drones, explosive cigarettes and rocket boots. You can upgrade all these tools and unlock new features or combos for them. In combat, you can then switch between this mode of fighting as an agent with gadgets (suitable for larger groups of enemies) and between the more traditional “Yakuza” fighting style, which is slower but stronger (and therefore more suitable for one-on-one fights) with the press of a button. You can set the difficulty of the fights, from very easy to a real challenge. If I had to complain about the fights, I was a bit annoyed by the unwanted collection of props in the environment during the fight (same button as for opening doors) and the system of “locking” enemies is not perfect.
The icing on the cake for many can be a mini-game with a “cabaret”, where you choose from several seductively dressed hostesses, with whom you can then drink and get closer. What makes this activity a bit more peppery than you might expect is the fact that for these passages, the creators filmed live-action film sequences with women, for which there was also a rather demanding selection process in Japan. Well, that’s just how this series is, and many players like its secondary content as much as the main one. I haven’t even mentioned the presence of fully emulated classic Sega games on local slots or the activity with racing cars, etc. Of course, the overall impression of the game is helped by the fact that it not only looks great, but also runs absolutely smoothly and I didn’t notice a single technical error. Despite the excellent Japanese dubbing, I was disappointed that the creators did not have time to prepare the English dubbing for the release of the game (it will arrive later in the form of a patch).
Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name
- It also works as an entry into the series
- Fun fights and gadgets
- Group battles in the ring
- A flurry of side activities
- Again an excellent story
It bothers us
- Absence of English dubbing on release
- Unwanted prop collection during combat