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10 Jul 2021

REVIEW: Yakuza: Like a Dragon on Xbox One

Review by Staff
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the 8th in what seems like a never-ending series of games.

But this is a new start in the series, unlike the previous games that followed Kazuma Kiryu, Like A Dragon follows Ichiban Kasuga.

"Ichiban Kasuga, a low-ranking grunt of a low-ranking yakuza family in Tokyo, faces an 18-year prison sentence after taking the fall for a crime he didn't commit. Never losing faith, he loyally serves his time and returns to society to discover that no one was waiting for him on the outside, and his clan has been destroyed by the man he respected most.

Ichiban sets out to discover the truth behind his family's betrayal and take his life back, drawing a ragtag group of society's outcasts to his side: Adachi, a rogue cop, Nanba, a homeless ex-nurse, and Saeko, a hostess on a mission. Together, they are drawn into a conflict brewing beneath the surface in Yokohama and must rise to become the heroes they never expected to be."

Using the same "Dragon Engine" from Yakuza 6 and Yakuza Kiwami 2, Like a Dragon will instantly feel familiar if you have played those two games, however there is one big change outside of the storyline elements. The real-time beat 'em up is gone and replaced by a turn-based RPG combat system.

This is a HUGE change, and if you are unaware of this change when you first start to play, that first battle feels weird as hell. Now I will admit I hated it at first, I really enjoyed the freedom of the real-time beat em up system of the previous games, the turn-based RPG system for the fights does feel constrained, especially early on, but you will soon get used to it, and as you unlock new special moves etc, then it does become enjoyable, if a bit tedious in a boss fight.

There is an auto mode when fighting, that enables the characters to do pretty much everything and you can just sit back, you still need to hit the odd button here and there to max out the power of certain moves, but it does make the fights easier.

Onto the game itself, like previous games there are endless sub-stories to complete, see a person on the street, speak to them, do a job for them, report back, collect a reward. You will also slowly build up a team, they can even join you in battles, and although you control them in the fights, outside of the fights, you will only control Kasuga. Another interesting element of the game is the jobs system, you can change jobs for your characters, and that in turn may change the way they fight in battle, upgrade their ranks and you will find you get stronger, faster and so on. Each job has a different look when you fight, different clothes to wear and more.

There is also the huge selection of mini games to play, whether that is heading into a SEGA arcade and playing Virtua Fighter 5, cart racing, collecting cans on a course, and the biggest one of all the management mini game, where you buy properties, assign employees, and try to raise the stock price of the business, hoping to eventually get to number one. If that doesn't sound like something you would like, well tough, because later in the game you will need to collect large sums of money, and one of the best ways to do that is the management mini game. It is a bit complicated at first, but you will figure it out, and there are plenty of guides online to help you out.

Although you can save your game at almost any time, there are some sections whereby you cant, usually it will be a scene where you need to battle through to an enemy boss, or the battle arena, or even under the city. In these situations a save before you start, and hope you are well prepared to get through it.

If you struggle in a fight and seem to be endlessly fighting and healing yourself, you are probably not strong enough and need to go away, grind a bit and raise your stats, or buy better weapons.

Regarding the weapons, you can buy them in shops, find them after battles, and even craft them.

There really does seem to be so much to do in this game, and you can get side tracked for hours doing things that have nothing to do with the main story. But that is fun. You will even fight a chimp, a tiger and a mechanical digger during this game!

The Good
The game looks and plays great, everything is smooth, the cut scenes although rather long at times, are all fun to watch.

The Bad
Although I have got used to the RPG elements of battle, I still prefer the beat em up style of previous games.

This is an epic game, if you went at it hard you can probably complete it in 12 hours, but then you won't enjoy it, sometimes the best parts of the game are the side stories, the silly things like growing pine seeds to then turn into a bonsai tree, to give to a girl to impress them. Silly but fun.

I score the game a solid 8/10

Review by Staff

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