The Yakuza sequence intimidates me. It consists of seven big mainline video games, and though I’ve made two earnest makes an attempt to begin the saga, I’ve by no means even completed Yakuza 0. That claims extra about me than the video games, however I’m positive I’m not alone; getting via Yakuza’s complete sprawling story is a frightening proposition, because it includes enjoying via a number of big RPGs. Nonetheless, the current launch of Yakuza: Like a Dragon provides gamers the right alternative to begin with a clear slate.
The core Yakuza video games comply with hero Kazuma Kiryu and many years of his exploits within the metropolis of Kamurocho. If you wish to bounce into the deep finish, we’ve got this guide that can assist you with that – however Like a Dragon gives one thing totally different. It incorporates a brand-new story with a distinct protagonist (Ichiban Kasuga), and primarily takes place in a brand new metropolis (Yokohama), shedding years of bags that will have been a barrier for brand spanking new gamers. As somebody with a bit expertise enjoying Yakuza, I’m discovering Like a Dragon to be an invigorating breath of contemporary air that faucets into the sequence’ strengths with out getting too weighed down by its historical past. You possibly can decide to do some research to learn the way this recreation matches into the bigger context of the franchise, nevertheless it is not vital. You possibly can have enjoyable by leaping in blind.
To begin with, Ichiban is pleasant. He has a good-hearted goofiness to him that makes him a pure match for Yakuza’s distinctive combination of melodrama and zaniness. One minute, he’s a badass fighter who stays unfazed when surrounded by a horde of goons. The following minute, he’s doing a public service by stopping a legal from whizzing within the river. Whether or not the state of affairs is critical or unusual, Ichiban matches proper in. In fact, Kiryu bumped into comparable eventualities, however the massive distinction between them is charisma. That’s nothing towards Kiryu as a hero; they’re each finally good dudes, however Ichiban’s enthusiasm feels extra relatable than Kiryu’s stoicism.
One other approachable a part of Like a Dragon is the fight. It’s a giant departure from earlier installments, counting on turn-based RPG battles reasonably than real-time brawling. At first, all the foundations, techniques, and particular strikes might sound extra sophisticated, however this imaginative angle welcomes extra gamers into the fold by embracing technique over reflexes. You’ve gotten loads of time to evaluate the battlefield, select your targets, and choose your assaults from menus. It lacks a number of the visceral punch of different installments, however provides its personal hilarious aptitude with numerous summons and team-up assaults. Plus, the revamped mechanics be certain that all gamers are beginning on the identical web page, no matter their expertise with the sequence.
I’m additionally loving the aspect quests, or sub-stories. From my restricted expertise enjoying Yakuza 0 (in addition to ending Judgment, which is a Yakuza spin-off), I do know these could be even larger points of interest than the primary story. Sub-stories are the place you discover a ton of endearing offbeat weirdness, together with unbelievable conditions and outlandish characters. Like a Dragon does an amazing job crafting missions that present heartfelt moments and ridiculous tales you inform your pals. For instance, I helped a man retrieve his pet crawfish, solely to study he wished to eat the crawfish. So then I gave the person sushi as a substitute, and he gave me his pet in return. In the long run, my reward for this alternate was the flexibility to summon the crawfish to assist me in battle. In one other mission, I helped a homeless man construct a bookshelf as a present, which offers a surprisingly compassionate perspective on homelessness. Missions like these are simply ready to be found, and they’re a superb option to regularly introduce gamers to the strangeness and heat Yakuza holds.
In the end, I believe Like a Dragon is the absolute best option to see what this sequence gives. Should you actually don’t like the concept turn-based fight, then you might take a look at Judgment as a substitute (right here’s our review). It’s set in Kamurocho and options an action-based fight system just like the mainline sequence, nevertheless it additionally tells a standalone story starring new characters. Nonetheless, thus far, Like a Dragon is only a extra pleasing recreation general. The forged (with Ichiban on the heart) shares a enjoyable camaraderie that drives the story, with intelligent fight and memorable quests alongside the best way. If you wish to play only one Yakuza with no strings connected, Ichiban Kasuga is your man.