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Quickfire Review – Yakuza: Like a Dragon (PS4)

Yakuza: Like a Dragon from Sega is the seventh entry into the mainline Yakuza franchise of games. Sega, however, opted to drop the 7 from the name for the game’s western release since it features a brand new storyline with a different set of characters.

Like a Dragon is therefore a great entry point for newcomers to the franchise.

With so many titles in the franchise, something as simple as name change is quite a genius way of attracting newcomers so kudos to Sega for doing this. Yakuza: Like a Dragon follows the story of Ichiban Kasuga, a low-ranking grunt of a low-ranking yakuza family in Tokyo.

Ichiban returns to society after serving 18 years of jail time for a crime he didn’t commit. Returning to society, Ichiban seeks to restore his clan to its former glory and of course, since this is a Yakuza game, things get crazy.

Gameplay in Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a break from the traditional third person fighting seen in previous titles. This time around, the gameplay features turn-based JRPG battles featuring some rather complex mechanics. Yes you can just attack enemies but by doing so, you’ll be easily defeated.

Using your party’s unique skills is key to victory and you’ll have to apply strategy to defeat some foes. There’s also multiple “jobs” on offer and characters can switch between them in-game adding an additional layer of complexity to battles.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon is quite a long game coming in at around 50 hours of story content to get through. This obviously excludes all the additional time you’ll spend fighting off enemies as you try to level up your party and come to grips with the extensive job system.

There’s plenty of easter eggs and nods to the franchise as well as a tonne of humorous references and jokes in the game. Getting through the story is never boring and quite surprisingly, the game deals with some intense issues which are happening in real life too such as anti-immigration policy and homelessness.

Sega have also opted to include an arcade in the game and there’s a tonne of content to get through here too.

Also oddly enough, there’s a full free DLC for the game which introduces pachislot machines to the game. Make of that what you will but we’re sure that there’s plenty of people who will actually have fun with this free DLC.

Graphically, Yakuza: Like a Dragon looks great. While the PS4 version doesn’t look as amazing as its PC counterpart, players of the PS4 console edition will get a free upgrade to the PS5 edition next year March.

The voice acting in the game is fantastic too, with both the English and Japanese voices being great throughout. Having a fully voiced English dub you can swap to is also a great aspect of the game that might attract newcomers while still appeasing purists who would prefer to listen to the game’s original Japanese voice acting cast.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon is an over the top, action oriented JRPG. The characters are incredibly human and likable and there’s a sense of camaraderie between Ichiban and his crew.

The story is over the top and so too are the battles but therein lies the game’s charm. If you’re a fan of the Yakuza franchise or if you’re a newcomer, chances are you will enjoy Yakuza: Like a Dragon. We highly recommend it.

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