Yakuza: Like a Dragon, developed by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and published by SEGA, throws you into the chaotic life of Ichiban Kasuga, a low-ranking yakuza betrayed and left for dead by his closest ally. Rising from the brink with a legendary bat in hand, Ichiban is ready to reclaim his honour. Set against the vibrant backdrop of modern-day Japan, this dynamic RPG adventure combines intense turn-based combat with a gripping story, offering a fresh and unforgettable experience in the Yakuza series.


Yakuza: Like a Dragon Game Review


Gameplay Experience: 14/25

Yakuza: Like a Dragon delivers intuitive and easy-to-learn controls, seamlessly integrating basic combat and numerous mini-games. The game maintains a balanced difficulty curve, effectively signaling when you’ve ventured into areas surpassing your current level, encouraging strategic choices such as sticking to lower-level zones for progression. However, while the gameplay mechanics offer accessibility, our experience revealed a tendency towards repetition rather than captivation. Throughout our playthrough, we often found ourselves impatient for progression, racing through content to advance the story. This sense of urgency rendered many of our decisions seemingly inconsequential, detracting from the overall engagement and leaving us questioning the relevance of our choices. Despite these shortcomings, the narrative depth provided a redeeming quality, offering a compelling incentive for continued gameplay.

Presentation & Immersion: 21/25

The game delivers an above-average story, weaving a sad, but compelling tale of redemption and revenge set against the vibrant backdrop of modern Japan. This engaging storyline seamlessly blends with the game’s setting, authentically portraying the essence of Japanese streets, right down to the smallest details like vending machines on every corner. Visually, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, is beautiful, with polished graphics and a clean, albeit cartoony, HUD that enriches the overall experience. The audio quality adds another layer of immersion, though the voice acting leans towards an anime style, injecting a playful charm into the game. While the turn-based combat system is functional, an action-adventure beat-em-up approach might have better complemented the immersive atmosphere created by the games developers.

Design & Technical: 20/25

Yakuza: Like a Dragon offers a plethora of content and activities to engage in, presenting a diverse range of experiences. While not necessarily rich, the game’s offerings are certainly varied, including mini-games, collectibles, quests, and events scattered throughout the various maps. Its mechanical design lends it a distinct arcade-style feel, contributing to its overall polish and inspiring gameplay. The game features fairly flexible settings and we encountered zero bugs or technical issues during our playthrough. However, the AI’s complexity is rather basic, with increased difficulty noticeable only in certain battles. With a balanced team, players should navigate through most of the content without significant challenges. Nevertheless, some final battles may prove to be formidable, suggesting that the AI may be overly tuned for the sake of difficulty in these instances.

The Skinny About Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Final Considerations: 19/25

Our experience with Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Steam Link) was somewhat average. While our team generally enjoys turn-based games, it felt like this game might have been better suited for a different gameplay style. Much of our time was spent in a repetitive grind, repeatedly spamming the same skills without much variation. This lack of diversity in gameplay made the replay value almost non-existent for us; we simply didn’t want to endure that experience again. Despite some positives like the absence of microtransactions, drawbacks such as third-party DRM detracted from the experience. Caution is advised due to the significant time investment required for less engaging content, potentially skewing the cost-to-play ratio unfavorably. We suggest watching gameplay videos first to assess alignment with your preferences before considering this title. Overall, not recommended.

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