Yakuza: Like a Dragon Review- A Crime Saga with Heart and Humor

Imagine yourself in the vibrant streets of Yokohama and embark on a one-of-a-kind adventure with Yakuza: Like a Dragon. The latest 2020 version, also called as Yakuza 7 by a few of the fans from Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, is a departure from the traditional RPG and offers a unique blend of intense crime drama, heartwarming moments, and laugh-out-loud humour. But does it live up to the high standards set by its predecessors? Let’s delve into its unique features and find out with Driffle’s Yakuza: Like a Dragon Review!

Metacritic Rating: 84
Release Date: 10 November, 2020
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox X Series, Xbox One, PC

From Yakuza to Like a Dragon: A Fresh Start

The game replaces the iconic character Kiryu Kazuma with Ichiban Kasuga, a low-ranking yakuza with a heart of gold and a serious Dragon Quest addiction. Wrongly accused of a crime, Ichiban spends 18 years in prison and emerges to a vastly different Kamurocho, the familiar red-light district of the series.

This change in protagonist gives Like a Dragon a fresh feel while staying true to its origins. Ichiban’s wide-eyed optimism and unwavering belief in the power of friendship contrast with the series’ usual stoic leads, providing a delightful change. The supporting cast is equally impressive, featuring a diverse group of misfits that Ichiban befriends, forming a makeshift family.

Turn-Based Brawls: A Surprisingly Strategic Shift

The combat system in the game has undergone a significant change. Instead of the traditional beat-em-up brawls, it now features a turn-based system inspired by classic JRPGs. Ichiban can assemble a party consisting of various job classes, ranging from standard brawlers and healers to musicians and chefs. Battles occur in dynamic environments, with enemies and party members using environmental objects to deal damage.

While some players may miss the visceral brawling, the turn-based system offers surprising depth. Each job class comes with unique skill trees, and exploiting enemy weaknesses adds a layer of strategy. Special attacks are a highlight, often involving over-the-top moves such as hitting enemies with a motorcycle or a giant pile of cash.

The game fully embraces its RPG roots, with plentiful dungeons offering opportunities for exploration and grinding. Enemy encounters are frequent, but the combat rarely feels repetitive due to the variety of enemy types and Ichiban’s ever-evolving team.

Kamurocho Reborn: A City Full of Life (and Side Quests)

The heart of Like a Dragon remains firmly rooted in Kamurocho despite the new protagonist and combat system. The familiar district returns, rebuilt and revitalized, with a vibrant nightlife, quirky shops, and many hidden secrets to discover.

Kamurocho isn’t just a backdrop for the main story. The city is full of side quests, minigames, and engaging distractions. Whether you’re managing a business, running a cabaret club, or belting out karaoke tunes, Yakuza: Like a Dragon offers a constant stream of activities to keep you entertained for hours.

Visually Striking with a Touch of Yakuza Flair

Yakuza: Like a Dragon has a more stylized visual approach compared to previous games. The environments are detailed and colourful, and the character models are expressive, capturing quirky personalities. The game still has the signature Yakuza flair, with exaggerated facial expressions and dramatic cutscenes adding to its charm.

A Hilarious Journey with a Touching Core

Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a departure from the series’ beat-em-up roots, but it’s a gamble that pays off in spades. The turn-based combat, despite being a change, is surprisingly engaging. The story, filled with humour and wacky situations, tackles themes of loyalty, brotherhood, and the power of second chances.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the perfect game if you’re seeking a hilarious and heartwarming RPG experience with a healthy dose of the absurd. Just remember, in the criminal underworld of Kamurocho, even the most unlikely heroes can rise to the occasion.