The Long-running “Yakuza” series from Sega Subsidiary Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, or RGG Studio, is set to launch their newest entry in the established franchise. And with this newest entry, there are many new things coming with it. So here is a massive, “Everything you need to know,” List detailing the newest Title: “Yakuza: Like a Dragon.”
The first big thing to know is the plot of the newest title and how it ties to the previous entries, The Yakuza Series is known for its gripping storytelling of a deep crime drama of the Japanese underworld and the characters involved. With the Last Game “Yakuza 6: A Song of Life” the tale of Kazuma Kiryu finally came to a close. In Yakuza: Like a Dragon we actually follow a new protagonist altogether. Where in some previous titles there were side characters that became prominent, they were second to the Dragon of Dojima. In Like a Dragon we follow Ichiban Kasuga, a low-level Yakuza foot soldier. Similar to Kiryu he was brought into the Yakuza life by the mentor-like father figure, Masumi Arakawa. He is asked to take the fall for another and Ichiban, Being Loyal to Masumi, obliges happily for his family. Upon his release from prison thinking he would be met with praise and a homecoming, he was instead forgotten about. When he Confronts Masumi, he is shot and left for dead. Now on a quest to rise to the top, he meets a group of diverse and eccentric characters to follow him on his journey.
On his quest, he meets a colorful cast of misfits who Join him on his quest to form the new “Heroes of Tomorrow.” Among the new cast we are first introduced to Yu Nanba, a former Nurse now homeless, who has spent years on the Streets. He is the first of Ichiban’s newest allies that he meets early on. Next, we meet Koichi Adachi, a former detective, who joins Ichiban as well. Despite having a strong disgust for yakuza members, he believes in Ichiban and is willing to help him in his quest. And finally, we meet Saeko Mukoda, a Hostess who quits on a personal mission and offers to help support the ragtag group.
The Location & Time
One of the Biggest changes for “Yakuza: Like a Dragon”, is its change in location. For fans of the franchise the well recognizable and iconic location of Kamurocho, based on Kabukicho the red light district of Tokyo, is actually not the main city where the game takes place. So now more walks down the host and hostess filled clubs of Pink Street, no more hanging out in the iconic Shellac Bar of the Champion district, and most no more hours of endless fun in the Batting Cages off Shichfuku street. Also, Sotenbori the Night-life city, based on Dotenbori the entertainment district of Osaka, is also not the main city or focus in this title. While there will be times in the story where you will be in Kamurocho, the main city in Like a dragon is actually the port district of Yokohama. In a tweet, RGG Studio confirmed the size comparisons of the maps of Kamurocho and Yokohama and that “They were pretty close to scale.” So Yokohama is going to be a densely packed and bigger area to explore than fans are used to.
Enjoy exploring the back alleys of Kamurocho? Wait ‘til you see how much more there is to see and do in Yokohama! pic.twitter.com/4wvv8D5ek0
— RGG Studio (@RGGStudio) October 13, 2020
Along with this is the timeline of events this takes place in. This does take place in the year 2019, well after the events of “Song of life.” While this is a good point to start for newcomers to the series with a brand new cast to grow with, there are some things for those to be aware of. First of all is there have been images of old characters returning either as easter eggs, hidden bosses, and even special support or summon characters to help out our newfound heroes. As well as there are references to past events from the earlier entries, mainly Issues that concern the Tojo Clan and Omi Alliance. The Two largest Yakuza organizations within the Yakuza universe and their ongoing rivalry, specifically events pertaining to Kazuma Kiryu, Goro Majima, and the Current Head of the Tojo Clan, Daigo Dojima. For those wanting to get an understanding of the story, you can Find the first 3 Games of Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami, and Kiwami 2, remakes of the first two titles can be currently played on Xbox Game Pass for PC or Console. They are also available for purchase on the PSN Store, as well as the Yakuza Remastered collection containing Yakuza 3, 4 & 5; And as well as Yakuza 6: Song of Life, all of which are currently only on Playstation.
Now the biggest change comes in terms of the core gameplay of Yakuza: Like a Dragon. While the previous games of the series have always been Action RPG’s with more Beat ’em up elements, Like a Dragon actually changes the formula. It actually takes on the stylings of a traditional Turn-Based RPG. While originally part of an April Fools Joke, the creator and team liked it so much they made it into reality. Now with the entire cast being a party, it has the typical RPG elements you’d expect. While each character not having a “Class” they do take on “Jobs” similar to roles within Some Older turn-based RPGs Such as Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, or even in MMO’s. You’re able to Switch roles by Utilizing the 19 different Jobs. Maybe You feel like getting fancy and breaking ankles as the Breaker job, using the break-dancer moves seen with Majima; or Maybe you wanna feel High Class as a Chef in the Kitchen; Feeling like letting out your inner artist, you can even take on the Musician Job and Be a Modern-Day Bard, or in Saeko’s Case be a Pop Idol with the Idol Job. There is many new possibilities with using this classic style with a modern twist.
Now just because they are using turn-based RPG as their main course that they aren’t adding in that Beat ’em up flavor they are known for. By adding in Certain button timed extra damage moves or some abilities allowing you to mash the button for more damage, it utilizes elements that are seen in the Paper Mario or Even Mario RPG franchises that really give homage to classic RPGs. Along with this game-play, it introduces an element akin to Final Fantasy with summons. Ichiban is able to call Characters to come to the Teams aid, many of which are new but some are classic characters, some jokey some not that fans would Recognize. One Special one earned from a secret boss battle is the right to Summon everyone’s favorite Construction Owner and Former Lord of the night, Goro Majima himself.
Along with this, there are many returning elements from previous games, namely the return of mini-games! With new things to do such as Go-kart racing and Can collection for money, there is a wide array of things to do. From Karaoke to fishing and even the return of Sega’s Staple Arcades and the Claw machine, there is never a moment where you won’t have something to do. And also making a return is the big Business Side story that has been prominent in several games, Similar to the Real Estate Royale and Cabaret Czar seen in Yakuza 0. For Ichiban and the team, he takes over a failing Confectionery store and promises to be the best Sweet Shop in all of Yokohama.
Now the biggest thing is how this game is utilizing next-gen features to help push the game to new heights. In an interview with Xbox Wire, they talked with Masayoshi Yokoyama, The Chief Director for the Yakuza Franchise, about some of the Optimizations they were able to achieve, especially in part with Xbox funding part of the development.
For the Xbox Series X here are the confirmed features:
- 4K/60fps+ Mode. It will be native 4K resolution on the Xbox Series X with above 60 Frames per second.
- Smart Delivery, Allowing it to deliver the correct version for the hardware it’s on and free upgrade to next-gen version.
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon will Support cross-generation Saves, so if you play on Xbox one and Load onto a Series Console your files will transfer.
- Optimized for Fast loading thanks to the Loading speeds of the Customized SSD of the Next-Gen Hardware.
For The Rest of the Xbox Family here are the confirmed features as well:
- 4K and 60Fps modes on Xbox One X will offer two modes to choose between 4K resolution or 60 FPS.
- 1440p 30fps or 900p 60fps modes on the Xbox Series S will offer two modes pushing either Resolution or Frame rate.
Now there has been no current confirmation on which features will exist on the PS5 version due to marketing rights with Xbox, but it is fair to assume there will be a 4K mode and a separate 60fps mode for their next-gen console. But it will take time till we get official confirmation.
As you Can see there is plenty of Wackiness to be had in one of the most anticipated games of 2020, with a gripping crime drama and rise to the top, an entirely new cast to fall in love with and so much to do with a new game-play style and many side things to do. Yakuza: Like a Dragon is polishing up to be a fun romp with a new RPG coat of paint.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon Launches on PS4, PC, Xbox One, And Xbox Series devices on November 10th, with a confirmed PS5 Version launching on March 2nd, 2021.
I hope this overview really helps all newcomers and returning players with a massive everything you need to know to prepare for the launch of Like a Dragon, let me know your thoughts below.