Yakuza Like a Dragon is a standalone game in the Yakuza series of games and is available this month on PS Plus Essential. You start in an area of Japan with a new character called Ichi who is introduced in this game and although you will benefit from some easter eggs and references from the other Yakuza games you can definitely play this game without having played any of the other games. The thing I liked the most about Yakuza Like a Dragon just like Yakuza 0 is the story of the game and it is fantastic.
First and foremost this game is very cinematic so some of the cutscenes are long. The voice acting of the characters in the story is well acted and is really well put together. I think that some of the writing between the characters in Yakuza Like a Dragon is really modernized and top-tier. The character of Ichi is very likable as he’s quite lovable from the beginning but all the other characters that come in are quite exciting and they fit along quite well in this complex plot.
There are moments where characters will end up in unconventional situations that you really like and you can feel the animations in their facial expressions and the music ties all of it together. There are a couple of moments where I feel like you really have to suspend your disbelief, there are a couple of moments of cheese and the ending I got was very excruciating for 2 of the characters. Ichi’s character is very empathetic, he’s very kind and he’s very loving almost to the point of his own downfall.
There are a couple of moments where things happen and it’s a little bit unbelievable and ridiculous. There’s a lot of stuff that although it is a video game, fiction, and it’s a dramatized story for the sake of enjoyment and the story is complex. The combat itself is actually quite fun as this game is a JRPG with turn-based combat and Yakuza Like a Dragon plays almost like the Persona games. All of the skills that you get on your characters are very smooth, the animations are absolutely incredible for this game.
Similar to Yakuza 0 sometimes this game does suffer from bloat as there are excessive fights with random NPCs and between the important fights. There are definitely times where they could have cut down on some of the fights out of this game. When you’re traveling around inside the city and haven’t found the taxis yet, I find it kind of annoying when you’re trying to get from A to B between sub-stories, and then the next mission is on the other side of the city as this happened a few times.
The other stuff in the game that you can do are things like side quests that are obviously full of flavor if you choose to pursue them. The sidequests always felt like they were quite interesting and quite funny although a lot of them were jokes and memes but some of them had life lessons. These moments were actually quite touching and I really like that aspect of the game as it does give us more depth than you think. The business mini-game is something I spent a lot of time doing and that was almost a game on its own being a top shareholder.
The menus and how Yakuza Like a Dragon runs had a solid 60 FPS the whole time. The menus and the UI are extremely clean which I really liked. It all ran really smoothly for me and I never had a single crash. The music in Yakuza Like a Dragon is really really quite spectacular and I downloaded some of the songs. There’s a lot of Ichi’s story following the young master and begging him to come back and although I know that is Ichi’s character again there’s like a Naruto Sasuke dynamic where Sasuke wants to leave the village for power and Naruto is obsessed with loving him and getting him to come back.
There is this dynamic that happens between Ichi and the young master and it got a bit old for me towards the end if I’m being honest although I loved the story the ending for me was just a bit painful. Again I did love Ichi as a character, it’s just sometimes I feel like that went on for a bit too long. Yakuza Like a Dragon on the whole is a pretty good game and the story almost on its own warrants people who love RPGs or Japanese-type games worth a try.
Yakuza Like a Dragon is an incredible game with very unique elements seen occasionally within the Yakuza series. It is mind-blowingly fantastic for everything and the main character is a very compelling character. The story, the characters, the style, and surprisingly the combat all fit together perfectly to create a game worthy of completing.