Yakuza: Like a Dragon[a] is a role-playing video game developed by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and published by Sega. The first mainline title in the Yakuza franchise developed as a turn-based RPG, it was released in Japan and Asia for PlayStation 4 on January 16, 2020. The western release of the game for PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on November 10, 2020 included new costumes, the English audio track and some previously paid DLC. This version was then released in Asia under the subtitle International[b] on February 25, 2021 for Windows and Xbox platforms. The game was released worldwide for PlayStation 5 on March 2, 2021, and a version for Amazon Luna launched on December 10, 2021.
A major departure from previous Yakuza games is the battle system. Instead of the real-time action beat 'em up mechanics of previous games, Yakuza: Like a Dragon features a real-time turn-based RPG type combat, with a four-person battle team. However, unlike typical turn-based RPGs, characters may use nearby surrounding items such as bicycles to attack enemies (if the items are near the enemies) or may kick surrounding items to their target if there is an interactive item in the environment on the way to the enemy, an aspect that returns from the previous Yakuza games. Players can also call on various party assists to strengthen the party or defeat enemies, with more assists added as the story progresses or through the completion of sub-stories. Players can still continue exploring the world after completing the game. A new game plus mode with additional difficulty settings exclusive to this mode was released as paid downloadable content for the Japanese version of the game, but it comes as a standard feature in the Western release.
The game is the first mainline Yakuza title to receive an English dub since the original Yakuza in 2005. Alongside the English dub, as in Judgment, it also features dual English subtitle sets: one with the Japanese audio with English subtitles matching the Japanese translation, and the other matching the English dub. Localizations in French, German, Italian, and Spanish focus on the Japanese audio, regardless of the selected voice language. The International release in Japan and Asia, as well as the Western release via an update, has dual audio and eleven subtitle language, adding Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and Korean to the previous five languages (French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Portuguese are only available in the Western release on PS5; all other versions have all languages present regardless of region). For the first time in the series, karaoke songs in the English dub are sung in English by the English voice cast, with the English versions displaying the English lyrics (on all languages) and the Japanese versions displaying the Japanese romaji lyrics (only when the language set to English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese or Russian; Japanese kanji lyrics when set to Japanese; Traditional Chinese lyrics when set to Traditional Chinese; Simplified Chinese lyrics when set to Simplified Chinese; Korean lyrics when set to Korean), unlike the Yakuza Remastered Collection, in which lyrics between the Japanese kanji and romaji and English translation can be toggled. Darryl Kurylo and Bill Farmer reprise their roles from the original Yakuza as Kazuma Kiryu and Makoto Date, respectively. Matthew Mercer replaces Mark Hamill as Goro Majima, David Hayter replaces John DiMaggio as Osamu Kashiwagi (credited as \"The Bartender\"), and Isaac C. Singleton Jr. replaces Gary Anthony Williams as Gary Buster Holmes.
The game was released in Japan on January 16, 2020, for PlayStation 4, with the Traditional Chinese and Korean versions being released on the same day. It was released worldwide for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the Xbox Series X/S on November 10, 2020. It was released for Windows on the same day, but purchase of the Windows version of the game was blocked in various countries and territories in East Asia and Southeast Asia. A PlayStation 5 version was released on March 2, 2021. A version for Amazon Luna was made available on December 10, 2021.
Although the game's release for the Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC in Japan was originally announced in November 2020 as \"postponed indefinitely\", the game was released for the platforms in Japan and Asia on February 25, 2021. This version of the game was titled International, as it contains some features introduced with the worldwide release, such as the English audio track option, the additional costume sets, and the New Game Plus downloadable content included. This version was also released in the region for the PlayStation 5 on March 2, 2021, the same day as its worldwide release. Anyone who makes the purchase of the PS5 version can unlock the \"Legends Costume Set\" for free.
Yahtzee Croshaw of The Escapist called Yakuza: Like a Dragon the third best game of 2020, praising it for turning around the Yakuza franchise \"with its fun characters and greater lean into the inherent silliness of the franchise.\" In his review of the game he commended it for how \"a likeable protagonist and a bit more of a lean into the usual wackiness it has successfully charmed the nurses into keeping the life support machine plugged in. Every Yakuza game is basically a loose box of disconnected toys, but for the record, this is a particularly nice box with some choice toys. Like, Legos and Masters of the Universe.\"
Yakuza: Like a Dragon was the best selling print game during its first 4 days on sale in Japan, with 300,000 copies sold. By March 2020, a total of 450,000 digital and physical copies had been sold in Japan and Asia.
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The Yakuza series has always delivered good games. Since the first Yakuza released back in 2006, the game has since garnered a cult following that has steadily grown with every release, often blending the underground politics of the Japanese crime world with the mundanity of real-life and the absurdity of an anime. With such a unique mix of themes making up the story, It's only fitting that the DNA of a Yakuza game is also made up of a blend of gameplay genres as well. Describing a Yakuza game is sorta like if Shenmue had a baby with Grand Theft Auto, and that baby decided to beat people up, Streets of Rage style.
Early in the game, Ichiban exclaims that life is like an RPG and that we're constantly grinding for experience to level up in the world. It's through his gamer brain that the game transforms, both in a figurative and literal sense. Wandering gangs in the streets become roaming predators ripe with experience points, gang hideouts morph into dungeons, and your party transforms before your very eyes as they take fighting stances.
In addition to the clear inspiration from Dragon Quest, I also found elements of classic RPG games like Earthbound throughout. There are no psychic powers to be found, but the weapons and armor are not typical fantasy wares. Your party's arsenal is made up of real-world items like baseball bats, handbags, and office supplies, and they cast spells with umbrellas and bottles of booze. This also applies to items as well, as characters scarf down bento boxes and chug a soda to recover hit points.
For the most part, I really enjoyed the new battle system, but it verges on the easier side for most of the game, and then there's a sharp difficulty spike as you approach the final chapters. While Ichiban might not mind grinding slimes for XP, it's a drag to do so in an RPG. Thankfully, there are plenty of options to grind XP with, and with the auto-battle on, it's simple, if not a little boring. Speaking of boring, like any good JRPG, the game really picks up after the first few hours. Until then, you'd better get comfortable cause it's going to be very cutscene heavy in the beginning.
From a technical standpoint, Yakuza: Like a Dragon does its job well enough. In fact, Yakuza has never looked better, and there are times where the crowded streets look like a scene pulled from a movie, but most cutscenes just boil down to character models standing still and as they spew dialogue and exposition. It's not a game-breaker by any means, but it's very noticeable, and the dollhouse animations and thousand-yard stares often kill the immersion felt in those busy streets.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon feels like everything I ever wanted in a game. Once the game stomps on the gas, it very rarely slows down. Its unique cast of characters and gameplay had me hooked and wanting more, and it almost feels like it never stops giving. Even after the story ends at the 45+ hour mark, I was ready to fight more, complete more side missions, and squeeze out every drop of gameplay that this game has to offer.
That said, we preferred setting the game to Medium with some tweaks like turning off Motion Blur and reducing Texture Filtering to ensure a solid 60fps even during its busier moments or taxing scenarios like night time on the streets of Yokohama. We lost little in way of visual fidelity and it makes for a better experience. 59ce067264