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Lifewire / Erika Rawes
Beautiful game with top-notch graphics
Time-tested combat system with a fun twist
Good character development
Impressive voice acting
Incredibly long intro
Very slow pacing at times
A bit Dragon Quest-like
Yakuza: Like A Dragon is a fun JRPG with an interesting and comedic turn-based combat system.
Our reviewer purchased Yakuza: Like a Dragon so they could put it to the test. Keep reading for the full product review.
The best PC games offer something unique that keeps you coming back for more. Yakuza: Like a Dragon takes the standard Yakuza formula and stands it on its head, moving the fighting system from real-time to turn-based and making this entry to the series feel like a true JRPG. I played Yakuza: Like a Dragon on PC to find out if these changes make this game better or worse. Should you play the new Yakuza or skip it? Read on to check out my full review of Yakuza: Like a Dragon.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon places you in the shoes of Ichiban Kasuga, a young Yakuza upstart who was raised as an orphan in a Soap House by the owner and the women who worked there. Kasuga gets into a bit of trouble with a Yakuza family but is saved by Masumi Arakawa, the patriarch of the Arakawa family. Because of this, Kasuga pledges his life to Arakawa, promising to repay the debt.
A few years later, Kasuga is asked to confess to a murder that was really committed by one of the Captains in the family. Kasuga spends 18 years in prison for the crime, which brings us to modern day. Once out of prison, Kasuga finds he no longer has a place in the family due to some serious changes that have taken place while he was away. Kasuga is shot and left for dead in the Yokohama area of Isezaki Ijincho. From there, the game opens up as you try to rebuild everything that was lost and find out what happened.
All of the aforementioned story takes place in what could be called the introductory stages of the game. The intro was incredibly slow and took around five to six hours. Finally, after the long intro, it felt like I was getting into the real meat where the world opens up. Even after the long preamble, I was still introduced to new items, concepts, and parts of the game. It felt like a lot of handholding, which was frustrating at times.
Once things open up, the story gets going in what can only be described as a true modern-day JRPG. It has many of the common tropes of a JRPG, like a party system that allows you to manage those who fight with you, turn-based combat, and a long sweeping epic filled with plenty of side quests.
Overall, the story is interesting and engaging, with excellent voice acting, and deep and interesting characters.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is clearly inspired by games like Dragon Quest. So much so that eventually, and in a truly hilarious fashion, Kasuga begins having delusions of being a hero, and makes it his life's mission to become a hero who can save everyone around him. These delusions play out in a physical change that takes place over enemies during combat. Their eyes turn red, and their bodies change, but Kasuga is the only one who can see these changes.
Overall, the story is interesting and engaging, with excellent voice acting and deep and interesting characters. There are plenty of opportunities to get to know the people who travel with you, and you come to care about the characters and their motivations. Yakuza: Like a Dragon is story-rich, and you won’t be disappointed at the amount of content to explore.
Gameplay in Yakuza: Like a Dragon feels incredibly polished. World exploration feels intuitive—you can run from point to point, stopping for distractions along the way, and sometimes engage in a conversation with your party during travel. Yokohama feels alive and real. There are billboards, stores, and people everywhere. You have to be careful when crossing the street, as you can suddenly get hit by a car, which seems to happen more than it should.
The map is easy to use, and there is a taxi fast-travel system. As you explore, you will find some areas off-limits, but you’ll also find some areas where your level is not high enough to access. For the most part, though, running into enemies is really fun since it throws you into combat.
The game provides you with a ton of options in the fight, and many of the moves are both over the top and quite funny.
Combat is handled with a turn-based system. During the fight, you have a menu of different selections, from regular attacks and items to defending and special attacks. This is where Yakuza: Like a Dragon really shines. The game provides you with a ton of options in the fight, and many of the moves are both over the top and quite funny. For instance, you can have a homeless teammate attack with a flock of pigeons, or maybe have your bartender attack with moves from her boxing fitness class.
The moves are creative and fun to use. After selecting the attack, timed button presses may increase the attack’s effectiveness or provide you with bonus damage. When you need a true power attack, you can use your phone to call PoundMates, which is a special “Summoning” move that calls in an ally to do massive damage. There are tons of PoundMates in the game, from a diaper-wearing adult man to a poisonous lobster named Nancy, and calling these special attacks is part of what makes Yakuza fun to play.
You should be able to finish the main story in around 45 to 55 hours, depending on how fast you run through it, but I highly recommend taking your time and enjoying all the wonderful diversions available.
There’s a job system, which will let you change the different abilities of your team. This lets you customize your party to fill different roles, like healer or tank. However, in Yakuza, you’ll find some rather interesting jobs. There’s gear as well, but this is pretty standard fare. You’ll encounter a ton of diversions and side quests. Some of the minigames are innovative and comical, but some are also very benign.
This PC game plays just like it should, and the controls are top-notch. Everything just works, which is a rare feat these days. You should be able to finish the main story in around 45 to 55 hours, depending on how fast you run through it, but I highly recommend taking your time and enjoying all the wonderful diversions available.
The graphics and visuals are impressive. Details are accurate and in the right places. Food looks so realistic (and delicious), and there were some moments where I could even see the pores on a person's skin during cinematics.
During combat, there are graphical flourishes to keep the eyes excited, including damage feedback and hit animations. The city looks amazing, with realistic billboards and action.
During combat, there are graphical flourishes to keep the eyes excited, including damage feedback and hit animations.
The game ran at a smooth 60fps (I played at 1080p resolution), and rarely did I come across any graphical issues or bugs. The whole game has a very modern feel but also has so many nods to its JRPG roots. Things are both rooted in reality while also being completely over the top at times.
The base version of Yakuza: Like a Dragon comes in at $60 like most new titles. The price is reasonable for the amount of gameplay. However, you have two other purchase options as well. The Hero Edition, which costs $70, includes the Job Set and the Management Mode set and features two extra jobs and three sets of Management mode employees.
The Legendary Hero edition costs $90, and it includes both previously listed sets, as well as the Crafting Mat, Stat Boost, Karaoke, and Ultimate Costume sets. These are all nice bonuses and can certainly add to the experience, but you will also find more than enough gameplay in the base game.
It’s clear Yakuza: Like a Dragon draws some inspiration from the recent Dragon Quest, Dragon Quest XI. Both games feature turn-based combat, jobs working as roles, and a large sweeping and epic tale. Yakuza: Like a Dragon diverges in one major way, and that is not being afraid to innovate and push the limits of what a JRPG can be. Where Dragon Quest is the basic formula, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is what happens when a mad scientist gets a hold of that formula and creates something both crazy and brilliant.
An entertaining and addictive JRPG.
A well-crafted masterpiece. Yakuza: Like a Dragon falls into the must-play category for anyone who loves a good story, JRPGs, or a wild game that will make you laugh. It’s definitely a departure from the rest of the series, but that contributes to a lot of the fun and uniqueness of the game.
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