#The Man Who Erased His Identify

The Man Who Erased His Identify

It’s simple to really feel how Like a Dragon is altering in Gaiden. However that doesn’t imply the newest, un-numbered entry in Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s collection is eschewing its roots.

Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Identify largely takes place concurrent to Yakuza: Like a Dragon, a recreation that noticed RGG Studio sort out RPG concepts with a brand new hero within the lead. And although we’re again to brawler fundamentals right here with Kiryu in Gaiden, there’s sufficient right here to make it a useful tour for the long-time followers.

Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Identify (PC, PS4, PS5 [reviewed], Xbox One, Xbox Collection X|S)
Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
Writer: Sega
Launched: November 8, 2023
MSRP: $49.99

A person with no title

Gaiden arms the mantle again to long-time Yakuza protagonist Kazuma Kiryu, now dwelling underneath the pseudonym Joryu. After his dying in Yakuza 6: The Music of Life was faked, Kiryu went into the service of the Daidoji, dwelling a sequestered life and doing the occasional odd job for them to make sure the Morning Glory Orphanage and Haruka can dwell in peace.

One deal gone improper, although, and “Joryu” is again within the thick of legal conspiracies and politics. The plot strikes fairly fast, and though chapters are longer than you would possibly count on, the general recreation is fairly brief by Like a Dragon requirements, particularly after the hefty runtime of Yakuza: Like a Dragon.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Contemplating this entry began out as DLC, the runtime strains up. And truthfully, I welcomed the brevity; whereas I’d’ve appreciated a bit extra time with a few of the new forged members, Gaiden covers the bottom it must. There are a couple of heavy emotional beats saved for the very finish too, in a conclusion that feels crafted to hit each button for a franchise fan.

Most of Gaiden is spent in Sotenbori and a brand new locale known as The Fort, a floating container ship that’s dwelling to a playground for the uber-rich, owned and operated by the yakuza. The previous is acquainted, and the latter is a house for tons of the minigames and aspect actions, of which Gaiden has loads.

House for thus many actions

Whereas Like a Dragon Gaiden is a bit slimmer in story content material, it simply appears like one of many higher side-game choices within the collection. Loads of favorites return, from the shogi and hanafuda that really feel like staples at this level to the return of Pocket Racer. Sotenbori is full of tons to do, and the principle quest even takes you on a tour of a few of the most notable to-do’s.

Whereas the cabaret membership returns too, it’s not via a administration sim, however in an FMV courting sim-style interactive video. I’m a long-time lover of FMV in video games, and RGG has been step by step incorporating extra of it. It can work, and it’s notably humorous whenever you’re given matters and responses that lean into Like a Dragon’s quirkier aspect. However different instances, the ring-lit eyes gazing you thru the display can really feel a bit unusual. Chalk this as a novel experiment with very combined outcomes.

Screenshot by Destructoid

On the entire, although, there’s a ton to do in Like a Dragon Gaiden, and all of it feels partaking. Billiards has shot puzzles and ranging ranges of competitors, the Pocket Circuit has tons of customization, and karaoke makes a requisite reprise, full with “Baka Mitai.”

The Enviornment provides a few of the most in-depth distractions, although. Set aboard the floating Fort, this Like a Dragon’s Enviornment is surprisingly sturdy. Kiryu can battle in common fight, or in opposition to a legion of adversaries, or within the extraordinarily enjoyable Hell Staff Rumble.

Primarily, Kiryu can construct up a roster of fighters who he can recruit all through the world, who will battle alongside him within the Hell Staff Rumble. These are chaotic, frantic, wonderful all-out rumbles, the place your crew fights one other till just one is left standing. It’s like if the Jets and Sharks fought in a league, or the Anchorman information staff brawl was made right into a recreation.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Simply the scope alone is spectacular, however add within the scouting, recruiting, and coaching facets, and the Enviornment turns into a genuinely partaking aspect recreation that jogged my memory of excellent instances with Blitzball in Ultimate Fantasy X. You can even play as characters that aren’t Kiryu, including some enjoyable methods of increasing this recreation’s fight out even additional.

Codename: Joryu

The brawler fight of Like a Dragon Gaiden is fairly good to start out, too. In some methods, it’s been scaled down. Somewhat than a bevy of stances, Kiryu has solely a Yakuza stance, the acquainted Dojima combating type, and the brand new Agent type.

Agent is the place a few of the most unbridled enjoyable is in Like a Dragon Gaiden. Framed as Kiryu working towards a brand new combating type, to maintain him occupied, it quickly begins to include particular devices. The Spider is a literal net software that may seize enemies and fling them round, or decide gadgets off perches within the open world. It actually by no means will get previous, flinging enemies throughout the road and listening to them yell as they go flying by.

A legion of drones may be summoned to pester foes, maintaining their consideration off Kiryu. And the exploding cigarette is, properly, an exploding cigarette. It does what it sounds prefer it does, and does it properly. Add in some rocket boots than bowl over crowds as you sprint via them, and Agent is a blast, clearly meant for coping with giant teams.

Screenshot by Destructoid

The dynamic of Like a Dragon Gaiden’s fight is pretty easy: beat down massive teams with Agent, battle solo enemies with the Yakuza type. Harder enemies and managers get a particular transfer, which you’ll dodge and hit again with an Final Counter, a particularly rewarding transfer to tug off. The simplicity works properly although, letting you actually give attention to brawling and beating down enemies.

At this level, the Like a Dragon collection brawling feels fairly acquainted. The brand new updates are simply sufficient to make Gaiden really feel distinct, and RGG places sufficient added fight concepts and twists in to maintain issues contemporary, between the story, roaming crews, and the Enviornment. Whereas it’s not as complicated to dig into as one thing like Ishin, and the upgrades really feel a bit simple, Agent stance alone actually shakes issues up.

The social community

Every little thing, from brawling to minigames and extra, is tied collectively underneath the Akame Community, an app system run by the community’s namesake, Akame. After assembly her within the story, she’ll rope Joryu into serving to out the homeless and others in want round Sotenbori, in addition to boosting the Community’s popularity as its key consultant.

The Akame Community serves plenty of functions: it’s a particular merchandise store, it’s one other forex to meter out upgrades you’d usually purchase with money and orbs (now money and Community factors), and it’s a hub for all aspect tales. Somewhat than all the time stumbling throughout them within the open world, many of the substories I discovered had been via requests at Akame’s.

Screenshot by Destructoid

I’m combined on whether or not I like this selection, although for Gaiden, it does in the end work properly. The brevity of the story means you’ll be working into odd content material gates pretty usually, and it’s merely simpler to have substories be opt-in missions you may decide up every time. There’s not as many surprises ready across the nook, but it surely means you’re not worrying about advancing the story and dropping a substory.

The substories are, additionally, superb. This isn’t an enormous shock, however I like how RGG Studio tackled the lineup for this model of Kiryu, particularly. Lots of the substories I performed had been callbacks to previous working gags or earlier Yakuza video games. Kiryu’s previous is all the time following him, and in some methods, haunting him.

The ghost of you

Like a Dragon Gaiden is, on its face, a narrative about what Kazuma Kiryu was doing in the course of the occasions of Yakuza: Like a Dragon, and the way these occasions will seemingly lead into him turning into a full-fledged social gathering member of Ichiban’s in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. It’s interstitial, meant to offer some story for individuals who actually need extra, and even simply need a bit Yakuza brawling as the principle collection goes extra RPG.

But it’s additionally clearly wrestling with the place the collection is headed. Yakuza began out as a collection in regards to the titular crime group, following Kiryu as he handled all of the inter-family conflicts and fights for energy. With Yakuza: Like a Dragon, although, RGG signaled the “finish” of the yakuza, each literal and symbolic; an act that Kiryu takes half in, too.

Screenshot by Destructoid

With that in thoughts, Kiryu’s actions on this story grow to be rather more fascinating. He’s rising older, and his legacy is fading. He’s given up his title, which carries immense worth and respect, in an effort to shield people who matter most to him. What sort of life does that depart for him to dwell?

It’s the beginning of one thing I think about we’ll see explored extra in Infinite Wealth, if its teasers up to now are to be believed. And sure, there’s a pack-in demo for Infinite Wealth that comes with Gaiden, to assist cowl the two-month hole between them. 

However this all implies that the Kiryu we see in Gaiden is complicated; gleefully antagonizing a villain in a single second, then solemnly considering his state of affairs later. Like a Dragon Gaiden is Kiryu at his “most”: his most jovial, most emotional, most guarded, and most susceptible. All of it makes for one of the crucial compelling depictions of this character up to now.

Prepared to start out

So whereas Like a Dragon Gaiden appears like an appetizer for what’s to come back, it’s additionally a little bit of an indulgence for anybody who’s been following this collection. What began out as potential DLC feels expanded out right into a look-back at Kiryu’s journey, to date.

Its brevity could depart some feeling a bit put-off, however the aspect tales and actions greater than make up for the shorter marketing campaign. Very like The Fort Gaiden introduces, this entry appears like a carnival of issues to do, with fixed asides delving into all that Like a Dragon may be.

Like a Dragon Gaiden has video games, laughs, tears, and brawls the place characters dramatically reveal their resplendent again tattoos. It does what a brand new Like a Dragon entry must do, and tees up some massive emotional moments for its longtime collection lead alongside the best way. If you need a deep story with twists and turns, this might not be all you hope for. However should you run off the overwhelmed path to get a mannequin AiAi out of the UFO Catcher, this could greater than tide you over to Infinite Wealth.


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