I particularly just went to see the series Yakuza about five years ago, because I had the feeling that it would just be a kind of GTA, but with the Japanese mafia – not that it was bad, but it’s not my favorite type of game.
In the end, I ended up giving it a try and I had some problems with the gameplay at the time, after all the first game is from 2006 and the second from 2008. But my friends, the story hooked me in an impressive way, with a plot about honor and principles, and a character full of personality and captivating, Kazuma Kiryu, our eternal Dragon of Dojima.
Then I got addicted in a way that I devoured all the other games in the series, losing myself in a bizarre world full of minigames, hilarious quests that involved since mobsters who enjoyed acting like babies helping a dominatrix who didn’t know how to impose himself, comical shots, exciting moments and magnificent characters.
And like any fan with a franchise, when Yakuza Like a Dragon was announced, and there was even that “joke” on April 1 that it would be a turn-based RPG (which ultimately came to fruition), I was very apprehensive about the sudden change in style and protagonist, and even being a fan of this type of combat, I thought I would miss being able to walk around and beat the enemies with great style.
So, if you were curious to find out if my fears were right or not, and even know more about the game and try to draw your own conclusions, then prepare to take off your suits, show off the tattoos and come check out our Voxel analysis!
An ordinary underworld hero
This time our protagonist is Kasuga Ichiban, a boy born and raised in a “bathroom for adults” who becomes a henchman of the Arakawa family, not nearly as prestigious and imposing as Kazuma, but who has immense respect and adoration by his patriarch, who took him out of trouble and took him in when he was a young delinquent and without protection.
Like all good Yakuza, the beginning of the game already begins with disgrace, for having this great feeling of debt and honor for the boss, the boy takes the blame for a murder and spends 18 years in jail. When he finally leaves, hoping to receive a warm welcome from his former allies, no one appears. Kasuga then finds himself totally abandoned in a world that has changed a lot in his nearly two decades in prison, with the situation only getting worse to the point of being betrayed and even shot by the person he trusted most.
This hero’s journey then really begins after being dropped to die in a dump in Yokohama, with luck smiling in his favor when he is rescued by homeless Nanba, who happens to be his first friend and companion on his new journey.
Ichiban will have to start over again and this time totally without home, resources and until then without much support, at least for a while.
The humiliated will be exalted
Unlike other games in the franchise, the game already shows from the beginning that the protagonist differs a lot from Kiryu, as there was no challenge that the Dragon of Dojima could not overcome.
Ichiban begins his saga totally desolate and without any perspective, but even so he does not abandon his sense of justice and his desire to become a hero (making it clear from the beginning of the game his immense love for Dragon Quest) to do good for the world. This new approach makes the player have a great affection for this troubled forty from the beginning, and when you least expect it, you are already rooting for him, which is a very nice feeling to have in a game.
With this great charisma, the ex-yakuza attracts people to his team when he least expects it, with figures like Nanba, the homeless who was once a nurse, ex-detective Adachi and ex-bartender Saeko, gravitating around his honest and engaging personality.
And this is where we see another difference from its predecessors, in Yakuza Like a Dragon we learn more about the individuals around us, how they all went through bad times and have something to teach. In addition, the plot surrounding the city of Yokohama shows the problems caused by fights between mafias and very heavy subjects such as the cruel and sad lives of homeless people, sex workers and criminals, in addition to their dreams and, in some cases, total lack of hope for a better future.
A hero without his companions is nothing
The RPG elements and the quotes from Dragon Quest make the combat system of the title totally different from its predecessors. Our protagonist has a system called Human Power, personality parameters that involve characteristics with gentleness, style, passion, intelligence, among others, and that when they are increased through minigames, dialog options and reading books offer resistance against certain debuffs.
Battles are very intuitive and take turns, making it possible to use basic attacks, special abilities with your MP, and even spend money to summon Summons with your cell phone, which are called Poundmates, a great vibe Final Fantasy, but in a very ironic and funny way, including attacks by lobsters, chickens or even a baby-dressed yakuza.
However, the unusual side does not stop there. Real-world “spells” include a flock of pigeons, breathing fire on enemies using cheap cachaça and a lighter and even a freezing cannon of champagne.
In addition, Kasuga’s fertile imagination causes enemies and allies to change their appearance at the time of the fight, gaining armor, wearing garbage bags and even a hilarious version of perverts who only wear underwear and especially and attack by giving “asses”. .
We have other basic elements as well, such as certain types of attacks being stronger or totally ineffective depending on the villains’ weakness or resistance. So it is very important to identify your opponents’ patterns and also take advantage of the chances of knocking them down to do more damage.
Seeing a role play adventure completely adapted to everyday life is funny and interesting too, being an excellent balcony to enjoy all that the style can offer without losing the feeling that the Yakuza series has brought here.
In itself, the new system is very easy to understand, however, it takes a while for the game to introduce all the mechanics available, as is the case with the option to create and reinforce weapons and equipment and the Jobs system – literally jobs that our characters they can learn and offer different types of blows depending on their skills and sex, and can include functions like Idol, Cook, Shaman and more. And if you don’t like a profession, you can always go back to the old one, the only problem is that it requires you to go back to the Hello Work agency every time to change it.
Another really cool thing Like a Dragon is that we have something very similar to the Social Links of Person, here called Bonds, bringing stories from our party members. It is very rewarding to see the different personalities of our group of underdogs interacting, the difficulties they went through and the bonds that are forming as we move forward, which brings a much greater depth to the game world.
Working is necessary, and having fun too!
Unfortunately, even a hero with the best of intentions needs money to feed himself and his group, as well as better equipment and weapons to fight the evil that plagues his city.
Luckily for Ichiban and his friends, a good way to get a granny is to do all the missions available in Part-time Hero, which consist of everything a great savior must do: protect unfortunate citizens from malicious figures, take pictures of statues, rescuing runaway kittens and even getting toilet paper for someone stuck in a public toilet in the middle of a park (not a super heroic quest?).
And for those who want to show that they are good at management, Company Management is a company simulator that gives our protagonist the arduous task of helping a cookie shop to avoid bankruptcy, having to win employees, face shareholders in a kind of game of cards and also brings us an unusual ally for fighting, the chicken Omelette.
Both features are very fun and funny, and are excellent for adding a thick “nest egg” for our eventual in-game expenses.
But not only does a man live by work, learning is also very important! And that is where the Vocational School comes in, an institution where our ex-mafioso can perform varied proficiency tests and increase his attributes, after all the charisma is important, but learning can take you further, right?
But it is worth remembering that each test is not cheap and has a timed time to answer the questions, so don’t forget to gather all your knowledge on the most diverse subjects, or stay with your cell phone in order not to get a red note.
After your studies, nothing like relaxing and having fun with great more traditional minigames like karaoke, darts and Pachinko, or even facing sleeping sheep in the cinema of old Yokohama movies, competing with homeless people to collect as many cans as possible. best style Fast and Furious, or face the best drivers in town in Dragon Kart, a kind of race very similar to Mario Kart, but with all the eccentricity that only the Yakuza series can bring.
And speaking of inspirations in other games and a lot of bizarre, now you will have a very important reason to face all the bullies that appear in front of you, complete your Sujidex: an “encyclopedia” very similar to Pokédex, but instead of Pokémon, you collect information about dangerous big shots for Professor Sujimon, a guy as strange as the order itself. Then you can hit it and don’t forget that “we have to catch it!”.
You can see from everything I mentioned above that Like a Dragon can yield several hours of fun gaming with all its resources, and it’s worth exploring everything that Ryu ga Gotoku brought to the title, whether improving your cart, learning more about the townspeople, being praised by their teammates for getting a high score in a test or speaking out with their teammates at the bar. It is an extremely rich world that deserves to be known!
Yakuza Like a Dragon it also has its problems, like the cameras that lock in some moments of the game and some bugs in battle that are hilarious, but none of that overshadows the incredible experience it has to offer.
The change from the beat ’em up style may have made many fans afraid, but the shift to turn-based RPG mechanics has made the game even more incredible, as it brings even more depth to the story, and having a group of underdogs fighting for their ideas make us cheer more and more for them, because we find a little of our own experience and problems in their journey.
In addition, the plot this time was very intense, illuminating the dark corners of society that we often do not want to see or choose to ignore, and even with a lot of emotion, yields several laughs.
I was completely surprised by the seventh title in this franchise, which came to show that sometimes it is good to change things, start over and build a new reality.
Yakuza Like a Dragon was kindly provided by Xbox to carry out this analysis.
“Yakuza Like a Dragon is an addictive experience, with a clumsy and charismatic hero who promises to win the hearts of many players”