It’s safe to assume that Sega and RGG Studio generated some controversy when they revealed that the next entry in the Yakuza series, Yakuza 7, would use a special JRPG battle system instead of the long time beat em up combat that we’ve known for the better part of 14 years. So when the developers finally showed us just how the game was coming along, we weren’t really sure what to expect. What we got during the Tokyo Game Show (TGS) was so much more than we were ready for, because it turns out that the game is a whole lot more than just a turn based RPG. On top of that, the game will in fact launch in Western regions sometime in 2020.
One journey ends, a new one begins.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
A brand new story in a new city, featuring new characters, along with a completely revamped combat system. All on top of everything you already love about Yakuza.
— RGG Studio (@RGGStudio) September 12, 2019
Officially dubbed in the West as Yakuza: Like a Dragon, this latest iteration is looking like it will be not only the most complete Yakuza experience yet, but the craziest, wackiest, and wildest ride we’ve ever been on. We also got another look at the main story, along with a more in depth analysis of the main protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga. After taking the fall for a Yakuza boss and spending 18 years in prison, he is finally released. So what’s the first thing we need to do as Ichiban? Get a real life job.
Not exactly the finest way to start an epic adventure, but things clearly pick up at some point as Ichiban picks up a strange baseball from the ground that his friends couldn’t, and he obtains the job class “Hero.”Clearly the developers decided to let their imaginations run wild here, and it’s also apparent that they are huge fans of other JRPG series such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest.
The protagonist: Ichiban Kasuga
Make no mistake about it, the new battle mechanics in Yakuza: Like a Dragon is just as crazy as it sounds. Just like we said above, there are multiple classes that each character can take on, such as the “Host” which changes your attacks to utilize flowers and champagne. Meanwhile the “Dancer” class lets you beat down your opponents with, you guessed it, dance-like moves similar to break dancing like Eddy Gordo from Tekken.
The actual HUD from trailer looked like it was inspired by Persona 5’s interface. However, while that game has certain expectations and abilities, Like a Dragon is an over the top, insane, mashup of an open world RPG mixed with just about anything you can think of.
For instance, one of the special techniques involves launching a homeless person into the air whilst they take a swig of some really foul booze, and then literally shooing flames down onto your unsuspecting opponents. In addition, Ichiban himself seems to revel in this twisted world he’s come to live in, as he constantly gets himself psyched up to fight someone, or in his mind something, whenever combat is initiated.
One of the featured mini games: Dragon Kart
Aside from the radical departure of the combat, Yakuza: Like a Dragon will come filled to the brim with some mini games. Now this is nothing new with the series, previous entries have had multiple distractions to deviate you from the main story. But this, this is a whole different level of distracting. Without a doubt the one that sticks out most is the Mario Kart clone called Dragon Kart. It even has items to pick up and attack your fellow racers, but since this is Yakuza, they’re actual weapons such as Rocket Launcher and a giant Gatling Gun.
There’s more ridiculous games too, such as Traditional Movie Theater where you have to keep Ichiban awake while he watches a movie in a button pressing rhythm type game. There’s also the PachiSlot games, which are essentially Pachinko machines games, where you can gamble with your in game money. If the developers were looking to make some drastic changes to the overall aspects that the series is known for, they’ve accomplished that goal ten times over here.
Sega and RGG Studio knew that following Kiryu and company would be a very arduous task, not to mention that he was the face of the franchise. Regardless of that, the game is looking great so far, and Ichiban is gearing up to become a fan favorite. We still have a while before it releases in Japan, and probably even longer here in the West, but whatever doubts we had has more or less vanished by now. We can’t wait to see what else the developers have in store for this one.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon launches in January 2020 for the PlayStation 4 in Japan, and later that year for Western regions. Stay tuned for more coverage from the TGS 2019 which goes from September 12, Thursday to September 15, Sunday.
You can check out the new announcement trailer here:
You can also check out the gameplay premier trailer here: