Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name has arrived, bringing iconic protagonist Kiryu back to the forefront of the franchise. The game also returns to the action gameplay that the series was originally known for. Continuing Kiryu’s story after the events of Yakuza 6, Like a Dragon Gaiden is a smaller scale adventure than other titles in the series. The game released November 9th 2023 for PlayStation, Xbox and PC.
The game puts you back in the shoes of longtime protagonist Kiryu after the events of Yakuza 6, continuing his story. The game assumes you have played other titles in the franchise so there will be spoilers ahead, particularly for the end of Yakuza 6. After the conclusion of Yakuza 6, Kiryu starts a new chapter of his life, working for the mysterious Daidoji faction under the new name Joryu. After a security job with these faction goes wrong, Kiryu is thrust back into the Yakuza underworld, forcing him to cooperate with the Omi Alliance.
This all leads to a great story which feels like a satisfying continuation to Kiryus story. The story is significantly shorter than other titles in the series, clocking in at around 10h split across 5 chapters. The story takes place during the events of Yakuza: Like a Dragon so there will also be major spoilers for that game, particularly later on in the game. Despite being a much shorter entry, the story is a very entertaining story which kept my attention throughout and has me excited for the future of the series.
The gameplay returns to the action packed style the series was originally known for before Yakuza: Like a Dragon made the jump to turn based combat. The combat is split into two styles you can swap between at any point once unlocked: Agent and Yakuza. The agent style is new to the series and gives Kiryu access to a number of different gadgets to use, including a string that can be used to tie up enemies from afar and special cigarettes that explode after a few seconds. The Yakuza style is the hard-hitting style of combat seen in the rest of the series. The combat feels incredibly smooth and is a lot of fun, getting even better with upgrades throughout the game. Both styles feel great, and I found myself swapping between them a lot depending on the type of battle.
Aside from playing the main story of the game, a good chunk of your time with the game will be spent on the games side content. The series signature sub stories are present here with some very entertaining stories such as one story where Kiryu meets somebody using AI to get dating advice which leads to some incredibly funny moments. However, there aren’t quite as many sub stories as other titles in the series, with a lot of them being shorter. This is down to the game being a smaller scale than mainline titles. Most of the side quests are contained within the Akame network system, this system makes finding and completing side quests much simpler, as substories are triggered just by talking to Akame. There are also plenty of other side activities such as Karaoke and darts or even playing old video games either in an arcade or on a console in a hideout. A major side activity is the colosseum which pits you against different types of enemies, from 1 on 1 fights to team battles with the clan that you can recruit members for. All of this side content adds a good chunk of playtime into your playthrough and for the most part is fun to work through.
Overall, the gameplay of the game is fantastic, with incredibly fun combat and a wide variety of side content to tackle throughout your playthrough, although I would have enjoyed a larger number of the more ridiculous sub stories the series is known for.
The visuals of the game look great, with the characters of the game looking more detailed than ever along with the game’s environments. The game brings its settings to life well with great visuals making the Sotenbori area feel alive and like a bustling city full of people. The Dragon Engine is used once again, making the visuals great and the frame-rate feeling incredibly smooth. The combat looks great, with special heat moves looking better than ever along with the agent style having some great animation. The games soundtrack is also good, fitting the series well with some great tracks, with the final boss theme being a standout.
The game also features Japanese voice acting, with an English dub announced for a post launch patch. The Japanese dub is fantastic, with a great performance from Kiryus VA in particular who did a great job bringing the iconic character to life. Overall, the presentation of the game is fantastic, with some great visuals and a soundtrack that fits the game well
Overall, Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased his name is a fantastic continuation of Kiryus story and despite it having a smaller scale than most games in the series, the game is a lot of fun with smooth combat and a variety of side content.
A fantastic story with amazing combat and great presentation.