Yakuza: Like a Dragon Reviews
Yakuza: Like a Dragon takes some bold steps in a new direction for the series but neglects to maintain its balance.
A fun, charming, and occasionally brilliant Yakuza game, let down by an overabundance of repetitive turn-based battles.
Like A Dragon pulls off an impressive JRPG makeover while simultaneously taking on all the flaws of the genre.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon impressively pulls off the switch to an RPG in style, providing an excellent combat system supported by loveable characters, and a tantalising main storyline with meaningful side quests.
The turn-based battles don't fully convince but the new protagonist and bizarre mini-games still feel distinctively and entertainingly Yakuza.
It's a new direction for the series, but Like a Dragon captures the essence of what came before while setting out on its own journey.
Like a Dragon's story attempts to touch on certain social issues that are relevant in present-day Japan, such as classism, social status, sex work, and government corruption on a prefectural level. However, the writing often lacks the nuance or range to address the topics at hand, and doesn't give any of them adequate room to breathe. The second half of the game gains some measure of focus as plot threads tie together and result in genuinely surprising twists, but when Like a Dragon drops the ball, it drops it hard. Despite this, the Japanese cast's performances sell the story with evocative deliveries that breathe life into the characters. The finale is an emotional one that brought me to tears and moved me, just as most previous Yakuza games have.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon's cast of misfits makes the wild RPG combat, absurd humor, and dramatic storytelling soar.
I absolutely loved my time with Like a Dragon. Ichiban was just too charming, Isezaki Ijincho too interesting and its story too irresistible (in its own pulpy way), proving once again that the strength of Yakuza’s heart can easily overcome any of its gameplay shortcomings. Every time I got mad at its RPG failings, I couldn’t stay mad, because every time I got frustrated at the grind Ichiban would do something beautiful, or I’d fight a man holding a giant smoked turkey leg.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a new frontier for the Yakuza series, and the life and crimes of the series feels right at home in this new setting. Ichiban is an instant addition to the pantheon of Yakuza legends, his party an endearing band of ruffians, with the combat doing just enough to make everything familiar feel new again. Where Yakuza goes from here is anyone's guess, but mechanical friction aside, this is a step in a fun and compelling new direction.
Yakuza fans were anxious about whether the series would survive without the glue of Kiryu Kazama to hold it together. However, Ichiban Kasuga is a worthy successor to the Dragon of Dojima, and Like a Dragon is a great new start for this fantastic series that will please long-time Yakuza fans and newcomers alike.
Like a Dragon isn't my favorite Yakuza, and its fresh turn-based combat eventually grows stale, but I have a lot of love for it. If it's your first game, it'll quickly initiate you into this wild, one-of-a-kind series.
Yakuza Like a Dragon is an enjoyable new twist on the series, although it's not hard to imagine that many long-time fans of the series will be put off by its slow pace. In a day and age where video game companies rarely take risks, Like a Dragon is a refreshing change of pace for a series that risked starting to feel stale.
It keeps the great narrative and setting from the Yakuza series, using a new protagonist, a city that has more life than even Kamurocho and turn-based combats. It suffers from some of the classical troubles of the J-RPG, but it is a breath of fresh air and a great example of how to reinvent a franchise.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a successful pivot from traditional Yakuza mainstays. The game goes heavy on style, while still packing in enough substance to keep players satisfied. The party system and new RPG elements give players more ways to play than ever before. The turn-based combat is solid, and never feels too foreign. Longtime fans of the franchise will appreciate what Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and SEGA have to offer in Yakuza: Like a Dragon.
Yakuza Like a Dragon is a real and huge JRPG who knows how to maintain the essence of the saga. Fun fighting system and deep script with too many ups and downs to justify the new playable elements. I hope this new formula that works and gives new wings to the franchise will be repeated.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
An extraordinary and courageous restart for the new Sega title, an extraordinary JRPG that lays the foundations for even more prosperous growth.
Review in Italian | Read full review
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a phenomenal entry into the Yakuza franchise, with an interesting new protagonist, a compelling story, and a combat system that constantly mixes things up.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a bold shift in direction, one that succeeds more than it stumbles in the pursuit of its new design.