Sakura Index got its hands on “Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name” for the Steam. We’re here to give you the rundown on the latest title from the Like a Dragon Series.
Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name is set after the events of Yakuza 6: The Song of Life where Kiryu faked his death. Now known as ‘Joryu’, he works for the Daidoji faction in hopes of keeping his whereabouts unknown. This job is tied to the Morning Glory Orphanage, that is near and dear Kiryu’s heart. However, life has its little twists of fate. Kiryu..er…Joryu…would soon be faced with challenges that would jeopardize his new identity and the orphanage. This adventure would be highlighted in this new game that will take gamers in for an emotional roller coaster ride.
Long time fans of the series will find out how Kiryu is doing with this title. For the newcomers, there will be a few flashback scenes to give them an idea of past events that led to this game. In my opinion, this is a newbie friendly game. Some of the mechanics (new and old) would give a newbie like myself a lot to enjoy. Said mechanics include the combat system which will be introduced very early in the game as highlighted below.
In the Middle of it Now
The game will send you straight to the action with a fight/tutorial to introduce the player of the combat mechanics. I’m a fan of this one that throws the player right into the thick of things. This was different from some games that would let me sit through 30-60 minutes of cut-scenes before I could even control my player.
Unlike the previous Like a Dragon Title (Ishin!), the fighting styles of this game are only two instead of four. Two styles are good enough as it gives the player enough to beat up the bad guys. You can go for the traditional ‘yakuza’ style or go ‘high’ tech with the agent fighting style. It was fun using the agent style as (after leveling them up) you can unleash a swarm of drones against your opponents or flick a exploding cigarette to their direction. These can be upgraded thanks to the Akame Network.
Welcome to the Akame Network
The Akame Network plays as the ‘requests’ and ‘virtue system’ (as recalled in Like A Dragon: Ishin!) portion of the game. You can level up your network to unlock points (to upgrade abilities) and perks (to buy items, amongothers). You can level up the Akame Network by fulfilling requests like beating up thugs, retrieving items, or giving certain food items to people in Sotenbori.
As your level increases, other activities like eating at restaurants or playing minigames would level up your Network standings as well.
My favorite part would be the ‘requests’ that have a story of their own. You get interesting tales that border on the paranormal. In some cases, this familiar lady below. Oh my!
As mentioned above, there are retrieval tasks that would involve the ‘spider’ gadget. Our biggest tip, LOOK UP!
Once you hear that certain tone/sound, it’s likely there’s an item on the ground (suitcase or a glowing object) to pick up or something above you. Some items you ‘grab’ would be useful to unlock certain lockers in the city. Items in the locker include drinks or expensive plates you may sell for money.
Let’s Hit the Arcades or the Karaoke Place!
This is no Yakuza/Like a Dragon game without some good side quests and minigames. The two favorites of mine would be the karaoke mini-game and the arcades that hold some classic SEGA titles.
The arcades feature familiar old school SEGA titles such as Fighting Vipers 2, SEGA RACING CLASSIC 2, Galaxy Force, Flicky and more. But what got me stuck on the first chapter for a good while was good ol Virtua Fighter 2.1.
You can find a karaoke machine within Sotonburi if you would like to sing your heart out. The song selection ranges from familiar tracks from the series to new ones. Of course we had to try the karaoke in this game and belt out an old time favorite for fans of this series.
King of my Castle
We briefly alluded to this in the SEGA booth article for ESGS 2023, but it’s time to talk about one of the most interesting part of the game, The Castle. For those who want a description, the Castle is this ‘city’ within a huge ship that’s floating on Japanese waters. It feels like a mini Las Vegas of sorts filled with various ‘gambling’ activities as well as my favorite portion: The Coliseum.
Coliseum has modes such as Tournament, Hell Rumble, Special Event Match and…Hell Team Rumble! The Hell Team Rumble is a personal favorite of mine that pits Joryu and his team against a bunch of opponents they need to knock out. This frenzied atmosphere the Hell Team Rumble has is the reason why I would usually go play this one over the other three modes. I mean you’d love leading your crew into the heart of the battle and overcoming the odds too right? Right? I know your answer is ‘yes’ 🙂
Other activities within the Castle is to play darts and casino game. For darts, you may choose to go solo or one-on-one. Outside of darts, you may also….go run the walkway. No. Really. Like…this one below.
– Straight into the action – I’m very happy this game just outright gives us the chance to start kicking butt. No long-winded intro video or cut scene, just a straight up brawl/tutorial. Good job.
– The Akame Network is the next level ‘virtue gathering’ – I was a fan of Like a Dragon: Ishin!’s virtue system and the Akame Network gave me that same vibe. When I finish requests and level up my network rep, I do feel it pays off big time. It’s a welcomed addition to Like A Dragon: Gaiden game.
– The Agent is fun – This ‘agent’ fighting style was a blast to use. I love using the spider move as well as unleashing the ‘hornets’ on my opponents. This was a very fun fighting mechanic to use in this game.
– A Retro Gamer’s Heaven – Like a Dragon Gaiden really got the kid in me happy. From UFO catchers to classic SEGA arcade games such as Virtua Fighter, I dare say the arcade mini-games in this title can go toe to toe with the original Shenume. It’s a retro gamer’s heaven. The 90s kid in me was very happy with the retro game selection for this title.
– A dream come true for the Yakuza/Like a Dragon fans – Most of us know that long-time Yakuza/Like a Dragon fan KSON won the Yakuza Grand Prix to be part of the hostess for the Like a Dragon Gaiden game. There’s another long time Yakuza/Like a Dragon series fan that’s in this game in First Summer Uika (who voices Akame). I’m happy for long-time fans fulfilling their dream to be part of a videogame series they love.
- There is no ‘lock-in’ against your opponent/s – This can be a hassle sometimes especially you already wanted to do a combo but you’re just fighting air…and the opponent is basically behind you. Why? Because for some reason you turned around and would be attacking the air instead. Maybe it’s also on me to finally invest on some controller and not rely on the mouse and keyboard.
- Repetitive Akame Network Requests – Some side quests would feel repetitive. The ‘beat up random gang members to save x/y person’ eventually got stale. If you’re not into doing repetitive things/tasks, this may not be for you. I don’t mind this since I know my end goal as a player in this game (to send the network at a maximum level).
OVERALL: 4.25 of 5 Stars
If you are looking for your Kiryu-chan fix while waiting for Infinite Wealth, this is a title for you. It’s not a very long game, but the side-quests/mini games will keep you busy.
Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name is available now on the PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, and Steam.
We wish to thank SEGA Asia and RGG Studios for the review code of this game.