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How Like A Dragon: Ishin! Differs From Other Yakuza Games

SEGA’s popular game series is undergoing a significant transformation with the release of Like A Dragon: Ishin! which not only marks a name change from Yakuza to Like A Dragon but also introduces a new setting and style.


Check out the announcement piece

To familiarize yourself with one of the highly anticipated PS5 and PS4 games of 2023, here are some unique features that distinguish Like A Dragon: Ishin! from other Yakuza games.


It’s Ryoma Sakamoto, not Kazuma Kiryu

Do not let the stern expression fool you, as it may resemble Kazuma Kiryu, the protagonist of the Yakuza series and the symbol of the best action RPGs for PS5 and PS4, but it is actually a man named Ryoma Sakamoto. The game Like A Dragon: Ishin! reimagines some of your favourite Yakuza characters such as Goro Majime, Makoto Date, and Akira Nishikiyama, as historic figures from Japan during the 1860s.

The casting in Like A Dragon: Ishin! will likely go unnoticed as Sakamoto embodies Kazuma Kiryu in appearance, voice, and behaviour. He will still exhibit his characteristic inability to refuse requests from others, and his traditional “honourable criminal” moral dilemma will remain unaltered.


Confusion to Clarity

If you have played Yakuza 0 or Yakuza Kiwami, you may have felt overwhelmed by the multitude of names and groups vying for control of the criminal underworld. The reason for this complexity is that each game comes with a chart that clarifies the characters and their connections to each other.

However, Like a Dragon Ishin presents a fresh start by relocating the story to a dramatized version of historical events during the 1860s. If you ever feel bewildered, you can always refer to Wikipedia to understand who the Bakufu were or why the Shishi opposed them. Although there is still the characteristic infighting of the Yakuza series, the sides are easily recognizable by the colour-coded big blue haori.

The game remains complex, but to a lesser extent.


Konnichiwa Kyoto

Are you tired of the Tokyo and Osaka cityscapes that define the Yakuza series? How about a journey to 19th-century Kyoto instead? Like A Dragon: Ishin! offers a refreshing change of scenery for Yakuza fans, replacing the bustling streets of Kamurocho with the serene blue skies and sandy roads of Kyoto?

Although still lively, encountering a woman walking her pet shiba inu is a welcome change from encountering a man loudly shouting on his cell phone about his financial problems. Additionally, Like a Dragon Ishin introduces a first-person camera mode for players seeking an alternative to the hours-long walking videos of Tokyo on YouTube.


Kiryu Has A Gun & A Sword?

In Like A Dragon: Ishin! players will have the ability to wield both guns and swords in combat, a change from the traditional weapon use in the Yakuza series where guns were only used occasionally.

The sight of someone who resembles Kazuma Kiryu using a revolver to shoot people may seem strange at first. While Kazuma is familiar with weapons and has used guns occasionally in the series, Ryoma Sakamoto in Like A Dragon: Ishin! will have the ability to use firearms at will.

With the lead character being a historical samurai, swords are a staple in the game and can be used interchangeably with guns. The Wild Dancer style even allows for a unique combination of the two weapons, providing players with a new level of versatility in combat. So, whether you run out of ammo or not, rest assured that your trusty katana will be ready to defend you.


Farming Simulator… Kind of?

As part of the new setting in Like A Dragon: Ishin!, Ryomo Sakamoto takes on the role of a farmer and becomes deeply immersed in the farming experience. Its level of involvement rivals the popular game Animal Crossing, where players can become indebted to their landlord and must repay the debt by growing crops.

While Yakuza games have always had engaging mini-games, farming in Like A Dragon: Ishin! has the potential to be even more addictive. Many players may find themselves so invested in their farm that they completely neglect the main story. The developers of Ryu Ga Gotoku studio may not have fully considered the appeal of a good farming game, and as a result, players may miss out on learning about the rich history of Japan.


Cop Rather Than Criminal

In Like A Dragon: Ishin!, Ryoma Sakamoto embarks on a journey with the Shinsengumi, a secret police force in 19th-century Japan, to find the murderer of his mentor. However, despite being a member of the organization, he is not entirely supportive of their methods, which often involve violence to protect the interests of the ruling party.

Unlike previous Yakuza games, where the protagonist works closely with the police, in this game, Ryoma will be the one enforcing the law. This shift towards a more authoritative role is further emphasized by the inclusion of a gun in Ryoma’s arsenal, a departure from the series’ traditional weapon choices.

Like A Dragon: Ishin! releases on 21 February for PC via Steam, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S.

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