Yakuza: Like a Dragon - Review @ MMORPG
MMORPG reviewed Yakuza: Like a Dragon:
Yakuza: Like a Dragon Review
A love letter to Dragon Quest from the makers of Yakuza
The latest entry in SEGA’s Japanese mafia-simulator is here. Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the seventh main entry in the long-running Yakuza series, which originated on PlayStation but is now available for both Xbox and PlayStation consoles. Like the switch from Sony to Microsoft, Yakuza has changed genres from brawler action-adventure to an action-RPG that is unabashedly inspired by Dragon Quest. But does this changeup land a home run for Yakuza, or does it strike out from being too different? Here’s our full review of Yakuza: Like a Dragon on the Xbox One X.
Yakuza: What's the Story?
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is one of the most beautiful love letters to a completely unrelated series that I’ve ever seen. The developers at Ryu ga Gotoku studios clearly have a deep nostalgia and appreciation for Square Enix’s classis RPG franchise. There are some deep cuts for fans of Dragon Quest, including small nods to reoccurring dialogue throughout the series, skill names like Giga Swing inspired by Gigaslash, and even enemies that mimic monster animations from prior Dragon Quest titles.
The story, however, is very much the kind of tale I would expect Kazuma Kiryu from previous Yakuza games to experience. The beginning cutscenes set the stage for new protagonist Ichiban Kasuga’s 45-hour long journey and is full of twists, turns, betrayals, and ultimately redemption arcs. The central driving theme of Like a Dragon revolves around “friendship” and the relationships that Ichiban creates and strengthens through adversity and hardship.
Despite its flaws, Like a Dragon still manages to impress and provide a quality Yakuza experience. The story was masterful and the comradery between characters felt deep and realistic. None of the main villains or party members lacked any depth to their character, and felt more believable than in previous Yakuza titles. The homages to Dragon Quest liberally sprinkled through Like a Dragon were satisfying and nostalgic, with deep level of love and appreciation for the franchise on clear display.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon is surprisingly one of the best JRPGs that I’ve played since I beat Dragon Quest XI over three years ago. It’s especially impressive coming from Ryu ga Gotoku studios which has never made a turn-based RPG before. However, there are some glaring issues that take away from the overall experience; most notably the lack of a weakness indicator and wonky AoE moves during battles. If only the battle system was perfected, then Like a Dragon would be a top-tier JRPG. Regardless, I would recommend to any RPG fans that Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a must-play title.
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