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Review | Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name

"How many are you eager to control Kiryu again? In a form a spin-off, the new Like a Dragon game is out and it’s made using the older style of the fist-fighting button masher. And it’s good!"

by Foggy, 27-12-2023,

The Man Who Erased His Name takes place during the events of Yakuza: Like a Dragon (2020). The focus is on the series' original protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu, and his new adventure in Osaka under the disguise of a secret agent. Agent Kiryu!

Like a Dragon Gaiden was released for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on November 9, 2023. The game comes with a HDR support (although I had to raise the brightness a bit, it seemed a bit dark) and the latest update even brought English voices if you’re into them (I prefer the Japanese ones, especially for Kiryu). This is the best looking Yakuza game so far, with no technical issues or bugs (as far as I know) – plus it’s a bit cheaper than the mainline titles.

Agent Kiryu reporting to duty! Learn what he was up to and kick some asses while you're at it!

The story events takes place after Yakuza 6: The Song of Life and before, during, and after the events of Yakuza: Like a Dragon. It’s like an intro into Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth (the new mainline title). Kazuma Kiryu has faked his death and gone into hiding. All that to protect his foster children (if you remember and if you’ve played the earlier mainline games). You will find him under Daidoji faction as one of their secret agents, codenamed "Joryu".

The story is good, although I always have issues with connecting the dots. There are a lot of names and characters in each game – it just takes a bit of time to grasp everything thrown at you. Even with that, just by playing the story here is fun and interesting, and having to control Kiryu is somewhat of a reward. It’s really awesome to see the other angle from some scenes that have happened in the last game (I vividly remember the scene from the last game where the yakuza clans are being disband, and now you get to see the other side of the story here). I miss Majima, but hey, you just can’t have everything, right? (surprise, there are familiar faces).

I loved the story, and I think it’s one of the best aspect of this game (but note that this is not nearly the best from this studio, especially comparing to Yakuza 0). It breaks my heart to witness such a cruel fate that befall on Kiryu (the strongest man in the world, if you ask anyone).

Of course there are exploding cigarettes, fight agains tigers and golf to relax. The arena is welcome!

The next best thing is the fighting itself. Since you’ll mostly be doing the fist-talking, you will spam attack buttons a lot. There is the Agent style, and the Dragon style. I really love the Dragon style, but Agent is so much fun. It’s something like a cross-breed of the style from Judgment with a pinch of freshness. It feels fluid and fast, plus you get to break dance on the floor when you learn new skills.  You can even throw a rope kind of thingy from your watch and toss enemies around. So much fun.

Alongside with the new style, you will constantly unlock new gadgets like exploding cigarettes, and jet pack under your boots. Again, so much fun. I love how they constantly try to bring something fresh to the table, considering all of the games are pretty similar in their core.

With the new Agent style you can reach higher areas. If you see something glowing on the other side of the building, think no more, use your watch to reach it. This also brings the extra fun factor on the table. There is not much to explore and do in the town (other than the classic stuff like playing mini-games and beating people of the street), but just observing the details is enough if you ask me. Sotenbori never looked better. There is also Yokohama at the start, but most of the game developed in Sotenbori and the arena on the ship. Yeah, that’s right!

There is just so much details in this game! One would think that repeating the location will become a drag, but nope.

Half of the game’s plot is on the ship. It’s a coliseum area, a new one, and you will be going there to fight, gamble and simply swim in the pool. It’s one of the prettier areas I’ve seen in recent gaming, filled with details. It’s so sparkly!

The idea is to make an impact to yakuza clans in charge (everything leading to the disband of clans), plus to have some fun in the arena. You can recruit NPC’s to fight besides you, then you level them up and kick some asses. The whole arena, both story-wise and side-stuff is great. Challenging everything never felt like a chore, plus dressing up Kiryu is also a reward.

For the rest of the side stuff, I unfortunately can’t say much. You will spend most of the time with Akame, a new person in this universe who helps the homeless and keeps the Network alive. She has contacts. You can take requests from her and help the poor on the street – and that alone serves and the side-story and the side-content. It’s a miss if you ask me – the brilliance of the side content is replaced with defeating black, red and yellow enemy leaders, the samurai and occasional fun activities which simply lacks behind the quality we’ve been used to. I’ve expected much more than the fetch content in this area. It fills like a filler unfortunately.

When you’re not helping the others, you can level up Kiyru’s skills to make him stronger. It’s a straightforward task that will drain your money. If you’re into golf and all other mini-games, you can do that. There is always something to do, even dating is back (and I hate it).

Overall, the side content is weak. The biggest selling point is the arena.

Welcome back boys! Without shirts everything can happen. Until next time, Kiryu (and Majima)

The best thing about this game is the fact that they make good spinoff games. Bringing back the old combat style was a good choice, and having a backstory is welcome (Sega makes one of the best characters in the gaming). I only wish they bring back the side-content quality and quirkiness that was all around.

If you’re not a fan of the turn-based style which will happen again, and you want to know more about the events that follow Kiryu, you need to play this one. With the weaker side-content and a strong story, for the lower price and around 20h of gameplay - The Man Who Erased His Name did not erased the brilliance of the series. Was this really required? Yes and no, but I choose yes.

"The most beautiful game that involves Kiryu, with great combat, interesting story and characters, but with dull side-stories. What’s not to like, right? For fans out there, this one is a must."
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