Impressions of Like a Dragon: Ishin!
For two hours, the Xbox team has had the opportunity to try out for the first time the long-awaited game of the Like a Dragon franchise: Ishin in a great context, the Samurai Museum in Berlin. A game that since its arrival on new generation consoles and in the West was announced, has kept fans of this franchise in suspense and that, after trying it, we already anticipate that all lovers of the Yakuza universe will love it.
In Like A Dragon: Ishin we will be transported to the final stage of the Edo period in Japan and we will leave behind the bustling modern cities that we were able to experience in the last titles of the saga to return to its origins in the best possible way.
If we have to summarize in one sentence what Like a Dragon: Ishin may have transmitted to us, it is that it will delight fans with many references to the previous games, as well as seeing well-known faces from the saga (and of which We won’t make spoilers so you can enjoy them) and enjoying the true essence of Yakuza games. However, it also has the necessary elements so that people who have been unrelated to the franchise can also enter the wonderful universe created by the studio ‘Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’ with a gameplay that will make us spend hours perfecting the different combat styles and with some minigames that, for those already accustomed to the saga will know, spectacular and ‘eaters of hours’.
Like a Dragon: Ishin! is the remake of the game already released in 2014 and was only available in Japan and for the Sony PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 consoles. This remake not only brings us an improvement in its gameplay area, but also gives us new features such as the inclusion of several cameos of the characters already known in the saga and that have appeared in games like Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Yakuza 0 and Yakuza 6 although, as we have said, we prefer to leave you with the surprise. What is evident is that the protagonist of the story of Like a Dragon: Ishin! is played by the fictional character Kazuma Kiryu, known from the Yakuza series, as we are used to. We anticipate that seeing him again in such an emblematic character in Japan as Sakamoto Ryōma is spectacular.
And it is that Sakamoto Ryōma, the protagonist of Like a Dragon: Ishin!, is a real historical figure from Japan, one of the last samurai who lived during the last stages of the Edo period, just in which this title is set. Ryōma was of more than remarkable importance and had a representative role as a samurai in this Japanese era called Bakumatsu. In this game we will be getting to know his story of revenge, where Ryōma will undertake the search for the real murderer of Toshida Toyo, his father figure and mentor, who was assassinated by a masked man who used the ancient samurai technique called Tennen Rishin and for which Ryōma was framed. by authorities as there is no other suspect. After serving his sentence, Ryōma will undertake his search and for this he will travel and explore areas of old Kyoto, meet other samurai and infiltrate the Shinsengumi, a kind of police force located in that period of Japan and, specifically, also in Kyoto.
During the gameplay that we have been able to test, we have fully explored Chapter 3 of this game in which we have carried out missions from the main story and explored the area of Kyoto called Gion in its entirety, testing combat, mini-games and secondary missions that can be found in that area. By the way, for those who have doubts, yes, the game will come with voices in Japanese and texts in USAand it is in that format that we have tested it.
We have tested Like a Dragon: Ishin! in its Xbox version and we can say that the visual section is impeccable. The aesthetics, in addition, makes the details that we can see with the performance of the game stand out even more. A great graphic section where you can see the graphic improvements made by the ‘Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’ team after its engine change. As many know, the last Yakuza have used an engine that generated the benefits of the titles, the Dragon Engine. But, after a technical decision, the Japanese development team has made the leap for the first time in its franchise to Unreal Engine 4and it shows, although not as much as the jump to the Dragon Engine was at the time in the saga.
Although the Dragon Engine gave everything necessary to create the corridors and cities of the Yakuza universe games, with Unreal Engine 4 they have been able to improve the level of realism and details to make it very visually attractive. The particle physics with scenes where there is a lot of confetti has left us with our mouths open and, in addition, it also makes the combat animations a visual delight. If we have to put a hitch, we do notice on some very specific occasions the delay in loading textures and in the map change areas, we have experienced a very slight popping. Although, as we have said, the performance is very fluid and except for those small details that do not stain its graphic section by far, we believe that the decision to change the engine has been very successful.
Get ready to enjoy the beauty of Like a Dragon: Ishin, because the aesthetic section is to be captivated seeing every detail of how they have represented the houses, stalls, roads, etc. of Kyoto at the end of the 19th century.
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Let’s hit the combos!
Now, although the graphic section could already leave us more than satisfied after the great graphic leap, what we are most interested in analyzing, without a doubt, is the combat.
This Like a Dragon: Ishin returns to its origins and leaves the turn-based combat of Yakuza: Like a Dragon parked. Obviously, being a remake, it drinks from the combat that was used in the game released in 2014 but we can say that it is very satisfying to play it.
The combats will come as usual in the saga, an event will be created in which we will have to fight with different enemies and the combat mode will be activated. On this occasion, we will have four types of combat styles available, each one with its own details, its forms of evasion and, of course, its own attacks.
If we are one of those who enjoy a good sword fight, we can use the Swordsman style, where the only weapon will be Ryōma’s Katana. We can also exclusively use hand-to-hand combat against enemies and be able to hit with our fists as well as use elements of the environment as a way of attacking in this style. The third style is called Shooter, which consists of the exclusive use of the pistol with long-range positions. Although the jewel in the crown in terms of fun is taken the Wild Dancer style, where in one hand we will have our sword and in the other the pistol. The latter gives a lot of room for combos and evasion strategies that make it, at least in our opinion, much more entertaining than the other styles. And be careful, you can do parry, so enjoy it.
In addition, it has a very interesting added layer for combat with pistols. And it is that there will be special ammunition for this weapon and of many types. Each type will have its damage and can be manufactured in certain places used for that in the cities, as well as the option to improve weapons (katanas and pistols) or also create new ones from materials.
Here we bring you a video where all the aforementioned styles are explored.
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How are you doing?
Obviously, one of the parts that fans of the saga most expect are the minigames. We have been able to try a large number of them that were available during our type in Gion, Kyoto. Although we will not be able to give hours and hours to the arcade games for obvious reasons (I wish arcade games had existed in 1860), the minigames are still on par with any Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio title.
We have tried the karaoke, so characteristic of the saga, with the letter tracking system using different buttons on the controller (personally, it never fails, so it’s still our favorite minigame). We have also been able to test the dance minigame, the Buyoa typical Japanese dance, after a hilarious secondary mission and that, far from being what it seems, it has been quite difficult to get scores good enough to meet the expectations of the dance house, without a doubt, one of the most fun minigames.
Other minigames that we can find are: chicken racing, cannonball shooting, the brothel, fishing and many others. Come on, nothing will be missing to spend time exploring Kyoto and getting to know its people and their stories, which, as it couldn’t be missing in a Yakuza game, its humor is hilarious and very witty in all its missions and side stories.
Everything behind Like a Dragon: Ishin has enchanted us. Two hours of gameplay have not been even a small part of what happens that will be behind the entire story of Ryōma. We really want to see the full result of this remake that will finally see the light of day in the West and on next-generation consoles.
Next February 21 we can enjoy on our consoles Like a Dragon: Ishin! and we cannot be more eager to have it in our hands.