Like a Dragon: Ishin! Reviews
After the success of the Yakuza series of Sega in recent years, we’ve seen the series open up to new consoles outside of the PlayStation ecosystems. We witnessed the release of almost the entire series for PC and Xbox consoles. Also, there was a spin-off from the series that had resisted leaving Japan until now, Yakusa Ishin, which will have its remake with the name of Like a Dragon: Ishin!
Announced in the State of Play of September 2022, Like a Dragon: Ishin! and as I said, it is a remake worked with Unreal Engine 4 (instead of Dragon Engine from the last installments of the Yakuza series) from the game released in 2014 for PS3 and PS4. Its attraction is its setting in a period of feudal Japan.
Between social classes and betrayals
Like a Dragon: Ishin! is set in the late Edo period of feudal Japan. It is 1860 and the country of the rising sun is going through a tense moment in its history. A system of social classes, where the word of the one above is the law and those below have to submit, is what prevails in society. However, there are some idealists who have decided that this caste system is not the most suitable for a just society.
Among those idealists is Ryoma Sakamoto, (who is clearly a representation of Kazuma Kiryu in the main series) our playable character and hero who returns to the city of Tosa after spending a year training in Edo. After the first few minutes of arriving in town, he is involved in an altercation with an upper class that almost cost him his life. Later, he is saved by his adoptive father and he tells him about the plans to change the class system, however, the father is killed Ryoma takes the blame.
This is how a story full of intrigues, betrayals and tensions begins that goes hand in hand with the Yakuza formula that Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has been implemented in the other games. The only difference is that instead of being a gangster story, it’s more political and revolutionary.
This plot is reminiscent, albeit with certain liberties, of a true story. However, to make this plot feel more Yakuza, familiar faces have been used albeit with different names. It is not without its very Japanese side, with very surreal and even comical situations, although to a lesser extent than the main series.
Dancing between swords and bullets
We return to settle in a city this time called Kyo, which is divided into several recognizable areas. In addition, there will be other locations that we will have interaction to a lesser extent, such as Tosa, the initial city. What is striking is the huge amount of things to do such as mini-games and side missions that give us money or experience. On them, they are designed according to the time in which the game is set, remember that it is the 1800s.
Although in dimension Kyo is relatively small, it is not without endless secondary activities to do to relax. In general, we will have a main mission to follow and on the way we can find very varied secondary missions. Those of us who love the series are covered on that front.
Each action reports a series of points called Virtue Points that are obtained by performing any action that occurs to us. Once with enough points we can exchange them for Blessings. To keep an accounting, we will have a Diligence Record that will tell us how many times we have carried out an action.
In addition, some inhabitants will have an affinity level that is filled by interacting with them. This implies that they speak well of us and that it is known on the streets that we are both an exemplary person and a warrior to be feared.
Dancing between swords and bullets
Like every game in the series, Like a dragon Ishin!, the 2014 game, was the one that introduced the different combat styles. We will have four fighting styles: Swordsman, Gunslinger, Brawler and Dancer. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages that I will detail below.
- Swordsman: It is the initial style and the one that we will be using the most. It serves both for attack and defense with blocks and parrys. However, the weak point is the back that is left unprotected against groups of enemies.
- Gunslinger: It is a style for long distances that uses a revolver to finish off enemies but does not use block. Although, it is not the style that causes the most damage, it uses different effects such as fire, corrosion, blindness, etc.
- rowdy: The reliable brawler style that uses the fists and everything within our reach such as benches, tables and oars to attack the enemies. It is a versatile style and we can make grabs to throw enemies.
- Wild Dancer: A mix between the use of a katana and a pistol but with a lot of style. Useful for crowd control, although it doesn’t do as much damage as just using the katana.
For each blow dealt, the Furor bar will fill up, which allows us to execute final attacks with which to finish off enemies. They are the most colorful and devastating attacks that have great cinematic sequences. This bar has different levels and the higher it is, the more devastating the attack will be.
Each combat gives us experience and this, in turn, orbs of improvements with which we can obtain different movements, health improvements, increased damage, etc. Also, we will be able to recruit soldiers with whom we obtain Soldier Letters. These cards are used in combat with different advantageous effects for our character.
Without the Dragon Engine but just as cool
For the first time since modern Yakuza, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio did not use the Dragon Engine and opted for Unreal Engine 4. Who knows why this decision, but overall the game looks great with a new lighting system and almost character faces. realistic and a very well recreated feudal Japan. However, it’s not perfect as it has some poorly worked texture loads and NPC models.
The sound section maintains the quality expected from the series. With background music of the time, an excellent job of Japanese dubbing that has good interpretation and great sound effects such as footsteps, clash of swords, etc.
Like a Dragon: Ishin! It is the game that began to mark where the saga would go from, and it is a good decision that they have decided to adapt it. As a result, it’s still a very Yakuza game with combat around every corner, unlikely assignments, plenty of side activities, and a mature story. They limited themselves to recreating the game almost as it is, although it is the best version of itself, even with a USAtranslation included. However, the fact that it reaches these lands is already a motivation if you like the series.
Note: This review was made on the PS5 version and the code was provided thanks to Sega.