Like a dragon Gaidenthe new entry in the Sega series formerly known as Yakuza, is not cold.
In the first fight, old hero Kazuma Kiryu gains Spider-Man powers to shoot webs that launch thugs through the busy streets of Osaka. Within hours, he has the power to summon swarms of drones and launch explosive cigarettes that have the power of improvised explosive devices. Before the first act is over, Kiryu will have joined an underground network of criminal informants, visited a floating coliseum-pleasure-palace, and attempted to charm at least one hostess, something the player will experience first-hand. through a full motion video starring a real actress.
The madness (and slight perversity) of this video game won’t seem unusual to Yakuza fans, but that pacing will. 2020 Yakuza: like a dragon It took at least 45 hours to complete, and for finalists, that number could double or even triple. Fans usually throw yakuza 0Widely considered the most welcoming entry in the series, with one caveat: you’ll need to wade through hours of cutscenes and tutorials before the game improves.
And so, paradoxically, despite feeling like the end of an era (the series’ action combat has been replaced by turn-based encounters in the new main entries), Like a dragon Gaiden may be the new “best starting point” for one of gaming’s longest, densest, and most underrated franchises.
But what about all the backstory, you ask? gaiden bridges the gap between years of Kiryu-centric games and Like a dragon: infinite wealth, which is currently scheduled for release in January 2024. But to enjoy the story, you’ll need, at most, a quick YouTube recap. The premise of the game is that Kiryu has faked his death and is now doing right by the locals of Sotenbori while unraveling another bureaucratic mystery involving guys with great tattoos.
Because Kiryu now calls himself Joryu (the game’s official title is Like a dragon Gaiden: the man who erased his name), you’ll often interact with people who know nothing about his blood-spattered backstory. And when a character knows Kiryu’s drama, our boy prefers to chat with his fists.
The main Yakuza games have a large number of fully voiced cutscenes and side quests; gaiden he has much less, his world is full of novelties, distractions and fetch quests. Now, if you’re a Yakuza fan, take a few deep breaths; that last sentence could cause hyperventilation. But honestly, I’ve enjoyed this “Ubisoft open world” approach to Yakuza. gaiden It’s the equivalent of eating your kid’s entire bucket of Halloween candy because you got too high watching Charlie Brown. It is not good for your health, much less nutritious, and is sometimes deeply embarrassing. But every once in a while, it feels great to gorge on junk food.
Like a dragon Gaiden It’s magnificent video game junk food. Hell, a generous reviewer might even read the creation of gaiden as a parody of Western game development. Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio director Masayoshi Yokoyama recently stated that the game began as DLC and only took six months to develop. The team reused most of its world from previous entries and trimmed the story and all the expensive material that would otherwise come with it (new voice acting, cutscenes, etc.). When you open the map in gaiden, It’s filled with drudgery, countless little exclamation points, and collectible items. But unlike many open-world AAA games today, this world is refreshingly small and the to-do list is actually fun. Additionally, Kiryu himself has become a cross between a certain British super agent, a super soldier, and a Marvel hero.
The Yakuza series has long had a great sense of humor; Could this be his best joke? A game that, in its creation, is a commentary on the current state of game development? No, I won’t go that far. Although I wouldn’t classify it as a cash withdrawal either.
gaiden reflects (rather than responds to) our new gaming reality, in which developers will do well to make the most of their extremely expensive investments in mainstream titles. With gaidenI can see a future where every new Like a Dragon main entry you get an action-packed spin-off, set in the same world and with the same characters, made for a fraction of the price but no less appealing to fans; in some ways, perhaps, appealing even more to those who don’t have time for a bottomless RPG.
If it’s not obvious: I’m describing myself. After a year of some of the best (and most demanding) games of my life, it was nice to lose a week of sleep for a game that hooked me like a paperback. Any moment I spent pining for Yakuza’s richer games was spent helping Osakans fend off debt collectors, pulling underwear out of trees, and delivering toilet paper to a public bathroom user who desperately needed it. urgency.
For fans, gaiden It may seem like a speedrun of the entire series, Kiryu’s journey condensed into one decadent hurray, now with drones and superpowers. But for newcomers, I imagine gaiden It will be similar to listening to an iconic band for the first time by opening Spotify and selecting Greatest Hits.
Like a dragon Gaiden: the man who erased his name will be available on November 8 on PlayStation 5, Windows PC, and Xbox Series X. The game was reviewed on PC using a pre-release download code provided by Sega. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions on products purchased through affiliate links. You can find Additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.