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Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name

Royce Wilson    December 4, 2023    3 min read   

Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name is the latest game in Ryu Ga Gotoku’s long-running Yakuza action-adventure series of games.

Published by Sega – for PC, Xbox, and Playstation – the series concerns the adventures and drama of (fictional) Japanese organised crime gang members. The games are something of an acquired taste, and Like a Dragon Gaiden is no exception.

Unlike titles such as Grand Theft Auto – where murder and mayhem are the order of the day – the Yakuza games are about the internal conflicts of various underworld groups in contemporary Japan, told through the medium of an engaging, convoluted story.

Main character Kazuma Kiryu has essentially faked his own death in an effort to leave his yakuza days behind him, but finds himself pulled back in. Taking place in the nightlife region of Osaka, there’s copious amounts of martial arts directed at members of rival organisations.

Images: Sega.

Engaging and intuitive

I’ve been a fan of the series for some time now and enjoyed this latest entry. I found it fun, well-paced, engaging, with just the right balance of serious drama and over-the-top action.

The combat is fluid and intuitive – a good range of moves is available – and adjustable difficulty levels ensure you feel like an action movie hero no matter what your button-mashing skills are like.

Besides the Japanese RPG-inspired design elements, there’s quite a few references to characters from previous games (particularly the previous one, Yakuza: Like a Dragon), which means newcomers to the series may find themselves a bit lost.

It’s also worth noting the audio is only in Japanese, but the English subtitles are top-notch; a full English audio version is apparently being developed too.

The only major issue I had with the game is that its major side element – fighting in an arena called The Castle – really wasn’t all that appealing. (After all, I already got to beat up plenty of street thugs and enemy yakuza throughout the main storyline.)

At only five chapters in total, the game is shorter than the main series entries, so can be finished in about 25 hours and the side quests are all optional.This is definitely one for the fans – if that’s you, you’ll love Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, and it’s an excellent entrée for January’s launch of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, too.

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Royce Wilson

Royce is Local News Publication’s Consulting Editor and historian. He has lived in Logan West for more than a decade and has been a feature writer and journalist for even longer than that, with stories appearing in a range of print and digital media both in Australia and overseas, covering everything from breaking news to gaming and technology to travel and history.