Yakuza fans have been eating incredibly well lately with the number of new entries and spin-offs the series has received in recent years. There’s even more on the way, as Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio is set to release Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name this November. I was given the opportunity to step into the shoes of the new protagonist and got a better idea for the unique Yakuza story being told this time around.
The newest Like a Dragon game follows the story of Kazuma Kiryu, an former Yakuza member that faked his own death to sever his ties to the group and all other aspects of his old life. Unfortunately for Kazuma, his past still manages to catch up to him, and he’s forced to reckon with the decisions he made in another life. It feels like a pretty mature story, but it’s not without the heightened silliness that makes this series so unique.
During my preview, I was dropped into a dense city area with bright lights and civilians galore. I got jumped by a group of Yakuza, who I quickly dispatched using Kazuma’s arsenal of weaponry. Not only are his punches and kicks enough to send foes flying, but he’s got an electric whip that can lasso and fling enemies around, as well as a small drone that he can summon to damage enemies.
I spent some time playing darts with an associate, and gave Kazuma a style makeover at a local boutique. The majority of my time, however, was spent at a combat arena where I could sign up to fight waves of enemies in front of a crowd. There were multiple characters I could select from here, and I ended up playing as a man with a chicken head. His moveset was completely different from Kazuma’s including a rocket launcher that he can use to blast enemies away.
My time with Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name was brief, but gave me a clear sense of the vibe that Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio is going for with this new entry. We’ll see how it stacks up against the rest of the franchise when it launches on November 8, 2023.