Looking for a comprehensive Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name Review? We’ve got you covered! 3 years have passed since the fall of the Legendary Dragon of Dojima, for 3 years Haraka and the children at the orphanage in Okinawa have remained without Uncle Kaz, and for 3 years the Diadoji agent who looks like Kazuma Kiryu walked the earth. Here is our Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name Review.
Enter into the continuing story of the former Legendary Yakuza Kazuma Kiryu, now an agent of the shadows working with the Diadoji faction. 3 years after Kiryu faked his death at the epilogue of the Onomichi battle, a former “brother-in-arms” pulls the legend back into the dirt of the criminal underworld he had relinquished. For better or worse, Codename Joryu would now have to keep his truth a secret to protect his family and perform his duty as an agent of Diadoji, which he himself proposed.
The story of the game takes place in the time between Yakuza 6: The Song Of Life and Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth. Players control the “deceased” Kazuma Kiryu, once known and feared as the legendary Yakuza, The Dragon of Dojima, and Fourth Chairman of the Tojo Clan, now off the grid and forced to work for the organization that he opposed in 2016, in order to protect those he cares about, Haruka and the children at the orphanage in Okinawa.
Now going by the name Joryu, his secret is revealed by Omi Alliance grunts looking for the supposed dead legend, on orders from Masaru Watase, Captain of the Omi Alince and once ally to Kiryu. The Omi’s goal is to work with the current Chairman of the Tojo Clan, Daigo Dojima, and dissolve both yakuza factions, to do this an ensuing conflict will erupt which will threaten the balance of power in the underworld. To make Watase and Daigo’s plan come to fruition, the Dragon would need to be resurrected to quell the conflict, it’s not like he hasn’t done it before right?
Although this seems the main focus of the story this is only a stepping stone for something greater to come. While there are only 5 chapters to the game they are jam-packed with things to do and activities to enjoy. They also feel a lot longer than in other yakuza games, whether it was because I was rusty at reading the subtitles or being distracted by everything else like helping Akame is beside the point, they really feel longer than in other titles.
Overall the story is a fantastic adventure in the Yakuza/ Like A Dragon universe and holds up well in the linear events of the franchise. While the game is somewhat lacking in areas of the story, considering Kiryu is meant to be dead. His only disguise is a pair of sunglasses, it’s the same sort of logic that introduced Majima as Hannya-man in the Kormaki Training during Kiwami. Or at an extreme, Kiryu in Yakuza 5 not being recognised as who he is. Where this is a reoccurring plot hole for the franchise it makes it all the better when Kiryu is revealed as who he is, and let’s face it, who wouldn’t know the Dragon’s Strength if they know his legend? That being said, the story does feel like it has more to be told, and anyone who has played Yakuza 7: Like A Dragon will know that there are some more things to the events of “The Bodyguard” during the Omi Alliance’s Dissolution. This might be revealed in the Upcoming Infinite Wealth, however, the mystery behind what is not revealed should be enough to make us think before we finally get our hands on it.
Now, while the universe for Yakuza (Like A Dragon) and Judgment share a constant in common, there are some things that I have been dying to see in Yakuza 7, Judgment, Lost Judgment, and Like A Dragon Gaiden. Thankfully our brave and Legendary Yakuza came through in The Man Who Erased His Name and we have, maybe not the crossover we were hoping for, but a crossover between Judgment and The Man Who Erased His Name. This crossover is in the form of a mission from Akame, which acts as a Substory, taking place in Sotenbori, Kanto. During this mission, you will run into Yagami’s gorilla, Kaito-san, an Ex-Yakuza and member of the Yagami Detective Agency Kaito is investigating a sudden attack on the Homeless people of Sotenbori and jumps to the conclusion that Joryu is the suspect he is after.
Graphics and Gameplay:
The game plays out like other Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio titles however with the enhancements made to Joryu the game feels like it plays more like Judgment rather than the Like A Dragon franchise it belongs to. Kiryu, Majima, Saejima, Ichiban, and the others you play as throughout the Yakuza franchise lifespan, at least until this point, never had any fancy gadgets or special ways employed in exploration, however Yagami in Judgment has the Drone. This is only an explorative item, and for races, however, this is closer to what Joryu has in Like A Dragon Gaiden.
Overall the game plays well and the mechanically designed aspects function as intended making every part of the game smoother than you might expect in a yakuza. It’s almost like the best parts of Yakuza and Judgment were mashed together and made to work in a new way, but that’s Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios for you, right when you don’t think they can make something better they one-up what they have done in the past.
Graphically the game is as beautiful as ever. Ijincho and Sotenbori are both full of life and equally as brimming with possibilities as Kiwami, The Song Of Life, or Lost Judgment’s locations. The one downside is that most of the time this is just a facade and when you look away, the life tends to dissipate like it was trying to save on resources however this was only when in very packed areas, like the main Street in Sotenbori or the shopping district.
In conclusion, the game lives up to its reputation and legacy in the Yakuza series, this coming from someone who has enjoyed all previously released Yakuza titles with Kiryu and even Ichiban’s story. From a personal standpoint, it would have been better if this had been tagged onto Infinite Wealth as DLC considering the lack of story despite how long each chapter is. However, I suspected that the reason Like A Dragon Gaiden was released 2 months prior to its sequel has to do with one of two reasons. The first is to overhype the return of Kazuma Kiryu as a dual protagonist in Infinite Wealth. The second, The Man Who Erased His Name is going to play a much bigger role in the unfolding story of Infinite Wealth. Because of this, it was deemed that experiencing it prior would produce the best possible result for story integration and player experience. While this is just speculation, it stands to reason that there must have been a choice behind releasing it and giving it just over 2 months before Infinite Wealth lands on shelves.
Although we have touched on the good things in the game there are, of course, always bad points. They are minimal but still there, things like the clothing clips when in combat, the auto camera correction when you try to move it from looking up and utilising Live-Action sequences.
In regards to the clipping, not much can likely be done if it’s set up as Cloth simulated physics, this isn’t really true, however, it is game engine dependent. This means that there is something called Soft-Bodies and Rigid-bodies. Soft-bodies are pretty much your cloth asset, while Rigid-bodies are your character collision zones. That might sound like an awful lot to take in but it’s quite simple. Think of it how cloth drapes, in reality, the draping is your Soft-Body and the part where it is conformed to your body is the Rigid-Body. The rigid body will encapsulate what you want the cloth to simulate against, and the soft body will simulate whatever is painted to be cloth. That is pretty much a basic understanding of Cloth Simulation within games, you do this, this, and this to get this result. However with that being said I recall Yakuza Kiwami 2, and Yakuza 6:The Song Of Life suffering from a similar glitch at times in combat. It is only worth noting and nothing really major though.
Although the camera correction isn’t a bad thing it got irritating as I was looking around for the “Flying Octopus Dumplings”, don’t ask, we won’t tell! The point is that cities are not just what you see on the ground, they tower over you and that means you might walk around the city looking up at what you can see rather than on the ground where people are. Personally, I did this way more in Kiwami 2, The Song Of Life and Judgment. Still, Like A Dragon Gaiden has its own beauty in everything about the environment from Ijincho to Sotenbori all the way way to the Castle. So why wouldn’t you want to look up?
While Live-Action Sequences are not “Necessarily” bad in a Real-Time rendering product they can be irritating where they happen. Granted we had a go at Alan Wake 2 a few days ago for this thing and I stand by it. If I wanted to have Live-Action sequences I would watch a movie not play a game. A game is something I want to be in control of and, in the case of an open-world game, beat up, kill, or do whatever to pass the time, looking at you GTA. Although Yakuza has done this before in Kiwami 2 with the Photo Shoot minigame, technically in the Caller Club in Yakuza 0, and there was also the Song Of Life Internet Chats, this experience felt more like an interactive movie rather than a game. More like what you would find in a Live-Service TV show where you vote for which character survives to the next week. So we are referring to the “Immersive Hostess Club“, while it was getting to this stage in Yakuza 6: The Song Of Life, it didn’t quite reach the sense of reality that it is in Like A Dragon Gaiden. Although only an annoyance factor, and if not for a Trophy, we would not return to attempt to progress this storyline. The mechanics are somewhat the same as the original concept that has been adapted since the early games, so all it is, is the visuals, and the fact that it is first person makes it somewhat disturbing, presumably this would be different in VR since you would be closer to the action, that is not a recommendation!
I personally would like to pull up the “problem” with the trophies as well, I started this franchise for a challenging set of trophies but they are more “give-away” trophies like the recent Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and Alan Wake 2 lists, even mimicking the Alan Wake 2 list with having mostly Bronze Trophies. This, in my books, is kind of a letdown. Most people would feel like this as the game is good, however from a trophy hunter standpoint this is something of a letdown. Let’s face it 1 Gold, 4 Silver, and 56 Bronze Trophies aren’t the norm for a Yakuza game, particularly when looking at the unlock conditions. Granted there are normally an awful lot of Bronze trophies per game but 56? And what’s up with the single Gold Trophy, even defeating Amon is a Silver yet again, like do I need to put the effort in, is he all that tough? Normally Amon is only a Silver trophy and no he isn’t that bad to take on, so Silver is a fitting reward for beating him, however, in Yakuza 4 and Dead Souls he is a Gold Trophy and pretty much he is the end of the game, seriously if you are unprepared Amon will end you, so gold is more fitting. The 4 Silver trophies kind of bug me too, like why can’t I get a nice silver trophy for slaving away in the Coliseum for Platinum Rank, or completing all matches with a Platinum Rank, or for the Shenron reference? Bronze is right for these but still, at least two of the aforementioned trophies require a good amount of dedication and work to achieve it feels like you are slaving away.
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