Like A Dragon Ishin - Kiryu Kazuma as Ryoma Sakamoto

Like a dragon: Ishin!review

Like a dragon: Ishin!review


need to know

what is it? Story, Fighting, RPG, Sims. More Yakuza, basically.
release date February 21, 2023
expect to pay $60/£50
developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
publisher Sega
Reviewed on Windows 11, Nvidia 2080 Ti, Intel i9-9900k @ 4.9ghz, 32GB RAM
multiplayer game? No
associate Official website

The Yakuza series (Now Like a Dragon, in keeping with its Japanese title) has always had a flair for drama, with digital actors, expressive facial capture and a story fit for a mid-budget TV thriller. With Yakuza, the series doubles down on its inspiration with a period drama spinoff, recasting Kiryu and the crew in an 1860s samurai tale, offering a fresh, but perhaps all too familiar, theme.

There’s been some buzz around Ishin, mostly from fans who are convinced it’s never coming to the West. Originally a PS3 Japan exclusive in 2014, the version now coming to PC (and globally) is a largely faithful remake, with some mechanical tweaks, some characters recast and graphically retouched, But no drastic changes have been made. That puts it in an unusual place. While the series has ventured into new territory (including a turn-based match with Yakuza 7), this is a decade-old game dressed up for modern performance. A foot in the past, but with some modern details.

(Image source: Sega)

Old doesn’t mean bad, though. If you’ve played a Yakuza game before, Ishin is like putting on a warm and cozy (if slightly stretchy) sweater, or maybe a yukata. There’s a small town to explore (Kyo, now known as Kyoto), plenty of queer locals to befriend, restaurants to visit, and street thugs to repent. The core cast of past Yakuza games returns, playing roughly similar historical roles.

He might be called Ryoma Sakamoto here, but this is undoubtedly Kiryu the best boy, with a new haircut and equally good at expressing the full range of human emotion with manly grunts. It’s an intentional typecast, like Danny Trejo is pretty much the same character in almost every role he’s played.

The characters may be similar, but Ishin’s story scope is more ambitious by Yakuza standards. The 1860s was a busy time in Japanese history, with revolts by royal loyalists, a power struggle between the de facto government, and the looming threat of Dutch and British invasion, and Ryoma weighed his personal interests in all of the above. It’s a big platform for the cast to shine, and the performances are engaging, especially in the main story cutscenes.

(Image source: Sega)

The character differences are also interesting, with Souji Okita (historical reimagining of Yakuza favorite Goro Mashima) starting to take on a more menacing and violent role, complete with the familiar joy of assassination. Ryoma himself may have the same heart of gold as Kiryu, but he’s a more worldly and focused character, less naive and confused about his surroundings than his modern-day counterpart.

Ishin is an episodic thriller.murder mystery to be precise

By starting small, focused and providing a glossary of terms for reference, Ishin can serve as an easy starting point for the series as it is a completely self-contained, self-contained story. It’s a game of two halves for newcomers to come here. On the one hand, Ishin is an episodic thriller. To be precise, this is a murder mystery set at the end of the samurai era. It’s full of engaging (Japanese subtitled) performances and dramatic turns, interspersed with Shenmue-like real-time melee combat. On the other hand, it’s a slightly rough town simulator that lets you loose in a small, dense city full of odd locals, mini-games, and distractions, delivered through a lightweight RPG mechanics—levels, skill trees, and loot—link together.

There’s a bit of tonal whiplash where the two parts meet, as the high-pressure dash through town to catch the fleeing villain is easily interrupted by decidedly lower-budget side quests (with very little voice acting or cutscenes), but it’s a The formula has worked for ten games and will continue to do so. Even though I was determined to finish the main story before the looming review deadline, I still often wasted time wandering around the city of Kyo, getting bogged down in mini-games and side stories.

(Image source: Sega)

weapon of mass distraction

Ishin’s world may seem small compared to Grand Theft Rows or Elder Fallouts, but it’s hard not to get distracted for 30 seconds without finding something or someone interesting. While side quests may not be as polished as the main storyline, they’re much more varied, ranging in tone from tragic to grotesque comedy, and often involve unpredictable mini-games, but more often rely on Ishin’s combat engine. The series’ traditional guitar-heavy action theme lends extra life to its fights, though it may be out of place here.

Once again familiar to fans of the series, Ishin’s action combat lets you switch between four different fighting styles. In this case, there’s unarmed combat (best for evasion), traditional samurai swordplay (huge damage, high commitment), fancy shooting with a revolver (obviously ranged), and a sword-gun hybrid style that mixes all three One for spectacular combos, but lower overall damage.

While it was initially a bit stiff and restrictive until you unlocked more moves, once I enhanced Ryoma’s swordplay style a bit, I had a lot of fun and got the best range of swings or thrusts. It’s also patently impractical, with mini-bosses requiring comical slashes to take down. Ryoma’s revolver never needs to be reloaded, allowing him to whip that hammer around all day — hilarious in a scene where dozens of low-HP thugs surround him.

(Image source: Sega)

While it’s weird to kill 30 people in a matter of seconds with six bullets, the combat here is bloodier and brutal than Yakuza’s usual rough-and-tumble fights, with enemies impaled, sliced ​​open, or shot at point-blank range. This goes double for Heat Actions, super bars draining special moves that define the tone of the series. While there are some funny and weird ones, Ryoma mostly just straight up stabs a guy. It does introduce some jarring narrative.

It’s even more jarring (and fun) when all four bandits you’ve just shot ten times are on their feet

While Kiryu was brutal to his enemies, he didn’t seem to try to murder them very often. Ryoma, as a steely samurai, is no mad dog slayer, but also doesn’t seem to care if his opponent is outside of the cutscene where he refuses the fatal blow. It’s all the more poignant (and fun) when the four bandits you’ve just shot 10 times all stand up, apologize for their rudeness, give you an item and hurry home.

An interesting mechanical difference here is the Officer system. In search of the masked assassin who caused his adoptive father to bleed, Ryoma infiltrates the Shinsengumi, a brutal government police force. This unlocks one of the two biggest mini-games; a full JRPG-style dungeon crawl, clearing out bandit caves and a fortress with no story. This is where you get your (optional) combat grind.

(Image source: Sega)

To do this, you’ll collect “Officer” cards, which act like a basic gacha adjacency magic system, letting you equip and spontaneously invoke healing, buffs, or damage-dealing attacks. There are even special cards that summon characters (or animals) to pull off awesome finishes.It’s not transformative, but it does add an interesting and customizable new layer to combat that dovetails neatly with optional content, even as Ryoma shoots lightning out of his hand Do Stretch plausibility in story wars.

Familiar with the breeding background

Not as charming or engaging as the cabaret club management of past Yakuza games, Ishin’s other major distraction has Ryoma managing a small farmhouse. You can grow and harvest crops, turn them into home-cooked meals, and sell the excess back to town. It’s cute and lighthearted, and gives Ryoma a chance to bond with his teenage farm pal/delivery girl Haruka, but it feels on a tangent that most minigames don’t, since farms exist outside of the regular game map, only Can be accessed by the NPC Boatman in the corner of town. I found it easier to casually roll into an (unseemly) karaoke bar or casino and play a little game than to go back to the farm.

Ishin’s PC port offers a good range of graphics options and tweaks, and it doesn’t disappoint (as we’ve come to expect from the series), and it’s also unlikely to tax your hardware, but there’s one notable question. A constant plague of today’s PC platforms; shader stuttering. Since the game doesn’t do its homework up front, the first time a new effect is used, the game will pause for a few frames to process it for your specific GPU. Given that most of the new effects take place during dramatic combat, this can be frustrating, but it does get better over time as more content gets cached. Still, it’s a common irritation that will hopefully be fixed.

(Image source: Sega)

Technical issues aside, Ishin has nothing to complain about, other than feeling a bit dated. The key question it faces is the value proposition. This is a series of 11 English-language entries that has only been released on Steam in the past five years. Lots of them are great, and most are available for a pittance compared to Ishin’s full-fat price tag. While solid starting points for the series like Yakuza Zero or Kiwami, they’re two $20 games that are often discounted to pocket change.

Like a Dragon: One Heart! good game? Yes. Is this a good Yakuza game? really. do i recommend it If price isn’t an issue, it absolutely is.But if you’re someone with limited time or money, then unless you’re a longtime series fan absolutely craving more macho urban dramas (with a historical twist), you might want to check out the rest of the series, unless the samurai theme speaks directly to you

Like a Dragon Ishin!: Price Comparison

(opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab)

Check more articles in our categories Gaming & News & Anime.

Thanks for visiting we hope our article Like a dragon: Ishin!review

, we invite you to share the article on Facebook, pinterest and e-mail with the hashtag ☑️ #dragon #Ishinreview ☑️!

Bart Thompson
Bart is's List Writer . He is from Houston, Texas, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in creative writing, majoring in non-fiction writing. He likes to play The Elder Scrolls Online and learn everything about The Elder Scrolls series.