The seventh installment in the Yakuza series (or at least officially numbered as such), Like A Dragon serves as a fresh start involving a new cast of characters and a different style of gameplay from previous installments, signifying a new era of adventures in the fictional Japanese districts.
After spending 18 years in prison for a murder he only claimed to commit, the main character is set free after finishing his sentence, only to find how much has changed since he was gone. Aside from things like smartphones and places now closed or open, he finds that his boss has apparently joined a rival crime group, driving out the one they used to work for. In his attempt to get some answers, he finds himself shot and waking up in a different town, one that’s struggling against a group supposedly trying to rid Japan of all and any crime. Joining up with the local residents, they work together to uncover the various mysteries happening underneath them, with a wide range of thrilling life-or-death situations to wacky hijinks happening along the way.
In a departure from the series’ standard beat-em-up formula, things are now handled in the style of a typical role-playing game, reflecting the main character’s love of them and his dream of becoming the hero of one, letting his imagination run wild as he and his new friends appear to take down enemies in the craziest ways possible with the multiple jobs they can take to determine their fighting styles, staying true to the series’ usual brand of action, comedy, and drama with some of the most stunning and detailed visuals yet in the whole environment.
Another trademark staple is the wide variety of activities to do in the open worlds, from helping out people and doing activities with your allies, to playing classic arcade games and managing million-dollar businesses (No, really). There’s also all sorts of side stories involving many characters and their problems, leading to some strange antics, emotional and or exciting moments, or all of the above.
Even for people who haven’t played the previous games, this could still be considered a good starting point without having to know about them, offering an overall fun experience with plenty of twists and turns not just in the story, but whatever else you decide to do in it. It’s certainly one of the most unique games in recent years and should not be overlooked by potential fans for its wider availability, setting a bright new future for the next adventures in the franchise.