The former Yakuza series retraces its steps to once again shine the spotlight on its historical protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu
Fans of the Yakuza series are well aware of RGG studio’s ability to create compelling and surprising titles. However, Like A Dragon Gaiden, a spin-off dedicated entirely to the saga’s superstar Kazuma Kiryu, fails to maintain this standard. Set before and during the events of Yakuza: Like A Dragon, the game focuses on Kiryu and her adventures between Yakuza 6 and Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth. Despite the attempt to reveal what happened to Kiryu in recent years, the title is verbose and repetitive, often revealing details already known to fans. Like A Dragon Gaiden particularly disappoints those who were attracted by the promise of the Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth demo, accessible only by completing the main game: a process that takes about 8 hours focusing only on the main plot. This choice, in addition to needlessly increasing the size of the installation file (over 80 GB, a record by the standards of the RGG studio), makes the game less inviting.
The plot follows Kiryu after Yakuza 6, now an agent of the secret organization Daidoji. This new life sees him engaged in missions for the organization, masking his true identity behind Joryu’s glasses. However, the revelation of his identity leads to complications. Although the game introduces new gameplay elements and fighting styles, such as the “Agent” style with innovative gadgets, the first few hours can feel monotonous and slow. The side missions are one of the most appreciated aspects, often characterized by original ideas and humorous moments. The Colosseum mode, a series classic, returns, allowing you to control characters other than Kiryu, although some of them are only accessible via paid DLC.
The final part of the game proves to be more satisfying, with a more fast-paced pace and fights that don’t last too long. Despite this, the main plot does not undergo significant improvements. The conclusion of the game, while emotionally engaging, fails to fully compensate for the shortcomings of the rest of the experience. In an interview, developers RGG Studio have revealed that Gaiden was initially planned as a DLC for Infinite Wealth, but was later turned into a standalone title. This choice, however, does not seem to have benefited the game, which is not worth the full price at which it is sold. For Microsoft users, note that the game is available on Game Pass for Xbox and PC: in this case, definitely worth a try if you are a fan of the series or action games focused on narrative.
Format: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S (tested version) publisher: Handjob Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio Vote: 6/10