Kazuma Kiryu is playing centre stage once more in the next title in the Like a Dragon series, which releases globally on November 9. And there is plenty to be excited about, as this upcoming entry sets out to fill in the gaps in the iconic redeemed mobster’s story between Yakuza 6 and Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Even if you haven’t played through every single chapter in Sega’s long-running gangster franchise, let me tell you why Like a Dragon Gaiden should be on your buy list.
Formerly known as Yakuza in the West, the Like a Dragon series goes way back. While the original title came out in 2005 on PlayStation and Wii U, Sega took its sweet time to work on other devices. Incidentally, we Xbox owners had to wait an extra four years to enjoy our first Yakuza game, Yakuza 3.
Continuing the story of Kazuma Kiryu, the reformed ex-member of a yakuza clan, this action-adventure meets brawler felt to me like the love child between GTA and a JRPG. Apart from the exhilarating fistfighting and engrossing story, it was the game’s sheer craziness that hooked me in. Sure, Yakuza 3 is arguably the weakest of them all. That said, there simply is no bad Yakuza experience. And this first foray into the Japanese franchise was one hell of a ride, no matter how superior the subsequent entries were.
Since then, dozens of titles have expanded on Kiryu’s story. The Dragon of Dojima took a backseat in 2020’s Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which introduced a brand-new lead character, low-ranking yakuza Ichiban Kasuga. But fans, myself included, couldn’t help but wonder what happened to the fearsome yet honorable antihero they had grown to love over several installments, prompting Sega and Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio to announce a Kiryu-centric spin-off.
Dubbed The Man Who Erased His Name, Like a Dragon Gaiden revolves exclusively around Kiryu’s whereabouts after he faked his death. Forced to abandon his identity to protect his adopted family, the newly-renamed Joryu hasn’t entirely given up on his violent ways as he occasionally operates as a secret agent for the Daidoji faction. When one mission goes awry, though, he is thrust into a conflict he cannot escape.
As anxious as I am to dive into this gripping narrative, I must admit the new combat mechanic teased in the game’s trailers has me even more excited. Whenever he picks up a fight, Kiryu can now switch between a wildly aggressive yakuza style and an agent persona whose speed, tactical precision, and high-tech gadgetry allow him to crush his enemies.
True to the series’ wacky formula, Like a Dragon Gaiden also boasts an array of fun side quests and minigames all across the neon-lit back-alleys of the red-light districts of Sotenbori and Isezaki Ijincho. Additionally, an overview trailer released two months ago revealed a floating entertainment paradise that seems straight out of a James Bond flick. The silhouette of the Osaka Castle towers above this adult theme park on a boat, where players can hit the karaoke or take a gamble at a stylish casino. While poker and blackjack will surely be on the menu, it is unclear at this point how many gambling minigames will be playable.
Like a Dragon fans with a knack for casino games may, therefore, bide their time by taking their gambling passion online. Indeed, real money casinos in the UK are a click away. Prospective players can check out comprehensive reviews for free to make up their minds. Reviewers only vet reputable platforms that emphasize safe and responsible gambling. Easily accessible guidelines also break down the sign-up and depositing process for newcomers while giving tips on handsome real money bonuses that are up for grabs on top websites.
When done bluffing at the poker table, we may also explore a full-on fighting pit known as the Coliseum. Pre-orders grant us access to a Legendary Fighter pack comprising returning characters like Goro Majima and Daigo Dojima to take down in that secret battle arena and leave the cage victorious.
Long story short, this smaller-sized Like a Dragon entry looks to pack tons of content for a mere spin-off. And that’s not even mentioning the exciting news I saved for last. As perfect an incentive as can be, a trial version for Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is included as bonus content. I don’t know about you, but I sure can’t wait for November 9.