The original game (Ryū ga Gotoku Ishin!) was released in Japan only for the PlayStation 3 and as a launch title for the PlayStation 4. In 2023, the remake called Like a Dragon: Ishin! will be released on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.
Like a Dragon: Ishin! is a spin-off to the top-rated Yakuza series from SEGA but set during the late-Edo period as opposed to modern-day Japan. Considering the success of the original and other samurai-based next-gen games like Ghost of Tsushima, how does Like a Dragon: Ishin! fit in?
I got hands-on at MCM Comic Con 2022 last month to find out!
Like a Dragon: Ishin! Gameplay
In the game, you play Sakamoto Ryoma, who has arrived in Kyoto to find his father’s killer. As the plot unravels, so will the era of the samurai, and you will need to clear your name and protect your honour in this epic historical adventure.
The demo area felt very open-world within the confines of the accessible areas of the city, and along the way, there were many side-quests and mini-games to enjoy and experience and make the world feel more complete. This is, of course, alongside the main quest. One particular mini-game that stood out was the almost rhythm-game-styled drinking contest you can partake in. with so much to explore, I can imagine spending countless hours just wandering around and taking everything in. Of course, walking the city is not without its dangers; gangs will face you and other enemies lurking in the crowds.
Combat in the game is free, as opposed to the turn-based JRPG of the original. Moves feel fluid and unique, and you can select from different fighting styles using your sword or a revolver. This can make for some fantastic combos and excellent finishing animations. What Like a Dragon: Ishin! does retain, though, the card-based skill system. This is a unique way to implement a sort-of skill tree and one I will need longer than the demo to understand how to use entirely correctly. Controls felt good in movement and combat, and they never felt glitchy or unresponsive.
While not much of the story was divulged during the demo session, the cutscenes that did play were well-acted and engaging. It’s shaping up to be an exciting story that I’m looking forward to exploring further.
Final Thoughts on Like a Dragon: Ishin!
It’s hard to say if Like a Dragon: Ishin! will be the best samurai game of the current generation or even if it will be the best Yakuza game. What I can say, though, is that it is incredibly promising. I thoroughly enjoyed the demo and wished it had been longer. Graphically, it looks fantastic, and the gameplay felt very smooth. The story shows much promise, so all the markers are there for something truly remarkable. Like a Dragon: Ishin! is a highly anticipated game!
Like a Dragon: Ishin! releases worldwide on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X and PC on 21 February 2023.
For more information, check out the official website.