Remake Like a Dragon: Ishin! by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and SEGA brings us the formerly Japan-exclusive spin-off. Find out how it turned out in our Like a Dragon: Ishin! review!
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Remake Like a Dragon: Ishin! by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and SEGA brings us the formerly Japan-exclusive spin-off. The story follows Sakamoto Ryōma, who returns to his hometown Tosa after having completed some training in Edo for a year. Not long after arriving in town, he witnesses a mother asking for help for her daughter. A doctor warns her that it might be her appendix and that she should get her child the right treatment. That’s when Joshi – upper-class samurais – arrive. As everyone bows down, she wants to get her daughter some help, but the Joshi tries to hit her, and that’s when you grab the sword before it hits the woman. You take on the Joshi, which eventually leads you to prison. After being rescued by the man who raised you, who happens to be a Tosa Magistrate, you meet back with your adoptive brother Takeshi to join the Tosa Loyalists Party, which wants to end the social classes in Tosa. As you onboard the plan to storm the castle, your adoptive father gets killed by a masked assassin, and that’s when you decide to flee in order to pursue a quest to find out who killed him.
The game is played from a third-person perspective, where you move with the left analog stick and control the camera with the right one. The Square button is used to attack, while the Triangle is mostly for a Finishing Blow. The X button can be used to dodge, and the L1 is useful for parrying. The D-Pad will allow you to switch between the four fighting styles you can have. These are Brawler, to fight with your bare hands; Swordsman, who, as you can imagine, uses a sword; Gunman, who relies solely on a gun; and Wild Dancer, that is a hybrid using both the sword and gun. The Circle button’s use will vary depending on your fighting style. It, for example, allows you to grab your enemies in Brawler style to be able to punch them, whereas the Wild Dancer style will actually trigger a guard-breaking move called the Summer Rainfall.
When you’re not fighting, you’ll generally be exploring the town, finding people to interact with, and starting side quests or shops to purchase items. The game features Diligence Records, which are certain tasks to complete, things like talking to a certain number of people, as well as Substories that are essentially the side-quests of the game, and there are a ton of them to complete. And if you’re not doing this, you will definitely be picking up fights. When navigating towns, there are a lot of times when you can encounter thieves or ronins that will gladly try to take you on for a number of reasons, or you’ll be visiting some places that act as “dungeons” where you’ll go through multiple enemy encounters.
Even though the game is technically nine years old, there was a good effort made on working o this remake. While it might not be on par with recent AAA titles on PlayStation 5, it still does a great job of bringing this spin-off to the modern era. I did encounter some clipping issues here and there, mostly in narrow corridor fights, but it’s nothing to make the game painful to watch and play in any way, nor is it a deal-breaker. Having recently played another hack-and-slash game that mixed swords and guns, I was glad to jump into this one, with it also being my first venture in the Like a Dragon/Yakuza series. For a start, I really enjoyed the game’s story, how everything unfolds, as well as all the conversations and side quests it offers to breathe life into the city. There is so much to explore and do aside from the main path that it makes the whole city feel alive and not just a placeholder that you only use to get from one main quest to the other.
I also enjoyed the gameplay quite a lot when fighting, especially with how you can change between the four styles it offers. Most of the time, I ended up using the Wild Dancer because the sword and gun mixed really well together and made for some frantic action. Still, I could also see the use cases in which other styles were more appropriate, so it was great to be able to switch in the middle of the fights. The game also has a nice upgrade system in which you use orbs to upgrade each style’s skills, but those orbs can be specific to a style or training orbs that you can choose to apply to any style. This added a bit of motivation for switching between them all to have your moves arsenal vary even more.
As for the trophies, if you want the Platinum on this one, you’ll be in for a long and difficult ride. The list includes 48 Bronze trophies, 5 Silver trophies, and 2 Gold trophies. For starters, you’ll have to complete the game on the Legend difficulty level, which is already a good challenge. But then there is all the side content. Diligence Records, Substories, minigames, and everything else the game offers. You’ll pretty much have to complete it all. All this together will likely take well over a hundred hours, so you’re going to be playing this one for a while if you want to add that Platinum to your collection!
Like a Dragon: Ishin! might be a few years old, but fans of the Yakuza series outside of Japan will definitely be happy to finally be able to get their hands on this one. With the incredibly huge amount of content it offers, there’s a lot to keep a hack-and-slash fan busy for quite a long time. Like a Dragon: Ishin! is available as a Cross-Buy title, so your $59.99 purchase will give you access to both the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5 versions of the game at no extra cost, with each one featuring its own trophy list for you to work on.
This Like a Dragon: Ishin! review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Sega.