Preview: Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name Is Classic Yakuza Fun
Image via Sega

Preview: Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name Is Classic Yakuza Fun

A helicopter flies above a massive tanker, neon lights slipping through stacked crates that hide an opulent playground and enormous golden castle. Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name‘s camera pulls away to reveal Kazuma Kiryu, former protagonist of the Yakuza series, accompanied by a mysterious young woman. She explains that this is the “Castle,” a place where only those part of the underground can access. Here is where Kiryu — now named Joryu — seeks answers to yet another mystery set in the series universe, and one that will inevitably pull him back into the life he so desperately tried to get away from.

Recommended Videos

Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name is a miniature adventure in the Yakuza (now Like a Dragon) series. It stars Kiryu, a character those familiar with the franchise will most certainly recognize. While Sega has revealed this is just a smaller piece of a larger story, the area they’ve created feels in line with other locales that have appeared in the franchise. Kiryu also comes equipped with a plethora of new toys, now that he’s donning a new identity and new outfit, Ryu Ga Gotuku Studios has mixed it up a bit while still keeping the familiar in tact. I wasn’t given access to any major story beats during the preview, despite being briefly introduced to Akame, the mysterious young woman who flew Kiryu to the Castle in a helicopter.

In terms of combat, there are a total of four different types of tools at your disposal. While they may be described as “styles” that are not at all functionally similar to the style system that appeared in Yakuza 0 and Yakuza. Instead, Hornet, Spider, Firefly and Serpent function more like special moves you can perform when holding down certain face buttons. Spider allows you to grab one enemy and whip them around with reckless abandon, Hornet summons a drone, Firefly drops a bomb wherever you’re standing, and Serpent allows you to rocket around the area to knock down and damage enemies like rocket boots. These add some variety to “Joryu’”s Agent style, though I was reassured that players would be able to swap back to the bread and butter brawling style fans of the series know and love. You can also power up your attacks with the right trigger, which is great when surrounded by enemies.

Overall, the Agent style in Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name reminded me a lot of how Akiyama controlled in Yakuza 4. For a man pushing 55, Kiryu is as spry as ever. He can slide around on his knees, performing sweeping kicks to launch enemies in the air. Your jabs are also much faster, but do a little less damage than what I was used to, which meant I’d need to incorporate these new tools into my combo. I liked Spider the best, with Firefly being an interesting one to use when I could corral enemies around the bomb to deal some massive area of effect damage. But being me, I mostly kept it to kicks and punches, getting used to how this new style for Kiryu controlled. Regardless, it was a lot of fun and way more fast-paced, which made fights in the Colosseum a breeze.

The Colosseum is one of the several attractions on the Castle, a tanker just off the coast of Japan that functions as a playground for the most nefarious members of the underground. Two modes were available for me to try. One involved a “time attack” mode, where I needed to kill enemies within a specific limit. The second required me to kill 100 enemies to see the finish line. What was interesting about these modes is that you could form teams with a wide variety of colorful characters like Chicken Man, who is a man wearing a chicken mask, or series favorite Goro Majima.

You can even play as these characters, and for the wave clear mode I picked Majima. He wasn’t as agile as he was in Yakuza 0, which makes sense. He’s a lot older now, but he dealt a far more considerable amount of damage than Kiryu. I was slicing through enemies with ease, dodging around the arena and kicking and stabbing with that kind of finesse only Majima has. It was nice having the chance to play him, because he really does function differently than Kiryu, and adds a level of reliability to this game mode.

Preview: Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name Is Classic Yakuza Fun

Image via Sega

The Castle has other attractions too, which includes the cabaret club, gambling, and a boutique. The cabaret club is exactly the same as it is in previous games. Kiryu can spend his down time getting to know the individual hostesses and chat with them. And if you think you have an excess of funds you can always gamble it away, or go to the boutique to dress him up. Since this was a new feature, I ran to the boutique to check it out. There are a handful of ways you can customize Kiryu, which boils down to the kind of suit he wears, including the color and texture, and various accessories. While a mostly shirtless outfit was available (with Kiryu only wearing a blazer), I opted for a garish pink suit with white shoes. You could also select the wetsuit from Yakuza 6, and several different kinds of suit combinations, with your selection being shown in a little fashion show after.

Overall, there seems to be a decent amount of things to do in Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, and my impressions are fairly positive. The Castle is gorgeous and looks a bit like a bite-sized Sotenbori with its plethora of neon signs and over-designed signage, and the massive golden castle sitting smackdab in the middle. It was fun, and Kiryu’s new style is an interesting addition that will help freshen up gameplay. I’m interested to see what The Man Who Erased His Name will add to Kiryu’s story, and what his return means to the franchise at large.

Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name will come out on November 9, 2023 for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Windows PC.

Siliconera is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Kazuma Hashimoto
Kazuma Hashimoto
Senior staff writer, translator and streamer, Kazuma spends his time playing a variety of games ranging from farming simulators to classic CRPGs. Having spent upwards of 6 years in the industry, he has written reviews, features, guides, with work extending within the industry itself. In his spare time he speedruns games from the Resident Evil series, and raids in Final Fantasy XIV. His work, which has included in-depth features focusing on cultural analysis, has been seen on other websites such as Polygon and IGN.