It’s always exciting revisiting a beloved character. After Yakuza 6: The Song of Life concluded Kazuma Kiryu’s story, players were disappointed thinking that was his last adventure. While he appeared in Yakuza: Like a Dragon, it wasn’t until the surprise announcement of Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name that we learned his story would continue in some capacity. With it building to the upcoming Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, is it an absolute must, or a quick cash grab to get players excited for the upcoming experience?
Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name takes place after the events of Yakuza 6: The Song of Life. Since it assumes players are familiar with the previous adventures, I strongly suggest playing the original games if you want to avoid spoilers.
That said, Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name starts by showing Kiryu agreeing to keep the Tojo clan’s secrets in exchange for payments and issuing a death certificate. This allows Kiryu to “erase his name,” and more on. However, trouble inevitably follows, and he is dragged into another conflict.
Not only is the narrative enjoyable, fans will appreciate seeing a number of returning faces. This also includes expanding upon Kiryu’s time in Yakuza: Like a Dragon. These reasons alone are a must for Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, making the gameplay improvements gravy.
For the most part, Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name plays like the original games. Combat remains pretty loose, but makes up for it by being fun, and filled with options. These include multiple combos, grabs, items to pick-up and use to your advantage, plus much more. There is enough variety to make things interesting, not to mention a need to block/dodge if you want to stay alive.
Combat Remains a Lot of Fun
To make Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name different, Kiryu gains access to “agent” tools. This fighting style offers the usual moves, which are further improved by useful gadgets. The ability to grab and pull someone close, or boost defensive capabilities are a welcome addition. Not just in terms of variety, they really increase the number of options players have access to.
It’s extremely satisfying grabbing a nearby thug, pulling them close like Spider-Man, and knocking down a couple others in the process. These abilities can also be further improved to make these moves easier to pull off. Effective usage also makes heat moves a lot easier to do, resulting in a lot more flash than previous installments.
Outside of combat is the usual open-world to explore. It honestly isn’t as expansive as previous installments, but is still fun to see what it has to offer. These include optional quests, stores, and plenty of thugs to teach a lesson to. In some ways this is an improvement, as it makes the whole experience feel far more streamlined; but still some players will prefer a larger world to explore.
A New Place to Explore
While there are a lot of positives, Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name isn’t without flaws. For example, the open-world remains somewhat underwhelming. Locations maintain a rather bland design, details are limited, not to mention there are less interactions than you might expect.
That said, performance isn’t too bad. I could enter and exit confrontations without much trouble. Even with a sizable number of enemies, like seven or more, things performed satisfactory. This is especially appreciated with cutscenes, as they’re fairly common to run into through normal progression. Certain locations might have three or four before finally getting to the actual cutscene that allows players to finally move to the next objective.
Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name Review Verdict
Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name: I wouldn't say Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name is a groundbreaking experience, but I also wouldn't say it needs to be. It retains all the things players love about the Yakuza series, with a new adventure and tools to explore. This, coupled with the more manageable world makes it a delightful experience that fans will want to experience before Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth releases. – Mark
Editor’s Note: Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name was reviewed on PlayStation 5, and a copy was provided to us for review purposes.