The Like a Dragon series loves its comforts. Set in between Yakuza 6 and the impending 2024 game Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name doesn’t come out of the gates and uppercut the player with an all-out original experience. Instead, it tides everyone over until the next release with familiarity. Where it does shine, though, is in the same department as always: The story.
Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name follows Kazuma Kiryu who fakes his own death and goes undercover to protect the orphanage kids from his enemies. Of course, they are on the hunt for him because that’s what bad guys do. Kiryu makes an agreement to join the Daidoji faction to keep his secret and serves as one of their top agents, operating under the alias of Joryu. However, his foes soon discover he is very much alive, kicking off a series of events that have a major impact on Kiryu and the Daidoji.
This feels oddly familiar
Set primarily in the Sotenbori district of Osaka, the location should be familiar to players of the previous titles. Naturally, like with any city in the world, there have been a few aesthetical changes and developments since the last time Kiryu visited – but players will feel comfortable in this recognisable setting. In addition, popular minigames such as karaoke and pocket circuit racing return, helping to keep Kiryu occupied when he decides his knuckles are too sore from pummelling enemies to a pulp.
Speaking of the action, Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name utilises the classic Yakuza/Like a Dragon brawling system that fans know all too well. Kiryu is also able to alternate between two fighting styles: Yakuza and Agent. Of course, this still means there will be a lot of kicking, punching, combos, and the ability to use weapons laying around in the environment. What is a neat addition, though, is the inclusion of spy gadgetry as part of Kiryu’s new persona. He holds an electric lasso-like rope that’s able to tie up his enemies for a period of time, which comes in handy when the player feels outnumbered by goons and needs to keep them at bay.
With a main story that’s roughly around nine hours in length, though there are endless side missions to complete, Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name might seem to be on the bare bones side. Yet, it’s far from it. Instead, it chooses quality over quantity in the story it tells, delivering the same wild narrative experience that’s become synonymous with the series up until now.
A player can’t help but be invested in Kiryu’s journey, even when it reaches the apex of ridiculousness. That said, the game’s story is never boring for a single second, keeping everyone hooked on every twist and sub-plot turn along the way.
Overall thoughts of Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name
Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name is reminiscent of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Moralesin the way that developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio hasn’t shown all its cards here. Make no mistake about it, this is treated as an interim game in between the two main flagship titles, and never pretends to be otherwise. Even so, it doubles down on everything the series gets right in the first place and bridges an important narrative gap for fans of Kiryu to savour.
Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name
Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name delivers an entertaining – albeit short – bridge gap until the 2024 game.