Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the eighth entry in the mainline Yakuza series, and an upcoming launch title for the Xbox Series X. For those who have played it, the Yakuza series needs no introduction, as it’s been a consistently entertaining crime adventure ever since its debut on the PS2. While the series has always toyed with RPG elements, Like a Dragon is the first game in the franchise to fully embrace a traditional turn-based battle system.
While Yakuza: Like a Dragon has been out in Japan for months, it won’t get a Western release until fairly late this year. If you want to import a copy, you can do so, but be warned that it won’t have English subtitles. As such, unless you speak Japanese, it’s probably better to wait until the game launches with an official translation. Here’s what you’ll need to know until then.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon release date
In one respect, Yakuza: Like a Dragon has a very firm release date: January 16. Of course that’s when the game came out in Japan, which doesn’t do much good for Western fans.
For now, we know that Yakuza: Like a Dragon will come out in late 2020 in Western territories, and that it will be launch title on the Xbox Series X. The game will also be out on the PS4, Xbox One and PC, although interestingly, there’s no mention of a PS5 release just yet. It could happen, but in the meantime, Sony fans should expect to play the game on the PS4.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon gameplay
Structurally, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is similar to other games in the series. You’ll take control of a few different members of the Yakuza, although this time you’ll be in Yokohama rather than Tokyo. You’ll work your way through a variety of side quests to solidify your position as a powerful gangster. These activities include karaoke and kart racing, though, so the game does not take itself entirely seriously.
Where Yakuza: Like a Dragon differs from earlier entries in the series is that it features turn-based combat rather than real-time fighting. This isn’t actually as much of a departure as it may seem. While Yakuza has always been an action/crime series, it’s also always included RPG elements, including side quests and character upgrades.
You play as Ichiban Kasuga: an up-and-coming gangster, who recruits a team of playable characters to help him rise in the world of organized crime. You can choose from a variety of different classes for each one. Battles are strategic and deliberately paced, and you’ll have to make use of a variety of special abilities to succeed. Some players seem to enjoy the system, while others miss the action-oriented fights from earlier games.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon movie
Interestingly, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, the game, isn’t the first project to bear this title. Back in 2007, Takashi Miike, perhaps the most prolific filmmaker in Japan, directed a movie by the same name. The movie Yakuza: Like a Dragon is indeed based on the Yakuza game series, although it doesn’t have any direct bearing on the new game.
Unfortunately, like most movies based on video games, Yakuza: Like a Dragon isn’t that good. Like the games, the movie is tonally all over the place, but the mix of hard-boiled noir and wacky situations doesn’t work as well in a two-hour film.
If you’re morbidly curious, you can usually find a place to stream Yakuza: Like a Dragon online, or you can track it down on DVD. But it probably won’t affect your enjoyment of the game one way or another.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon trailer
In September 2019, the official PlayStation YouTube channel posted a trailer for Yakuza: Like a Dragon. It sets up the story and gives you an idea of what you’ll be doing during the game:
You can also check out a cinematic trailer released in May 2020 during the Xbox Series X gameplay event:
There’s crime. There’s action. There’s weirdness. That’s the Yakuza series in a nutshell, and you’ll be able to play the latest entry later this year.