Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the first Yakuza game to be a loud-and-proud role-playing game (RPG) instead of a rough-and-tumble beat-'em-up button masher. As such, even series veterans might need a helping hand when getting accustomed to the new gameplay style. Whether you're a Yakuza diehard in need of help, or just a rookie RPG player wanting a competitive edge, have no fear. No matter your background, the tips in this guide will make sure that both you and game's protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga, are ready to rumble with the game's toughest enemies. Whether you're struggling with general game mechanics or dealing with specific headaches like the Geomijul mission, these Yakuza: Like a Dragon tips will give you the tools you need to conquer the latest entry in the series.
Pay attention to your surroundings
Yakuza: Like a Dragon honors the series' longstanding tradition of weapon improvisation, letting you use objects in the environment to beat enemies to a bloody pulp. If you cross paths with the environmental items that you recognize from other Yakuza games (beer crates, chairs, etc.), know that you can use them here, too. Just make sure the item is situated between you and your enemy when you attack, and you'll automatically pull off a cool contextual maneuver. Environmental attacks do surprisingly large amounts of damage, so utilize them whenever an opportunity presents itself.
Upgrade gear often
Yakuza: Like a Dragon won't stop you from carrying awful gear into battle if you're not paying attention to your loadout. Make sure you're always, always stocking up on the latest armor and weapons from shops around town, or equipping any useful trinkets you find out in the wild. New gear means higher stats and better survivability, so never stop spending the money you earn from quests on new threads and weaponry. Don't forget: If you die, you'll permanently lose half of all the money you're carrying, so you might as well spend it on good gear instead of pointlessly sacrificing that cash to the Grim Reaper.
Buy healing items
A strong set of armor and a shiny weapon won't always be enough to save you in Yakuza: Like a Dragon. To survive this game, you're going to need the series' staple health and energy potions: Tauriner, Staminan and Toughness. Also, be sure to grab some sandwiches and sushi sets while you're stocking up on snacks for the road.
Never go into a serious fight (you'll know it's serious because the protagonist will warn you) without your fridge stocked full of the aforementioned items. If you die, you're going to lose a ton of your money, and then you won't even be able to afford recovery items. Yakuza: Like a Dragon will kick you when you're down, so don't let it get you down in the first place.
Always bring a healer
Early on in Yakuza: Like a Dragon, doling out damage is all that matters. Later, though, as fights get longer, you're going to be counting on every last health point to help you make it to the next turn. Don't forget to have a dedicated healer in your party. Certain party members have access to the "Idol" role, which is excellent for healing purposes, since it features abilities that can essentially provide unlimited health point refills. In short, the Idol is definitely a class you'll want in your party during middle- and late-game fights. Be sure to level up your Idol members so that they can most effectively heal allies.
Do the business management minigame
Many Yakuza games before Like a Dragon have had some sort of business management minigame, but historically, they've always been optional. Said management minigame is still technically optional, but Like a Dragon functionally forces you to play it if you want decent income and access to a life-saving fourth party member. The money you earn from quests alone isn't great, and gear and weapons are all ridiculously expensive. As such, you'll need to invest a little bit of time managing "Ichiban Confections" in order to make bank. It's one of the simplest ways to afford Like a Dragon's armaments and story-related expenses.
Furthermore, you never know when you're going to lose a party member to plot-related events, meaning the free fourth party member you can unlock by climbing the business minigame's corporate ladder is an invaluable boon. Trust me: You do not want to go into this game's later fights with only three party members.
Prepare for mid-game nonsense
SPOILERS AHEAD: Toward the middle of the game, a pink-haired seductress will appear and entice you to investigate "the Geomijul." Ichiban and company will then indirectly ask you, the player, if you're truly ready for the challenge. Before you say "yes," stock up on healing items, and deck out everyone in your party (besides Nanba) to the absolute limit. By the end of the Geomijul mission, you're going to lose Nanba and any gear he's wearing. You'll have to fight the boss at the end of the Geomijul with just three party members instead of the usual four.
You don't get Nanba back right after that fight, meaning the next few chapters leave you stranded with only three party members as you go up against increasingly difficult bosses. That's why you'll want the special party member from the business management minigame, to fill in that empty fourth slot. The game won't adequately warn or educate you about any of this. Do not suffer through Like a Dragon's annoying mid-game bosses with the unfair difficulty modifier of a three-man team. It's possible to survive with just a trio, but you really don't want to put yourself in that position.
Disable action prompts
Here's a bit of a trick I discovered. I'm not sure if its effects are even real or if I'm imagining them, but if it works, it's too juicy not to share. If you go into the game options, you'll see the ability to disable action prompts, which are in-game quicktime events (QTEs) that happen during attack and defense animations. If you nail these events in-game, you deal enhanced damage and receive less punishment. If you fail these events, you suffer the reverse effects.
However, if you disable the prompts altogether, it seems the game gets a bit more generous. In lieu of QTEs affecting outcomes, your attacks are simply assigned number values at random. In my experience, those values seem better, on average, than what you get by dealing with the QTEs. In other words, if you want to take a bit of the "chance" element out of the game, this is how to do it. Luck of the draw will always play a part in Yakuza: Like a Dragon, but at least you won't have to worry about your survival hinging on dodgy QTE mechanics.