Like A Dragon: Ishin has not seen a worldwide release, until the most recent announcements unveiling its remake that will finally make it available outside of Japan. A demo was available at Tokyo Game Show 2022, so one was naturally inclined to get a totally rad session in.
So, how much do you dig the concept of the Yakuza series, but featuring samurai?
The demo gave us the chance to play the night mode, for a taste of the combat. Similarly to the mainline Yakuza series, there are four styles to use: sword, gun, sword AND gun, and neither where you use good ol’ fists. A “card system” is applied to your troops, which in turn unlock special abilities that run the gamut of reducing cooldowns for other cards, healing, or firing a legally distinct Kamehameha. Combat in general feels incredibly tight; I’m sure you won’t be surprised that the sword + gun style has won at least one heart.
Thank the heavens that RGG will finally bring over Ishin, because the world needs samurai Yakuza. Not-Kiryu and Not-Majima are playing “roles” in this Bakumatsu era, which plays into the studio’s strength. The Yakuza cast are incredibly iconic, with the mainline games’ themes of loyalty and camaraderie also present in Ishin, with the alleged-isekai offering a chance to see them in a different setting. It’s just fun, that’s what it comes down to.
As Sakamoto Ryoma, the demo led us to stalk a bounty in the night to reach them before other members of the Sixth Division do. “Random” encounters can occur when you bump into people, with the other option being simply rushing right away to the boss. The gun (pistol)/sword stance feels like the studio’s subtle nudge as the best combination, due to its incredible versatility. This combo grants you a moveset with a really good dodge and the ability to shoot downed opponents, as the sword has no such “finisher” option.
The demo caps off with an intense bossfight. Don’t overly keep those cards too close to yourself as you WILL need to use those troop cards to make it through the battle, whether it be healing up or firing off attacks when they’re vulnerable.
I’VE GOT IT!
I’m sure some people would think a Yakuza game with a different skin would make it sound “bad”, but as mentioned, RGG are just that good at it. It’s not really a mainline game, while still having kinda familiar characters, which only makes it a perfect entry to the Yakuza series without getting overwhelmed by the number of other releases available. There’s no need to debate which game to start with: pick up Ishin, and go from there.