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Like A Dragon: Ishin


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Originally a PS3 game with a PS4 version, Ishin has now been remade as a PS4 and PS5 (and Xbox) game, and you do get the sense it's probably the final game we'll get that feels like 'old' Yakuza. It's hard to place what exactly makes it feel like an older take on the game, possibly the movement, it's a bit haphazard, I can't see a lock-on, it's not as refined and flowing as it could be. It's the difference between playing Kiwami 1 and Yakuza 6. It also feels less mental with its missions, but I don't know how many of them are just lifted from the original game.


In terms of the story, it's not quite a retelling of the first Yakuza game, but it's pretty close. Not-Kiryu (the cast is made up of renamed characters from past games) comes back to town after time away, ends up having to avenge a paternal figure, after being blamed for a crime he didn't commit. From there it does become its own tale, with enough to it that it doesn't feel like a 2nd-rate spin off


Again, I don't know if this was in the original, but it has its own take on 0's switchable different fighting styles. There's the standard Yakuza brawling, plus the swordplay you'd expect playing as a samurai. Less expected is that you are also carrying a gun and can just blast away at people (I suppose this will have followed Dead Souls originally), and a style that combines sword combat with your firearm, which leaves you defensively vulnerable, but it's the most fun to control and the most flowing style (Sword has been my do to). I've been using fewer Heat actions, they seem to have been downplayed this time, and access to them is more part of the skill tree


As you use a style you'll level up, unlocking specific and general orbs that unlock the next skill in the various combat styles. There's gear with stat boosts, and some with perks attached. I've got a sword that recovers a very small amount of help every time it causes damage, which is great, but the headband I've got with the most defence points blocks me from earning heat, which means it can go in the bin as far as I'm concerned


I'm enjoying it more than I expected, I thought I was a bit Yakuza's out, I never finished Kiwami 2, I never finished Judgement, and haven't touched the games that came after. But this feeling a bit archaic has helped it I think

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I’ve definitely enjoyed what I’ve played of this so far. I’ve loved the Yakuza series for years, though I didn’t really like the switch to JRPG combat in the last game. The difficulty spikes really put me off. 

So I’m certainly glad it’s the “traditional” Yakuza style combat. It just feels so much more satisfying.

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Seeing Yakuza/LaD/RGG with Xbox controls still weirds me out lol.


Not picked this up as I'm drowning in games at the moment, I also want to finish Judgement and start Lost Judgement (which is still in its wrapper) too before this ideally, the former never grabbed me as much as the Yakuza/LaD/RGG games though.


I have owned a JP PS4 copy of the OG Ishin! for years too but never played it. Impressions for this sound good and I'll definitely get round to it at some point.

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Ryoma be spitting.




As for genuine thoughts on the game. It was an extremely slow start. Even for one of these, I was a little worried. But around chapter 3 it started to pick up and has just been getting better and better since. Up to chapter 6 now and about 17 hours in over a very short time period. 

The combat took a little getting used to as well, but now I’m really enjoying that too. It gets a lot better if you focus on unlocking some heat attacks (specials). Really got into habit of switching between them depending on the situation now and it’s loads of fun. Using the sword stance in one on one boss style fights feels really cool too. The whole pace changes & it does a really great job of making you feel like you’re in an actual sword fight & makes you feel like a badass while being very challenging at the same time. it’s great at introducing extras as well, just as I felt I’d got the combat nailed down it introduced support character abilities. Just at the perfect time. 


It does feel a little clunky, nothing is as immediate as you feel it should be and the walking around takes some getting used to as it feels very strange and shows it’s age in this area. But as others say it kind of adds to the charm. And you do get used to it. 

Im loving the explorable areas. Give me this over a million open worlds. As per other Yakuza games, it’s a relatively small area but you really learn it and there’s stuff to do everywhere with interactable characters and sub stories on every street and corner. It’s so much more interesting than all the identikit, huge open worlds with nothing to do bar collecting plants. 

My only negative so far is that it’s a lot more serious than mainline Yakuza/LAD games. There’s not as much as a split with silly and funny stuff as normal. It’s still there no doubt, but just not as well divided as it normally is IMO. Im fully invested though & always look forward to the next story beat. 

Excellent game. 

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