Review: Like a Dragon: Ishin!

Posted on March 23, 2023 by David Rodriguez

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  • 8.5/10
    Total Score - 8.5/10


Like a Dragon Ishin is a captivating and entertaining video game that combines exciting gameplay with an over the top presentation of Samurai history.

Developer – Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios

Publisher – Sega

Platforms – PlayStation 4|5, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X

Review copy given by publisher

Like a Dragon, Ishin is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Sega. It was originally released in Japan in 2014 for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 consoles. Like a Dragon Ishin is set in Japan during the 19th century, a period that is commonly known as the Bakumatsu era. The game is a spin-off of the Yakuza series of video games, which also follows the main protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu, as he fights off rival gangsters in modern-day Japan.

The gameplay of Like a Dragon Ishin is similar to the Yakuza series, where players engage in various activities, such as exploration, combat, and questing. The game features new elements, such as sword-fighting mechanics and gunplay, which are essential to the game’s historical setting. The storyline focuses on Ryoma Sakamoto’s life and events during the Meiji era. Players can visit locations based on real-life places, such as Kyoto and Hakodate.

The game features a blend of RPG and action gameplay mechanics, where players can level up their character’s stats by engaging in battles and completing quests. The game also features a variety of minigames, such as gambling, fishing, and bowling. Players can also collect items and equipment to enhance their character’s abilities.

The combat system in Like a Dragon Ishin consists of a combination of swordplay and hand-to-hand combat. Players can switch between different fighting styles during battles and use various attacks and combinations to defeat enemies. Players can also use quick-time events for cinematic finishing moves against powerful foes. The combat is deep and versatile, with enough changes to keep it fresh even if you played every game in this lengthy series.

In addition to combat, Like a Dragon Ishin includes several other gameplay elements. Players can explore the city of Kyoto, participate in mini-games and side quests, and even engage in romantic relationships with various female characters. The game also includes a unique sword crafting system, allowing players to customize and upgrade their weapons using materials they collect throughout the game. Side Stories are once again a highlight, as the slice of life adventures around the serious plot are the perfect excuse to explore off the beaten path.

Like a Dragon Ishin features stunning graphics and an immersive storyline based on real historical events. The game accurately portrays the political and social conditions of the Bakumatsu era and includes detailed depictions of historical figures such as Sakamoto Ryoma, Katsu Kaishu, and Takasugi Shinsaku. Overall, Like a Dragon Ishin is a captivating and entertaining video game that combines exciting gameplay with an educational and historically accurate storyline, minus the karaoke tigers and bears.

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David Rodriguez is a former writer at Rectify Gaming.