Whether you are brand new to the Yakuza franchise, or a long-time fan, Yakuza: Like A Dragon will be an incredible new experience for you. With a whole new cast of characters and a world to explore, the biggest change of course is the combat. Yakuza has long been known for its fast-paced brawler gameplay. However, in Yakuza: Like A Dragon the developers Ryu Ga Gotuku Studio took the game in a different direction.
The gameplay while still showcasing over the top brawler combat. The game loop is a distinctly turn-based JRPG formula with a Yakuza style twist. While this gameplay follows some common formulas from other turn-based games, there are some unique aspects to the game. Because of this, it might take some time for players to get the hang of it. So, whether you are new to the franchise or a long-time fan, here is a quick guide to help you better prepare yourself for battle in Yakuza: Like A Dragon.
Getting Familiar With The Basics
Most of Yakuza: Like A Dragon is standard JRPG turn-based fare. When you enter combat, you have 4 options during your turn. The attack option allows you to use your basic attack on whichever character’s turn it is. Each of your party members’ basic attack is a little different and can have different variances in damage and effects. There is the guard option as well. When dealing with tough fights and bosses who use powerful moves this can be a key to surviving a powerful attack. It is important to keep guard in mind. Especially the further you progress in the game, it can be a life-saving mechanic in some fights.
Now, the most frequently used combat tab you will use is of course the Skills tab. While at the start of the game your party will simply consist of the main protagonist Ichiban Kasuga. As you progress, you will gain a party of 4 very unique characters who have unique move sets and skills. Luckily, the game gives you essentially a chapter with each new character for you to get accustomed to their different abilities. Each character serves a very special role in your party. It is important that you use them accordingly to their role, as you progress through the game. There will be enemies that some characters are very weak against, and it is important you know who to use to get the job done.
Timing Is Key Grasshopper
Now, unlike many JRPGs, there is a little more player involvement in how Yakuza uses its turn-based combat. You don’t simply click on a skill and execute it. Players need to remain attentive, as certain button presses will come up through various attacks allowing for extra damage. Sometimes, it’s a simple timed button push. Other times, you may need to rapidly tap a specific button. But, be on the lookout for these as the bonus damage given by them can quickly swing a battle in your favor.
Another key aspect that you will want to get down very quickly is blocking. With very few exceptions, most enemy attacks can be blocked by your party members when they are attacked. Now, blocking does not negate the damage that will be dealt by your enemy. You will still lose health, however, depending on your stats and gear you will take significantly less damage. This is done by pressing the B button (if you’re playing on Xbox) when your enemy hits a sweet spot in their attack. It takes a little bit to learn the timing, but focus on learning the different attacks from the wide variety of foes that you will face. Often, outside of bosses, a lot of enemies share similarities in their combat styles so take advantage of that.
Use the Right Skill For The Right Time
Choosing what skill you want to execute, is a key decision in any situation. Yakuza: Like A Dragon is not scared to throw hordes of enemies at you at any time. Some confrontations can be a singular “super” opponent, while other encounters can have upwards of 6 plus enemies. The key in these situations is knowing what skills to use to best optimize your damage or crowd control.
For example, above you can see on Ichibans skill list he has an ability called Mega Swing. What this ability is great for is doing moderate damage across a wide area. It’s a sweeping attack that can hit multiple enemies and cause a good chunk of damage. This is great for those situations when you have 6 or 7 enemies bearing down on you. However, avoid using Mega Swing when there’s one particular enemy that is causing you problems, or if you are fighting a boss style enemy. Instead, you will want to use Bat Breaker which does a lot of damage to one enemy.
While this all seems like common sense stuff, it’s very important to pay attention to what abilities you are using. Because sometimes if you are having a problem with a particular enemy sometimes switching up what skills you use during a fight can make all the difference. Other times, focusing all your party’s attacks to remove one particularly pesky enemy will make the battle easier.
Always Stay Fully Stocked
As in many JRPGs being fully stocked with healing items and boosters is imperative. Yakuza is no different, in certain dungeons and boss runs you will burn through items very quickly. However, healing items are something that you need to proactively remember to hunt down. While you can heal your entire party by going to restaurants and ordering food items. In order to restore health and MP while in battle you will need to purchase healing items. It is very rare that enemies that you defeat will drop healing items. This means it’s up to you in order to keep your party fully stocked and ready for combat.
Where to find these healing and booster items you may ask? There are two primary locations you can find these battle saving items. The easiest place is pharmacies and grocery stores scattered throughout the city. There are plenty of them, so there aren’t hard to come by. However, scattered throughout the city are vending machines. These machines can provide quick booster items that can help you after a particularly hard encounter.
Of course, not all these healing items are free. Luckily enough, even early on in the game, earning money through beating random encounters and sub-stories is fruitful. However, it is hard to maintain enough cash for weapons and gear while also keeping yourself fully stocked early. So completing side activities as they become available is a great way to afford being fully stocked, while also providing a healthy amount of XP for your party.
Depth is Endless
There is a lot more depth to the systems of Yakuza: Like a Dragon. From the bonding mechanic with your party members through “drink links”. Craftable gear and weapons that can turn you into a super beast when balanced with certain jobs. As well as a wide variety of mini-games that give out worthwhile rewards and materials that can make later parts of the game much more manageable. We will have more guides coming in the coming days to help you will all of your Yakuza: Like A Dragon needs.