I am the legendary ronin Sakomoto Ryoma. I shouted “yosh!” when I harvested six (6) sparkling radishes from my plot. I shot a robber in the head with a revolver. I send my adopted daughter to sell homemade pickles. I engage in a brooding conversation, then step on a guy’s head. I help a recluse regain his confidence. I completely forgot what I was going to do.
Like a Dragon: Ishin feels like a step backwards, but in a great way. Kiryu et al. may have moved to a turn-based future, but Sakomoto Ryoma and his friends have turned the clock back to the Edo period of cockfights and bets most reminiscent of Yakuza 0, only it wasn’t the roaring 80s but the bloody 1800s. There’s nothing here that can convert people who aren’t interested in the series, but if you’re a die-hard fan or a newbie looking to experience its wild swings between the serious and the silly, then Ishin is a great place to start.
Like A Dragon: Ishin was originally a spin-off of the Japan-only Yakuza that was released back in 2014 and never made it to the West. Now, a few years later, we have a completely remastered Ishin, meaning everyone can experience the joys of the late Edo period faction war. I liken this game to a one-off special Yakuza set in 1800s Japan, where many of the series’ favorite characters take on completely different roles. Kiryu is Sakamoto Ryoma, a real historical samurai who is still essentially Kiryu in character. Others, though? Damn, who knew they could be so annoying? If the Super Smash Bros announcer had to shout to describe the lineup, he would say, “Almost EVERYONE IS HERE!!”.
However, don’t let the many characters back put you off. The game will please longtime fans like me, but it’s also built with complete newbies in mind. You won’t miss anything if you haven’t played a Yakuza game before, as the story is a self-contained murder mystery wrapped up in a battle between two factions: the rebels want Japan from abandoned a limited class-based society, and the shogunate, who quite wanted to continue. That’s immediately intriguing as you work undercover with the bloodthirsty shogunate to find out which of the killers killed your father. Enemies become friends. Friends become enemies. It’s compelling content, backed by a samurai backdrop that blends seamlessly with the Yakuza drama.
Over the years, we have seen the colorful fall of Kamurocho and Dotonbori, or the vast port city of Yokohama. Sapporo and Nagoya also participated; all hustle and bustle. Honestly, it’s Yakuza 6’s coastal city of Onomichi, which comes to mind as the loveliest spot, with the bustle balanced by the rich rustling of leaves. I love cracking thug pelvises between skyscrapers or slurping ramen under electrical wires dangling in a dingy back alley, but Onomichi’s quaint little streets really do it for me. I. Ishin’s Kyo City definitely ranks there as one of my all-time favorites, namely because it’s an equally warm place.
Kyo is really shipping. Paddlers trot down the dusty streets and merchants bark from stalls, and importantly, it all gives off a sense of honesty. You have a storyteller who travels around the city, enchanting passersby with stories from places as far away as Nagoya – you won’t believe what he’s seen! At night, lanterns illuminate the market in an orange glow, and if you stop by an izakaya, its menu offers detailed information on eel dishes and old-fashioned delicacies.
And if you need a break from the seriousness of the story, Kyo offers plenty of pastime to keep you occupied for hours. You can fasten your seat belt in the theater room and cut a cannon in half. There’s even the option to play rock-paper-scissors in a brothel, or similarly, open your own ramen stand. I can’t tell you how much time I spent pulling beans from my little plot of land and betting on chickens. I’ve watched a lot of Yakuza’s Buffets Of Distraction, and let me tell you, Ishin has been a hit.
Out of all the Yakuza games, I’d say Ishin also has some of the best fighting games of them all, and that’s thanks to Ryoma’s ability to switch between four different fighting styles: Swordsman , Gladiator, Gunman and Wild Dancer. Other games in the series also have swappable styles, sure, but here you’re liberated from calcium restrictions and let loose with metal items, like revolvers, katana and even a combination of revolvers And katana.
However, one unexpected drawback that makes other styles so interesting is that Brawler’s tempered fighting style is overshadowed by other styles and their versatility. Its tough kicks and punches simply can’t compete with the Wild Dancer’s deadly spinning abilities, or the Swordsman’s elegant slashes. Swinging the knuckles is a less expensive alternative, such as firing a shot at the loyalist from a distance with flammable slug bullets, then turning him into a bloody Chupa Chup when you stab him. a blade into his ribs.
Selection is Ishin’s forte, as even if the Brawlers feel a bit redundant, the game seems to encourage changing things up if you’re up against powerful enemies. Acidic projectiles can penetrate armor much better than a blade, for instance, while Wild Dancer’s dodging is often a must for the most fearsome bastards. It might be something pretty simple by today’s RPG standards, but it makes a nice twist for the Yakuza, where – aside from the turn-based battles of Yakuza: Like A Dragon – the style swap isn’t is necessary.
But I won’t say Ishin solves all the historical woes of the Yakuza in combat. Street thugs turn from funny larks into nasty pests that you want to destroy in no time. And – at least very early on – you are forced to open the inventory menu every time you want to heal large blocks in a short time, which adds to the loud clang for the top climax arguments. Some things are hard to shake.
The game also handles the RPG side of things the typical Yakuza way: you have to become a warehouse of exotic goods. Question) You want something?; Answer) You can’t have it, unless you have something to give. To craft, say, “Your Father’s Sword” at the blacksmith (hypothetically speaking, of course) you must have a lot of money and the like, two pieces of golden dung, some manuka honey and “The Blade Of Papa” in hand. To get these, you have to spend time participating in the larger portions of the Buffet, accepting missions at the barracks, which involve clearing waves of enemies from caves and smashing dungeons. trophy box.
However, the inclusion of Ishin’s heavier minigames wasn’t so bad as they were simple and direct. Yes, you might have to spend time on another activity to earn some gold poop, but at least that activity is enclosed in an eccentric scientist’s clockwork puppet house, or a mellow mansion in sticks where I can harvest turnips and flip my little trout so it burns well on a fire wire. Technically, you shouldn’t bother with any of these side jobs, but trust me, you can’t help but get caught up in a dungeon or a bit of peaceful farm work.
The Yakuza’s side stories (side quests) are legendary, not only for their surprising humor and depth, but also for reflecting the context of each game in the silliest of ways. Ishin provides some of the series’ best examples when it comes to supplementing its murder mystery with stories rooted in 1800s Japan. One example is stumbling across a The teacher drags you into his geography lesson, all because he’s embarrassed that he can’t pinpoint any country on the globe that a student’s parents gave him. Another time, you help a “Heyazumi” (literally a person living in the room) redeem himself in front of his mother.
This is me chasing a guy who stole my clothes while I was relaxing in the bathroom. I’d say this gif deserves to be installed at the Louvre.
I would say that maybe Ishin is a bit too concerned with you forming relationships with certain people. Only one much of the “friendship meter” that you want to gradually fill up as you constantly interact with vendors or sword enthusiasts or some kid who’s super into vegetables. I understand that it’s not a big deal! In fact, it’s nice to give “Kid Who Loves Veggies” a gift from your farm every time you pass it on your way to a quest. And I understand that the reward for the long tail is a tempting thing, but the head rails have never felt particularly relevant to the Yakuza’s short, humanistic storytelling.
So yeah, Like A Dragon Ishin won’t convert people who don’t like the Yakuza. It still carries some of the disappointments in the series’ history and feels like a bit of a step back when you compare it to the turn-based transformation and modernization of Yakuza: Like A Dragon’s. Although, a step back is not a bad thing at all! Ishin feels most like Yakuza 0 (my favorite), is sure to please longtime fans, and its indie nature means that, without a doubt, this is one of the spots. Strongest start for newbies. Now sorry, I better get back to harvesting my radishes.