How to be Like a Dragon: Ishin! - Game Review
by WetRamen in
PC Reviews Video Game
Like a Dragon: Ishin! Dojo

Who would have known that SEGA and Ryu Ga Gotoku would turn a 9 year old gem into a polished masterpiece. Such is the case of Like A Dragon: Ishin! A game that wasn’t really localized so not a lot of people had a chance to enjoy it back then. But thanks to SEGA and RGG we had our grubby paws on the remake even before release. So here is our review of the game.


Like a Dragon: Ishin! Okita Soji

Same old story for a different time

Since this is a remake of the 2014 classic, the story hasn’t really changed much. You play Sakamoto Ryoma, who is tasked as a representative of the Tosa partylist. However, on the night of an important meeting, his father was slain, and this is where the adventure begins. Fleeing the scene and branded as a fugitive, Ryoma ends up Searching for a Tennen Rishin-style sword user. Thus the story of Ryoma begins. Nothing much has changed about the game’s story. It stays true to the 2014 original.

Although I wish that it added a bit more. Although, the cutscenes are interesting to watch, as you immerse yourself in Edo period conflicts. Aside from that, most side quests feature stories that are a bit too lengthy and detailed. The story of Like A Dragon: Ishin! although not that historically accurate is enough to spark my own curiosity. It is sort of a history lesson about the events of the Japanese Edo era.

Like a Dragon: Ishin! Visuals


Like a Dragon: Ishin! is the first game by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio to be built using Unreal Engine 4. I compared it to a couple of youtube videos of the 2014 game and it really does look and feel different from the original. Just to clarify, I compared it as I do not have access to the 2014 game in any of my libraries. I am impressed at how detailed the characters are in the remake, and yet they stayed true to the original design.

Another thing I noticed is how much detail the background and background characters have been given. Gone are the days when the background characters are just polygons, now they have real and actual faces. The setting and streets of Kyo are also something that I could just end up enjoying as I take a stroll through town.

Like a Dragon: Ishin! Gameplay


Do you like long dialogues? How about great storytelling imbued in every moment? Do you enjoy collecting random loot? Random encounters? Then Like A Dragon: Ishin! is the game for you. It’s a straightforward hack-and-slash game hidden in a well-told story about political struggles during Edo Era Japan. It boasts an open-world experience wherein you are free to do whatever you want.

However, combat is contained in its own events. If you’re expecting it to be a hack-and-slash wherever you go kind of game, sorry to disappoint you, it is not. Combat is triggered whenever you encounter enemies on the streets or throughout the story. But the story and even the voices behind the game are enough to keep you entertained.


Like A Dragon: Ishin’s combat is quite enjoyable as you are not limited to one weapon and stance. Combat comes in the form of random encounters in the open world or throughout the story. You are given 4 different stances for you to mix and use, which we already gave an in-depth look at during our first impressions.

If you think that you could just use one stance for the entire game, then you are wrong. As some of the story and side quests requires you to use a certain one. You could also level up and unlock extra skills by visiting dojos. Although these dojos could only be unlocked after doing certain side quests. So keep an eye open for these quests. A tip here is to get into fights in between missions to level up and get familiar with certain stances.

Like a Dragon: Ishin! Subquests

Sub Quests

This game is also laden with sub-stories or quests. Almost everywhere you look a side story pops up. Pretty much to the point that at times it gets annoying. The sub-stories in this game automatically play out sometimes.

Even when you’re trying to go to an important part of the main story. Plus it isn’t just some person approaching you where you can cancel the dialogue. At times the dialogue takes up around 3 minutes even if you spam the A button.

  • Like a Dragon: Ishin! Trooper DLC
  • Trooper card screen
  • Trooper Card formation
  • Like a Dragon: Ishin! Trooper card recruitment

Trooper Cards

Like A Dragon: Ishin’s trooper card system is a welcome addition to your already existing arsenal. The trooper system can be unlocked upon joining the Shinsengumi. These trooper cards add to your HP and attack power.

They can be gathered from the mission giver in the Shinsengumi barracks or throughout the open world. These level up as you fight and gain experience. They aid you in battle, by providing healing, damage, or even special attacks when used. You also get a couple of free trooper card DLCs.

Like a Dragon: Ishin! minigames


Like A Dragon: Ishin! is laden with mini-games that you could play in your downtime. From gambling in mahjong dens to chopping wood to earn money. The amount of games to play in Ishin is endless. Here are just some of my favorites to play while I’m not beating up bad guys and doing the main story.

Like a Dragon: Ishin! Baka Mitai


What’s a Like a Dragon or Yakuza game without the Karaoke? Controls here are pretty simple, you just have to press the corresponding buttons at the right time. Sounds easy right? Not really, as some songs speed up or require you to press multiple buttons one after another. Also, what is a Yakuza game without Baka Mitai?

Wood Chopping

Chopping Wood

Near the Inn where you live, there is an old man with a bad back that has to make deliveries. Playing as the good old Ryoma, you end up helping this man chop some wood. The mini-game is a rhythm game itself, pressing the right button as soon as you see the axe glint. Keeping up the momentum, and building a combo to make things go faster. And of course, you make some quick money from this.

Like a Dragon: Ishin! Nichibuza dancing

Nichibuza Dancing

You can also dance in Like A Dragon: Ishin! after a subquest, you are given access to the dance studio. This is a lot trickier as it demands you pay attention to two sets of oncoming beats. I suggest that you use a gamepad if you’re playing this mini-game as it uses the movement and the other 4 buttons on your pad. 

Like a Dragon: Ishin! Review Verdict


Like a Dragon: Ishin! Delivers simpler gameplay reminiscent of arcade games. However, the story and visuals make it so that it doesn’t feel like a simple game. The controls are simple and easy to remember. You don’t have to memorize a string of commands to do any flashy moves. The character design, however, feels like you’re just playing another Yakuza game, as most are pretty much recycled. Aside from that the side quests popping out really is infuriating, I just wish they’d patch it out soon.

Overall, I’d still highly recommend this game for old Yakuza or Ryu Ga Gotoko fans, and to the newbies as well. It’s a highly enjoyable game that you could spend hours completing or just enjoying. That’s it for now, I do hope that this review helped you in deciding if you should get it or not. But again, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU GET IT.

You can grab a copy of the game at the links below:

A writer and streamer for DNDP. Can be found playing Valorant or any other game that they can lay their hands on during their free time. Shamelessly plugging his streaming channel
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