Like a Dragon Ishin: Do I need to know the Yakuza? Like a Dragon Ishin guide, tips
On this page of the guide, you will learn whether you need to know Yakuza series before playing Like a Dragon Ishin. We discuss similarities and differences on the topics of time and place of action, plot, main story characters, gameplay mechanics, and activities and mini-games.
Last update: Thursday, February 23, 2023
This page of the Like a Dragon: Ishin guide answers the question of whether you need to know the previous games in the Yakuza series. We explain the most important similarities to other installments of the series (character faces, character development mechanics, optional activities, etc.), as well as significant differences (a completely new plot, different setting, emphasis on firearms and melee weapons).
There are no major story spoilers on this page. We've included a picture of one of the Yakuza characters appearing in Like a Dragon Ishin as an example but did not reveal details about her role in the game.
Like a Dragon Ishin is a completely new experience in terms of story. It doesn't take place in modern times and does not refer to the present.
The action of the game takes place in 1867, at the end of the samurai era. So there is no obligation to know the story of other games of the Yakuza series. On the other hand, knowing the history of Japan can help you understand the reality of the game, although it does not in any way strive to accurately reproduce the events of the past or trace the fate of famous historical figures.
Kyo is the main city in the game - it's a completely new location whose modern counterpart has not appeared in other parts of the Yakuza series. Therefore its exploration is a completely fresh experience.
Characters from the Yakuza series
The game features characters whose appearance, voice, and character traits are very similar to those known from the previous games of the Yakuza series. The main character - Sakamoto Ryoma - is, of course, Kazuma Kiryu, the protagonist of all installments of the series, starting from Yakuza 0 and ending with Yakuza 6.
As you play the game, you'll also meet plenty of other famous characters, and they, too, will have "new identities." These characters appear in Like a Dragon Ishin as friends and acquaintances of the protagonist and as antagonists who must be defeated at certain points in the story.
Familiar mechanics, activities and mini-games
Like a Dragon Ishin has a gameplay style very similar to other Yakuza games where the fights take place in real-time.
There are 4 fighting styles to learn in the game. A significant innovation is that firearms and melee weapons are much more common in Ishin. The Brawler style is based solely on the regular hand-to-hand combat.
In Ishin, there are also mechanics known from the Yakuza, like Heat special attacks and character leveling by spending Orbs to unlock skills and equip better gear.
In Ishin you can take part in familiar and loved mini-games and activities. They include e.g. karaoke, fishing or gambling at the casino. However, there are also completely new activities in the game, such as chicken races, a mini-dance game, or running your own farm.
Like a Dragon Ishin contains several dozen Substories and, as in other installments of the series, many side quests are more humorous, differing from the serious tone of the main story.
Not knowing the series will not make it difficult for you to follow the main storyline in any way, but it may deprive you of the pleasure of discovering numerous Easter eggs and references to older games. They can appear in the story, Substories or specific gameplay mechanics.
Playing other Yakuza games can also make it easier for you to win fights, as many of the basic moves are performed similarly and there are also special skills to unlock with familiar effects (e.g. Tiger Drop Counterattack). Fortunately, there are different difficulty levels and training areas in the game, so you can successfully learn combat techniques even if they are new to you.