Like A Dragon Ishin – Review

Relieve One of Sega's Classic Like A Dragon Spin-Offs During The Meiji Era

Release Date
February 20, 2023
Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Reviewed on
Review copy provided by

In 2014, SEGA released a JP exclusive Like A Dragon game called Like A Dragon Ishin. The game back then was a hit among Japanese gamers on the PS3 and PS4 featuring most of the popular Like A Dragon characters and replacing them with Japanese historical figures of the Meiji Era. Recently, SEGA announced that the game will not only be remade for the PS5 and other next-gen consoles but will be available for all players worldwide.

Like A Dragon Ishin is a spin-off of the Like A Dragon series that focuses on the life of Sakamoto Ryouma and his adventures in the Meiji Era. Based on what historical documents tell, Sakamoto Ryouma is one of many figures in Japan that have brought great change but in this game, there are dark secrets and hidden mysteries that put him in the center of the storm and what is unexpected is that he goes under the name Saito Hajime and joins the Shinsengumi. The story aspect of the game is truly original and I am impressed by how deep and knowledgeable the developers are in adapting Meiji Era events into the game.

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The gameplay is not just your standard action RPG game. It involves mostly exploring the lands of the Meiji Era and other distinguishable parts of Japan and fulfilling one’s duty as a samurai. In most Like A Dragon games, players will combat various enemies and defeat them using their fists and various HEAT Actions but in this game, players must learn not only to master their fists but also the use of both swords and guns.

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The concept of combat is somewhat familiar as players can switch to different styles of fighting. Not only that, players will be using mostly the skill tree system to unlock new moves separately and earn unexpected rewards that will greatly help them in their future endeavors.

However, I’ve noticed from the start of the game that the combat system feels too fluid as players can abuse most of the attacks, especially when using the gun. Not only that, there are times when facing random opponents in the street, there will be times that the enemies will be using the same tactic over and over again with no sense of challenge whatsoever.

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Since this game is a remake, there are many elements of it that are similar to its original version. But since this game is totally new, there are a series of new sidequests, the use of characters, and a better way for players to grow stronger in the game. One of which is Trooper Card System. This system allows players to create a squad of cards that will give them new abilities, and stat increases.

Originally, this was only for Battle Dungeons, but the remake allows them to use them during the story too which makes them incredibly important to your character progression. Personally, I give SEGA credit for what they did for this feature as not only did they make this one of the main attractions of the game, but also present what players can do in the game fully with it.

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When it comes to the graphics of the game, it is really up to date on how well remade the game was but sadly, I feel like they could have done better in making the visual enhancements better. The rendering of the environment and interaction with various characters isn’t as high leveled as was the previous Like A Dragon games.

If I were to sum up the game’s pros and cons, Like A dragon Ishin is good. I personally recommend this game to all action RPG fans and especially to the Like A Dragon community to play this game if they want to see how different it is from its original version. Plus, if new players are interested in trying this out, I also recommend that they should try out the demo version of the game on their consoles as well.

Like A Dragon Ishin – Review
Score Definition
We tell you, it’s a good game! It’s not average! It might have some problems here and there, but you have to admit it is a “Good” game.
Nostalgic story telling of what has occurred in the Meiji Era
Gives a Deep Thought on how to bring new players in the world of Like A Dragon
Focusing on the Trooper Card System makes it highlight worthy
Combat system of the game feels abusive
Graphics of the game needs more improvements