Couch Soup Previews: Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name

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Thomas Richards
| October 26, 2023
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One or two games are behind the ominous black curtains every year at PAX Aus. These curtains mean that the game is rated R18+ (the highest age rating in Australia) and can’t be showcased in the open. Only one game was hidden behind these curtains this year, Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name. The Like a Dragon series (formerly known as the Yakuza series) is one franchise I haven’t played before. I’ve seen gameplay snippets here and there but never went hands-on with it. So, when I saw that a game demo was available at PAX, I thought, why not? And waited nearly an hour in line to give the game a shot.

Fighting at 10, Karaoke at 11

Looks like you guys are a little tied up. (SEGA)

One of the main appeals of the Like a Dragon franchise is its gameplay variety. These games are famous for having satisfying combat and a plethora of mini-games to keep you entertained for hours. Like a Dragon Gaiden is no different, and I could finally see all the fuss. I played a curated snapshot of the game, which included access to all the major game systems. I had full access to the wild clothing customisation and made the main character, Kiryu, look as cool or stupid as I wanted. I also got to try out some of the famous mini-games, such as karaoke and blackjack. I can see myself losing a lot of time to these side activities, but I spent most of my time in the demo with the satisfying combat.

The combat is so responsive, so intuitive, so downright brutal, and I enjoyed every moment. Being a one-person army is something I enjoy in games, and being able to pick up random objects in the environment to use as weapons was the icing on the cake. You could even switch between two combat styles, the agent style and the yakuza style. The agent style focused more on using technology and gadgets to help you in fights, while the yakuza style focused on punching really hard (I like this one the most). The combat was so much fun that the 15 minutes flew by, and I was left wanting to play just one more minute.

That’s a Nice-Looking Cargo Ship

Sensory overload. (SEGA)

I knew these games were good-looking when it came to graphics, but I wasn’t ready for just how good they were in person. In the opening cutscene, I was impressed with the character models and facial animations, but when the main area of the demo was introduced, I was stunned. The demo took place in a city on a cargo ship, and it was the most beautiful cargo ship I’d ever seen. There were bright lights, giant golden buildings, and enough neon to cover a whole city. I spent a solid couple of minutes just taking in the spectacle. After all that add in my all-time favourite thing in games, particle effects, and my enjoyment of this game quickly doubled. I can only imagine how pretty the full game would look if the demo were this visually stunning.

Like a Dragon

Kicking with style. (SEGA)

I enjoyed my first experience with Like a Dragon: The Man Who Erased His Name and with the Like a Dragon series in general. The combat is satisfying, the mini-games are varied and fun, the clothing customisation has the potential to be hilarious (there was a chicken head hat option), and the game is visually stunning. This demo has made me more interested in the series, and I may pick up the earlier games to give it a proper shot. If the other games are half as fun as this one, I think I’ll have a great time. I’m also tempted to play this one first, but I don’t want to be completely lost story wise.

He looks like a calm and rational person. (SEGA)

You won’t have to wait long (or stand in a line for over an hour) to try Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name as it releases on November 9th on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. Keep it locked to Couch Soup for all the latest Like a Dragon news and even more previews from PAX Aus 2023.

Are you going to pick up Like a Dragon Gaiden? Have you played the series before? Would you use the chicken hat? Let us know in the comments where we can talk about this crazy series.

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