The Like A Dragon series, more notably recognized as the Yakuza series, has been a long-running series in Japan, with it starting its life on the Playstation 2. Since then, there have been numerous sequels to the games, across a variety of platforms. Despite the continuity of the games, they tend to be standalone adventures that don’t require having played the other entries. However, there are cameos and nods to previous entries throughout each new title.
There’s the main series of games, but the Like A Dragon/Yakuza series has also received plenty of spinoff games. The first one was Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan!, which was actually the first Playstation 3 game in the series. Unlike the main games, which were set during a modern day setting, Kenzan took place during the Edo Period of Japanese history, specifically in 1605. The game focused on historical figures, although the characters in the game were modeled after the ones from the main Yakuza games. A second spinoff game, called Yakuza: Dead Souls, was released and took place in modern times. This one was a third-person shooter that was more focused on zombies and survival horror, although still maintained that Yakuza feel.
Changes Between Original and Remake of Like A Dragon: Ishin
That brings us to the third major spinoff, Ryu ga Gotoku: Ishin, which was initially released in Japan in 2014, on Playstation 3 and Playstation 4. Similar to Kenzan, this one was set in Japanese history, most notably during the Bakumatsu period. This took place in the late Edo Period, between 1853 and 1867, which was the final years of the Tokugawa Shogunate, and when Japan stopped its policy of isolation with foreign powers. Also, the characters in the game were made to look like characters from the main series, with the main protagonist of Ishin being Sakamoto Ryoma, who looked like Kiryu (the main character of the earlier Yakuza titles).
The game, though, was never released outside of Japan, despite the fanbase wanting Sega to localize the title. It wasn’t until 2022 that Sega officially announced that they were releasing Like A Dragon: Ishin over in the west, which will be the first time the game has seen western shores. It’s important to note that this is an updated version of the game, with the remake using Unreal Engine 4, instead of the usual Dragon Engine that previous games used. There are a few changes with this remake version of the game, such as improved graphics and some gameplay changes, but the main story is pretty much the same as the original.
One major gameplay change is the Trooper Cards. These used to be restricted in use to Battle Dungeons, which were optional dungeons you could dive into, in order to grind out rare items and the like. In the newer version of the game, Trooper Cards are now usable in the main story, so you will be able to use them to full effect to help in intense battles. All of the minigames from the original have returned, with none of them being cut, and the game also seems to have reworked the Blacksmith system, although it’s not known to what extent. You will also see that they have taken characters from the newer Like A Dragon games and added their likenesses into Ishin as well.
Do I Need to Play Other Like A Dragon Games to Play Ishin?
Being a spinoff title that is set during a completely different time period, there is no relation to any other title in the series. Also, despite taking place in Japanese history, there is also no relation to Kenzan, as that game was set about 200 years prior to the setting of Ishin. If you’ve played the other Yakuza titles, though, then the gameplay of Ishin should feel pretty familiar. It utilizes the beat-em-up style of all Yakuza titles from Yakuza 0 to Yakuza 6. There are four different fighting styles in the game, so there is some similarity to Yakuza 0 there.