To say that Kazuma Kiryu is facing an identity crisis is an understatement. As the name of Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name references, Kiryu made a deal with the Daidoji Faction to fake his death at the end of Yakuza 6. As a result, he’s in purgatory, unable to reach out to the Tojo Clan and, most important of all, Haruka at Morning Glory Orphanage. Outside of that, developer Ryu Ga Gotoku has moved away from the Yakuza brand and towards the Like A Dragon name instead. Though the game’s length is relatively short, the game is a fond farewell for Kiryu before the series turns the page to another chapter.
The nameless one
The last time we saw Kiryu was as a cameo in Yakuza: Like A Dragon, which led fans to wonder what he was doing all this time. This game answers those questions, chronicling his time as a Daidoji Faction asset as he attempts to keep his identity a secret. This is pretty much impossible, though, given his legendary status as The Dragon of Dojima, and the story pokes fun at this by having him pretend like the Clark Kent glasses he wears are fooling anybody.
Clocking in at around 30 to 40 hours, the adventure is broken down into five chapters. They’re loaded chapters, with plenty of cutscenes and a lengthy action sequence to cap them each off, but it’s still short compared to the thirteen chapters of Yakuza 6. The game primarily takes place in Sotenbori with but a brief opening sojourn in Yokohama. It also introduces The Castle, which is like the underground casinos from past Yakuza games, except that it’s in the sky. But the absence of Kamurocho as a city is disappointing nonetheless, considering that this is Kiryu’s swan song.
They’ve got no idea who they’re messing with
The familiar beat-’em-up combat remains as impactful and visceral as before. This time around, Kiryu has access to the technical fighting style of the Daidoji Faction that uses sweeping kicks and a host of gadgets. However, he can change his stance back to his classic moveset featuring slower but more powerful, guard-breaking strikes. Suffice it to say, I switched over and never looked back.
For upgrades, Kiryu can spend cash and a currency called Akame Points to improve his stats and learn new moves. The most important of these are improving his attack stat and unlocking slots for extra gear to increase his attributes and status resistances further. This makes clearing the numerous substories and requests through the Akame Network a breeze as Kiryu protects Sotenbori from gangs and hoodlums.
Proving the living legend
If you’re looking for more of a challenge, Kiryu can compete in the new Coliseum at The Castle which has a solid lineup of fights. He can enter solo or as the leader of up to ten fighters, many of whom are wonderfully nostalgic throwbacks. Beyond that, he can indulge in the many available side activities, such as the Club Sega arcade, billiards, darts, golf, poker, blackjack, mahjong, karaoke, and more. The best of these are the cabaret club which now features real-life women, the revival of Pocket Circuit, and the ability to change Kiryu’s appearance at The Boutique.
Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name Final Verdict
As an extended epilogue for Kazuma Kiryu, The Man Who Erased His Name is well worth the time. While the game could be longer, it’s a strong send-off for a character that has made Yakuza the thrilling, dramatic series it has been for nearly two decades. As the franchise transitions to Ichiban Kazuga as the main protagonist, I will still fondly remember him, with or without his name.