Sega has unveiled a host of new information on Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon, the latest upcoming installment within the Yakuza series, developed by Ryo ga Gotoku Studios. Heralded as a defining shift for the franchise at large, Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon features both a new protagonist, in Ichiban Kasuga, and a new battle system, that of a turn-based, party-focused fare akin to the staples of the JRPG landscape at large. Within that, Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon seeks to hold to traditions long-established, showcasing jobs that players can embody, summons that they can bring into battle to heal or fight for them, battle techniques that they'll employ to lay waste, and lastly, some of the enemies that they'll face in their journey throughout the streets of Yokohama, the primary setting of the title. Well, let's dig into it, shall we?
Ichiban Kasuga and other male party members will have the opportunity to change into both the 'Host' and 'Bodyguard' job, at Hello Work, an employment service center, within Isezaki Ijincho. Both jobs offer differing playstyles, abilities, weapons and bombastic fashion.
The Host sets up icy bombardments to its foes, allowing those equipped with its shimmering threads to fight with a sake bottle. As the Host, party members are also able to spray ice-cold sake in enemies' faces, debuffing them with the 'Cold' status effect, allowing for increased turn-by-turn damage. Beware that other party members aren't in the radius of the spray, or they might catch a bit of a cold too! Other abilities that the Host can wield focus on the support of other party members and the charming of enemies, preventing them from attacking wholesale within battle.
The Bodyguard is a veritable powerhouse, allowing those who equip its contrasting threads to wield a katana. Touted as an 'attack-type' job, the Bodyguard's sword attacks have a fixed chance of inflicting the 'bleeding' status effect, allowing for additional damage with each turn that passes. For taking down foes succinctly, you could do worse than the Bodyguard!
In Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon, attacks are divided into two general categories: standard attacks and Kiwami Skills. Using MP (Mental Points), Kiwami Skills will allow party members to shake up the flow of battle with special abilities, that range in their effect. Some will damage or debuff enemies, while others will, inversely, heal and buff other party members. Kiwami Skills are specific to the equipped jobs of Ichiban and his party members and are endemic to formulating strategies to defeat enemies in stylish, strategic fashion. Check out two examples of Kiwami Skill attacks, linked to both the Host and Bodyguard jobs previously discussed, below!
Ice-cold sake blasts in the face of the enemy. Inflicts the 'cold' status effect, stacking additional cold-type damage as turns continue.
A simple, high-powered slash with a katana.
A number of Kiwami Skills come equipped with an additional element known as a Just Action. Similar to the Yakuza series' iconic Heat Actions, the Just Actions are activated and unleashed via a series of quick-time events. Whether it lies within time-sensitive inputs or rapid button mashing, when successfully activated, the Just Action allows for greater damage to an enemy. Alongside this wrinkle of action within turn-based battling, players can also the 'X' button just before an enemy attack to guard against it, lowering the total damage of their respective party members. Check out a sizeable list, detailing Just Action-equipped Kiwami Skills for party member's exclusive jobs within Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon below!
Ichiban Kasuga's starting job, Permanent Part-Timer, is a brawler-type with no weapon to wield except his fists. Full Strength Punch, if successful, will knock down enemies and if the Just Action is activated, it will increase its total damage.
Echoing the Majima of old, the Hero job allows Ichiban to wield a baseball bat as an instrument of destruction. Mega Swing, if successful, can deal damage to a wide range of enemies, and if the Just Action is activated, it will increase its total damage.
Namba utilizes one of various Kiwami Skills unique to his job, sometimes wielding an umbrella and cane to great effect. Mystery Joujutsu, if successful, allows for a consecutive combo with both his weapons, and if the Just Action is activated, it will deal severe damage to enemies.
Kouichi Adachi uses his street-smarts as the Detective job to great and devastating effect, wielding a police baton. Reckless Strikes, if successful, unleashes a series of consecutive attacks on enemies, and if the Just Action is activated, it will increase the number of attacks made.
Saeko Mukouda uses her exclusive job as a Junior Mama to fight with a handbag to devastating effect. Handbag Wind, if successful, unleashes a spin attack that devastates enemies within a radius of effect around Saeko herself. It is the most effective when she is surrounded by enemies, or within narrow areas where they cannot escape. If the Just Action is activated, its attack power will drastically increase.
Within Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon, echoes of its action-RPG lineage still remain as it transitions into turn-based battling for this entry, represented by Battle Techniques that party members can unleash that involves the environment and displacing enemies.
Engulf Attack allows party members to blowback singular enemies into other enemies to devastating and damaging effects. Each Kiwami Skill offers a different Engulf Attack behavior, so be careful which one is used within any given battle.
The title explains what enemies will be facing in this particular Battle Technique, with party members using the Engulf Attack to blowback enemies into battles with roadways present, so that they'll, well, be hit by a car. This attack, if applied correctly, will deal extreme amounts of damage.
Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon will have a massive amount of enemies for players to contend with, the most in the series' history. In line with JRPG classics, various enemies have been built to represent various tropes within the genre, such as magic-users, thieves who steal items, as well as equivalent monster-types. Enemies exist within a classification system known as 'Families', that differentiate different enemies within any given Family by grading their various threat levels to Ichiban and his allies. Check out two of these enemy Families below!
From left to right, the Military Family shows its strength in the Military Otaku, Lone Soldier, Slice Up Commando, and Armynater. Utilizing both knife and crossbow, all variants of the Military Family can attack from both close and far range.
The higher the grade, the deadlier the Military Family becomes to Ichiban, in weapon skills, such as crossbow shots, grenade attacks, and knife thrusts. The highest grade enemy, Armynater, has the ability to shoot a 'Destruction Beam' from his eyes, blurring the line between reality and humanity.
From left to right, the Gangster Family shows its might in the Color Gangster, Mad Gangster, Gangster Ace, and Gangster Boss. The Gangster Family as a whole differentiates themselves in the idea of bloodshed, even against criminals and the yakuza who exist within Yokohama.
Color Gangster and Mad Gangster fight with their fists, in close range, while the Gangster Ace and Gangster boss shoot their quarries down with firearms. Gunfire, akin to the Yakuza series legacy, is deadly to party members and unable to be blocked. Players should stock recovery items and skills accordingly.
Within Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon, Ichiban will be able to summon powerful support characters via a system known as Delivery Help, at the cost of in-game currency. Two such characters are introduced below!
A recovery Skill, wherein a kind-hearted woman will cook a wonderful and hale bowl of pork miso soup for the party, healing all their MP (Mental Points) within the throes of battle.
An Attack Skill, where a leader of a biker gang swoops in and mows down all the present enemies with his bike, inflicting severe damage. The heat of his tires shredding has the possibility to set enemies on fire too, debuffing them with the 'heat damage' status ailment. Ride on, Idaten, ride on!
Phew! A lot of information, a lot of zany moves and news, and Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon looks all the more inviting as a result of it. As a recent fan of the franchise, I'm excited about this new direction, and can't wait to see what it eventuates next year. If you're curious about what it plays like and have access to a Japanese PlayStation Network account, be sure to check out the demo of Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon now available.
If you're wanting to see more of the media for Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon, check out our recently updated gallery with artwork and screenshots from the game itself!
Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon is slated to release in Japan on January 16th, 2020 for PlayStation 4 and sometime during 2020 within the Americas and Europe.
Stay tuned to RPGFan for all news Yakuza!