Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name Preview

Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name is a particularly exciting upcoming entry in the franchise. There’s no doubt fans are ready for the story to move forward with Like a Dragon 8: Infinite Wealth, but they deserve answers as to Kiryu’s goings-on between Yakuza 6 and Like a Dragon 7. Like a Dragon Gaiden takes place between those two games, and while fans cannot expect every mystery to be brought into the light, some new information ahead of Kiryu’s role in Like a Dragon 8 is certainly welcome.

Not to mention, while Like a Dragon 7’s transition into a turn-based RPG has been well-received, there’s something special about the action genre approach of the original Yakuza games. Like a Dragon Gaiden falls into that very same vein, and it feels like it too. Today Technology recently attended the Sega Summer Showcase in NYC, where we were able to check out a brief demo of the game. It took us to a Yakuza-run adult-themed “amusement park” off the coast of Japan called The Castle.

Our goal upon reaching The Castle was to enter a fighting tournament, more than fitting for Joryu (who is just Kiryu with glasses, like Clark Kent and Superman), but there were a few extra stops we could make: a gambling hall, a boutique, a Cabaret Club, and more. Once we began, though, we were thrust into a combat tutorial to check out Kiryu’s two fighting styles in Like a Dragon Gaiden: the Tech-focused Agent style and the classic Yakuza style. The latter is pure street fight mode for Kiryu, and it seems to pull moves from just about every fighting style he has ever had. It’s a distillation of the action-oriented Yakuza combat the franchise is known for, while the Agent style goes on to become something completely new.

The Agent style in Like a Dragon Gaiden sees Kiryu pull out various tools (used by holding down certain buttons, adding a new layer to combat) to influence the battlefield. Kiryu can use a whip-like wire to grab a handful of enemies and toss them to the side, breaking up what could be an impossibly large mob to fight head-on. Kiryu can also throw out a drone to assist him, while another one sees him charge forward jetpack-style to hit a bunch of enemies. In general, it seems the Agent style is a more AoE and group-oriented fighting method, while the Yakuza style is a touch more general and straightforward. Engaging in both, however, is a ton of fun.


Exploring the Castle was pretty straightforward, and there were plenty of mini-games in the gambling sections of The Castle. Most of this content was pretty straightforward and standard fare for the franchise. Perhaps the most shocking detail was the Cabaret Club; we walked in expecting the typical Cabaret Club approach, where perhaps it was a management mini-game or something akin to that, to discover it’s a POV FMV-style date with a selected Hostess.

It wasn’t clear if this is for every Cabaret Club in Like a Dragon Gaiden or if the Castle is perhaps special, but we ended up “face-to-face” with a young woman with chat options that are pretty typical of the series. It’s very similar to the internet chat rooms of Yakuza 6, but in-person, and it’s something fans of the franchise may certainly want to be aware of before entering. It’s a little jarring at first, to say the least.


The customization options for Kiryu were quite detailed, as fans could pick something like a jacket, for example, and then change the material of it. In true Yakuza fashion, there were ways, we saw, to make Kiryu wear Ichiban Kasuga’s outfit or to make him look like the beloved Goro Majima. As such, we rocked a jacket, pants, and boots to look like Majima, with a hard hat to complete the set. It’s definitely a fun approach to customization and something many fans will no doubt enjoy, as it lets them get creative with Kiryu and/or pay homage to the series.

like a dragon gaiden customization

The final combat section saw us selecting characters to play as, and while we completed the first combat encounter with Kiryu, we played Majima in the second. There was also an option to play as a Chicken Man, though we didn’t get the time to check him out, but Like a Dragon Gaiden’s take on Majima played as wildly and zany as one would expect. The head-on-the-ground spinning kick was as lethal as it was hilarious. Combat and the demo as a whole was a good time, and the whole thing had a classic, but modernized feel to it.

Overall, it seems Like a Dragon Gaiden is a love letter to the classic action approach, while introducing enough new elements to ensure the game is not rooted in the past. The brief demo was a good time, and if the whole game is like this, then fans are in for a treat when November comes around.

Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name will launch November 9, 2023, on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Today Technology was provided travel and lodging for the SEGA NYC Showcase.

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