Hands-on report – Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name and exploring the Castle

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Hands-on report – Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name and exploring the Castle

Full details on the dangerous amusement park made for the underbelly of society.

Kazuma Kiryu, the Dragon of Dojima, is no more. At least, in the eyes of the world at large. But true legends never die… they just get a massive image change, a new career, and a new name. Enter the new dragon: Joryu, a secret agent with a fighting prowess that betrays years of experience on the meanest of streets, packing an extra rocket-powered punch with a bevy of new hi-tech gadgetry in tow.

We sat down to play Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name at a special Sega preview event, where we spent half an hour exploring some of the over-the-top sights, sounds, couture, and brawls the game has to offer in one of its signature locales: the Castle.

Gangster’s paradise

The Castle is a massive, neon-lit den of indulgence floating off the shores of Japan and modeled very loosely after the real-life Osaka Castle. Here, patrons can enjoy a variety of activities under the neon-lit night sky, ranging from fairly innocuous to extremely illicit. Joryu… er, Kiryu arrives on the island via helicopter, where he’s immediately greeted by some low-level Yakuza grunts eager to toss this newcomer overboard.

In this fight, we got to test out some of the new fighting skills you’ll be able to utilize in his Agent fighting style. You’ve got plenty of face-crushing fist strikes, of course, but now Kiryu also has a whole slew of unique, outlandish gadgetry to enhance his already elite combat prowess. Ever wanted to turn on some rocket-powered shoes and glide around as a human battering ram? How about turning enemies to toast with one of those exploding cigarettes you’d see in old-school spy thrillers? You’ll even be able to use homing drones and high-tech wire to put enemies in a real bind.

As cool as these new skills are, they require some strategy to use: Since you have to hold the buttons down for a brief period to use them, they don’t work all that well when you’re surrounded at close range taking blows from all sides. But if you need to swap to a fighting style that’s a bit more heavy-hitting and up-close-and-personal, fear not–a simple button press will take you to the Yakuza fighting style more in line with Kiryu’s core fighting techniques from previous games.

The all-star hall for brawls

The Castle’s a great place to put those new techniques to good use. Perhaps the biggest draw of this floating world is its coliseum: a no-holds-barred underground cage match where almost anything goes in the struggle for fame and fortune. Here, Kiryu can take on any number of opponents – sometimes a whole gang of them at once! But he doesn’t have to do it solo: depending on the match type, Kiryu can bring up to ten companions into the brawl alongside him. These include a rogue’s gallery of familiar, lovable miscreants from across the whole series–and you can even control them directly if you want. By completing sidequests and battles, you can recruit new members and build a coliseum army to rule them all.

He’s got the look

But maybe you don’t want to bust heads all the time. Even the most hardened badass needs some relaxing time to themselves. Why not take a load off at the Castle’s other fine facilities?

First off is a hostess club where you can enjoy a stiff drink and lively conversation with a charming young lady. All of the women you’ll meet here are based on real-life models and actresses, who have recorded all of their conversations as live-action footage. Have a chat as you throw back some drinks and get to know each girl’s likes, personality, and dreams while building rapport with them.

If you need something a bit more thrilling, you can step into the gambling parlor for some high-stakes gaming. You’ll find both Eastern and Western betting favorites here for casual casino-goers and high rollers alike. And you know what they say: dress for success! What’s a secret agent without a slick, confident look? Then again, maybe you want to put potential threats off-guard by dressing like a complete goofball. Thankfully, you’ve got a dressing room to customize Kiryu’s look to your heart’s content, complete with a catwalk to showcase your fashion sense… or lack thereof.

Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name launches November 9 on PS5 and PS4.

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