Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Aug 302019

Yesterday, the next Yakuza game was finally revealed. Shin Yakuza will be officially titled Yakuza 7: Whereabouts of Light and Darkness in Japan, with the western release dropping the number to call it Yakuza: Like a Dragon (that won’t be confusing at all) and it’s due out next year.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a turn-based RPG that follows Ichiban–wait, wait, wait, what?

Yes, Sega took everyone by surprise by revealing that the next Yakuza game will no longer have the brawler-style action combat the series has used in the past, but will instead have a “live command RPG battle” system where you select commands from menus. A turn-based combat system had been shown on April 1, but everyone thought it was a joke.

I’m baffled.

After so many series have switched from turn-based combat to action, it’s actually happened in the other direction. Yakuza has become a turn-based RPG.

This has not gone over well with fans.

On one hand, I have to admit I’m looking forward to it because I love turn-based RPGs. On the other hand, I don’t like seeing a game change such a core part of its gameplay. In debates about games like Final Fantasy XV and the Final Fantasy VII Remake, I always said I’d be opposed to it happening the other way around too.

And here we are.

Today, they went into more detail about how the combat will work, as outlined here by Gematsu.

Although it is turn-based, characters and enemies will remain in motion during combat, attacks can be interrupted, and the situation will make different attacks available by making use of the Dragon Engine system. For example, you can pick up a bicycle and attack with it on your turn.

It sounds as though they might be trying a hybrid system, but it’s difficult to judge until we see it in motion.

The director has said if fans really don’t like it, they’ll change it back for future games. I find it refreshing to see a developer wanting to experiment but being openly willing to go back if it’s not a popular decision.

Like the Final Fantasy VII Remake, I’m certainly still planning to buy Yakuza: Like a Dragon, even as I question this decision.

Anyway, let’s move on from the controversial combat system to talk about the game’s story. Yakuza: Like a Dragon follows Ichiban Kasuga, who goes to prison for 18 years to take the fall for someone else, only to find once he gets out that things have significantly changed.

But even though things start in Kamurocho, that’s not where the game is set. Yakuza: Like a Dragon takes place in Yokohama, in a district called Isezaki Ijincho that will be three times the size of Kamurocho. I hope it doesn’t start to feel too open-world… but I’m confident that they’ll keep the usual Yakuza feel.

The story trailer got me pretty interested in the game. I wasn’t sure how Ichiban would be as a protagonist, but I like him so far. He’s a video game fan, too, and they even got permission to directly mention Dragon Quest.

(Some fans have speculated that the turn-based combat system is because Ichiban imagines fights as though they’re turn-based RPGs.)

So overall, I’m excited for the next Yakuza game… even though I don’t quite know what to make of the combat change.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon will be out on January 16 in Japan and later in 2020 in the west.

What do you think about Yakuza: Like a Dragon? Do you think dropping the numbers in the west while Japan calls it Yakuza 7 is a good move or one that will cause confusion? How do you feel about the new turn-based combat system? Am I a hypocrite for objecting to combat changes in games like this and the Final Fantasy VII Remake but buying them anyway? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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  2 Responses to “Yakuza 7 Revealed… With Turn-Based Combat?”

  1. […] learning Yakuza 7 will be turn-based and titled Yakuza: Like a Dragon in the west, TGS revealed a wealth of […]

  2. […] the game’s switch to turn-based combat was announced, some fans speculated that it was because Ichiban imagines fights as though […]

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