We tested several chapters of the new Yakuza installment with the future Microsoft console, where the saga looks especially good.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon comes out next November, and as far as new generation consoles are concerned, it opens first on Xbox Series X, although the PS4 version will be playable on PS4 pending Next Gen improvements by the beginning of the following year. We have been lucky enough to be able to play long and hard -between chapters five and eight- of the game in Series X, a console from which we are getting impressions these days since we received it. And it is clear to us: Yakuza has never looked so good on consoles as on Microsoft’s platform. 4K and 60 frames per second for a delivery that wants to be a revolution in the franchise.
Because the seventh iteration of the main SEGA saga faces major changes in its staging. Starting with one evident in the presence of Ichiban Kasuga as the protagonist of the game, something that supposes the far from simple task of supplying Kazuma Kiryu. But there is another element that shakes the foundations of the saga: for the first time, the combats will be in turns. A thoughtful decision from the development team that wanted to give the series a new look. To do this, we will control Kasuga, but also three companions such as Nanba, Adachi and a mysterious girl, Saeko, who joins the squad with us at the beginning of said chapter.
JRPG, now taking turns
The presence of Saeko presence is not less, since-surely conscious- brings a character and a different personality than we were used to in the saga. In fact, there are not a few characters who speak to us with surprise about the presence of a woman in the team, even suggesting what she is not. Her role is relevant in the first of the chapters that we play, since it allows us to open the doors of several inaccessible areas to find a mobster who we believe is behind the murder of an important figure for Kasuga. But returning to the important issue, the four characters make up a team in the purest JRPG style of a lifetime with whom we fight with different enemies on the streets of Yokohama.
The turn-based combat system is quite dynamic. Not only because the characters move around the stage when we enter a fight with an immediate transition, but because it forces the player to participate in a semi-active way in what happens on screen. On the one hand we have the normal attacks, which do standard damage. On the other, the guard if we want to block possible powerful blows. But it is in the third option, skills, where the interesting begins to unfold. We have several types of skills, both offensive and defensive and support, which naturally use a part of the energy bar, MP type. But choosing from the myriad of available attacks is just the beginning, because there is still more.
One of the characteristics of this system is that we will have some actions that further enhance our attacks. X to crush a combo of blows, Y to give an extra strength to the attack … They are small QTE that force us to be aware to be able to maximize the damage. To all this are added classic elements of the most fanciful JRPGs, ranging from magic (recreated with real objects such as dynamite to generate a fire attack), as well as special attacks with unpredictable effects, such as the Russian roulette of Saeko who launches a multi-attack with her revolver with an animation worthy of a summon. But in a suit and tie. In Yokohama.
Jobs: Different Ways to Fight
Yakuza has always been an RPG, and now it shows it even more with its combat system. It has a hilarious point, as the saga has always offered, due to the situations that occur in a title set in a contemporary era, and in this case these particularities are maintained. Thanks, also, to a job system that allows us to change the style and abilities of the characters. Not only will we have new skills and actions to perform, but they also affect all our statistics in order to create profiles of fighters who know how to generate synergies between them.
Once we unlock the selection of jobs, we can choose to be clairvoyants, bodyguards, rappers, foremen, musicians, chefs, thugs … To achieve each of them we need various objectives (for example, have an intellect level +7 to be clairvoyant), and each one has its own peculiarities. Kasuga loses health points but gains MP and magic if she equips herself as a seer; Instead, as a foreman he loses 90 MP, 10 magic, 35 healing, and gains attack, defense, and bullet resistance. All this with their own skills that provide their specific advantages. Thanks to this we can dedicate some character, like Adachi, to more forceful and powerful blows, while Saeko in her Dealer version can take care of shooting multiple enemies from a distance.