Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name

Posted:  Dec 06, 2023
SDHQ BUILD SCORE: 
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Review

Like a Dragon Gaiden was provided by SEGA for review. Thank you!

The Like a Dragon/Yakuza series is one of my favorite JRPGs that exist. The developers have found a fantastic way to balance intense drama, meaningful plotlines, and hilarious moments to create a captivating tale that feels unmatched. The games are known for their length, the amount of activities to do, and their incredible story. Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name is significantly shorter, and I knew that going in, yet it has one of the greatest stories told in this series and possibly my favorite overall, even though it is a spinoff.

In the first 7 games, including Yakuza 0, we followed the tale of Kazuma Kiryu and his legendary accomplishments that made him the Dragon of Dojima. Like a Dragon Gaiden takes place after Yakuza 6 and shows off what is going on with Kiryu before the next mainline entry in the series, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. I won't say much more about the story, as I don't want to spoil it, but the ending was epic and a tear-jerker. Seeing Kiryu in a way I hadn't seen him before shattered me at the end, and I had to take a couple of minutes to recover. It will still be impactful if you haven't played the other games, but trust me, you will want to play the other games before this one. We have essentially watched Kiryu's life unfold in front of us, and it's incredible how it culminates here.

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The gameplay is similar to the other games in the series before Yakuza: Like a Dragon. You will usually run around, getting into real-time fights and getting money to upgrade your stats and unlock new moves. You have two fighting styles, one that is based on his old Yakuza style and another that utilizes gear and gadgets from being an agent. The gadgets can make fighting quite interesting, with a wire to rope and flight enemies, rocket boots to ram into others at a faster speed, little drones to send out and attack, and exploding cigarettes. It's really cool trying to find a way to make them all work together and fine-tune your strategy.

The game does have substories, or side quests, as well as a colosseum to fight and earn more money to upgrade. They are all connected to the "Akane Network," and while some are quite intriguing, I didn't like being forced to compete and level up the network to progress the story. I still enjoyed it, but I do wish I could have just played the story instead of being forced to get my level up to 10 and go for Gold status when I really just wanted to see what happened next.

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As with other games in the series, the world is gorgeous, and you are mostly running around Sotenbori. I found it wild, as I usually do when playing the game, going back to the same towns and areas from the past ones, yet finding a lot of love instead of feeling like I have seen it all before. This is a Like a Dragon/Yakuza game, and while it may be shorter, it hits just as well, if not better, than the others.

Like a Dragon Gaiden - Steam Deck Performance

Overall, Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name runs quite well on the Steam Deck. I generally didn't have any issues in my playthrough with any of the builds I created, but there are a couple of performance dips at certain spots to be aware of.

When running around Sotenbori continuously or in the main area of The Castle, and in some large fights, there will be some drops or an increase in battery drain. There aren't many of these, but some fights that include 20-30 people you are putting down, which can happen in The Castle's Colosseum, tend to be harder on the system. This is less noticeable with our recommended build, which is at 30 FPS, but still noticeable.

Recommended Settings

Using a combination of medium settings with FSR 2 at Quality and SSAO turned on, we can have a great-looking world with a solid framerate at 30 FPS. With this, we can also have a TDP limit of 8 to keep the battery drain down to a minimum and get around 3 hours of gameplay.

Quality Build

By turning everything on, pushing the framerate to 40 FPS, and turning off any TDP limit, we can push the visuals to the maximum possible with a mostly solid framerate. I did end up keeping FSR on due to how draining the game is without any upscaling. It would require a lot of decreases in quality settings, and since FSR 2 on Quality looks so good, I didn't see any reason to turn it off.

Framerate Build

While 40 FPS feels great on the Deck, the framerate can be pushed further. There are some areas that are just too intense and would require lowering resolution to hit, so while keeping FSR 2 at Balanced and lowering some settings, we can hit 45 FPS pretty often for a slightly smoother experience. The game still looks great, but the slight drops from the more intensive areas feel a bit worse.

Accessibility

As for accessibility, Like a Dragon Gaiden has different audio bars to change, email ringtone settings in-game, an auto-mute option when the game window isn't in focus, toggles always sprinting in battle and vibration, turning on and off minimap display, and inverting the camera. There are also controller sensitivity sliders and different color vision options for Deuteranopia, Protanopia, and Tritanopia.

The game does support 16:10 resolutions, though menus and cutscenes will have black bars and take up 1280x720, but the actual gameplay will expand to the rest of the Deck's screen. We also have gamepad and cloud save support.

Conclusion

Like a Dragon Gaiden may be a smaller-scale game in the series, but it's clear the team didn't spare any expense in creating an incredible entry. The quantity may be a bit less, especially with the story, but the quality shines as one of the best narratives in the Like a Dragon/Yakuza games. While there are some minor issues here and there, the new Agent style and gameplay elements work exceptionally well and make this one of my favorites. It runs exquisitely on the Steam Deck as well, so if you are hoping to take this game with you wherever you go, it can be done comfortably.

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name retains the quality of the series, even with a shorter story, and runs fantastically on the Steam Deck.

Performance: 
VISUALS: 
Stability: 
Controls: 
Battery: 
Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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Current Price: 
$49.99
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Other Builds
Quality Build
SteamOS

Limit

40

Refresh Rate

40

HRS

NO

TDP Limit

No

Scaling Filter

Linear

GPU Clock

Disabled

Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

Texture Filtering: 16x

Shadow Quality: Medium

Geometry Quality: High

Realtime Reflections: On

Motion Blur: Off

SSAO: On

Depth of Field: On

Reflection Quality: Medium

AMD FSR 2: Quality

AMD FSR 2 Sharpness: 0.5

Projected Battery Usage and Temperature

17W - 23W

75c - 83c

1.5 - 2 hours

Framerate Build
SteamOS

Limit

45

Refresh Rate

45

HRS

NO

TDP Limit

No

Scaling Filter

Linear

GPU Clock

Disabled

Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

Texture Filtering: 16x

Shadow Quality: Low

Geometry Quality: Medium

Realtime Reflections: Off

Motion Blur: Off

SSAO: Off

Depth of Field: On

Reflection Quality: Medium

AMD FSR 2: Balanced

AMD FSR 2 Sharpness: 0.5

Projected Battery Usage and Temperature

16W - 22W

73c - 81c

1.5 - 2 hours

related Settings

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