Like a Dragon: Ishin!

Posted:  Feb 23, 2023
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Disclaimer: This is an initial impression of the game. Our review and recommended settings will be updated when we've completed a full and thorough analysis of how it performs on Steam Deck. Check back soon for our full analysis!


Like a Dragon: Ishin! was provided to us by SEGA for review. Thank you!

The Like a Dragon series is back and taking us to the past! Like a Dragon: Ishin! puts us in the role of the samurai of legend, Sakamoto Ryoma, in his quest to find your father's killer, restore your honor, and save your home. Use a combo of your sword and gun to fight your enemies while leveling up and upgrading the 4 different fighting styles: Fists, Sword, Gun, and Gun+Sword. It's time to join the revolution and forever change the future of Japan!

Like a Dragon: Ishin! is a remake of the PS3-era game of the same name, but has some notable updates to it! Other than the graphical overhaul, the remake comes with new bosses and attacks, new minigames, cast changes, trooper cards, and QoL additions that make it much easier to play and enjoy. While the game definitely has some roots in PS3-era gameplay conventions, the game has that same spark that RGG puts into the other games in this series and I love it. Thankfully, they also put in some fantastic optimization to get this one running on the Steam Deck.

I noticed a few things when playing Ishin that I thought were interesting. First, it felt like the settings didn't change a ton. For example, FSR 2.1 did make some minor changes, but the overall quality of the game wasn't affected. It did help a little with stability, but not nearly as much as I had assumed it would. This could either mean it isn't implemented well or the game is optimized pretty heavily already, and with how far I have gotten in-game so far, I am willing to bet it is the latter.

FSR 2.1 Off
FSR 2.1 On
FSR 2.1 On
FSR 2.1 Off

This was similar to other settings like shadow quality and geometry. The settings, from low to medium, didn't change as much as I thought, but it did affect the game's power draw. With a combo of Low and Medium settings, as well as FSR 2.1, getting a solid 40 FPS in the important areas was easy. There are some slowdowns when running through the town, or when standing still too long and your "thoughts" come on screen, but that was really it. I saw a slowdown once when doing a finisher in battle, but that was the only time it happened during fights.

I did try a couple of things like turning resolution down and using SteamOS FSR to upscale and turning FSR 2.1 down, but nothing seemed to improve performance or lower battery drain. I also noticed some cutscenes slowdown a bit as well. I did try setting a clock speed frequency to see if this would help, but it didn't seem to do much for any of the stutters or slowdowns.

I would say this is a great experience overall though and definitely enjoying the game. The slowdowns are a little bit of a nuisance, but they don't last long or impact the game where it really matters. Overall, Ishin delivers where it really counts. The game looks beautiful and runs at 40 FPS, which feels fantastic and smooth. I would consider this a great experience on the Deck.

I will continue to assess for our full review, including a 30 FPS quality build and trying to push to 45 or 50 for a framerate focus. Right now, I would consider this a safe buy to play on the Steam Deck. Just beware that there will be some slowdowns, but nothing that will harm the experience.

Like a Dragon: Ishin! Screenshots:

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Like a Dragon: Ishin! is a wonderful remake that keeps the beauty of the Yakuza/LaD series alive. On top of that, it can run really well on Steam Deck!

Build Score

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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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One comment on “Like a Dragon: Ishin!”

  1. I’ve been streaming this from my PC but it would be nice to play this on the go. Happy to see it appears to already be optimized as well as it could be.