Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name is a stunning return to form for its titular character

Forgive me for thinking my adventures with Kazuma Kiryu were over but clearly I was very wrong.

Following the Yakuza series, this iconic character went through it all and had, what seemed to be, a fairly definitive ending. So imagine our surprise when The Man Who Erased His Name was revealed a while back, then we saw he’ll also be part of the next mainline game in the series.

It’s always a tricky thing to bring back iconic characters when their fate seems completely sealed. Should you do it? Is there a good reason to do it? In this case, I absolutely think there is and it really opens up the future of the series, too.

I won’t dive too deeply into spoiler territory – though it’s kind of hard to do as there’s a lot of context from the wider Yakuza series – but Kiryu has returned and he has a new identity.

This makes the opening portions of the game quite interesting as he wrestles with an old identity and adjusts to a new one – Joryu. And that’s what makes this one so interesting as it kind of serves as something of a soft-reset for the series. So despite the obvious spoilers and narrative links, you don’t need to have played other mainline games before to appreciate The Man Who Erased His Name.

That being said, if you have played them before, everything here will feel incredibly familiar to you. One minute, you’re smashing enemies around the head with a chair and punching them into next week, and then in the next breath you’re singing on a karoke machine and at the arcades on Sonic the Fighters. Yes, that’s really playable.

These games offer so much content for players, full of optional activities to invest yourself in, but also are brought together by a compelling tale and great combat that is just simply unmatched by anything else on the market.

So on the one hand, yes, this is pretty much everything you’d expect from Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios and isn’t necessarily doing anything new. But the reintroduction of such a beloved character, the pacing of the story, the visual upgrades, ease of just straddling main content and optional and even the length make this, arguably, the most enjoyable of all the games so far.

And that is probably the big elephant in the room to address here – yes, this is a shorter game than you’re used to. In fact, there’s only Five Chapters in total, but just like it did Assassin’s Creed: Mirage and even Spider-Man 2, there’s a focus on quality and it just enriches the experience all the more.

This is a short, sweet, almost side story to the main adventure that will definitely have a bearing on the future of the series, so is also an important, worthwhile adventure to tell. Aad I mean, you get to see Kiryu walk around in cool assed sunglasses and a gorgeous black suit throughout. Totally worthwhile for that alone.

But yes, these shorter paced stories are a great fit for this universe, and it doesn’t mean you have any less action, things to see and do, and ways to keep you occupied. There’s still Mahjong, Billiards, the Arcades, Karoke, Gambling, Golf, as well as all the Arcade games like Virtua Fighter 2.1, and even Daytona! Or should we say SEGA Racing Classic 2….

It’s an exciting inclusion for the series and with hints to other classic SEGA games like House of the Dead and Wonderland Wars, who knows what future titles might end up in LAD games. But of course the other big mention is this deviates away from the RPG esque gameplay from Yakuza: LAD with Ichiban Kasuga.

We go back to the button mashing, battle stances of Kiryu which can be upgraded and evolve over the course of the game, letting you boost health, attack, and even add to your heat abilities, like taunting enemies on the ground or using quickstep strikes.

However, there are some other new additions apart from Daytona like Kiryu’s Spider rope like weapon which can serve him in combat by tangling up enemies and dropping them to the ground, but it can also collect items in the city like hard to reach items and even be used in some quests.

But that’s just the start of the gadgets Kiryu can now use as an agent with a new identity. He has rocket-powered shoes which basically turn the game into Jet Set Radio where you can whizz around at high speed, there’s a Hornet which basically lets you send and fire drones at enemies.

And yes, you can even get exploding cigarettes because this is a habit of hero just can’t quit.

Kiryu even has a new English speaking voice actor in YouTuber, Yong Yea. It feels strange at first, not hearing his traditional VO with English subtitles – and you can totally still go that approach should you wish to – but it certainly adds a new feel to the game and character. And while I wasn’t entirely sold on Yea’s performance as Kiryu – I found some line delivery a bit flat and passive – it really shows SEGA are setting up this character and series for new audiences. Which is exciting for everyone.

All combined, it really makes this a fun, easy to dive into package that could serve as an excellent entry point for the series while at the same time being an exciting continuation for one of gaming’s iconic characters.

There’s even a demo for the next game bolted into this, so you can get some hands on time with Infinite Wealth ahead of its launch next year in case you need some help deciding whether you want to continue your adventures in this world.

Like a Dragon: Gaiden The Man Who Erased His Name is excellent. Sure, it’s a bit lore loaded at times as there’s a lot of context to draw from with so many other Yakuza games and those who haven’t played the games before could find themselves a bit lost at times in certain sections, but the game itself feels tight, well-rounded, entertaining, has a bunch of mini games to double your play time and even gives you an option to play Daytona 2 again. Who’d have thought it!?


Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name is a wonderful return to action for Kazuma Kiryu with enough new things to keep you invested and a compelling tale to reintroduce this iconic character. A great jumping on point for new players while also serving long-term fans with plenty of nods and references. All while throwing in new arcade games and a demo for the next main-line release. Some mission repetition aside, this is a must-play.


+ A wonderful return for Kiryu, offering something old and new with gadgets and combat
+ Lots of side content and optional mini games to uncover, including the return of Daytona!
+ A full fledged demo for Infinite Wealth
+ Compelling, compact story that offers just enough for players


– Some mission repetition 

Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name is out now on PC, Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation

Code Kindly Provided by SEGA for review purposes

Played on Xbox Series X

About the author

Sam Diglett

Sam grew up with a PS2, spending hours howling at the moon in Okami and giving students wedgies in Bully. Fortunately, she also likes Pokemon because otherwise life could have been quite annoying for her.
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