In September of 2022, I watched the announcement trailer for the upcoming Like a Dragon: Ishin! (which I’ve posted above for your viewing convenience). Back then, I somehow missed the whole “This is a remake” bit. I hadn’t even heard of the original version of Ishin when it released back in 2014 for the PS3 and PS4. In fact, I didn’t even realize that there was a Like a Dragon spinoff series, which I assume includes the 2020 game, Yakuza: Like a Dragon — or maybe that’s just an amalgamation of the two series.

I assume the reason I wasn’t familiar with the Like a Dragon subseries was primarily because, back in the 2010s, the Yakuza series was not as well-known the States as it is today. Things kind of fizzled around the release of Yakuza 2 and leading up to Yakuza 3. But then came the release of the highly acclaimed Yakuza 0, which came out on March 12th, 2015 (my birthday, wouldn’t you know it?), and the even higher-ly acclaimed Yakuza 6 in December of 2016. And that’s when the real Yakuza renaissance began, with the Kiwami and Kiwami 2 remakes and the subsequent Yakuza-thereafter-numerical remasters.

Like a Dragon: Ishin!

So although I was interested in Like a Dragon: Ishin! after that reveal trailer, it sort of receded into the back of my mind. That was until recently, when I started to hear grumblings of it again. Only this time, every source was calling it a remake, which had me scratching my head. I had no idea.

But now that I am clear on what this game is — an actual remake of the original PS3/PS4 release — I can finally start to get excited by the game itself without feeling like I’m missing something.

That’s good, because Like a Dragon: Ishin! looks really awesome, and I can’t wait to check it out when it releases February 17, 2023. I have long enjoyed the atmosphere of Yakuza titles, but the hand-to-hand combat was never really my thing, especially once you add weapons into the mix and all of a sudden you show up to a knife or even gunfight and all you have is two fives. So the idea of a Feudal-Era (or thereabouts) version of Yakuza where you can samurai slash the heck out of enemies, while also wielding a pimp gun (ie a small pistol), all while running around ancient Japanese villages? That sounds like my kind of jam.

Like a Dragon: Ishin!

Oh, and you can also power up and shoot massive Hadoukens, as well as other over-the-top power moves. I mean, what’s not to like?

You can check out some gameplay in the video below, although the person manning the sticks isn’t very good at the game, so bear with them. Nonetheless, Like a Dragon: Ishin! is looking like a solid entry in the Yakuza-verse, and a nice change of pace from the more action-orientated entries — and now the more turn-based RPG installments.

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