Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Game review by
Matt Cabral, Common Sense Media
Yakuza: Like a Dragon Game Poster Image
Mafia saga has violence, language, other mature content.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

This is primarily a story about criminals, their motives, and their actions, including murder. But it also contains strong themes and messaging around loyalty and bonds between family and friends, as well as remaining positive and persevering through hardships.

Positive Role Models

The cast primarily consists of criminals. The protagonist is among this group, but he also displays a number of positive traits, including helping those in need, remaining loyal to friends, protecting the defenseless against bullies, and seeking redemption for misdeeds.

Ease of Play

This is a sometimes complex role-playing game packed with systems and mechanics that could be potentially daunting to newcomers.

Violence

Action features frequent, violent melee combat, using punches, kicks, and makeshift weapons. Guns and knives also appear, often accompanied by blood and gore. Cutscenes can be especially brutal, depicting characters being shot in the head and cutting off their own fingers.

Sex

Women are dressed in suggestive attire, sometimes sexually harassed by male characters. Sex, prostitution, and brothels are referenced. Men pay money to spend time with women in Japanese hostess clubs.

Language

Frequent use of foul language, including "f--k," "s--t," "d--k," "ass," "bastard," and "bitch."

Consumerism

This is the latest entry in the long-running Yakuza series, which includes a number of sequels and spin-offs.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking, sometimes in excess, is depicted. Characters smoke and vape, and a man injects himself with an experimental drug. There are references to drug dealing in the dialogue.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a role-playing game for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC. Its story unfolds within Japan's criminal underworld, where mobsters regularly discuss and commit illegal acts, including murder. The gameplay's heavily focused on violent melee combat. The frequent exchanges are over-the-top, sometimes including fantastical elements and effects, but are still bloody, bone-crunching affairs carried out with feet, fists, and makeshift melee weapons. Cutscenes include more realistic violence -- often with guns and knives -- with some graphic blood and gore. A portion of the story also takes place in a prison, where a character is brutally beaten. While the protagonist is fully entwined in this criminal world and lifestyle, he also displays a number of positive qualities on his path to making a better life for himself. Characters frequently drink, sometimes excessively, as well as smoke and vape. Some female characters wear revealing outfits, and are occasionally sexually harassed by male characters. There's multiple references to prostitution, as the protagonist was raised in a brothel. Foul language, including "f--k," "s--t," " d--k," "ass," "bastard," and "bitch," is used frequently. The game features a number of systems and mechanics, including turn-based combat, that might be complex for casual players and those new to the genre.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byGameRX12112 December 17, 2020

For 11+ kids

Yakuza Like A dragon .
5/5
Teen, 14 years old Written byGiornoKiryu September 9, 2021

Yakuza is a really good game series but be careful...

Overall, I think the game is not too much for kids 14>, however the game does have sexual things that if you don't think your kid should be watching... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byZed123 April 11, 2021

Great

This game is really good, it should be for 12 yr olds

What's it about?

YAKUZA: LIKE A DRAGON is both the latest sequel in Sega's long-running Yakuza series and a bit of a reboot for the Japanese mafia franchise. As with previous entries, the game contains a sprawling story heavily focused on the criminal underworld, where most disputes are settled with flying fists and feet. While the urban Japanese setting, shady characters, and frequent street brawls return, the latest entry trades series' protagonist Kazuma Kiryu for newcomer Ichiban Kasuga. After spending nearly 20 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, Kasuga sets out to rebuild his life and uncover the many family mysteries and larger conspiracies that were created in his absence. In addition to its standalone story and fresh antihero, the game adopts a new turn-based combat system, forgoing previous installment's action-focused brawling for more strategic showdowns.

Is it any good?

Anyone who's spent some time behind the skyrocketing fists and feet of this series' sharp-dressed anti-heroes will feel right at home in the franchise's latest installment. Yakuza: Like A Dragon, Sega's newest entry in the saga, retains the detailed, urban settings, optional mini-games, colorful characters, dramatic storytelling, and brutal beat-downs of its predecessors. But these familiar elements are nicely balanced by a few fresh, notable features that make for a deeper, more compelling take on the series' formula. Regular protagonist Kazuma Kiryu passes the torch to Ichiban Kasuga, a likable, sometimes clueless character that not only injects the story with some kindness and charm, but also counters the melodrama with some welcome laughs.

This isn't to say Kasuga's softer personalty comes at the cost of the series' signature, brutal combat. On the contrary, encounters are bone-crushingly satisfying, packing more depth, variety, and over-the-top style than ever. Most of this comes courtesy of a new turn-based battle system, a huge departure from the franchise's previous real-time action brawls. The new take adds a ton of nuance and strategy, from managing a four-member party of fighters to carefully selecting their offensive, defensive, special moves, and consumable items. The system also doesn't entirely abandon the immediacy of real-time combat, as characters can still wield makeshift melee weapons and even unleash grenades and other table-turning goodies. While generally a positive for the series, the more methodical fights occasionally display some clunkiness, such as characters getting caught behind environmental objects and targets moving erratically. Like a Dragon also suffers from some slow narrative stretches, especially in its early hours. Still, it does a fantastic job retaining and polishing what's made these games cult-favorites, while also introducing enough fresh tweaks to evolve the series for a new generation of wannabe gangsters.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the game's protagonist. Is he a good guy or bad guy? Is it possible to be both? What are some of his best and worst character traits?

  • How does the game's city change after its twenty year jump in time? What technology is new? Has the city changed for the better or worse?

  • How does the game glamorize gangsters and criminal activity? Is it okay for entertainment mediums to positively showcase this lifestyle? What are the pros and cons of games sensationalizing criminals and criminal behavior?

Game details

Our editors recommend

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Themes & Topics

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