Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a huge change of pace compared to the last seven mainline games, thanks to its heavier focus on RPG systems. While figuring out the basics isn’t overly difficult, we’ve put together a list of tips that should prove useful early on in your adventures.
Save money for equipment
After being dumped in a new city and left without a home, Ichiban has a hard time making money early on. Enemies don’t drop much money, and side activities like can collecting are better for gaining new items than making bank.
This means that you’ll have to save your yen for the things that are most important, which is mainly equipment for your party. Unlike other Yakuza games, your weapons and armour play a bigger part in success during battle. It’s not like you can avoid taking hits any more, so being able to survive the early encounters is important.
Try not to get distracted by optional content
While it may be tempting to go around doing every piece of side content straight away, there are a couple of reasons to avoid doing so. The first is that you’ll have to progress through the main story to unlock more party members. Doing so will make lower level encounters even easier, speeding up the backtracking you’ll have to do later on.
Secondly, as mentioned earlier, the rewards for regular battles aren’t amazing to start with. In comparison, you’ll generally get a good amount of cash from story fights and bosses. Some character events are also tied to story progression, meaning that certain classes for them will be locked for a while.
If you do want to break up the first few story chapters, substories are probably the best choice. Most don’t cost money, and there are sometimes decent rewards for completing them. As for most other side content, it’s best left until later.
Another tip that doesn’t apply later on, but will save you some time in the beginning. Like a Dragon may be an RPG; however, grinding isn’t particularly rewarding early on. You’ll be doing a lot of battling — and a lot of grinding — during the later chapters of the game, so it’s best to avoid burning out early.
If you want to avoid battles entirely, it’s possible to make wandering groups of enemies disappear by interacting with taxis and shop owners. Considering how high the encounter rate can be at times, this ends up being invaluable when travelling long distances.
Choose a party composition early
It’ll be a few chapters before changing jobs is even possible, but once you can, you’ll have to decide which ones you want to use and stick with them. A lot of stats are tied to job ranks, so switching frequently will only hurt you in the long run.
For most characters, their unique starting jobs end up being the most effective. The main exception to this is Saeko, who is one of only two party members that can access the Idol job. It’s essentially Like a Dragon’s healer job, eventually having access to full party heals and revives. Everyone else can then basically focus on damage instead, so just pick which job you think is the coolest (or goofiest).
Don’t stray into higher level areas
This tip is somewhat related to the points made about grinding and side content. Each area in the game is given a threat level, which (usually) shows how difficult the enemies will be. Because of this, it’s generally not a good idea to wander around areas that don’t feature main story quests or substories.
Even if you’re able to defeat some of the tougher enemies in these areas, the amount of time it takes is too high in comparison to the rewards gained. You’re better off just fighting enemies that are on the way to your next objective instead.
This does also mean that some things are best left until later in the game. The north east part of the map features a number of shops and side activities, and even a few early substories and sidequests. It may seem odd to avoid them, especially in a Yakuza game, yet you’ll have an easier time doing them once you’ve gained a few more levels and better equipment.
These are just some of the ways to improve your time with Yakuza: Like a Dragon early on. Of course, once you’ve progressed further through the game, many of these tips will no longer be relevant. So feel free to fully explore Yokohama after you’ve kitted everyone out and have a decent amount of money saved up.
If you’re on the fence about picking up Like a Dragon, check out our review. It’s especially worth checking out if you’re unsure about the combat system changes, since it’s an integral part of the game.
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