Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Identify is, to place it bluntly, not the very best Yakuza or Like a Dragon sport on the market and positively not the very best journey we’ve seen Kiryu star in.
Whereas admittedly a finances entry within the sequence extra consistent with a large-scale enlargement or DLC providing, it’s not with out some notable gaps. Its gameplay can get repetitive quick if gamers attempt to dig into the aspect content material, and its story is considerably smaller than in most trendy entries. It’s even host to a handful of localization errors, which undoubtedly says one thing given the sequence’ monitor file of meticulously translating or modifying jokes and phrase play from Japanese to English.
All of those flaws may have rightfully dragged Like a Dragon Gaiden down among the many worst within the sequence. However they didn’t; or, extra particularly, they weren’t capable of thanks to at least one spectacular scene throughout the sport’s ending which recontextualizes the sequence and lends some much-needed depth to its main man Kiryu.
As the sport wraps up, Kiryu is again on the Diadoji’s temple considering every little thing he went by. His handler Hanawa says he’s as a result of be rewarded for his onerous work, however in his typical stoic strongman approach, Kiryu brushes this off as pointless.
However then, Hanawa reveals Kiryu’s reward for all of his onerous work all through the sport — for saving Hanawa, serving to Serizawa disolve the Omi Alliance, and for encouraging Ichiban Kasuga, all in an effort to maintain Morning Glory Orphanage protected — is a video recording through one among their surveillance cameras.
It reveals Haruka, Haruto, and the remainder of the youngsters from the Orphanage have been visiting his grave in Okinawa since his disappearance on the finish of Yakuza 6, and that they’ve by no means forgotten him. Not solely that, however Ayako and Taichi found the digital camera, and on the off likelihood Kiryu was watching them by it, they to let him know that they’re okay; that they’re making an attempt to assist folks like he did in no matter methods they will, that they’re staying robust, and that they hope he comes again sometime.
They promise they’ll be ready for him, and ask that he give them an indication if he’s nonetheless alive. And to indicate how a lot they nonetheless love him, they go away him a present the subsequent time they go to his grave within the type of an image drawn by Haruto. At its heart is Kiryu, greater and happier than he’s ever appeared.
It’s a sufficiently gut-wrenching scene, and most Yakuza followers would know what to anticipate at this level. Kiryu would usually shed some manly tears, reaffirm his resolve to guard them, and set off on his subsequent journey.
However this isn’t a type of instances. As a substitute of holding robust, Kiryu shatters.
The person who has confronted down numerous risks, and who has buried sufficient associates, lovers, and sworn blood brothers to populate the entire of Yakuza: Useless Souls’ zombie hordes, weeps overtly and with unbridled anguish at being reminded of what he can’t have. The ache of being separated from his discovered household, and from the one life he wished to maintain greater than anything, lastly bursts as much as the floor after being hinted at by all the sport’s story and shrugged off with manly vigor.
It’s uncooked, it’s painful, and it’s fully missing within the overblown dramatics the sequence drenches nearly all of its emotional moments in. But it surely’s additionally stunning for these precise causes. After exemplifying fortitude and unwavering willpower it doesn’t matter what stood in entrance of him, the Dragon of Dojima genuinely drops his guard for what feels just like the very first time, and the sheer humanity he shows elicits at least emotional obliteration.
Hell, I’m not ashamed to confess that this scene managed to make me weep like no different sport has in a very long time. It humanized a personality who I’d in any other case watched be an unflappable motion hero for almost a dozen video games now, and to see him laid naked like that made what was taking part in out on the display really feel that rather more visceral.
And to high all of it off, it achieved what Yakuza 6 failed to take action a few years in the past: It made me hope that the sequence lastly lets go of Kiryu as a protagonist. To see his continued involvement within the plot inflicting him that a lot emotional misery — whether or not it’s emotionally compelling or not — made his position because the sequence’ de facto hero appear much less like a revered title held by a legend and extra like a curse burdening him with out finish.
If I wasn’t a fan of Ichiban taking on the mantle earlier than, there’s little doubt in my thoughts that I’m behind the sequence shifting that approach one hundred pc now. And if the prolonged story trailer put out for Infinite Wealth is something to go off of, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio is of the identical mindset.
Is it slightly unhappy to suppose Kiryu may by no means be featured in one other Like a Dragon sport? Undeniably. The strict-faced, muscular fridge of a person is a core purpose the sequence caught on the way in which he did, and he’s one among a choose few characters players can say they actually grew up with because of how meticulously chronicled his life has been throughout the franchise’s video games.
However Like a Dragon Gaiden has confirmed there’s a person behind the stoicism. And regardless of so a few years of being a Dragon, a Tojo Clan Chairman, and the exemplar of residing life as one sees match, Kiryu is extra than simply Kiryu. He’s additionally Kazuma, a person who misses his household and deserves to put his weary head to relaxation through a cheerful ending.