Turn-based battles aren’t the only thing you’ll want to prepare for with our Yakuza: Like a Dragon tips. The new and very different game for the franchise layers on a lot of activities — as well as methods for getting a leg up on the competition. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of tips and tricks to make your rise back up the social ladder just a little bit easier. While Like a Dragon may be dense, and even intimidating at times, it’s also a whole lot easier with some help from your in-game friends. Plus the various ways you can upgrade or make things easier on yourself aren’t hard to engage with once you know where to look. So let’s take a look at exactly that and more in our Yakuza: Like a Dragon tips guide!
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Stick With the Story for a While
Halfway through Chapter 1 you’ll start finding mobs to fight in the streets as you roam around a rather restricted version of Kamurocho. While it may be tempting to start farming experience right off the bat, we recommend just following the main story for a good, long while. The combat at this point is truly barebones and the experience you gain isn’t actually great. Nor do you keep the money you collect for some time. You will return to this city later in the game, though, so don’t worry about looking for Golden and Silver safes just yet.
Use Your Abilities
This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to worry about overspending MP by using skills during battle. Like a Dragon gives many ways to restore it without burning your items (and the cash needed to buy more), however. Leveling up fills a party member back to full health and Mental Points. As does stopping at a health station conveniently scattered around most combat areas. You tend to level up very consistently, too, so there’s rarely any reason to save your MP. Use it to cinch those tough fights faster and get the experience.
A Farm… for Bugs
Bugs are a natural source of income and crafting materials in Like a Dragon. They’re also seemingly quite rare. The little suckers are hard to find around the city at large, so it pays to know where they nest. That would mostly be Hamakita Park. it’s a great spot to farm as there are always several in the area. Stop on by, grab a few, do some stuff, and return to get more.
Check on Taxi Drivers
Taxi cabs let you fast travel around Yokohama and Kamurocho — for a price. But you may be confused at first why their locations are so limited. That’s because taxis need to be “unlocked” as fast travel points in order to use them for the first time. Before this, they won’t even show up on your map or mini-map. You need to physically find the cabs, interact with it once, and walk away to register the location. You don’t even need to pay to travel! So always make sure you stop and say hi if the spot isn’t marked on your map. Tell taxis apart from basic cars by looking for their yellow paint with a red stripe, and the taxi sign on top.
The Taxi Safety Plan
Taxis are good for more than just moving you around. They can also get enemies to relocate. Wandering bands of enemies will “despawn” if you interact with a cab while they’re near. Again: you don’t need to actually use the taxi. Just open the door and close out to save yourself from fights you don’t want to worry about.
Uncap Your Relationships ASAP
Early on in Like a Dragon, Ichiban learns about sitting down for drinks with allies. It seems like a nice way to boost your support gauges with one another. In fact, it’s actually much, much more important. Your relationships can only go so far — via random conversations and the like — before they reach a cap. You can tell because of the itty bitty lock icon on their support gauge. The only way to uncap it is by having deeper conversations at Survive in the Bar District. If you don’t, you’re leaving new abilities on the table, while simultaneously wasting extra relationship points that hit the limit.
Break Out the Breaker
One of the first new jobs you can unlock is the Breaker. This dancing designation is reminiscent of Majima from Yakuza 0. It features the same crowd clearing area-of-effect attacks, for instance, in addition to self-buffs. But what we really want is Windmill: a wide-range attack you unlock fairly quickly. It absolutely crushes large groups of foes and is perfect for clearing random encounters. And that’s not all! A much earlier skill, Rolling Thrash, lets you regenerate Mental Points. So you can pretty much burn down large groups of enemies at will without burning items to restore your stamina.
Hit the Books
Unlike Persona 5, it won’t take you several reading sessions to absorb knowledge from books in Yakuza: Like a Dragon. These consumable items automatically level up your personality traits for Ichiban. Which trait is affected is always indicated in the description, too. You just, uh, need to actually know what you’re looking for. Books are rewarded for certain activities and can be purchased from places that offer a special currency (like batting cages and shogi stations). Briefcases hidden in alleyways and other places might also give them up. Though the game doesn’t actually warn you what books do or how to activate them… Check out the Growth Items section of your inventory. You might already have a helpful book there!
Stun Isn’t a Status Ailment
Things like poison and rage are considered status ailments in Like a Dragon. As such, you can heal them with any abilities that cure status ailments, such as the Idol job’s Miraculous Voice. One seeming exception is the terribly annoying stun state. Several bosses throughout the game can inflict this annoying effect. So you’d hope that one could cure it via the usual methods. No, though… Don’t waste your MP trying to clear the dizzying effect.
Treasure Hunting Uncovers More Than Scraps
Vending machines gain a new purpose during Chapter 3. Every time you stumble upon one, or a random bag of garbage on the street, make sure to get up close and perform a Treasure Hunt. It takes only a handful of seconds anyway. You can be rewarded with not just yen, but also valuable gear or items to sell at the nearest pawn shop. This can include Gold Plates (valued at 100,000 yen)!
It’s worth noting that you can repeat this action multiple times, too. Just you wander away from the vending machine and return a couple minutes later to reset the spot. Always make sure to check them out if you are returning through the same street as before. Treasure Hunting opportunities are also available on trash cans and piles of trash like the ones that are usually near the riverside.
You Can Fast Travel From Anywhere, but It’s More Expensive
One more note about the taxis… Once you unlock them, you don’t actually have to walk up to one to use it. Instead you can access your smartphone from the main menu. Then click the taxi icon. This allows you to fast travel to any taxi you previously unlocked, from anywhere in the world, once again at a cost. The cost is higher than walking up to a car in person and taking it from there. But it might save you just a little bit of walking — particularly if you haven’t unlocked all the spots in a certain district yet.
You Can Tell Whose Turn Is Next
This information is always available in game. Yet Like a Dragon never really calls attention to it, despite how useful it can be in the thick of combat. In short: every friend and foe alike has a name box onscreen during combat. And on these boxes, a small slab of text will read “next” if they’re slotted to be the next one to take a turn. That’s great for prioritizing threats; you can stun or take down foes before they get to move at all.
Sneak Behind the Block(s)
Enemies don’t often block in the traditional sense in Like a Dragon. Instead, foes will kick you out of attack animations if you run in front of them, somewhat forcing you to focus on nearby attackers. Though skills break through the counterattacks. Another way (or opportunity) to get past enemies is angling yourself to attack behind those that would otherwise block you. If your character does a standard attack that has them run behind a foe’s literal back, they can’t block.
Substories Are Now Mapped
Substories (i.e. side quests) are a big part of what makes the Yakuza series so interesting and exhilarating. Though they were hidden from plain sight in previous games, forcing you to stumble upon them while out walking. Now they are signposted on both the map and the mini-map with dialogue box icons. If they symbol is gray, that means you haven’t started it yet. If the icon is blue, that means it’s a next step in a quest you already started. You might even want to steer clear of the latter sometimes. In-progress substories tend to pull you directly into the action — interrupting whatever else you were doing instead.
Don’t Miss Free Meals
They don’t have any signs on top of their heads, but if you stumble upon an NPC standing behind a table with kitchen items, make sure to go and talk to them. They’ll give you a health item for free!
Please, Use the ATMs
Whenever Ichiban falls in random battles, there’s something almost worse than a game over screen. He actually loses half the yen he’s carrying at that moment. This can really shake things up if you’ve been saving lots of cash. ATMs are great for saving big sums of money, though, and you can make deposits in stores like Poppo. Then just withdraw the cash whenever you’d like afterwards. You can even check your balance by looking at the Passbook item in the “Valuables” section of your inventory. Story battles also give you the choice of losing some of your money, spending more of it to heal, and just quitting (in order to reload your last save).
Get Easy Briefcases in East Jinnai Station
As you wander around town you will find white briefcases scattered in the ground and other surfaces, but spotting many of them is rare. That being said, if you’re passing through East Jinnai Station, make sure to go around Daikokuten St., close to the top (if you see the stairs that take you to the bridge, that’s the spot). Just around the corner you will see four glowing briefcases – the items you obtain are completely randomized, but you can do a quick manual save beforehand to reset them and see if you get something better.
Getting Hit by Cars Hurts
In keeping with the wild, wacky universe of Yakuza, walking up in front of a moving vehicle and letting it slam your ribs does damage. So… don’t do that.
Find the Trash Bag Substory
One of the first substories you can find is for Benten Pawn on Misaki St. The location kinda sticks out; it’s covered in trash bags that spill into the street. NPCs ask you to help get the owner to clean up, which isn’t all that difficult. Your reward? Access to the pawn shop. This is crucial because Yakuza doesn’t work like most JRPGs. You can’t just sell treasure and unwanted items anywhere. You need to hit up a pawn shop to unload extra stuff. This is especially useful for exchanging plates. These items come in various rarities and exist only to be sold for yen.
Start Fights and Go Shopping
All substories are different, but some share a similar structure where, after accepting them, you need to wait a certain amount of in-game time for the next callout (indicated by the icon turning blue on the map). This can be annoying… Yet there’s an easy solution! Just go kick somebody’s ass, or purchase a new item in a store nearby. Once you are done, double check with the map, as the icon should be there.
Skills Can Be Used Outside of Combat, Too
Yes, you can use healing skills outside of combat, too! This can be a great way to either save useful healing items or just spend Mental Points if you haven’t been using them much lately, considering Nanba (and other healers you get later) usually gain points back with basic attacks.
This guide was made in part with the contributions of freelance writer Diego Arguello.