Yakuza: Like a Dragon is the ninth game in the long-running franchise, and for PlayStation Plus subscribers, it is one of the monthly games for August 2022. Like a Dragon (mainly) follows the adventures of Ichiban Kasuga, the first main character in the series to not be Kazuma Kiryu. The game also takes a marked departure in one key aspect of gameplay from its eight predecessors.
Below, you will find complete controls for Yakuza: Like a Dragon on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. Following the controls will be gameplay tips geared toward beginners and advancing past the first few hours and chapters of the game.
All Yakuza Like a Dragon controls for PS4 & PS5
- Move: L
- Move Camera: R
- First Person View: L3
- Action and Confirm: X
- Job Action: Square
- Cancel and Return: Circle
- Party Chat: Triangle (when available)
- Sprint: R2 or X (toggle)
- Reset Camera: L2
- Show and Hide Party Status: L1
- Take Out Camera: D-Pad Up (when available)
- Open Inbox: D-Pad Left (when available)
- Map: Touchpad
- Pause Menu: Options
- QTE: X, Circle, Square, Triangle, L
Note that the left and right sticks are denoted as L and R, respectively. Pressing either is marked as L3 and R3. During quick time events (QTE), the left stick may need to be pressed in any direction.
Tips and tricks for beginners
Below, you will find tips for playing as Kasuga in Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Remember that the tips below will be aimed at beginners of the game and the first few chapters of the game.
1. Save often
The main difference between Like a Dragon and the other Yakuza games is that it’s a traditional JRPG rather than an action brawler. This means you will have turn-based battles and of course, as is customary with JRPGs, lots of scenes and dialogue, particularly early. While there is an autosave feature, you can save at any time from the pause menu.
Once you start to face more formidable foes, saving before each battle may be a prudent idea just in case something happens. Saving before arriving at each objective can help ensure you can replay should you make a decision you come to regret. Since you can, why not spam the ability?
2. Explore the areas you find yourself
As with most RPGs, explore whichever areas you come to find yourself. You’ll find food places, theatres, and even arcades with classic SEGA games (the company behind the Yakuza series). Each food place will have different offerings for you to purchase so look around to find the place(s) with your desired recovery items. Vending machines will become available in Chapter 2.
Beyond exploring the different offerings, it’s always good to familiarize yourself with the areas for more seamless navigation. Further, as will be discussed more later, you can run into random encounters like traditional RPGs; just search for those with red markers above their heads.
3. The quick time events are especially quick
Quick time events (QTEs) are named as such because they force you to input a command or set of commands within a short span of time. However, most QTEs in games aren’t as fast as their name suggests. A game like The Quarry gave you an ample few seconds to input the command, plenty of time when it’s just one input. The Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm series gave you plenty of time to input a series of four or so commands.
With Like a Dragon, do not expect there to be as much time. You may only have about a second to input a command. You’ll get practice in your very first scene with Kasuga, chasing down a mark for defrauding some high schoolers. Be ready with quick reflexes or you’ll end up failing the QTE, though in the case of a chase, it will take failing multiple QTEs to be unsuccessful.
4. Master Perfect Guard to minimize damage
An ability you’ll learn early is Perfect Guard. Unfortunately, Perfect Guard won’t negate damage. However, it will reduce damage received. Even better, a Perfect Guard will also prevent you from bleeding and stun effects, so its imperative to master the Perfect Guard as you progress against tougher opponents with more skills to inflict status effects.
Speaking of skills, Kasuga (and eventually his party) can also learn skills. You’ll learn one early that should KO most every early opponent you face with one blow. There are two different types of skill inputs: button mashing and button timing. For mashing skills, a button will appear and you just need to press it repeatedly until the attack occurs. For timing, you need to wait until the circle hits the inner circle for maximum effect. Skills use Mental Points, represented by the greenish bar under the red Health Points bar.
There are also skills related to jobs, but jobs are something that become more important after the first two chapters or so. What is important to note here about jobs and skills is that when you’re viewing your skills from the pause menu, those with a green light are job-specific. This means they’ll only be available when the character is that job. However, those with a red light are character-specific. This means they remain available regardless of the character’s job.
5. Grind a little early in the game not for experience, but for money
In Chapter 1, you can find enemies to fight that have red icons above their heads. You’ll see them on your map as red triangles. They’ll be rather weak, levels one and two, and can (for the most part) be defeated with one regular attack. The issue is that at that point in the game, each foe only rewards you with three experience and job experience points, a paltry sum. However, that’s not the point of this early grinding.
Run around for a few minutes defeating every enemy you see to build up some money. Interestingly, even with the near 20-year gap in story with Kasuga’s incarceration, you keep your money, items, and levels when you are released. Try to have a few thousand built up before you proceed. Don’t worry, the foes that drop far more money will appear later in the game.
You’ll level up at least once, if not multiple times, while grinding. Your main level will also increase far quicker than your job level. To help make battles quicker (if necessary), go for Opportune Strikes on downed opponents. Some of your attacks may cause enemies to fall to the ground. If you’re able to land a regular attack on them before they rise, you’ll land an Opportune Strike, which will land far more damage on your opponent than a regular attack and even some low-level skills.
6. Make decisions to grow Kasuga’s personality
It’s revealed early that Kasuga basically learned about life through the Dragon Quest games (hence the game title) and as such, has a view of himself and the world based on the roles and archetypes of the game. He wants to be hero, yet dichotomously is yakuza. He has an immense loyalty to boss Arakawa, another trait in most every RPG. The biggest in-game effect is that those archetypal traits become the basis for Kasuga’s personality.
Like a Dragon very much plays like a game many considered among the greatest games ever, let alone greatest RPG ever, in Persona 5. Like Persona 5, actions you take and certain consumables will raise your personality. Personality isn’t just some random in-game mechanic. Rather, it’s required to unlock certain sub-stories and relationship opportunities with party members, among other things.
The personality traits for Kasuga are Passion, Confidence, Charisma, Kindness, Intellect, and Style. Each personality trait has an associated boon in battle, a defense against a certain status effect:
- Passion: Silence
- Confidence: Sleep
- Charisma: Fear
- Kindness: Rage
- Intellect: Brainwash
- Style: Charm
The max level for each is level ten. Of course, maxing out the personality traits as soon as possible will lead to the biggest effects both in and out of battle.
As Ichiban Kasuga, you can carve your own path in the Yakuza (game) world. Remember to take your time, save often, and master Perfect Guard!