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Tokyo Game Show 2023
Getting Distracted by the Hostesses in Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name

by Ken Iikura-Gross,

The new 2023 Like a Dragon (formerly Yakuza) game, Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, has you exploring a rich gangsters paradise. Thankfully, the only valley you're looking at isn't death but a beautiful woman's bosom. Or at least that's what this man did at the Tokyo Game Show 2023 demo of the game.

If ever there was a video game demo with too much to do, The Man Who Erased His Name fits the bill. The demo starts in a tiny space, a converted cargo ship called the Castle. The area has well-populated streets and buildings. So, like any good game in the Like a Dragon series, why bother progressing the story when all the neon lights entice you to enjoy illicit and lecherous activities?

Picking up the demo, players are first treated to a light combat tutorial. A cross between something like an action and beat 'em up game, players have a few options to take out the wannabe gangsters who get in their way. These include light punches, kicks, and grapples to “summon” mini drones or throw cigarette bombs. The wide variety of attacks allows players to tailor their fighting style to their needs or preferred way of going through encounters. However, it should be noted I had some trouble picking up items to use as weapons. It's a bit clunky standing next to something like a chair, divider pole, or table and hitting the command button only for it not to register correctly. After a few tries, I had some fun with my weapon of choice, a traffic cone. So, while a bit clunky at first, the payoff is well worth the wait and patience.

After this opening fight, the Castle is free to explore. While the choice of buildings is limited—what I saw were two high-class gambling establishments, one hostess club, a tailor shop, and a replica of Osaka Castle—there is far too much for the limited play time of the demo. For instance, the casinos had your choice of poker, blackjack, and hanafuda. While I know the rules of poker and blackjack, there wasn't enough time to try hanafuda. However, with more time after the release, players will undoubtedly spend hours gambling away their fake money.

One thing this man did spend as much time as he could during the demo was enjoying the company of a hostess. The game will have three options when released, but the demo only allowed you to interact with one of the women. From some small talk to ordering drinks and giving gifts, you experience most of what hostess clubs have to offer. Or at least what I imagine hostess clubs have to offer, as I have never frequented one. It's a fun little distraction from the main game. What's striking about this section of the game is how the hostess's characters are not a CGI model. It was an actress. It's not something I expected from a game—well, maybe from the Sega 32x days—but visual change in the game is welcome. But as this is a staple for the Like a Dragon franchise, old fans will enjoy some new models to romance.

Unfortunately, or fortunately for me, the hostess club was where I spent most of the The Man Who Erased His Name demo. Nevertheless, peeking over the shoulders of other plays, it's clear the Castle's fighting ring is an action-packed part of the game. And while I didn't get to that area, seeing others play that section piqued my interest in the game.

The Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name demo certainly had options for players at the Tokyo Game Show. So much so that it served its purpose as a demo very well: get people interested in the game. And having played it, I want to romance more hostesses, I mean, explore the world of Like a Dragon.

If you have a gambling addiction and are in the United States, please contact or call the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-GAMBLER.

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