A lot of people were taken by surprise when they saw the Combat System in Yakuza 7. The franchise has always been renowned for its intense beat-em-up action, which is what made things so shocking when it was announced that Yakuza 7, called Yakuza: Like a Dragon in the West, would be a full-on turn-based RPG… Or so we thought.
As it turns out, maybe there is a lot more to Yakuza 7’s “Live Command RPG Battle” system than meets the eye. Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Yakuza 7) chief producer Masayoshi Yokoyama shared additional information on the newly implemented RPG system today.
For starters, Live-Command RPG Battles mean battles through command execution where the fight is constantly in motion. In a standard RPG, enemies and party members are stationary, and their actions only playback by executing commands such as “Attack.” But in Yakuza: Like a Dragon, battles are different. Think of it as a battle system where characters move in real-time and fight in a living city.
With the exception of some boss fights, when you encounter an enemy, the battle will begin from right where you’re standing. In other words, depending on how you encounter the enemy, your starting position in the battle will change, which can both give you the upper hand or land you in a pinch. (Some enemies may also suddenly appear from hiding.)
When you enter battle, enemies, party members, and even the “city” will remain in motion. They don’t stop moving. Characters will turn towards nearby enemies and keep their distance. And naturally, since these battles take place in the city, characters will fall if they bump into things like street signs or bicycles.
Everything will move according to the physics of the Dragon Engine developed by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. In other words, objects that players can find in the environment like bikes can still be used as weapons or obstacles like in the action-based battles of previous games.
Turn order is determined by parameters such as a character’s stats, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get the same result by attacking just any enemy. In a situation where you attack the enemy directly (by running up to them), there is a high chance that another enemy character will interrupt your attack. Positioning is very important in Yakuza 7.
The situation completely changes depending on your distance from the enemy character you’re attacking, as well as the “city objects” in the area. If a bicycle or something similar rolls by, you can kick it at the enemy, or pick it up and attack with it. This action also depends on the character’s class and traits. Even enemy characters outside of those you are trying to attack may become the target of an attack or interference.
For example, when you run-up to a distant enemy to attack, there is a high chance of you being interrupted by other enemies in the run-up. On the other hand, depending on the technique, you can attack several enemies at once through attacks that sweep and ranged attacks.
You may get blown into the streets because of the knockback of an attack. Well, it’s time to move out of the way because traffic will still pass by during that period. In other words, you may get hit by a passing car and take damage because of it. The city will not stop to wait for you to take your turn in this turn-based environment.
Depending on the technique, there are some action-like operations such as repeatedly pressing a button to match the action during an attack. There is an “Auto” mode for people who want to play without worry, which automatically chooses actions based on each character’s class and traits. However, the feature will not be a crutch as it can still mess up or simply not work as intended in some instances.
Everything utilizes the real-time physics of the Dragon Engine that the development team has built up with previous entries in the series, and no battle situation is the same. The stronger the enemy, the smarter they are, so if you find yourself in a pinch, you have various options including retreating behind other characters.
This certainly seems like a very interesting spin on the Turn-Based genre of games. The world will not stop to wait for your turn and as such, it can be both beneficial for players that think quickly and detrimental for those players who take too long to make a decision.
Thematically, it makes sense. The player will be fighting a horde of thugs that will be after their blood. Why the heck would anyone wait for someone to take a turn to attack? This strategy may have worked for DBZA Krillin but it certainly isn’t going to work here.
Yakuza 7 is due out for PlayStation 4 on January 16, 2020 in Japan, and in 2020 in the Americas and Europe. The translation work was provided by the fine folks at Gematsu.