Sega’s latest pseudo open world RPG is here, and this time it’s more RPG than ever. Like literally, it’s a JRPG with its structure heavily inspired by Dragon Quest. So not only is Like a Dragon (which is literally Yakuza 7 in Japan) much bigger, it also has all kinds of other systems doing work for you.

That’s in addition to the usual Yakuza stuff, so regardless of if you’re new or not, there’s a lot of information to take in. So because of that, there are always little bits and pieces of help anyone can use. After playing the game for several hours (and writing the review!) I've composed a list of tips that will help the most.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon Beginner’s Guide: Tips and Tricks

These tips will run the gamut of experience, so expect to see some that might seem obvious depending on your skill level. But that’s okay! The more the merrier when it comes to the Yakuza player base.

Also, if you aren’t familiar with Dragon Quest, there are a few tips that I’m basically lifting from that series. Regardless of your status, we hope you have fun going through our coverage.

Protect Your Money

In Dragon Quest, you don’t get a game over if you lose. You’ll wake up in a specified location, but with half of your money gone forever.

Like a Dragon works the same way, so don’t be afraid of getting your ass kicked if you haven’t saved for a while.

That said, make sure you’re either using your money or storing the excess at an ATM. It isn’t easy to get a lot of money fast, especially early on when you’re the most vulnerable to random battles.

Watch out for Substories

The Yakuza games are known for their substories as much as their main plots, and Like a Dragon is no different. But there is one huge difference here, and that’s the game giving you information. The previous Yakuza games want you to randomly stumble into substories, which fits the themes.

But Like a Dragon marks them on your map, probably because a number of them unlock core features. You want to always be glancing at your map as you play; any time you see an icon of white dialogue bubbles, that means a new substory is available.

If the dialogue bubbles are blue, that means the next part of one you’ve already started is available. Through Substories not only do you get some hilarious side content, but you also unlock things like summons, the pawn shop (the best place to sell items), and more.

Positioning Matters

In battle, while it’s all turn-based, characters do move and shuffle around the combat area. This is something you don’t have any control over, but it’s important nonetheless. There are a few reasons for that, mostly boiling down to efficiency and damage bonuses.

For example, some moves have areas of effect. You wouldn’t think so since there are so many moving parts, but here we are. If a move notes that it hits more than one enemy, you’re going to have to eyeball and time things a bit. But it’s worth the effort.

Additionally, there are environmental factors that can be super helpful. For one, Ichiban will grab nearby objects if available and use them when attacking for a substantial damage bump. So if you have something like a bicycle or traffic cone in the area, try to wait until Ichiban is lined up with one and there’s a good chance he’ll grab it.

You can also knock enemies into things, which can be a huge deal. For example, bunt somebody out into a crosswalk and there’s a chance a car will hit them for huge damage. (Also, cars will hit you too so watch out when you’re running around).

Finally, if you’re using a normal attack, enemies can interrupt you. So try not to target someone if another mob is standing in front of or next to them. Skills aren’t blockable, though, and you can also go behind people safely.

Treasure Hunting is Good

Early on in the game you’re introduced to treasure hunting, which lets you dig under things like vending machines for spare change. Most of the time you’ll get almost nothing, but every now and then you can score big with an item worth thousands at the pawn shop.

If you see a little, golden gleam on your travels, it’s worth checking out as you’re passing by. There’s nothing to lose. This also applies to bugs, which can be worth good money or serve other useful purposes. If you can pick something up, do it!

Taxi Services

It’s important to know how the Taxi system works, as that’s your fast travel. First of all, you need to interact with a Taxi to add it to your available options. You don’t have to use them, but make sure to click on it, then back out if you don’t need it.

You can also call a Taxi from your smartphone menu, but note that it will be more expensive than climbing into one already parked. You can also use a Taxi to avoid random encounters; if you’re near one and you see a group of enemies heading your way, you can hop in and reset the board in a manner of speaking. 

Use Your Skills Freely 

You get a lot of skills in Like a Dragon, and if you’re a JRPG veteran you may be tempted to be conservative with your MP. But that’s not super necessary here. You level up pretty quickly, and your HP and MP refill. More importantly, your resources refill on both a character and a job rank level up.

So that’s really a decent clip for the most part. Also, if you’re using Nanba most of his umbrella weapons will give back MP on normal hits. If you’re just grinding, you can always run back to the camp for a free heal if you don’t have the cash to blow on food.

Bonding Time

There’s a relationship system in Like a Dragon, in which Ichiban and his party members bond over time. This unlocks new skills and jobs, but the UI for it isn’t always clear. If you look at it and see a lock icon, that means you won’t be gaining points with that person until you increase the limit.

Do so by going to the Survive bar and having those one on one conversations.

Related: Yakuza: Like a Dragon Review | Working Class Hero

This is the important stuff, but obviously there’s so much more to the world of Yakuza: Like a Dragon. We’ll be following this up with more in-depth guides, such as our dive into the job system, each character’s roles and skills, and more.

But if you’re just starting out, this is what you need to know that the game doesn’t always communicate clearly. Like what we're doing, or have your own tips or opinions to share? Hit us up on the Prima Games Facebook or Twitter channels!