I am very excited to get my hands on Yakuza: Like A Dragon. Over the last year, my interest in the series has grown exponentially, so it should come as no surprise I had it on my list of the games I wanted to play for the rest of 2020. To celebrate SEGA’s 60th anniversary, they released a few prototype games through Steam a few weeks ago, one of which was Streets of Kamurocho, a Streets of Rage homage using the characters and settings from the Yakuza franchise. While it’s a little more of a tech demo, I seriously could see this turning into a full-fledged game if Sega really wanted it to.
You can play as either Kiryu or Majima (plus a third, bonus character, you unlock once you finish the game) wandering the streets of Kamurocho (the traditional fake city the series takes place in) fighting off against different foes including members of the Chinese Mafia and the Yakuza. The controls are identical to Streets of Rage: you have your attack, jump, and special attack. Like Streets of Rage, your special attack takes from your health, so you’ll want to use it sparingly.
The round is pretty small, broken up into three sections: the streets, inside a bar, then a back alley. As you progress through all three, there will be an encounter with a boss character who offers a nice challenge. Seasoned players of the beat’em up genre should be able to dispose of them fairly easily.
You can probably complete the round in about 15 minutes. I didn’t time my playthrough but it definitely did not feel that long. You can keep playing the same three sections over and over again as long as you don’t lose your continues. While the stages stay the same, the difficulty does ramp up a bit after each round. That turns the game into a sort of endurance challenge seeing if you can go one more round.
Again, this is a very short experience and although it doesn’t connect to Like a Dragon in any meaningful way (at least that I’m aware of), it is still a lot of fun to play. As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, there is potential to turn this into a larger experience if they wanted to. Add a few more characters and a more meaningful story to give a really unique feel.
Playing Streets of Kamurocho instantly reminded me of A King’s Tale: Final Fantasy XV, another beat’em up that SquareEnix released for free before the launch of Final Fantasy XV. That game had more content and a minor connection to the core game. It probably wasn’t that popular, but it was a nice little treat for Final Fantasy fans before the main game launched.
Sega only made Streets of Kamurocho available for a limited time. If you didn’t get the chance to add it to your Steam library, you’re out of luck to play it. While that is unfortunate, I’m hoping they decide to re-release it after Like a Dragon launches in a couple of weeks or some time in the future. At the same time, if the response from the community is strong enough, they consider turning this into a full game.