While some fans were able to play the game a few days early, today marked the launch of Sega’s newest title in their renowned Like a Dragon franchise: Like a Dragon Ishin, a remake of a PS3/4 game of the same name. Fans of RGG studio’s games flocked to the title for its fast paced action gameplay and samurai aesthetic, but it would seem that all good things come with a caveat as there is a major plague hanging over this game right now: It’s DLC.
Titles on RGG’s Like a Dragon franchise are no stranger to DLC, ever since Yakuza 3 there has been a handy clown known as Bob hanging around Kamurocho prepared to give players various downloadable items to help them in their quest. These items have ranged from a few plates that could be sold for yen to a golden gun that Saejima could use when hunting.
At first these DLCs were free but as time moved on and the franchise became bigger they transitioned several of these items into paid DLC such as when Yakuza: Like a Dragon had several stat boosting items available as microtransactions. While fans rolled their eyes at these meaningless microtransactions, they were rarely called out and weren’t seen as a huge issue. So when Ishin’s marketing said that those who ordered the digital deluxe edition would get a few weapon upgrade materials, it was just accepted as the norm, and we all went along with our business.
If that was all that RGG did then I wouldn’t be writing out this news piece though, as when early purchasers either beat the game or decided to start a new save file on another difficulty they quickly realized they no longer had access to their weapon upgrade materials. Assuming this may have been some sort of glitch, Twitter user Zirael emailed Sega Support to ask about this error. Unfortunately, Sega’s response revealed it was anything but an error
According to this Sega Support email, these upgrade material packs could only be obtained a single time and couldn’t be applied to multiple save files. If players ever wanted to obtain these items again, they would need to pay 3 dollars per pack every single time they wanted to start a new save file.
This is a ludicrous way of not only forcing microtransactions into a game that had none before they remade it, but also it defies how these items worked in previous entries. In every previous game, Bob’s DLC items applied to every single save file you had, regardless of if you obtained them before. Because these items do not matter enough to be locked behind a single use. These are minor items you can obtain infinite amounts of in the actual game. Why lock a handful of them behind a repeat purchase?
At no point prior to release did Sega breathe even a word about these items needing to be purchased once per save file. Any Like a Dragon fan who would be interested in getting purchasing these packs would naturally assume they would work like they always have and potentially scam themselves into using them on a save file they didn’t mean to, thinking they’d be okay.
In addition to this practice in of itself being an abhorrent thing to do, it also brings into question, what value does buying the digital deluxe edition of the game have? The perks of purchasing this edition were being able to play the game four days early, getting the Dragon of Dojima costume, and getting these packs for free. Now that the game is out for everyone and we know you have to purchase these packs multiple times if you care about them, that leaves two of the deluxe edition’s perks null and void. Meaning that if you get the deluxe edition, all you’re paying for is a twelve dollar costume of Kiryu’s normal outfit that you can wear in every other game.
Thankfully, this repeat purchase scheme only applies to these material packs. Costumes such as the Dragon of Dojima suit or the other Shinsengumi haoris can be claimed as many times as you want across multiple save files. So, at least you’ll only be paying for those once.
Overall, these microtransactions and the business practices surrounding them have been casting a dark cloud over what should have been a grand day for the Like a Dragon fandom. Do not support these practices and do not buy these DLCs. Like a Dragon is beginning to become mainstream, and that means the sharks of the gaming industry smell blood in the water. Take a stand by playing through the game without them, and don’t fall for the microtransaction scheme even once.