Like a Dragon Gaiden is my end-of-year treat to myself | Kaser Focus Like a Dragon Gaiden is my end-of-year treat to myself | Kaser Focus
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We’re pulling into the final days of 2023, and I’ve been trying to wrap up and try out any games that I haven’t gotten to already. I’ve accepted there are a lot of games from 2023 that I’m not going to be able to play before the end of the year, so any game I play now is more of a personal thing. I thought my final treat of the year was going to be Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora — but we know how well that turned out. Instead, I’ve been putting some time into a different game that came out in the post-October glut, namely Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name.

I haven’t played enough to do a full review, and this is more of a tribute to a game that’s brought me some joy over the last few days. I don’t think RGG Studios has ever made a game I didn’t like, and TMWEHN is just as good as any other in the series. Having become invested in the life of Kazuma Kiryu over the course of about seven-and-a-half games, I was already invested in Gaiden’s story when it started. Without spoiling, it’s a touching tale about life after calamity and heartache, and how to cope with the aftermath of difficult choices.

That’s not to say it’s a perfect game: It’s shorter and leaner than other games in the series (probably fitting for a gaiden title), and the minigames and substories make up a greater portion of this game than they do the others. It’s nothing new by Like a Dragon standards, and certainly not the best game in the series, but it’s comforting and familiar. It’s just nice to return to the back-alley beatdowns that were part of Kiryu’s adventure for so long, even if the series itself is slowly moving past that now.

Oh yeah, things happened this week

I was naively hoping that this week was going to be a calmer one considering it’s so close to the holidays. Frankly, I don’t have the energy to properly digest all of it, but I think the one that needs the most attention is the hack at Insomniac that resulted in over a million files being dumped online. It’s a terrible thing to happen to any company, especially given how much sensitive employee data was included in the files. I’ve been attempting to avoid the leaked game footage online, because I already know it’d be folly to judge a game based on that stage of its development.

We’ve also seen that Bobby Kotick of Activision is on his way out — which we sort of knew already, given that Microsoft only confirmed he’d be staying through the end of the year. For better or worse, it’s the end of a long era for Activision Blizzard and I’d be curious to see what change (if any) this fosters within the company itself.

Honestly, it’s been such a long year and I’m tired. And I basically already expounded on what games I’m playing right now. So I’ll just say this is my final “proper” Kaser Focus for 2023. It’s been a great ride this year, even if the stories I wrote about here were not always happy ones. Even so, I was happy to write them for all of you! Next week will be my final, year-end ranking of all the games I’ve played this year and, well . . . if you thought the 70-game list I wrote last year was excessive, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

What to play this week (and next week)

New on subscription services:

  • Grand Theft Auto V (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Moto GP23 (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Metal: Hellsinger (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Salt and Sacrifice (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Moonscars (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Mega Man 11 (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Gigabash (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Grime (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Tinykin (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Prodeus (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Shadowrun Returns (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall – Director’s Cut (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong – Extended Edition (PlayStation Plus Extra+Premium)
  • Mega Man Legacy Collection (PlayStation Plus Premium)
  • Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 (PlayStation Plus Premium)
  • Thrillville (PlayStation Plus Premium)
  • Thrillville: Off the Rails (PlayStation Plus Premium)
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (PlayStation Plus Premium)
  • Kombinera (Prime Gaming)
  • A Tiny Sticker Tale (Prime Gaming)
  • Asteroids: Recharged (Prime Gaming)
  • Blasphemous 2 (GeForce Now)
  • Bloons TD Battles (GeForce Now)
  • Dark Envoy (GeForce Now)
  • Figment 2: Creed Valley (GeForce Now)
  • Ikonei Island: An Earthlock Adventure (GeForce Now)
  • Loddlenaut (GeForce Now)
  • Monster Hunter: World (GeForce Now)
  • Nova-Life: Amboise (GeForce Now)
  • RIDE 5 (GeForce Now)
  • The Smurfs 2 – The Prisoner of the Green Stone (GeForce Now)
  • Tintin Reporter – Cigars of the Pharaoh (GeForce Now)

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