Like A Dragon: Ishin’s Requirement For Unlocking Highest Difficulty Sparks Debate Among Fans
There’s discourse among the fandom.
The long-awaited release of Like A Dragon: Ishin in the west is a dream come true for die-hard fans of the series, but discourse online suggests that Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio made some missteps along the way.
Like A Dragon: Ishin is a samurai epic that reimagines the series cast as historical warriors from Japan’s Bakumatsu Era in a time of great political upheaval for the country. Up until now, the entry has been something of an obscure entity that was only playable in Japan. The remastered version, currently available worldwide, has proven a godsend for longtime fans who have been dreaming of getting their hands on the title and experiencing for themselves the over-the-top brawls in a feudal Japan setting. The series has become renowned for its brutal beat ’em-up gameplay, but fans craving a challenge have been left frustrated and disappointed.
The game offers five difficulty options: Easy, Normal, Hard, Legend, and the most challenging difficulty, Ishin. Players hoping to dive head first into the biggest challenge the game can throw at them were met with a paywall that charged them to unlock the difficulty setting early. Having tried it out for ourselves, it appears that this is an issue that is plaguing users who bought the standard edition of the game.
Anyone who buys the Deluxe Edition of the game — which contains six DLC packs — is able to access the Ishin difficulty right away. Players who own the standard edition will have to play through the game to unlock the Ishin difficulty without paying for it. While Like A Dragon: Ishin is enjoying a mostly positive reception on Steam, this is an issue that is causing contention amongst players.
It’s not the first time that Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has incorporated paid DLC into its titles. Yakuza: Like A Dragon featured classes for Ichiban which were locked behind DLC and Lost Judgment featured a fourth boxing-style move set that required players to pay if they wanted to unlock it early.
DLC is becoming a tricky topic for the game. Consumable DLC packs which launched alongside the Definitive Edition can only be used once per save file. This includes material kits to upgrade Ryoma’s sword and guns which can only be used in one save file before it is counted as being redeemed. This means that if a player was to start another playthrough they would have to purchase the consumable DLC again to access it.
Players are even locked into their purchase as they are forced to create a hard save with the paid DLC being recorded as redeemed on that save file. Fans of the series have been left perplexed by RGGS’ focus on paid DLC in recent years when earlier titles used to have access to free DLC on a weekly basis. While none of the DLC can be considered extortionate, it’s an uncharacteristic move from a studio that is widely considered to be player-friendly.
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