College student, aspiring game designer/writer, #2 Xenosaga fan and professional Shrek Enjoyer
Personal Ratings


Well Written

Gained 10+ likes on a single review


Created a list folder with 5+ lists


Created 10+ public lists


Gained 15+ followers

Best Friends

Become mutual friends with at least 3 others


Gained 3+ followers


Gained 10+ total review likes


Liked 50+ reviews / lists


Played 100+ games

GOTY '22

Participated in the 2022 Game of the Year Event

Favorite Games

Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Galaxy
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey
Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Xenoblade Chronicles 3


Total Games Played


Played in 2023


Games Backloggd

Recently Reviewed See More

The word "deconstruction" gets thrown around a lot these days. Formally defined as "questioning traditional assumptions about the ability of language to represent reality", it's often used to describe works that seek to criticize a specific genre. I disagree with this use of the word, but less because of the "what" and more because of the "why". I believe deconstruction should be used not only to criticise media, but to use that media's pieces to build something new.
An excellent example of this is one of my favorite films: Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg's 2007 action-comedy masterpiece Hot Fuzz. It deconstructs both the contemporary American cop flick and the traditional detective story by flipping classic tropes on their heads. However, all of this is done not out of criticism, but as a way to both pay tribute to those genres and highlight their potential.
In that sense, yes, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a deconstruction of the JRPG. Rather than a teenager killing God, you're a 40-year-old man trying to find a job. But the game is still very much a JRPG: It has all the classic mechanical trappings, numerous references to other games, including multiple explicit mentions of Dragon Quest (and people still compare it to Persona), and yes, it relies on the tried-and-true trope of the power of friendship.
That last one is a major criticism of JRPG's I've seen from certain online sources, and I feel Like a Dragon does everything in its power to embrace it. Everything from the combat to the substories to the summons to the incredibly complex management minigame revolves around helping others. There's a major mechanic that involves spending time with your friends and helping them work out their personal issues (alright, it's a little like Persona). A lot of the strongest attacks in the game involve working with your other party members.
But more than anything else, Yakuza: Like a Dragon embraces the theme of friendship through its story, especially through its protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga. He's someone who spent most of his life at "rock bottom", and gets dragged through the mud on a regular basis, often by powers much greater than him. But he gets out through a power even greater than that: the people he can count on. Everyone who supports him, from his party members to the most insignificant NPC, makes his journey just a little bit easier. Even in his darkest times, Ichiban can still bounce back to his infectious optimism thanks in no small part to the support he gives to and recieves from the people around him.
Of course, the game still isn't perfect. While it's an amazing first attempt at a JRPG, you can also tell it's a first attempt. Dungeons are a slog and sometimes combat is too (you didn't have to borrow everything from Dragon Quest, guys). Job systems are fun, but the lack of ability mixing combined with not being able to switch on the fly means there's very little reason to experiment. Also, there are some pretty nasty difficulty spikes near the very end. I get why they're there, but I would've appreciated a little warning.
Despite all my criticisms, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is still an excellent game with a wonderful story and the best deconstruction ever made of the JRPG. Suck it, Undertale.
Y'know, I've heard really good things about the other games. I should play those sometime.

This review contains spoilers

Perhaps the most divided I've ever felt about a game. Yoko Taro and his team undoubtedly made something admirable. Rave reviews, video essays, and countless pieces of fanart show the community's endless appreciation for this title, but something about it never clicked with me, and I've started to realize what.
Really, I should get the easy things out of the way. I love the visual design, music and voice acting, quite unsurprisingly. For what it's worth, combat's very fun, if basic, and the chip system adds enough spice to keep it interesting. You can also feel immense care in lots of the sidequests, though I wish they applied a fraction of it to the map design. Overall, I've felt several ways about this game, but many aspects have always been good to me.
Ultimately, what didn't click for me, at least not like I wanted it to, was the story. Really, the thing that gets the most acclaim from fans and critics just didn't mesh with me. Everyone's constant praise made me think I just didn't understand it, and would rather see robots fight each other than the profound work laid out before me. Recently, I begun to question that. Engaging in a series of game-related discussions helped me realize what about Nier: Automata didn't work for me.
Automata is, at its core, a JRPG. Duh, I know, but specific things about JRPG stories appeal to me personally. I look for interesting, likeable characters with good arcs. Not only that, a lot of my favorites inspire hope through said characters working together to overcome unfortunate circumstances. Great examples of this include Dragon Quest, the Persona series, and more recently Yakuza: Like a Dragon, but one instance always comes to mind for me.
There's a scene in Xenosaga 3 which I won't spoil, but those who have played the game will probably recall when a certain character gets his time to shine. He's not the strongest or coolest character in the game, but he still deeply cares about those around him, and his care manifests into one of the most uplifting scenes I've ever witnessed in a video game. It makes me cry every time seeing someone so insignificant make a real difference through words alone.
Scenes like this don't exist in Nier: Automata, at least not for the characters. Perhaps that's the point, and my failure to notice is an indicator of my intense media illiteracy. Let me counter by saying the game has a very similar message to games like Xenosaga 3. Automata ends on a somewhat happy note to contrast the suffering seen throughout the rest of the game, all thanks to the efforts of a group of people. Yoko Taro clearly intended to tell a hopeful story, and while I applaud his unorthodox approach, I can't help but disagree with it all the same.
Characters in Nier: Automata don't really develop. Rather, they do, but said development is almost never positive, and when it is, the character in question either regresses into nihilism or dies. Obviously, 9S is an excellent example of the former, and 2B the latter. "So what?", you may say. So, Nier: Automata tells a story about the hope present within a bleak world, but doesn't actually show it within the narrative. Can't say it's all that uplifting for me, someone who has experienced immense existential dread and fear for the future, to see people just give in, only to be saved by the post-credits sequence of all things.
Of course, this isn't to diss Ending E, as it is a wonderful scene that could only be done in a videogame, but rather to offer my perspective as to why certain tropes exist and work. Don't take this as a diss of Nier: Automata, either, as I really enjoy its style, gameplay, and at times its story and characters. Even the worst 10/10 game I've ever played is still a 10/10.

I first beat this game about a year ago and now I'm doing a NG+ run and going for all the trophies.
This is still the easiest 5-star review I've ever given a game.