I’m gradually making my way through Yakuza: Like a Dragon, my introduction to the long-running series. One of the first things that struck me was the game’s vivid sense of place — convenience stores and pharmacies feel like their real-life counterparts — and I think this is clearest with food, which is characterised with a remarkable level of detail.
Eateries come in lifelike variety: there are bars, cafes, mum-and-dad family restaurants, Western restaurants, high-end dining, and everything in between. They have distinct menus, and ordering certain dishes will trigger a party conversation — though clearly I need to use a FAQ, as I haven’t encountered one yet!
Here are a pair of fast food outlets. Note the prices on the signboard:
For contrast, this is a sushi restaurant. The difference in ambience is night and day:
And this is the menu at a pricey Western restaurant. The selected dish restores 4,500 HP — that’s ten times more than my party members even have!
A final observation is Like a Dragon’s use of food as a character motif. Two major characters are represented by dishes at the opposite end of the culinary spectrum: the protagonist treats himself to beef bowls, a cheap, ubiquitous fast food. Another man is fond of Peking duck, and promises of duck recur through the game: some kept, others not.
As this highlights, food is an important part of Like a Dragon’s world. And who knows, maybe I will find a use for that 4,500 HP steak!
Also published on Medium.