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Difficulty is a game setting present in all Like a Dragon titles from Yakuza 2 onward. It changes enemy attack patterns, general behavior, and how much damage they deal and take.

In Yakuza Kiwami 2, Judgment, and Lost Judgment, bosses have the same health and defense across all difficulties.

Difficulties[]

Easy[]

Enemies are less aggressive and have less attack and defense (shown in Yakuza 2 by lowering their health). Depending on the title, they may also block and dodge less often. Repeated Heat Actions never get weaker. In the Judgment titles, tail targets give the player more leeway before they are considered caught. In Lost Judgment, QTEs are less complicated, tail targets are always highlighted, and extra leeway is also applied to stealth. Easy is the highest difficulty Action Assist can be used on for Lost Judgment.

Easy is absent in Yakuza: Like a Dragon, as well as Yakuza until the HD re-release. Easy is unlocked in the original PS2 version of Yakuza 2 by needing to continue 3 times at the same checkpoint and confirming to lower the difficulty to Easy, after which it can be selected for a New Game. Easy cannot be selected for New Game+ in Yakuza 3-4 and Ryu Ga Gotoku Ishin!.

Normal[]

Enemies behave as normal. Starting from Yakuza 4, Heat Actions begin to deal less and less damage if the same one is repeated more than once on a single enemy on Normal or higher. Tailing and stealth in the Judgment titles have an average amount of leeway. New Games in Yakuza: Like a Dragon always start on Normal.

Hard[]

Enemies are more aggressive, have more attack and defense, and may ignore the player's attacks more often with super armor. Healing items on the ground may be limited or entirely absent. Depending on the title, QTEs are also faster, or in Lost Judgment's case, more complicated. Tailing and stealth in the Judgment titles have less leeway for the player.

In Yakuza 2 only, Hard is unlocked by beating the game on Normal. In Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Hard is only selectable in New Game+, and was DLC in Japan. Enemies are buffed to the point the game recommends all characters to be level 50+.

EX-Hard/Extra Hard/Legend[]

Unlocked in Ryu Ga Gotoku Kenzan!, Yakuza: Dead Souls, and Yakuza 2-5 by beating the game on Hard, by simply beating the game in later titles, or unlocked by default in Like a Dragon: Ishin!. Enemies have even more attack and defense, and where applicable, QTEs are even faster or more complicated. In Yakuza 3-5, Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami, Yakuza Kiwami 2, and Judgment, the game will instantly end if the player's health is depleted. In these titles, the difficulty also cannot be changed if Legend is chosen. In the Judgment titles, tailing and stealth sections are even harder.

Legend cannot be selected for New Game+ in Yakuza 0. In Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Legend is only selectable in New Game+, and was DLC in Japan. Enemies are buffed to the point the game recommends all characters to be level 70+.

Other Difficulties[]

Dead Souls[]

Exclusive to Yakuza: Dead Souls, unlocked by beating the game on Extra Hard. Zombies are always frenzied, and far more of them will swarm the player. Ammo box contents are also randomized, rather than set, though are guaranteed to contain at least some ammo for the respective protagonist's main weapon. Otherwise, everything is the same as Extra Hard. Dead Souls cannot be selected for New Game+.

Simple[]

Available in the Judgment titles. Action Assist is enabled by default (forced in Judgment), QTEs are even less complicated, and tailing and stealth give the player even more leeway before they are caught by an enemy. There are no changes to enemy behaviour or damage dealt from Easy.

Ishin![]

Exclusive to Like a Dragon: Ishin!, and only available if the Shinsengumi Captain's Set DLC is purchased. Enemies deal even more damage and have even more defense than Legend. Ishin! is selectable at any time, but the game recommends playing it on New Game+.

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