Notable changes from the previous engine include:
- Reworked experience points
- Removal of loading screens when entering buildings
- Changes to the inventory system
- New fighting style (turn-based combat for Yakuza: Like a Dragon)
- Ability to save anywhere
- Enemies on the minimap
- Environmental destruction
- Hunger system
The Dragon Engine was originally developed to rework and improve the combat system of the Yakuza games starting with Yakuza 6.
The Dragon Engine in its initial state (used in Yakuza 6) was criticized for its weak fighting mechanics and a sluggish fighting speed. However, there was also praise for its improved graphics, animations, and seamless transitions. However, the revamped engine in use in Yakuza Kiwami 2 was noted by some as a marked improvement.