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Ryū ga Gotoku Ishin! (龍が如く 維新!, lit. "Like a Dragon Restoration!") is an action-adventure/beat-'em-up game released for both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 on February 22, 2014. The game was developed and published by SEGA as a spin-off to the Yakuza series. Like Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan!, this game is also set in historical Japan, during the Bakumatsu Period. A free app for the PlayStation Vita was available as a tie-in.


Set during the chaotic Bakumatsu period, Sakamoto Ryoma goes into hiding after taking the fall for the death of his mentor Yoshida Toyo. He leaves his home and his brother behind and flees to Kyoto, where he joins the Shinsengumi with the false identity Saito Hajime, in order to track down and kill the Tennen Rishin-ryū user that murdered Toyo and prompted the Tosa coup d'état.


Fighting stylesEdit

Ishin features four different fighting styles, similar to subsequent entries Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami.

  • Hand-to-Hand style is similar to Kiryu's typical Dragon style, allowing Ryoma to fight barehanded and pick up objects to use as weapons. Ryoma is unable to block weapon attacks while using this style, though is able to parry and counter with the right timing. Stored weapons (such as spears, muskets, cannons, clubs, greatswords, etc.) can also be used in this style.
  • Sword makes use of Ryoma's katana, fighting using traditional swordplay, allowing him to block and parry attacks from opponent sword-users. It is the most powerful of the four styles, though it is slower and more focused on a singular enemy versus Wild Dance or Hand-to-Hand.
  • Pistol style is meant to deal damage at a distance, utilizing rapid-fire shooting and special bullets with varying effects. This style is able to cause enemies to drop their weapons.
  • Wild Dance has Ryoma using both katana and pistol in rhythmic "dance"-like style. Though this is the weakest of the styles, with no defensive capabilities, it is also the quickest and most reliable for taking on larger groups of enemies.

Each battle style has its own heat actions, with Ryoma being able to learn additional heat actions by obtaining "Revelation Documents" from mentors. Attacking in quick succession builds up a combo score, which is broken after a few seconds, if the player takes damage, or if an enemy blocks two successive attacks. The highest combo score achieved during a battle, along with other factors such as heat actions used, contributes to the letter grade given at the end of the battle; a higher grade means more experience points.

Upgrading AbilitiesEdit

Each battle style has its own sphere grid, in which sphere slots are filled in to give abilities and stat upgrades. There are two different types of spheres: coloured spheres are earned by fighting battles in a particular style and can only be used to upgrade that style's abilities. White spheres on the other hand are earned whenever the player levels up overall, and can be used in any style. Coloured spheres can also be used to replace existing white spheres to allow that sphere to be used in another style. At the beginning of the game, many of the sphere slots are blocked by seals. Breaking them requires that certain moves be learned by training, or the use of the aforementioned revelation documents.

Dharma ExchangeEdit

The player will earn "Dharma Points" for completing story and substory events, praying at save shrines, purchasing items from shops, eating at restaurants, catching fish, harvesting vegetables, and filling in "Completion Point" criteria. These can be used to earn new abilities, as well as opening the Shinto priest's shop, who sells items in exchange for Dharma points. These abilities can be earned by trading points at Dharma exchange shrines. These are like save shrines, but bigger, and also have the Dharma exchange option alongside the usual options.


There are various training regimes available from different instructors:

  • Komaki (Hand-to-Hand)
  • Ginryu (Sword and Wild Dance)
  • William Bradley (Pistol)
  • Dr. Shinbei (Cannon and Scarecrow Mansion)

Komaki's training is virtually identical to that in the modern-day Yakuza titles. The player must complete a certain amount of fights in between training sessions. Komaki tells Ryoma about a new move and instructs him to try it out on his student. After all the moves have been learnt, the player must then fight Komaki himself to get the revelation document.

Ginryu requires Ryoma to have a sword with a certain star rating depending on the level of training. He tells Ryoma to practise the new move on his student, and Ryoma must win the fight with a certain grade to pass. Again, after the training, Ginryu himself will fight you in order to obtain revelation documents for both the Sword and Wild dance styles. All training missions can be done in either Sword or Wild Dance mode. Interestingly, it does not matter what star rating the pistol has in Wild Dance mode to do the training.

William Bradley will teach you pistol moves as part of a story arc to defeat the Urayama group, who killed his brother. During his training, there are two challenge battles. These do not have to be won however. There are also two battles against the Urayama group. After completing this story, Bradley will give Ryoma one revelation document, whilst the other can be obtained by "bartering" with one of the men in the room to swap 5 Wooden Bear Carvings for the document.

Dr. Shinbei has two pieces of training: Cannon, and Scarecrow Mansion. The cannon training can be done with either a sword or pistol. The sword version is in essence simply the baseball mini-game from other Yakuza games, where the player must hit the cannonballs at the right time with his sword to cut them in half. A "gold" score will result in a prize, depending on the difficulty level. The pistol version is similar, except Shinbei will fire cannonballs in certain patterns, and Ryoma must match the rhythm to hit them properly.
The Scarecrow Mansion is similar to Miss Tatsu's training in Yakuza 0. It involves destroying scarecrow-like automatons in a certain amount of time and using a certain battle style, although some levels allow the player to choose. Getting at least the score indicated will result in 3 stars and a prize being given. Unlike the cannon training however, the unique prize can only be won once, and will be replaced by a scarecrow carving thereafter. Two of these levels feature revelation documents as prizes.

Limit BreakEdit

The battle styles start off with a level cap of 25. Once this limit is reached and all the spheres in the respective grid have been filled in, it is possible to fight the trainer for the respective style in order to limit break and go up to level 50. This will also remove all the spheres from that ability's sphere grid. All of the previous abilities are kept, but the player can now improve them further by filling in the spheres again.

Similarly, once Ryoma's overall level reaches 99, the player can fight Komaki, Bradley, and Kinryu in Komaki's dojo at the same time in order to reset the level counter and earn more levelling up spheres.



Ryoma talking to a dog

Ryoma can make friends with a lot of people (and some animals) in Kyoto. These people typically require particular types of item, or for you to patronize their business a certain number of times. Some friendship quests also involve small substory elements. Filling out a person's friendship gauge will result in Dharma points and possibly other rewards. There are three dogs and three cats the player can befriend, which are adopted by Ryoma once their friendship gauges are maxed out. These animals will sometimes find useful items when you visit the home in Another Life.

Battle DungeonEdit

This side-game appears at the Shinsengumi headquarters. The basic idea is that the player must go through a dungeon, battling enemies and picking up items along the way, before defeating a mini-boss at the end. The tasks vary from things like collecting stolen money boxes to rescuing kidnapped civilians. Like the Clan Creator side-games in later titles, Battle Dungeon involves "Soldier Cards," which feature various different characters and are graded by rarity. Three of them must be selected, one of which goes in the "corporal" spot, and the other two are regular soldiers. The corporal slot gives additional abilities, such as being able to add an extra soldier card.

The player does not actually fight alongside soldiers in the dungeons. Rather, the Soldier Cards give the player special abilities such as increasing strength or replenishing health, by holding L2 and pressing the D-pad in the direction of the desired ability. This uses up their ability gauge, which will recharge automatically after a while. The Soldier Cards are not strictly necessary for the player to beat a level, but they are very useful.

Soldier cards can be "synthesized" by combining them with another card to give the base card extra experience and possibly improve abilities. Finally, once the card has reached its maximum level, it can be combined with a certain weapon to give it "rebirth," where the  level is reset back to zero, but the card keeps its current stats, so it can be upgraded further. The type of weapon required for this can be seen on the given soldier's picture, be it Sword, Spear, or Gun. Soldier Cards are divided into the following categories:

  • Attack (Red): Raises the player's strength
  • Defence (Blue): Increases the player's defence
  • Medical (Green): Restores the player's health
  • Support (Purple): Increases the effectiveness of other soldier card abilities
  • Assist (Orange): Kills/wounds all nearby enemies, restores other soldier cards' ability gauges, or automatically increases heat gauge depending on card chosen
  • Trainer (Grey): These cards cannot be used or upgraded, they are simply there to increase another card's ability through synthesis

A couple of Battle Dungeon levels require the use of only one class of soldier cards: Attack and Defence respectively. Battle Dungeon allows the player to pick up items that are hard to get hold of elsewhere, which makes it instrumental in weapon/armour customization.

Weapon/Armour CustomizationEdit

Like many games in the series, weapons and armour can be upgraded to new versions using items found in the world. This involves going to the blacksmiths' in Rakugai and talking to the Shinto priest there. A merchant in here also offers a limited number of equipment modification items. This game features one of the most comprehensive customization schemes of the whole series.
As well as being able to upgrade weapons and armour in the regular way, special abilities can also be added. Many weapons and pieces of armour come with special abilities. By sacrificing the piece of equipment with the desired ability, it can be added into an "empty" slot onto another. Empty slots can be added by improving the status of a piece of equipment. This involves using a hammer to hit the equipment at the right time. Improving the status of a piece of equipment adds more empty slots for special abilities. Depending on the current status of the weapon, different hammers are required. The basic stats of a piece of equipment can also be improved by "Tempering." This requires certain powders and a hammer be used. Different icons fly around the screen in a circle. If the player hits the hammer when the gold icon is highlighted, the piece of equipment will receive the maximum status boost, with less enhancements for silver and bronze respectively. Finally, the player can create custom bullets, which have various effects. The blacksmith has a level, which improves every time the player upgrades a piece of equipment. This makes it easier to upgrade equipment in the future.

As well as the blacksmith, there is also a man who sits next to the river in Mukurogai who is able to create "enchanted" weapons. Interacting with him will show you a list of base weapons that can be enchanted. Note that as well as having the requisite weapon and items, you must also have the base weapon equipped for him to enchant it. Enchanted weapons have a vampire ability, giving the player health when attacking others.


This is basically the same as the fighting coliseum in other games, except the player must win five rounds in a row rather than three. Also, the enemies for each fight series are always the same but ordered differently. The final fight is made harder due to the fact that the enemy will always be in heat mode. Winning a fight series gives the player money as well as "fighting orbs," which can be exchanged for items in the arena store.

Another LifeEdit

Ryoma decides to become the guardian of a teenage girl called Haruka after her parents pass away. They left a debt of 100 Ryo (10,000 Mon) and a man says he is going to take the family home away to pay it off. Haruka is distressed by this as the home holds a lot of memories for her. A Shinto priest is pleading with the man to give her time to pay off the debt as she is only a child, but the man is unmoved. At this point, Ryoma walks by and the priest asks for his help. Ryoma says that he will help to look after her and help to pay off her debt, but she will have to work for it. Haruka is happy about this, as she explains she had a health condition as a child and the debt is mostly for paying for the resulting medical costs anyway, so it is really her debt.

After this, Ryoma and Haruka go to the house with the Priest, who shows him around the house. There is a Dharma exchange post, a save shrine, a small kennel, chicken coop, and vegetable plot outside. In the house, there is a kitchen area on the right. On a raised platform to the left are a pair of futons, a fire pit with seating around it for warmth, and a cupboard. Finally the end wall on the right has a door to the bathroom, where Ryoma can take a bath to restore his health.


By interacting with the shed with farming tools, the player accesses the farming menu. Dharma points can be spent to upgrade the garden plot and its scarecrow for better crop yield, as well as new types of vegetables to plant. These vegetables can be used in cooking, sold, given to people as part of friendship quests, or used by Haruka to earn money through peddling.


Ryoma can cook meals in the house kitchen. These require various different vegetables and fish and vary in difficulty. The cooking minigame requires the player to undertake various tasks such as cutting vegetables, heating the oven, grilling fish, and pouring the right amount of sauce into the pan. If the player does a good job of making a meal, Haruka will giggle after tasting a sample, and the player is given a "high quality" meal. Otherwise, the player will receive a normal meal. These meals can bestow various benefits alongside simply replenishing player health, with high quality meals giving better effects.

There is a one-off joke meal of prunes that can be made from 5 out of date unripe plums. When Haruka tastes one she finds it disgusting and has a go at Ryoma for making her taste such a terrible thing.


By interacting with the cupboard in the house, the peddling menu is accessed. This involves selling vegetables, fish, meals, or other items in order to earn money to pay off Haruka's debt. After earning certain amounts of money by peddling, a postman will come to the door when the player enters the garden with a letter from the debt collector. The debt is paid off in 5 instalments of 20 Ryo each.

Haruka's TrustEdit

Like certain other Yakuza titles, Haruka has a trust gauge. Fortunately, this does not require doing every minigame in the game to get the top trust, but rather keep coming back to the house and taking part in the Another Life related minigames. Once the player earns a level, he can watch a "calming event," a small cutscene which is triggered by interacting with a particular object in the house.


Chicken RacingEdit

This minigame is the same as in Yakuza 5. The player bets on a chicken and presses various buttons in QTEs to encourage it to run faster.


This is virtually identical to the fishing minigame in Yakuza 5. The player selects a position near to the silhouette of a fish and presses circle (X on western PS3 consoles) to cast off. If the fish bites, the player must wait until the red part of the plumb is semi-submerged and press circle again. If successful, the fish is caught. The fish are graded by length in the traditional Japanese Shaku and Sun measurements (about 1 ft or 30 cm and a tenth of that, respectively). Large fish are rated gold, whilst smaller fish are silver and bronze. This does not actually affect the fish in any other way. Improved fishing rods can be traded for Dharma points at the Dharma shrines. There are rods suited to river and sea fishing respectively, and an ultimate rod, with the best stats for both uses. The player can also use bait to attract better fish for a time.


There is a gambling den in the game, which features Poker, Koi-Koi, Cho-Han (Odds and Evens), Ochio Kabu, and Cee-Lo.


There is a club in which the player can sing the song Ijisakura, or support other performers. This works exactly the same as the Karaoke side game in other Yakuza games, where the player must hit the right button at the right time for a score out of 100.


This can be played in the Mahjong parlour in Mukurogai.

Traditional Japanese DancingEdit

This game features Ryoma dancing. Movements are displayed on the screen, and the player must press the right button when it becomes highlighted in sequence.

Udon Noodle MakingEdit

Like a similar quest in Yakuza 5, this memory game involves people ordering one of four types of noodles in a sequence, and the player must remember the button combination and press it correctly before time runs out. Unlike the Yakuza 5 version, this game only ends when the player gets the order wrong three times, and Ryoma keeps 10% of the money earned.


Tosa ClanEdit

Sakamoto Ryōma

Kazuma Kiryū (Sakamoto Ryōma (Saitō Hajime)) 01

Born in Tosa as a samurai of the lowest ranking class; a "gōshi" (郷士). In the midst of the chaotic uprise with other young men, he became distressed over his own aims and accomplishments. However, having the best sword skill in Tosa allowed for his swordsmanship training in Edo. With high expectations from Yoshida Touyou, along with Takechi Hanpeita, the plan for the reform of the Tosa government was in progress. However, on the night before it could be carried out, an incident occurred that changed Ryōma's life immensely.[1]

Takechi Hanpeita

Takechi Hanpeita

A person who treated Ryōma as a brother since an early age and had deep trust in him. Like Ryōma, he also grew up with the support of Yoshida Touyou, owing to him the advanced studies he took. He was also the leader of the "Sonnō jōi" movement that won many supporters and tried to recruit Ryōma upon his return from Edo. However, after the death of Yoshida Touyou, both men had to walk their own paths.

Yoshida Tōyō

Shintarō Fūma (Yoshida Tōyō)

A central figure both in name and reality, he was a Tosa Clan politician known as the "Sword of Yamauchi Yōdō" and was feared and considered to be a strict ruler. Apparently, he is rather a warm-hearted man with a sense of justice and also a foster parent to Ryōma and Takechi. He would take in children of the lower class who had lost their parents through discrimination and secretly supported them for many years; though this was also done for the sake of bringing up talents who would in future support the reform.[1]

Okada Izō

Akira Nishikiyama (Nishiki) (Okada Izō)

A somewhat quiet but dangerous person whose eyes harbored bloodlust. A man who looked up to Takechi and thus joined the "Sonnō jōi" movement. He held a resentment against Ryōma and considered him a rival and the first strongest enemy he encountered.[1]

Nakaoka Shintarō

Makoto (Mako) Date (Nakaoka Shintarō)

A man with brilliant eyes that were able to see through the essence of things. As Touyou's attendant once, his death had a huge impact on Nakaoka, who was also investigating the truth of Touyou's death. Since Ryōma was a murder suspect, he hated him, however with both men's resolve to uncover the truth of the incident, they ended up becoming the best collaboration at it.[1]


Kondō Isami

Kondō Isami

The Chief of the shinsengumi. (To be updated)

Hijikata Toshizō

Yoshitaka Mine (Hijikata Toshizō)

The Deputy of the shinsengumi who presided for the absence of Kondou. He kept a strict regime system and dealt with those who defied it without mercy. In addition to his cool disposition and combat style, he rarely changed facial expressions. As such, he was secretly known as the "Demon Deputy" among the shinsengumi. He suggested a proposal to Ryōma during his arrival at their organization which not only had a major impact Ryōma's life but also on the fate of Japan.[1]

Itō Kashitarō

Gō Hamazaki (Itō Kashitarō)

A shinsengumi officer.  (To be updated)

Okita Souji

Gorō Majima (Hirayama Gorō (Okita Sōji))

1st Division Captain. (To be updated)

Real Name: Hirayama Gorō

Nagakura Shinpachi

Taiga Saejima (Hirama Jūsuke (Nagakura Shinpachi))

2nd Division Captain. (To be updated)

Real Name: Hirama Jūsuke

Saitō Hajime

Kazuma Kiryū (Sakamoto Ryōma (Saitō Hajime)) 02

Ryoma becomes the captain of the third unit of the Shinsengumi under alias Saitō Hajime after the previous captain Yamanami Keisuke was killed by Hijikata for trying to abandon the group.

Real Name: Sakamoto Ryōma

Matsubara Chūji

Yū Morinaga (Matsubara Chūji)

4th Division Captain. (To be updated)

Takeda Kanryūsai

Hiroshi Hayashi (Takeda Kanryūsai)

5th Division Captain. (To be updated)

Inoue Genzaburo

Osamu Kashiwagi (Serizawa Kamo (Inoue Genzaburō))

6th Division Captain. (To be updated)

Real Name: Serizawa Kamo

Tani Sanjūrō

Yahata (Tani Sanjūrō)

7th Division Captain. (To be updated)

Tōdō Heisuke

Shigeki Baba (Tōdō Heisuke)

8th Division Captain. (To be updated)

Suzuki Mikisaburō

Kan Ogita (Suzuki Mikisaburō)

9th Division Captain. (To be updated)

Harada Sanosuke

Masato Aizawa (Harada Sanosuke)

10th Division Captain. (To be updated)

Yamazaki Susumu

Hiroshi Kugihara (Yamazaki Susumu)

Shinsengumi Inspector and "BLACK OP" Division unit that specializes in intelligence. (To be updated)

Bakuhu (Shogunate)Edit

Tokugawa Yoshinobu

Daigo Dōjima (Tokugawa Yoshinobu)

The 15th Shogun of the Edo Shogunate. (To be updated)

Sasaki Tadasaburō

Masaru Watase (Sasaki Tadasaburō)

Part of the special police force known as the Kyoto Mimawarigumi . (To be updated)

Katsu Kaishū

Minoru Aoyama (Katsu Kaishū)

The Shogunate Navy Magistrate. (To be updated)

Other Key CharactersEdit

Katsura Kogoro

Shun Akiyama (Niibori Matsusuke (Katsura Kogoro))

A mysterious man who watches over Ryoma. (To be updated)

Real Name: Nībori Matsusuke

Saigō Kichinosuke

Ryūji Gōda (Saigō Kichinosuke)

Army commander of the Satsuma domain.



An "attraction attendant" at the Terada Inn ({{JP|寺田屋{{). (To be updated)

Mysterious Informant

A mysterious informant in Kyoto.  (To be updated)


Mirei Paku (Otosei)

The proprietress of the Terada Inn. (To be updated)


Hana (Ikumatsu)

A mysterious and beautiful lady.  (To be updated)


Haruka Sawamura (Haru)

Haruka is key to the game's "Another Life" part of the story. She owes a debt of 100 Ryo after her parents pass away so that she can keep the family home. Ryoma agrees to pay off her debt, as well as to live with her as a guardian.



A screenshot of the PS4 being unable to take a screenshot.

  • Most of the game is blocked from recording on PS4, with the exception of the fighting arena. The introductory screen to the arena states that players are able to record screenshots and footage using the SHARE button.
    • The original Japanese release of Yakuza 0 also had a very similar blanket ban on recording almost the entire game. The western release however does not.
    • In the PS4 release of the game, earning trophies causes the PS4 to automatically take a screenshot, but due to the restriction on recording within blocked scenes, they are unable to be saved.
  • The battle area for random encounters is much bigger than in previous games. This appears to have resulted in a glitch where enemies will sometimes spawn a long way away from Ryoma and out of view of the mini-map.


References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4

External linksEdit

  • KHHSubs, a useful resource for anyone with little to no Japanese knowledge wishing to play Ishin!.

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