Like a Dragon: Ishin! Fighting Styles Explained

    Ryoma's diverse arsenal

    Ryoma is an experienced swordsman, brawler, and gunman in Like a Dragon: Ishin!, and each fighting style has its own strengths and weaknesses. All four fighting styles have its own skill tree with a plethora of skills to obtain by progressing through the story, training with experience fighters, and spending time in mini-games. Here’s what you need to know about Ryoma’s fighting styles in Like a Dragon: Ishin!


    The Brawler fighting style shares many similarities to Kazuma Kiryu’s Dragon of Dojima fighting style from the Yakuza series. This fighting style’s initial damage output is weak compared to the Swordsman style at the beginning of Like a Dragon: Ishin!. However, Ryoma is able to learn many valuable skills from Komaki at his dojo in Fushimi. These skills include the ability to disarm opponents, execute parries, and greater evasion. Additionally, the Brawler style has a great number of grab attacks and throws to utilize.

    While in the Brawler fighting style, Ryoma may parry enemy attacks with the War Cry Counter. Ryoma will be temporarily invulnerable after executing this parry, allowing him to fend off a group of enemies. This presents a great opportunity to knock down enemies with short Rush combos and finish them off with Heat maneuvers. Many Brawler Heat attacks make use of opening in the enemy’s defense by exploiting their own weapons against them. Overall, the Brawler is the weakest of the Like a Dragon: Ishin! fighting styles since it gravitates toward counter attacking after evading and parrying attacks.


    Like a Dragon: Ishin!’s combat system is built with the Swordsman fighting style at its core. Ryoma makes use of powerful sword swings and slashes to take enemies down. In addition, Ryoma’s charged attacks are quite strong, allowing him to endure enemy attacks without flinching. Swordsman fighting style is great for breaking through the enemy’s guard with the Summer Rainfall skill as well. While guarding, Ryoma may counterattack enemies by pushing them away with the deflection skill Fair Weather. Once an opening presents itself, the Swordsman makes short work out of most enemies. 

    In terms of use cases, the Ryoma’s Swordsman style is excellent in one-on-one battles. This style is also potent against a group of enemies once more of its skills are unlocked. Ryoma may be left wide open from an attack from behind, however. Further, Ryoma lacks a set of evasion skills while in the Swordsman fighting style. This fighting style revolves around powerful charged attacks, lengthy Rush combos, and guard breaking for the most part. Fortunately, many of the Swordsman’s Heat abilities are easy to trigger, so the Swordsman tends to unleash the most damage. 


    Ryoma’s Gunman style is really potent against armored enemies and groups of enemies. Gunman is also useful in one-on-one battles, but switching to Swordsman is typically a better choice in these battles. Ryoma makes use of various bullet types for his strong attack, which allows him to stun enemies, knock them back, or inflict status effects. For example, acid bullets will quickly destroy enemy armor to expose their health. This style is a serious boon while completing Shinsengumi missions due to the sheer amount of enemies with armor. 

    The Gunman fighting style is great from a distance since enemies tend to lunge toward Ryoma, causing him to flinch back when hit. Skilled Gunman users can take some risks and reap some rewards by evading enemy offense and unleashing Heat attacks. Gunman’s Rush combos are also potent due to its ability to target multiple enemies, sending them back and leaving an opening to finish them off with a Heat attack. As a Gunman, players have plenty of offensive options that are best suite toward setting up finishers, knocking opponents down, and destroying enemy armor.

    Wild Dancer

    Ryoma’s Wild Dancer style combines Buyo with the Swordsman and Gunman styles to create an elegant and deadly combo. Wild Dancer makes use of evasion, swift sword strikes, and precise gunshots to chain together seemingly never ending combos. This fighting style is great for knocking back all enemies in sight thanks to the Phoenix Frenzy special combo and Dragon God Dance grand technique. Wild Dancer is superb against groups of enemies while still having decent damage output against bosses. 

    Like a Dragon: Ishin! combat demo

    Wild Dancer is not great against armored enemies unless a powerful sword is equipped. Since Ryoma is wielding a sword and sidearm, he’s unable to make use of the Gunman’s special bullets as well. Those using Wild Dancer must practice this fighting style more often than the previous three since gunshots require greater precision and timing. Longer combo chains and more powerful abilities will help the Wild Dancer flourish later in the game, making it just as useful as the Swordsman in end-game content. Wild Dancer is one of the most fun fighting styles in Like a Dragon: Ishin! while being very potent. 

    Mastering Each Style

    Each fighting style takes time to master in Like a Dragon: Ishin!, which means there’s plenty of hours to be spend fighting enemies. In order to master a fighting style, players must learn all unique skills in a skill tree and reach level 25 with the respective fighting style. Once the conditions have been met, Ryoma must return to his trainer to unlock the style’s greatest potential. 

    Lastly, Like a Dragon: Ishin! is available now for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam

    Soul Kiwami
    Soul Kiwami
    Raul Ochoa, a.k.a. Soul Kiwami, is the Managing Editor of Final Weapon and a Games Writer at Game Rant with four years of writing and editing experience. Raul is passionate about the Japanese gaming industry, and he's a huge fan of Nintendo Switch, PC hardware, JRPGs, and fighting games. business email: [email protected]

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