Like A Dragon vs Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth – Which did it better?

I wasn’t expecting two 100-hour plus ten out of ten modern JRPGs to come out within a month of each other, I’m not sure anyone was. Both Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth (FF7) and Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth (LaD) dropped in the first quarter of 2024 and they probably have more similarities than you realise – but which one is better? 

Well, there’s only one way to find out. Let’s break it down, shall we?

Dual Protagonists 

One withdrawn and reserved with the weight of the world on his shoulders and a surprisingly goofy side, and another guy who is just the human equivalent of a puppy – kind, energetic and idealistic. I can’t help but see some of FF7s Zack in Ichiban, which leaves Cloud and Kiryu to mope in a corner until their friends can crack that icy facade.

Evolved Turn-based Gameplay

FF7 somehow crams its Active Time Battle bar into an action format while letting players still select moves via menus – and it works surprisingly well. LaD almost takes the opposite approach being very much turn-based in 2024 but with the same flair as an action game, plus some button prompts to keep you on your toes… fingers?

Incredible Soundtrack

Both games feature a wide range of music for every mood. Whimsical side quest? Banger tune. Emotional moment? Chords that pluck your heartstrings. Intense boss battle? Release all the guitars! Although FF7 does pip this one with the way it merges and transitions themes, and also because of nostalgia, but then it is a masterful reimagining of one of the greatest game soundtracks of all time.


Speaking of. Neither game shies away from indulging in nostalgia. LaD is a bit of a send-off for the Yakuza series protag Kiryu and it will come for your feelings if you’ve played any of his Yakuza games. On the other hand, FF7 is a remake so it’s practically made of nostalgia and I’d be cynical about that if it didn’t feel so good to see this world and characters fleshed out with all the fancy graphics etc. Although I’m knocking points off for whatever happened to Shinra mansions’ layout and the omission of the original Chocobo race tracks.

Side Content

Both games have a hefty raft of side content. LaD even has side content featuring an actual raft. In both cases, side missions build the world and give the player a chance to get to know new and existing characters. As for minigames, LaD tends to be a bit less intrusive but can go really deep, somehow containing its own take on Pokémon and Animal Crossing. FF7 certainly matches this depth with its Queen’s Blood card game but it has more than a few annoying distractions. Plus LaD isn’t asking me to 100% mahjong and shogi for the platinum, whereas FF7 wants perfect scores for 3D brawler AND doing crunches?!

Segways/Street Surfer/Wheelies

Look, I could have guessed these games would have similarities in the other categories I’ve covered but I wasn’t even expecting on videogame featuring a Segway this year, never mind two! And especially not these two games! And a month apart too? I’m giving this one to LaD for being so smooth and convenient and having customisation options. FF7 loses for all the times I pressed the left button for the wheelie only to turn right. Its general clunkiness is forgiven however for the amount of street furniture destruction it caused.

Jump scares??

Speaking of destroying street furniture. Modern game physics combined with an aversion to seeing your entire party fold inside of the protagonist have created an unexpected curse – party member jump scares. There’s nothing quite like walking into the cutest street-side café in a quiet part of town, navigating your way past pretty laid-out tables and ornate chairs only to approach the guy at the counter as the loudest godawful clatter blasts through your headphones. You turn around to see your entire party has ignored your civilised pathfinding and has instead bulldozed their way through pot plants, signage, tables, chairs and probably some NPCs, sending them flying and careening into even more physics-enabled props. It’s absolute chaos; terrifying, hilarious chaos.

The Winner

Ok, so, I may have led you on; I’m not picking a winner here today. Like A Dragon and Final Fantasy 7 are different enough that it comes down to preference and how attached you are to previous games in their respective series. Which, I guess means the real winners are the players or the friends we had inside us all along… Something like that.





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