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Like A Dragon: Ishin! Nagakura Shinpachi Boss Guide

To enter the Shinsengumi, you have to face this deadly pop quiz.

Like A Dragon: Ishin! is a historical-flavored spinoff of Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios’ Yakuza series, but it behaves a lot like the mainline games. For instance, the difficulty spikes in-game come from boss battles, which start appearing immediately. For Ishin, that means Nagakura Shinpachi, Ryoma’s initiation into the Shinsengumi. He’s loosely based on Saito Sejima from the mainline games, whose fighting style is to hit very, very hard. Unprepared players could find themselves walking into a slaughter. Here are some tips to help players get the better of him.

Nagakura Shinpachi Boss Guide: Prep

like a dragon ishin ryoma nagakura faceoff

The best way to get an advantage over Nagakura is to come prepared. Players will stand a much better chance if they spend some time exploring the new area that opens before going to the Shinsengumi barracks. In particular:

  • The Clockwork House, for free training and medicines. Only the first few are doable at first, but participating in the challenges here is even worth style experience.
  • The Blacksmith, for weapon upgrades. Ishin is a lot more gear-dependent than other games in the series, so starting work on equipment upgrades early will give you a (literal) edge.
  • The Swordsman trainer. He’s directly to the north of Shinsengumi HQ, and enables new moves for both Swordsman and Wild Dancer styles.

There’s also a pharmacy nearby, which sells potent recovery items. Early-game, simple medicines should do, and you can buy them at the pharmacy if you’re low. There’s also a pickled goods vendor just outside the Shinsengumi. These work as recovery items as well if you don’t want to bother walking any farther.

Throughout the series, the easiest way to ensure victory is to bring lots of recovery items into tough situation. In this case, however, the fight starts without warning, and doesn’t provide a yes/no prompt like most critical points in the game. Don’t stress out if you get caught unprepared. It’s safe to “Load Save” after losing, since the game autosaves in the area transition to the Shinsengumi area. Come back later if you need extra prep.

Nagakura Shinpachi Boss Guide: Styles To Use

like a dragon ishin ryoma nagakura clash

In the Like A Dragon: Ishin Nagakura Shinpachi boss battle, Ryoma has access to four wildly different fighting styles, and they each perform differently against Nagakura. The key to victory is responding correctly to Nagakura’s attacks. Almost all of these are quick forward stabs, so the basic strategy is to sidestep his thrusts and counterattack. Sometimes, he does an overhead swing that hits to the side, but with enough distance, a sidestep can evade this attack as well.

In most cases, the Swordsman style is ideal for the fight. Unlike the other styles, it can block Nagakura’s attacks. It’s not a perfect solution. One of his attacks is a four-hit sequence that will break your guard on the third swing and hit on the fourth. Sidestepping is still the best defensive measure. But being able to block is still valuable here. If you get caught in a sequence of strikes by mistake, holding the block button can start guarding you even while being hit, minimizing damage taken. It can also block Nagakura’s special attack, a forward charge that’s a little harder to sidestep than his other moves. Plus, the range of Ryoma’s sword makes sidestep punishes a little easier. Evade, then use a regular three or four-hit combo for simple, reliable damage.

Brawler and Wild Dancer are usable here, but they’re both risky: Brawler requires the player to stay close to Nagakura, putting them at risk of being caught by his overhead swing, and Wild Dancer has a short dodge range, and low damage to boot. One good use for these styles, however, is to set up heat actions. Swordsman style doesn’t have reliable heat actions in the early game. Also, Brawler is better able to knock Nagakura down than Swordsman, enabling heat actions on grounded targets.

Training before the fight can enable a Wild Dancer technique to counterattack a sword-user for big damage. One method is to fight carefully with Swordsman, charge some heat, then switch to Wild Dancer and use the counter technique. It’s a powerful and easy-to-use ability, but it does less damage each time it’s used in the fight. Switch to something else after using it once or twice.

However, if you have no honor at all (understandable), the easiest way to beat Nagakura is to shoot him with Gunman. Normal Gunman shots are too weak to be useful, and Nagakura blocks most of them anyway. But equipping special ammo causes ridiculous damage to the unarmored Nagakura. The rounds given at the start of the game, with high damage but no extra effects, should suffice. Even so, this strategy still takes some caution. Bait his attack by running near him without locking on. As soon as he starts to swing his sword, run away, re-target him, and press the power attack button for a special ammo shot. He’ll block some of it, but not all, and the damage from special ammo is so great, it only takes a few.

If you do get stuck on the Like A Dragon: Ishin Nagakura Shinpachi boss, it might be a good idea to use the difficulty to learn the game. After I struggled on this battle, I had a very easy time on the next major fight. There’s a lesson here about learning and improving.

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