Chapter 12 springs a surprise for established fans of the Yakuza series. A lot of people were probably happy to see the ‘Mad Dog of Shimano’ Goro Majima strut down the stairs and challenge your party to battle.
That is, until realising this is by far the biggest difficulty spike in the game. Majima is a stark contrast to the relatively straightforward boss fights up to this point. The fact that Majima is accompanied by the similarly familiar face of Taiga Saejima certainly doesn’t help.
Chances are you’ll hold your own against Majima until his health is reduced to half. Here, Saejima jumps into the fray, doubling the difficulty. Now they can unleash joint attacks and easily dispatch your party members if you are ill-prepared. Since they only need to take down Ichiban to defeat you, you can end up in real trouble real fast.
Thankfully, it’s not impossible, and with the following tips they can be overcome. Here is how to beat Majima and Saejima.
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Head to the Sotenbori arena first
If you’ve saved your game in the mansion and succumbed to defeat, it’s going to cost some yen to restart in Sotenbori. However, this is the best chance you’ve got and you’ll also have ample opportunity to earn it all back.
Majima and Saejima are on level 50. If you haven’t been spending time down Yokohama’s sewers, the chances are your levels will be in the 30s or maybe even low-40s at this point in the game.
The bad news is that these levels make it difficult to cut the mustard and it’s time to put some grinding in. Up until this point, there has been no need to grind at all, but thankfully Osaka’s arena is opened shortly beforehand.
A full run through the arena is 30 battles, with a checkpoint after every five wins. It’s absolutely worth taking advantage of these. On floors 6, 11, 16, 21 and 26, pop back to the street and save. Some of these battles can be tricky but since you’ll level up regularly your characters will heal themselves. Most can be won by splurging your MP on your best multi-hitting skills, which will be recouped by an inevitable level up.
I would suggest bolstering everyone’s level into the 50s. Once you have beaten the arena, you should keep returning to floor 26 and climbing to the top rather than starting from the bottom. This will earn you some serious cash as well.
You will gain at least a level every time you complete these five battles, up until around level 57. In particular the battle on floor 28 earns you a mammoth amount of EXP, but it’s worth carrying on for the extra two before repeating.
I would suggest level 50 is a good place to be. Level 57 should make the boss fairly comfortable if you want to go that far.
Stock up with items
This is pretty standard advice, but it’s the first time you could really do with a full batch of items.
If you have beaten the business management game and learnt Essence of Orbital Laser, Ichiban in particular will need his MP replenished. Essence of Orbital Laser is the best skill going, especially when Majima and Saejima are both in the battle.
Either way, multi-hitting Essence skills will be a necessity and these never come cheap in terms of MP.
Conquering the business world, or even just beating the arena a few times, will have you rolling in yen. Nip to the local item shop and snag the maximum of everything that heals HP, MP, or both. MP is probably more important, but you’ll have the cash to buy everything.
What is the best party and job setup?
The bad thing about trying different jobs is that they take a while to level up. It’s all well and good recommending specific ones, but the last thing you’ll want to do is start one from scratch if you haven’t used it beforehand.
My advice here is to let the jobs you already have dictate your party. Aim to have the following:
- At least one character able to heal your whole party
- At least two characters who have powerful Essence moves that attack all enemies – preferably of fire/ice elements but this doesn’t matter too much
- Characters who can buff attack and defence
- Characters who can reduce defence and accuracy
The default jobs are fine, and ultimately covers everything here. Kasuga in the Hero job takes care of a lot of this single-handedly. However, since he only gets one turn in four, it’ll be great to have a party that splits up the responsibility as much as possible.
If you are rolling with default jobs, Nanba is handy because of his Essence of Pyro Prison attack – but his HP is typically fairly low. Boost him with an accessory, or even two, that increases his max HP.
Use buffs and debuffs just before Saejima enters the battle
There are a few things to note here:
- Majima will summon three doppelgangers while he is still alone and reduced to ¾ health
- You cannot reduce Majima’s HP much lower than half unless all doppelgangers are beaten
- When you have beaten the doppelgangers and sufficiently reduced Majima’s health, then Saejima will join
- You cannot defeat Majima before Saejima joins
If Majima’s doppelgangers are defeated but he still isn’t down to half HP, this is a golden chance.
What you really don’t want is to take down all doppelgangers and reduce Majima to half health in the same attack. This could prompt Saejima to enter and rob you of a chance to regroup and buff up before the battle gets even more difficult.
Therefore, your best bet is to take out the doppelgangers as soon as possible, using multi-hitting Essence moves. Don’t be afraid to use an Orbital Laser and Nanba’s Essence of Pyro Prison.
As long as you’ve focused on them immediately, Majima will still have some HP to spare before Saejima joins in. Use this time wisely. Heal up, boost everyone’s attack, boost everyone’s defence, reduce Majima’s defence and try to poison him.
It may be annoying to do all this in the heat of battle, but it’s the best opportunity you’re going to get. The buffs and debuffs will carry over to the next phase, and will make it easier to take out Majima. Speaking of which…
When Saejima joins, take out Majima first
Majima will fight alone until he is on half health. When Saejima enters the fray, he is on full health and is equally difficult to take down.
They can also join together for a devastating tag team attack, which is by far the biggest danger to Ichiban and your party. This is the most difficult segment of the battle, so you’ll want to keep it as short as possible.
Therefore, when both are in the battle, go absolutely all out to take down Majima. Use multi-hitting attacks if you can, but otherwise let loose with everything you’ve got. Focus all of your attention on the Mad Dog, who is weak to fire. Blunt attacks work as well.
You probably won’t be able to stop them landing a tag team or two, so you’ll need to be prepared for this.
Keep Ichiban’s health as high as possible with a dedicated healer
Ichiban is not safe on half health, or perhaps even three quarters. Majima and Saejima’s tag team move will hit Ichiban for the best part of 400 HP.
The other possibility is that Majima and Saejima may act consecutively. Since they hit hard, these back-to-back attacks may be enough to KO Ichiban and finish you off there and then.
Play it safe and use up a turn healing Ichiban whenever he drops below around ¾ health. Of course, a multi-party healer will allow you to take care of everyone else at the same time. Ichiban can heal everyone with Hero’s Embrace himself, and he isn’t a bad option to use as a healer unless you are using Orbital Laser…
If you have Orbital Laser, use it virtually every time
I recommend the business management game is beaten to take care of your financial needs. The additional benefit is learning the incredibly effective Essence of Orbital Laser. To reiterate, this is simply the most reliable way of dealing damage.
You can of course go and beat the business management game all in one go right now. But this is a pretty long-winded distraction when you are likely keen to progress the story.
If you’ve learned it, then don’t be afraid to use it literally every move. Since it costs a whopping 200MP, then you may only have enough MP to use it once before needing an item. You can equip a Fighting God Mouthguard or Extreme Skill Mouthguard as an accessory to reduce the MP cost, or even a belt to increase max MP.
If you can get two Orbital Lasers out of Ichiban, that’s good. Use them, and then have a different party member toss an MP recovery item his way (don’t waste Ichiban’s own turn on an item). It is well worth it.
Don’t underestimate Saejima alone
Once you’ve beaten Majima, you’re over the worst of it. You outnumber Saejima four-to-one and he can no longer call on Majima for their tag team move. However, he buffs up his attack, defence and speed, ensuring he remains a formidable opponent who should not be taken for granted.
He is weak to cold, but resists most physical attacks. Your best bet is to hit him with gun attacks or whatever elemental skills you have available (obviously including Orbital Laser) whilst maintaining high HP as before. Sometimes Saejima can take two consecutive turns which makes him dangerous when he targets Ichiban.
If you’ve followed the previous advice, you should be OK here as long as you don’t take any unnecessary risks.
Swap your less important members out when they run out of MP
The good thing about a tag out is that it can be done on anyone’s turn. For instance, you could swap Adachi out on Saeko’s turn. Unfortunately this still takes up her turn, but at least you don’t have to wait. This is handy if the character in question is low on HP and vulnerable to being defeated.
Whilst battling Saejima alone in the latter part of the battle, you will likely run out of MP. Saejima is an absolute tank who can take hit after hit. You should have enough items to assist, but another option is to swap out depleted characters for fresh, fully-charged faces.
To simplify and refresh everything you need to know, here are the top tips:
- Level up to at least 50 in the Sotenbori arena
- Buy as many items as possible that heal HP/MP together
- Take out Majima’s clones quickly with your most powerful multi-hitting skills
- When these are beaten but before Saejima joins the battle, buff up, heal up and inflict debuffs
- When Saejima joins, focus all energy on Majima to beat him first
- Use a dedicated healer to keep HP very high, particularly when both bosses are in the battle together
- Once Majima is beaten, whittle down Saejima whilst maintaining high HP
- If you have Orbital Laser, spam it and have another character restore Ichiban’s MP with items
There are some other tough fights to come, but this is likely the biggest test you’ll face in Yakuza: Like A Dragon. With these tips, you can do it. Good luck.