Finding the best weapons and armor in Like a Dragon: Ishin! is no easy task. The latest tale from Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio is an engrossing adventure packed with smack downs. Between the main chapters, substories, and several different optional modes (including one that’s like a dungeon crawling-lite), you’ll end up tangled in combat quite often.
Regardless of which difficulty you choose to play on, making sure you’re always carrying Ishin’s best weapons and armor is vital. This guide shares several different equipment options that are worth pursuing, as well as their locations or the items you’ll need to craft them.
How crafting works in Like a Dragon: Ishin!
Fairly early in the main story, you’ll gain access to a blacksmith vendor, which basically unlocks crafting in Like a Dragon: Ishin!. You can create new weapons and equipment from scratch, using both crafting items and money. That said, crafting in Ishin is similar to crafting in Monster Hunter, in the way that you’ll need the previous weapon in the tree in order to make the new one. (This is all displayed in the crafting screen of the blacksmith, including the exact items list and such you’ll need, so no need to worry about keeping a notebook handy.)
In addition, you can use different hammer types to enhance equipment, upgrading their rarity and, as a result, their base damage or defense stats. As for the blacksmith, you can also donate gear to upgrade the shop, which results in some benefits. I recommend parting ways with equipment that has low stats, or purchasing the cheapest ones from the Arms Dealer. It will take more time, but at least you won’t mistakenly donate a weapon that you could have used to craft a new katana or gun later on.
As for where to find crafting items in Like a Dragon: Ishin!, simple: They’re all over the place! You can find them as loot during battles; inside pots; as rewards for completing Battle Dungeons, substories, and bonds; or by fulfilling orders in Another Life and having dogs as pets that will fetch you items from time to time.
Of all of the above, Battle Dungeons tend to be a bit more helpful; once completed, you can actually see the list of possible items that can drop. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get just the one you need, but at least you know that there is a guaranteed chance you’ll stumble upon it in that specific dungeon at some point.
The best weapons in Like a Dragon: Ishin!
Deciding on the best weapons in Like a Dragon: Ishin! can be tough, as it will depend on your playstyle. Some favor elemental attacks, which you can obtain either from other equipment pieces or through Trooper Card skills, while others are focused on specific elements, such as the Heat Gauge.
My recommendation, especially during the first few chapters of the main story, is to focus on whatever deals more damage than what you’re currently using. Once you start cutting deeper into the combat of the game, especially if you’re planning to tackle the Battle Dungeon, that’s when you’re going to want to focus on elemental attacks, or some options such as the Skink Lizard, which recovers health by a percentage of damage dealt to enemies.
Here are the best weapon options in Like a Dragon: Ishin! to carry you through to the mid-game:
Eternal Gold (Katana)
- Perk: Charges up the Heat Gauge 7% faster, and it also charges it 15% faster while drunk.
- How to get Eternal Gold: You can get one after a boss fight in Chapter 6 of the main story, but it can also be crafted. To do the latter, you will need 1 Gold Dust, 5 Precious Steel, and the Radiant Drunkard.
- Why it’s great: Keeping your Heat Gauge charged more often than not will allow you to perform Heat actions and special attacks frequently, which not only deal more damage but can also cancel upcoming attacks from enemies
- Perk: Adds the poison element.
- How to get Juzu-maru: You can obtain the sword later on in the main story, or just go ahead and craft it way earlier. You’ll need 1 Ominous Prayer Beads, 10 Precious Steel, 5 Silver Scrap, and the Yaksha Blade.
- Why it’s great: Poison is usually the one status ailment that you can use against pretty much any enemy, dealing damage to them passively over time.
Skink Lizard (Katana)
- Perk: Recovers health by 8% based on damage dealt to the enemy.
- How to get Skink Lizard: To craft it, you’ll need 1 Obsidian Chunk, 10 Precious Steel, 5 Silver Scrap, and the Yaksha Blade.
- Why it’s great: Being able to recover health based on damage is an excellent perk to have in general. You’ll have to act more aggressively than usual to make the most out of it, and I also recommend enhancing the weapon and making sure you have the abilities of the related fighting style in check, making sure you’re dealing the highest damage possible, which in turn will increase the amount healed per hit.
- Perk: Charges up the Heat Gauge 7% faster
- How to get Masamune: You’ll need 1 Jet Black Belt, 10 Gold Chunks, 5 Platinum Filings, and the Eternal Gold.
- Why it’s great: Like Eternal Gold, keeping your Heat Gauge charged more often than not will allow you to perform Heat actions and special attacks frequently, which not only deals more damage but can also cancel upcoming attacks from enemies.
Lightning Needle (Special)
- Perk: Adds the thunder element.
- How to get Lightning Needle: You can get a great version of this during a boss fight in chapter 12 of the main story. But to craft it beforehand, you’ll need 1 Jet Black Belt, 10 Sturdy Lumbers, 5 Driftwood, and the Cross Spear. (Remember that this also requires the Knowledge of the Spear ability from the Wild Dancer tree.)
- Why it’s great: The thunder element is a great elemental attack to have, but also, this spear deals a ton of damage, and has a really useful Heat action attack that you can use while facing an enemy. If you keep your Heat Gauge charged, you’ll be able to stop multiple attacks by doing this. Sure, it’s repetitive, but effective.
Double Flash (Gun)
- Perk: 40% chance to fire two shots at once.
- How to get Double Flash: 1 Charming Doll, 10 Small Wind-up Devices, 10 Mechanical Parts, and the Double Strike.
- Why it’s great: Rate of fire isn’t the strength of many guns, but having the chance to actually fire twice once in a while can counter that flaw.
Cherry Blossom (Gun)
- Perk: Increases the effects of elemental attacks by 150%.
- How to get Cherry Blossom: You’ll need 1 Elegant Hair Ornament, 10 Worn Out Cogwheels, 5 Exquisite Cogwheels, and the Winter Winds.
- Why it’s great: Using elemental bullets in your gun is a great way of dealing with tough enemies. Increasing that damage by 150% is an excellent way of doing so.
The Best Armor in Like a Dragon: Ishin!
Unlike weapons, not every category of armor in Like a Dragon: Ishin! has a ton of options. Most of the gear I’ve been using was dropped during a substories or during the main story chapters.
Similarly, I recommend equipping whatever you can find, at least at first, just to start building up Ryoma’s defense stats. From there, you can either focus on gear that doubles down on that defense, or increases other aspects of the character, such as the use of Heat Gauge.
Here are the best armor options in Like a Dragon: Ishin! to carry you through the mid-game:
- Perk: Increases the power of Brawler attacks by 90%.
- How to get Loincloth: You will obtain a “Best” grading version of this one as you progress through the main story missions in chapter four.
- Why it’s great: The Brawler fighting style can be a tough sell when dealing with swords, spears, and guns from enemies, but it’s hard to ignore the sheer speed of its attacks. Making sure you’re hitting harder is crucial, and as a plus side, this fighting style is the one that allows the use of special weapons. Having something like the Lighting Needle spear alongside this perk can be a great way of strengthening its potential.
Brawler’s Binding (Breastplate)
- Perk: Increases defense by 8% on top of its base defense.
- How to get Brawler’s Binding: You’ll need 1 Crimson Bead, 10 Vermilion Fabric, 5 Fine Silk Fabric, and 1 Fireman’s Breastplate.
- Why it’s great: Brawler’s Binding might not have the bells and whistles of other armor in Like a Dragon: Ishin!, but if you’re in need of some defense, especially in higher difficulties, crafting and enhancing this piece of gear will give you that much-needed boost in protection.
Celestial Garb (Breastplate)
- Perk: Reflects 5% of damage taken, and increases the resistance to elemental attacks by 5%.
- How to get Celestial Garb: You’ll need 1 Ancient Amulet, 10 Vermilion Fabric, 5 Fine Silk Fabric, and 1 Herbalist’s Binding.
- Why it’s great: As skillful as you might be, you’re bound to get hit sometimes, so being able to reflect that damage is key, even if the percentage might seem low. You’ll be doing damage even when you’re not attacking. And if the enemy comes at you with elemental attacks, you’ll have an extra protection for those, too.
Hidden Blade Gauntlets (Gauntlet)
- Perk: Reflects 5% of damage taken, and serves as a good Assassin’s Creed reference, too.
- How to get Hidden Blade Gauntlets: You’ll need 1 Broken Awl, 10 Beast’s Tail, 5 Fine Horse’s Mane, and the Sacred Wood Gauntlets.
- Why they’re great: This is a great companion for the Celestial Garb, enhancing the percentage of damage taken being reflect to enemies.
Iron Gauntlets (Gauntlet)
- Perk: Can guard against blades.
- How to get Iron Gauntlets: You can get a pair by completing Substory 18: The Reclusive Son, or by crafting. To do the later, you’ll need 1 Iron Scrap, 10 Beautiful Pelt, 5 Wild Silk, and the Wooden Gauntlets.
- Why they’re great: If you’re used to actually putting your guard up to defend yourself from sword attacks, this perk will ensure you’ll block them. If they’re a strong hit, you might have your defense broken, but you will still protect yourself from it. Of course, if you’re being attacked by the sides or your back, don’t expect to be so lucky.
Divine Dragon Enblem (Headband)
- Perk: Reduces Heat Gauge consumption by 7% when using special moves. Also, while at low health, the Heat Gauge charges by 15 per second.
- How to get Divine Dragon Enblem: You will need 1 Eye of the Dragon (you can get one by completing Substory 20: Can I Quote You on That? in Chapter 7), 15 Vermilion Fabric, 10 Fine Silk Fabric, and the Iron Hachigane.
- Why it’s great: Reducing the Heat Gauge consumption is a great way of ensuring that you won’t have to wait that long to perform another special move. But also, charging it faster while at low health also adds an additional source of Heat Gauge. It’s a high-risk, high-reward scenario, as you don’t want to be in low health all the time, but the benefit is worth it — special moves hit hard and can interrupt enemies often.