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Like a Dragon: Ishin!’s ridiculously deep farming sim, explained

Another Life is basically an entire game within a game

Ryoma stands next to a garden in Like a Dragon: Ishin Another Life. Image: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio/Sega via Polygon

Like a Dragon: Ishin!’s Another Life aspect could be its own game, offering you a respite from your samurai rampage by taking care of pets, cooking, and tending to your own farm. In addition, it all revolves around Haruka’s storyline, in which she needs to pay off a huge debt in order to keep Ryoma’s Villa.

If you’re wondering how Another Life works in Like a Dragon: Ishin! as well as its many inner systems, this guide will serve as a catch-all explainer. Mainly, we cover how Haruka’s debt payments work, how to make the most out of farming and cooking, and how to adopt pets, plus some other tips and tricks.

How to unlock Another Life in Like a Dragon: Ishin!

To unlock Another Life in Like a Dragon: Ishin!, all you need to do is follow through the main story up to chapter three. You’ll stumble upon Haruka as you’re walking down Fushimi, and a series of cutscenes will slowly unveil the mechanic for you.

Here’s the gist: Haruka has lost her parents, and now a shitty landlord is threatening to kick her out of her home — unless she pays a 100 ryo debt. Ryoma, as per usual, steps in and offers to help. From this moment on, you’ll be able to travel to the house via an NPC in south Fushimi, near the docks, who can take you to “Ryoma’s Villa” at any point.

Ryoma tends a garden in Another Life in Like a Dragon: Ishin! Image: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio/Sega via Polygon

How Another Life in Like a Dragon: Ishin! works, and what the benefits are

Another Life encompasses many systems, which all intertwine to varying degrees with your time in the main story of Like a Dragon: Ishin!, as well as the endgame grind. Here, you’re able to plant and harvest on a farm, have dogs and cats as pets, cook meals, fulfill orders to obtain money and items, and increase Haruka’s trust.

If you’re wondering, you can mostly ignore Another Life, especially if you’re only focused on the main story. That said, if you’re planning on tackling aspects like bonds and substories, you’ll eventually need to spend at least some time taking care of your home.

In short, here are the benefits of Another life in Like a Dragon: Ishin! and how it can help throughout the story:

  • You can plant and harvest items that are otherwise hard to find in shops and elsewhere, unless you’re lucky with loot.
  • You can obtain useful crafting items, either by fulfilling orders or having your dogs fetch you items if you’re taking proper care of them (pet, play, or feed them whenever you’re in the house and they have a dialogue prompt).
  • Meals are useful as healing items, but also serve as key items for some substories and bonds.
  • It’s a great source of Virtue, as well as helping you tackle a ton of Diligence Records’ tasks, in case you’re aiming to pursue trophies.

If you want to know more about how to tackle Haruka’s debt, and how intrusive it is, head down to our next section.

Ryoma talks to Haruka in Another Life in Like a Dragon: Ishin1 Image: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio/Sega via Polygon

Do you need to pay Haruka’s debt in Another Life?

The prospect of five payments of 20 ryo each at some point in the future without a clear indication of when or how that’s going to happen is a scary one. But don’t fret. If you’re wondering whether or not you need to pay Haruka’s Debt in the Like a Dragon: Ishin! Another Life mode, the answer is no.

I was able to pretty much ignore Another Life altogether and reach the end of the main story without paying a single penny. In fact, I never actually got the prompt to do so, and unless you spend some time fulfilling orders, you won’t see it either.

Here’s how it works: After you’ve reached a certain amount of ryo collected in total for fulfilling Another Life orders, you’ll receive a letter from an NPC (which happens automatically with a cutscene) stating that the landlord is expecting the payment.

Does something happen if you don’t pay in Another Life? Well, not really, as far as I know. Tackling the first payment gave me a kimono for Haruka, so in essence, unless you want to customize her outfit with different cosmetic options, you don’t have to worry about a story event or character randomly appearing at some point and taking 20 ryo out of you.

How to increase Haruka’s Trust in Like a Dragon: Ishin!

Haruka has a number of ranks to level up if you want to gain her utmost trust. Plenty of actions in Another Life contribute to this, thankfully, so it’ll only be a time-consuming task once you know what to do.

You can increase Haruka’s Trust in Another Life with the following actions:

  • Visit your Another Life home: It’s a small amount, but Haruka’s trust will improve almost every time she sees Ryoma in the villa.
  • Fulfill orders: A great way to increase Haruka’s trust is by fulfilling orders.
  • Cook meals: It doesn’t matter if you repeat the same dish, Haruka will always give them a taste and you’ll improve her trust as a result.
  • Give Haruka gifts: You’ll get kimonos after making the 20 ryo payments, but you can also purchase them in the Shinto Priest’s store using Virtue. For this, you have to purchase the “Shinto Priest’s Exchange, now open!” upgrade in an Altar with 500 Virtue.

As you’re gaining new ranks, make sure to interact with the objects inside your home — the one in the living room, the futon, and the door that leads to the bath, as you’ll sometimes have cutscenes with Haruka. Again, these are all optional, but if you’re looking to trigger them, make sure to check on these objects, as they won’t happen automatically.

Ryoma stands next to a dog in front of a garden in Another Life in Like a Dragon: Ishin Image: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio/Sega via Polygon

Where to find pets for Another Life in Like a Dragon: Ishin!

If you’re paying attention to substories in Like a Dragon: Ishin!, you will eventually stumble upon the pets for Another Life. You’re going to have to complete their bonds, however, which can take some time. But all in all, I can’t recommend doing this enough, especially if you can tackle them as soon as possible. This will guarantee that you’re making the most out of your visits to your countryside home.

You can find all six pets in Like a Dragon: Ishin! as part of the following substories:

  • Substory 54: The Patient Dog
  • Substory 36: Injured Dog
  • Substory 16: Barking Dog
  • Substory 28: The Hungry Cat
  • Substory 55: The Filthy Cat
  • Substory 17: The Lucky Cat

After you’ve completed both the substory and the bond for a pet, you’ll get to choose between three nicknames. They will appear on your Another Life home from that moment on.

Whenever you visit, there is a chance that the pets will have a conversation prompt. Always make time for these events, as doing so will ensure that you’re making the most out of their benefits (dogs fetch items, cats improve luck with orders.)

The best Altar upgrades for Another Life

As I mentioned in the beginner’s guide, you should save up as much Virtue as possible for Another Life. If you’re interested in committing to this optional mode, there are a few upgrades that will make your (another) life easier. As such, I recommend getting them as soon as possible. There are many ways to get Virtue back afterward, so don’t worry about the large sums for some of the upgrades.

Here are the best altar upgrades for Another Life:

  • Kitchen upgrades: You should get the Typical Kitchen Upgrade, Home Cook’s Kitchen Upgrade, and True Chef’s Kitchen Upgrade options as soon as possible to access the full catalogue of recipes. The more you progress with orders, the more complex they’ll get, so there’s a chance you’ll be seeing these recipes more often than not.
  • Dog House and Cat Bed: You should get the base upgrade, as well as the deluxe and ultra deluxe versions of the dog house and cat bad as early as you can. These will greatly improve their capabilities.
  • Chicken Coop Setup: Having a source for eggs is helpful. You can leave the deluxe upgrade for later, but do make sure to purchase the first to unlock the coop in your house.
  • Farm Expansion: Purchase as many of these as you can. If you can get to at least level 3, you will be set for planting quite a lot at once.
  • Farm Level: Intertwined with the above, this upgrade improves cultivation speed and chances of a good harvest, so make sure to get at least three levels ASAP.
  • Scarecrow: Get at least level 1 of the Scarecrow, which will help to prevent your harvest from being damaged.
  • Green Thumb: This one is a bit subjective, as it will depend on your current needs. Grabbing as many new ingredients to plant is never a wrong choice, but if you don’t have your farm’s size fully upgraded yet, I recommend holding off until you do. In the meantime, if you happen to stumble upon a substory or bond that asks for a specific vegetable, that’s usually a good cue to purchase the corresponding Green Thumb upgrade and plant it on your farm.

There are other upgrades as well, such as River Classic and Sea Classic Expertise, but it will depend on how much time you want to dedicate to fishing. As for the interior decoration upgrades, they’re all cosmetic, so don’t worry about having to purchase them to access new tools and the like, as that’s not the case.

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