Yakuza: Like a Dragon – how to improve friendship bonds

The quickest way to increase party bond levels.

Besides turn-based battles and job classes, Yakuza: Like a Dragon shares a number of other JRPG mechanics, some of them perhaps familiar to fans of the Persona series. One of these is how you can bond with your allies over time, though it works differently here.

Improved bonds are important for a number of reasons:

  • Certain jobs unlock based not only on a party member’s character level but on the bond level they have with Kasuga.
  • A higher bond improves the chances of a party member performing a quick follow-up attack on an enemy who’s been knocked down. These follow-ups also happen without costing that character’s turn, though if you’re quick enough you can still perform another follow-up attack if the enemy is still on the ground.
  • A higher bond also improves how much XP a party member earns when they’re a reserve member. By default, a reserve member earns x0.5 but for each new bond level gained, this improves by x0.1. So when you max out your bond, a party member will earn as much XP even as a reserve.

How to increase bonds with party members

Battles: Along with XP, money and any items rewarded at the end of a fight, you also get points towards your bond. These however go exclusively to active party members, which isn’t a problem to begin with but once you have more allies joining you, make sure they’re in the party to increase your bond.

Party chat: These are bits of dialogue that pop up throughout the story based on an area of interest you pass by, triggered by a prompt. These are pretty interesting and amusing conversations and anyone participating in the chat will gain a few points in their bond level afterwards. Just make sure you don’t interrupt the party chat by doing anything else like going into the menu, as you’ll have to trigger it again.

Eating at restaurants: Eating restores party HP and MP but if you order specific items, it can also trigger conversations with certain party members. Again, anyone participating in the conversation will see their bond level grow. To guarantee a conversation, you could just order everything on the menu.

Mini-game activities: Any mini-game activity that includes a party member or where you can invite them to participate in will also improve their bond. These include playing against them in darts, singing in karaoke, or taking them to see a film at the Seagull Cinema.

Taking the guys to a hostess club: If you’ve got plenty of dough, one of the quickest ways to boost your bond with your male allies is to treat them to a visit to one of the hostess clubs in town. Keep the hostesses in a good mood (if you don’t tailor your orders specifically to their preferences, splashing out on champagne always does the trick) and everyone’s happy. You’ll leave all the guys’ bonds receiving a boost, though they’ll also be drunk, so make sure you’ve got some turmeric tablets to sober them up.

How to level up a party member’s bond

Building up a bond is one thing, but to actually level it up, you’ll have to sit down and have a chat with them over a drink at your hideout Survive Bar, hence why this is also known as ‘Drink Links’. During these chats, you’ll get to find out more about each character’s backstory and help them work through their own issues in parallel to the main story. You’ll also get a couple dialogues choices that can go towards improving Kasuga’s personality stats depending on your answer.

Pay attention to your party members’ bond gauge for when you can speak to them at Survive (at the bar, you’ll also see a speech bubble with a heart symbol over their head to indicate you can trigger a Drink Link conversation). If you don’t level this up when it’s available, be warned that any bonding activities you do, including battles, will not count towards improving your bonds.

One thing to note is that if you’re trying to speed up increasing bond levels, Nanba’s is actually capped at Lv.2 for the first half of the story, so you’ll have to play further into the game before it unlocks further.

How to increase Eri’s bond

The one exception to friendship bonds is Eri, the optional character who joins your party via the management mini-game after you get the company into the Top 100. She’s also unfortunately treated as a non-canonical entity for virtually the entire game, absent from any core story scenes.

To increase her bond level you will have to keep playing the management mini-game and reach each of its milestones. Maxing out her bond level therefore requires beating the management mini-game and becoming the No.1 company in Yokohama.

You won’t want to neglect this mini-game anyhow as it’s your best way to earn lots of money in the long run, while completing it also unlocks Kasuga’s most powerful skills.

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