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2023 Game Of The Year Deathmatch: Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name vs Dave The Diver

Joryu doesn't usually get to fight someone this pixelated

Aftermath / Starline

We are not here tonight to argue whether Dave The Diver is really an indie game or not. We are here to see whether he will survive stepping into the arena against Kazuma Kiryu Joryu.

Before we do, though, we need a rules recap for anyone just joining us. There are 16 games in the mix for Game of the Year 2023. We're pitting them against each other in a knockout tournament. But we're not pitting the games themselves against each other; instead, we're selecting a Champion from in or around each game and having them duke it out in the arena of fiction in hand-to-hand (or weapon-to-weapon, or hand-to-weapon) combat. The winner, decided via a schoolyard "would Batman beat Superman" style debate, moves on. The loser does not. Here's how things stand after six bouts:

Enough talk! Time to fight!

Riley: I actually just started playing Dave the Diver, and what really impresses me about him is how busy he is, but how unfazed he is by that. I think his Zen-like calm would serve him well in a conflict here. Plus, he can do, like, everything-- that wide range of skills will surely come in handy in a fight

Nathan: Here's the problem: You also just described Kiryu. He's the busiest Yakuza alive with all his business empires, hostess clubs, and side quests (on top of side quests on top of side quests). And yet! He still finds time to play baseball, sing karaoke, and race tiny electric cars. Kiryu, too, can do everything. We need more data points, more stats. As is, this is a draw

Riley: Yeah, I guess as far as I've seen, Dave doesn't have a way to unwind? That stress might make him prone to mistakes.

Luke: There are opponents in this tournament that Kazuma Kiryu may be forced to take on with every weapon in his arsenal. His charms, his resoluteness, his manners.

Dave the Diver would get a bike smashed over his head within 20 seconds and that would be that. Kiryu wins.

Riley: I think Dave could surprise you, but I'm willing to concede because we know Kiryu can fight. That said, where is the fight? Is it underwater?

Luke: It's in Dave's sushi bar.

Nathan: That's about as close to neutral ground as it gets. Both combatants are intimately familiar with sushi bars.

Riley: Plus Dave has the chef on his side, who has knives. Kiryu is in unfamiliar territory! Can fighters get outside help?

But even without the help, he knows the place! That's gotta count for something

Nathan: Kiryu fights a knife-wielding dude every 15 steps he takes. It is as natural to him as breathing. Perhaps more so.

Riley: I'm going with Dave here, honestly. I think he could surprise us all! He is a man of secrets!

Nathan: I just think that every advantage Dave has, Kiryu also has... but more.

Riley: Yeah OK, fair enough. I'm just fond of Dave!

Luke: Kiryu even has him beat underwater:

Riley: Oh I didn't know about this. Dave, or at least my Dave, is not a... great fisherman.

Luke: I'm sorry Dave, you got spirit, but Kazuma Kiryu got you beat on all fronts.

Nathan: Let's say that this fight ends with an exhausted Dave managing to land a single blow on Kiryu, producing a shallow scratch on his cheek. "You fought well," Kiryu says.

And then after Dave awakens from the coma Kiryu beat him into, he comes and works for one of Kiryu's many establishments.

Riley: Yeah, maybe he loses, but it all works out for the best.

WINNER: KAZUMA KIRYU

Only one more first-round matchup left, tune in tomorrow for Alan Wake 2 vs Diablo IV!

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