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Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth review - prepare to fall for Ichiban’s infinite charm

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth review - prepare to fall for Ichiban’s infinite charm

Prepare to fall for Ichiban's charm once more, here's our review of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth

When Yakuza: Like a Dragon was released in 2020, it made the controversial decision to change its combat from free-flowing to turn-based, which had taken some getting used to. Four years have now passed since its release, so how does its follow-up, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, fare?

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is set directly after the events of Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name. After the shocking concluding family revelations of Yakuza: Like a Dragon, events of which would not look out of place on the Jerry Springer Show, our beloved protagonist Ichiban Kasuga is finally living a settled normal life by helping ex-Yakuza find legal work in Yokohama leaving the dangerous life of crime in the rear-view mirror.

Check out the Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth trailer below!

Sadly, despite his best intentions to help those in need, Ichiban cannot escape his past and is soon thrown on the proverbial scrap heap once more. Yet, as fortune would have it, an opportunity arises and Ichiban begins a quest to find a long-lost family member. Thus he begins a journey not of financial gain, but an infinite wealth that only the love of a family could provide.

After being washed up on the beach butt-naked, Ichiban is taken to the gorgeous location of Honolulu City, Hawaii, quite possibly the series’ most visually pleasing location with its sunlit palm tree beaches and vibrant city life packed with endlessly fun activities. However, don’t be fooled by its beauty; Honolulu City has a seedy underworld that makes this new location as alluring as it is deadly. Luckily, Ichiban has the likes of Kazuma Kiryu, Yu Nanba, Koichi Adachi and more by his side to help fight the good fight and discover the long-lost family member.

What I like about the turn-based combat of Infinite Wealth is that it’s fast-paced and utterly ridiculous. While you’ll dispose of standard grunts with relative ease, the combat can offer its fair share of challenges, especially against some of the larger opponents of Honolulu City and, of course, when it comes to the game's signature over-the-top boss fights. This is where strategy comes into play, and it’s not just a case of selecting the strongest attack possible. Depending on the opponent, you might need to select an attack that breaks their shield, removes a buff, or even heals you and your teammates, who’ll be by your side in almost every battle.

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth/

A new tweak to Infinite Wealth combat is being able to freely move any character in your party (within a radius) to land the best angle of attack. If approached correctly, you'll have a damage boost. Furthermore, when you build up your relationship with your teammates - whether it's completing quests with them, having a drink, or buying gifts - you'll eventually unlock Tag Team Attacks with moves so outrageous that it would put WWE and AEW to shame. You can also give yourself and your teammates a little advantage by equipping the correct weapon and gear for a fight that may give you stronger attacks, sustain more damage or even give you greater rewards once a fight is over.

Outside of the many fisticuffs engagements that you’ll have in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, the other side activities are plentiful, but if you’re familiar with this series then that will come as no surprise. As with previous entries, you’ll often find that some of the sub-stories can be more entertaining than the main quests. Upon finishing a sub-story, you’ll soon be opening up the map to see where the next quirky tale awaits, whether you’re helping a love-struck NPC or lending a hand at a local restaurant. Some of the mini-games are fantastic too. We have returning favourites such as darts, pool, arcade machines and more with a generous helping of new additions. One of my favourite new mini-games is Crazy Delivery, which can only be described as Crazy Taxi meets Just Eat delivery. We even get a dating app mini-game which will pair you with some very interesting dates, to say the least.

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth/

Returning from Yakuza: Like a Dragon is Ichiban’s path to becoming a Sujimon Master. Build a collection of some of the wackiest fighters the game has to offer as you train your fighters, and battle against other Sujimon Trainers to become the very best like no one ever was. Sounds a bit familiar, right? Heck, there’s even a fun take on Pokémon Snap, but I’ll leave that joy for you to discover.

Taking inspiration from another popular Nintendo franchise is Dondoko Island, which is Infinite Wealth’s take on Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but with the series' signature twist. In Dondoko Island you build and manage your very own paradise island. Build your dream home, develop a small town for familiar faces to live and entice visitors. Craft and build to your heart's content. But be wary of unwanted invaders which you will have to fight off to keep your island safe. Interestingly, during these particular combat moments, it reverts to the more traditional button-bashing mechanics as seen in earlier games in the series. While this style of game isn't my cup of tea, it’s remarkable that this is quite a deep game inside a game. If you love Animal Crossing and/or crafting survival games, I’ve no doubt you'll love Dondoko Island.

Of course with this being an RPG, there’s plenty of levelling up. But rather than choosing how you spend your XP and as with Yakuza: Like a Dragon, that process will be determined by how Ichiban interacts in the world and what side activities he might partake in. At first, this felt a little restrictive, but it soon became apparent that how Ichiban levels up in Infinite Wealth feels organic with it evolving depending on how you play the game. The levelling up system is called ‘Personality’ and points can be earned by exploring, interacting, fighting and playing mini-games. The categories are broken into Passion, Confidence, Charisma, Kindness, Intellect and Style. It’s not a levelling-up system that I’d like to see adopted in other RPGs per se, but for a game such as Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, it suits it very well indeed.

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth/

Visually, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is a striking game largely due to its welcoming location of Hawawii and as fans of this series will expect, the cut-scenes are a joy to behold, not only with its gorgeous visuals but are also brought to life by its talented cast of characters. Speaking of which, as with Like a Dragon Gaiden, Infinite Wealth also gives you the choice of original Japanese actors with subtitles or English audio. It’s great that this option exists, but I will always favour the original Japanese actors, not only due to the quality of delivery but also the English-speaking actors, in particular Ichiban and Kiryu, their voices sound too young for the characters in their 40s and 50s, respectively. At the time of writing, New Game Plus has been locked behind the Deluxe and Ultimate Editions of the game, it is not currently available in the standard edition. This is very disappointing and I'd like to give the powers that be the benefit of the doubt that New Game Plus is eventually made available to everyone, regardless of the edition. After all, it can be considered a standard feature of any modern RPG.

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is an absolute delight of a game that I cannot stop thinking about whether it’s indulging in its story or discovering what joys await around the next corner in the gorgeous Honolulu City. Despite the turned-based combat formula not initially being to my liking, Yakuza: Like a Dragon helped change my mindset for the better. Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth builds upon its predecessor's foundations with an almighty power buff solidifying it as one of my favourite games in the entire series. Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth has staked its early claim as one of 2024’s best games.

Pros: Ichiban is endlessly charming, emotionally charged story, loads to do, fun combat

Cons: English voices feel a little off

Fans of: Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Yakuza, Final Fantasy

9/10: Exceptional

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth releases for PC, PlayStation and Xbox on 26 January 2024. Review code was provided by SEGA. Read a guide to our review scores here.

Featured Image Credit: SEGA

Topics: Sega, Yakuza, PC, PlayStation, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X