Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth - Video Review

Kiryu and Ichiban are back in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, but is the latest JRPG from Ryu Ga Gotoku a gold rush?

Audio transcription

"There is no easy way to place the Yakuza series in the minds of gamers. You either love it or you want nothing to do with it. That all changed when the mainstream opened up to the series in 2020 when Ryu Ga Gotoku decided to go turn-based RPG mode in Yakuza Like a Dragon. Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth immediately laid the cards on the table for Ichiban Kasuga's adventure with Mii for the series, although story-wise it's actually been hinted at for years in previous installments. All the pieces are laid out on the board for the game to begin in Hawaii. Without going into too much detail other than what the studio has already teased in the trailers, it's been almost 4 years since the end of Yakuza Like a Dragon. Through a series of circumstances in which Kasuga and his friends find themselves in trouble again, Ichiban decides to travel to Honolulu in search of his birth mother."

"There he encounters a conspiracy involving himself and the big criminal gangs of Hawaii.
Teaming up with the dragon of Dojima and some new allies on the island, Ichiban gradually becomes the hero everyone sees in him. Infinite Wealth marks the conclusion of many of the storylines since Yakuza 0, and while you'll still have a good time if this is your first Like a Dragon, the game will especially reward long-time fans of the series. Be warned that emotions run high from start to finish, so it's a good thing we're at least in a tropical paradise."

"Moving the story of Like a Dragon outside the borders of Japan might be one of the most important changes in the franchise, but in practice, it is not as dramatic a departure as it might seem. Yes, the sunny, colourful, wild avenues of Honolulu don't have much in common with the grey alleys of Ijincho, Kamurucho or Sotenbori, but its citizens behave similarly. There is a strong Japanese presence there, and in general, everything follows the same pattern on the world map, which is also the largest in the series so far."

"There are now ways to move around more easily, such as the street surfer, and the process of catching taxis has been streamlined as well. Not everything is perfect in paradise though, and Hawaii is well stocked with thugs, gangsters, mobsters and all sorts of enemies to beat. The combat follows the same pattern as the previous main title in the series, although the studio seems to have taken note of how uncomfortable it was to move around with so many fights in world events. Now you'll see fewer groups roaming the streets, but you'll always find one near treasures or shortcuts."

"When you approach this enemy or group of enemies, you will enter that altered state of reality that Ichiban sees. In combat, the enemy AI has been updated and the abilities and how they work on screen have also been tweaked. There are now more types of combos and opportunity attacks, but area abilities will also depend on where the active character is located."

"However, it seems that some errors in Yakuza Like a Dragon haven't found their solution in Infinite Wealth. Professions still feel like a way to stretch out the experience and some enemy stats are inconsistent at times. Beyond some more minor complaints, overall the combat once again delivers on the experience."

"The other great aspect of Infinite Wealth is its secondary content. The mini-games are once again that source that bring joy to the game. And there's more variety than ever, all with sharp and biting humour. There's the already revealed Crazy Taxi Delivery Man app, the Tinder-like dating app simulator and the new Sega Arcade games. And perhaps where the concept has evolved the most is with the Tsujimon."

"Now it will not just be enough to observe and defeat enemies to add them to the Tsujidex, we have to capture them so that they can join us and assemble a balanced team with which to compete against other Tsujimon trainers in three-way battles. Yes, you now have a Pokemon experience in Like a Dragon. There are even Tsuji stops and raids as if it were Pokemon Go. It's crazy."

"But not only do the Tsujimon have their own storyline, they are also key to Infinite Wealth's truly great mini-game, Dondoko Island. The resort management simulator on a deserted island has turned out to be yet another great move by the development team. Ichiban will have to help turn an island used as an illegal dumping ground into a 5-star resort with which to earn a lot of money, which he will then spend happily in the main game. Needless to say, once you try it out, you won't get out of it for several hours. You almost forget what you were doing before cutting down trees, catching bugs, fishing or building furniture and buildings for your customers. And you will also do it with the help of the Tsujimon."

"Dondoko Island might just be the best mini-game in the whole series, even if generating money is not as fluid as in the real estate of Sweet Ichiban. The mini-game has a longer cycle to generate profits which also lengthens the time and the money needed to invest in equipment.
Again, this is only a portion of what Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth has to offer. Ryu Ga Gotoku have managed to expand and progress not only the JRPG system of the series, but its narrative, character development and extra content. Besides being better in almost everything and offering a gaming experience that no other can match, it is also a bit of a technical marvel. It takes less than 55GB of space on a PS5 SSD and has a level of detail in its facial expressions, scenarios, lighting and performance that so many AAA games with a bigger budget would like. It surpasses Yakuza Like a Dragon in every way and its conclusion sets a bright horizon for the series."





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