Become Rich in the Blink of an Eye with Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth

When Yakuza: Like a Dragon was released in 2020, it made the controversial decision to change its fluid combat to turn-based, which took some time to get used to. Four years have passed since its release, so how does its sequel, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, fare?

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth takes place directly after the events of Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name. After the shocking family revelations of Yakuza: Like a Dragon, events that wouldn’t look out of place on the Jerry Springer Show, our beloved protagonist Ichiban Kasuga is finally living a normal life helping former Yakuza find legal work in Yokohama, leaving the dangerous life of crime behind.

Unfortunately, despite his best intentions to help those in need, Ichiban cannot escape his past and soon finds himself thrown back into turmoil. Yet, by a stroke of luck, an opportunity presents itself and Ichiban embarks on a quest to find a long-lost family member. Thus begins a journey not of financial gain, but of infinite wealth that only the love of a family can offer.

After being washed up on a beach naked, Ichiban is taken to the beautiful location of Honolulu City, Hawaii, possibly the most aesthetically pleasing place in the series with its sunny beaches and vibrant city life filled with endlessly fun activities. However, do not be deceived by its beauty; Honolulu City has an underground world that makes this new location as alluring as it is dangerous. Fortunately, Ichiban can rely on Kazuma Kiryu, Yu Nanba, Koichi Adachi, and others to help him fight the good fight and uncover the lost family member.

What I appreciate about the turn-based combat of Infinite Wealth is that it is fast-paced and utterly ridiculous. While you will easily dispatch simple soldiers, combat can offer its share of challenges, especially against some of the larger opponents in Honolulu City and, of course, during the wacky boss fights characteristic of the game. This is where strategy comes into play, and it’s not just a matter of choosing the highest possible attack. Depending on the opponent, you may need to choose an attack that breaks their shield, removes a buff, or even heals yourself and your teammates, who will be by your side in almost every battle.

A new modification to Infinite Wealth’s combat is the ability to freely move any character in your party (within a given radius) to get the best angle of attack. If you approach correctly, you will get a damage bonus. Additionally, as you strengthen your relationship with your teammates – whether by completing quests with them, having a drink, or buying them gifts – you will eventually unlock tandem attacks with moves so extravagant that they would put WWE and AEW to shame. You can also give yourself and your teammates a little advantage by equipping the appropriate weapon and equipment for a battle, which can give you more powerful attacks, withstand more damage, or even give you better rewards once the battle is over.

Outside of the many brawls you will face in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, there are plenty of other side activities, but if you are familiar with this series, this will not surprise you. As with previous entries, you will often find that some sub-stories can be more entertaining than the main quests. After completing a sub-story, you’ll quickly open the map to see where the next wacky story awaits you, whether it’s helping an NPC in love or lending a hand at a local restaurant. Some of the mini-games are also fantastic. We have returning favorites like darts, billiards, arcade machines, and more with a generous dose of new additions. One of my new favorite mini-games is Crazy Delivery, which can only be described as a cross between Crazy Taxi and a Just Eat delivery. We even have a dating mini-game that will offer you some very interesting encounters, to say the least.

Returning from Yakuza: Like a Dragon is Ichiban’s path to becoming a Sujimon master. Build a collection of the wackiest fighters the game has to offer while training your fighters and battling other Sujimon trainers to become the very best like no one ever was. Sound familiar? There’s even a fun variation of Pok√©mon Snap, but I’ll let you discover that joy for yourself.

Inspired by another popular Nintendo franchise, Dondoko Island is Infinite Wealth’s version of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but with a unique twist to the series. On Dondoko Island, you build and manage your own paradise island. Build your dream house, develop a small town for familiar faces to reside in, and attract visitors. Craft and build as much as you want. But beware of unwanted invaders that you’ll have to fight off to protect your island. During these particular combat moments, the game reverts to the classic button-mashing mechanics seen in previous games in the series. While this style of gameplay is not my cup of tea, it’s remarkable that this is a fairly deep game within a game. If you enjoy Animal Crossing and/or survival and crafting games, I’m confident you’ll love Dondoko Island.

Of course, as an RPG, there are plenty of levels to traverse. But rather than choosing how to spend your XP, this process will be determined by how Ichiban interacts with the world and the side activities he participates in. At first, this seemed a bit restrictive, but it quickly became apparent that Ichiban’s progression in Infinite Wealth is organic and evolves based on your play style. The progression system is called “Personality,” and points can be earned by exploring, interacting, battling, and playing mini-games. The categories are divided into Passion, Confidence, Charisma, Kindness, Intelligence, and Style. It’s not a progression system I’d like to see adopted in other RPGs, but for a game like Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, it fits very well.

Visually, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is a striking game largely due to its welcoming location in Hawaii, and as fans of this series would expect, the cutscenes are a pleasure to behold, not only with their stunning visuals but also with its talented cast of characters. Speaking of which, much like Like a Dragon Gaiden, Infinite Wealth offers you the choice between the original Japanese actors with subtitles or the English audio track. It’s great that this option exists, but I will always prefer the original Japanese actors, not only because of the quality of the performances, but also because the English-speaking actors, especially Ichiban and Kiryu, look too young for characters in their forties and fifties, respectively. At the time of writing, New Game Plus is reserved for the Deluxe and Ultimate editions of the game; it is not currently available in the standard edition. This is very disappointing, and I would like to give the benefit of the doubt and hope that New Game Plus will eventually be made available to everyone, regardless of the edition. After all, this can be considered a standard feature of any modern RPG.

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is a pure delight of a game that I can’t help but think about, whether immersing myself in its story or discovering the joys that await me around the corner of the beautiful Honolulu City. Despite the turn-based combat formula not initially appealing to me, Yakuza: Like a Dragon helped change my perspective for the better. Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth builds upon the foundations of its predecessor with a powerful boost, solidifying it as one of my favorite games in the entire series. Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth has already established itself as one of the best games of 2024.

For:
– Ichiban is infinitely charming
– Emotionally intense story
– Lots to do
– Fun combat
Against:
– English voices are a bit strange
For fans of:
– Yakuza: Like a Dragon
– Yakuza
– Final Fantasy

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