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28 May, 2024
Like a Dragon

Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth is an RPG Buffet

Since 2005, the Like a Dragon franchise (previously known as Yakuza in the West) has been a go-to series for players looking for an engrossing story, exciting combat, and endless hours of extra content. After 7 entries in the main series, the franchise made a massive and unexpected change, swapping out the well-beloved beat ’em up gameplay for a more traditional, turn-based RPG experience in Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Now, the first big turn-based sequel, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, boasts so much content that it makes the mind spin, providing well over 100 hours of RPG entertainment.

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is an RPG Buffet

After a couple of introductory chapters, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth makes one of the biggest changes ever seen in the franchise so far – it makes the jump to the United States. Instead of being set in the series staple country of Japan, Infinite Wealth evokes a decidedly tropical tone by moving protagonist Ichiban Kasuga to Honolulu, Hawaii. There, Kasuga and his pals must track down Akane, his estranged mother. Not only is Hawaii a much-welcomed vacation in comparison to the urban sprawl of Japan, but it is also the biggest map in the series yet, featuring multiple neighborhoods, beachfronts, and more.

Like a Dragon
Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth

Many improvements have also been made to the game’s core combat system, which feels far more open and accessible than its predecessor. While the game retains the same turn-based battles as seen in Yakuza: Like a Dragon, the action is much quicker and more malleable to player strategy, thanks to a few important changes. In this new combat system, players can adjust the positioning of their party members during their turn, setting up calculated attacks that hit multiple enemies. As you raise your affinity with different party members, they will also start to automatically follow up your attacks, dealing extra damage at random. Additionally, the game features a well-rounded roster of endearing party members, each with several sub-classes, customizable weapons, and more.

Mini-Game Madness

If there’s one thing that the Like a Dragon franchise is known for, apart from its often melodramatic cutscenes and colorful action, is the abundance of mini-games and side content offered in each game. To that end, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth puts most other open-world games to shame, with a ridiculous amount of goofy and addictive mini-games. In addition to series staples like Japanese shogi, casino gambling, Dance Dance Revolution-style karaoke, and darts, there are plenty of new mini-games to dig into.

Most of the new mini-games featured in Infinite Wealth are decidedly goofy and tongue-in-cheek, which makes them all the more hilarious and enjoyable. If you’re looking for love in Hawaii, you can find your perfect companion in “Miss Match”, a new Tinder-like mini-game where you customize your profile and try to woo potential mates. On the other end of the spectrum, you can grab your trusty camera and hop on the trolley for a round of “Sicko Snap”, a Pokemon Snap-style mini-game where you must photograph various “sickos” around town as they pop up in flowery outfits. You can even take up a part-time gig as an extreme courier in “Crazy Delivery”, which has you delivering tasty treats to Hawaii’s inhabitants on a Pac-Man/Crazy Taxi-inspired track.

Yakuza Like a Dragon
Yakuza Infinite Money

These short mini-games are entertaining, but their complexity pales in comparison to the revived “Sujimon” activity, which appropriates a familiar style of battling to equally ridiculous measure. Just like in the Pokemon series, the “Sujimon” activity tasks you with collecting a team of elemental underlings to train for 3v3 battles, raising their level and unlocking various powers. To take down the “Discreet Four” and become Master Sujimon, you must battle other trainers around town before tackling the five gym leaders in Hawaii. As an added bonus, you can also compete in various Sujimon Leagues, Tournaments, and Special Events via the Sujimon Stadium, offering even more quirky combat.

Build Your Own Resort on Dondoko Island

Almost every Like a Dragon game features a secondary storyline, often revolving around a unique gameplay mechanic, and Infinite Wealth might have the best of the franchise so far. In the previous game, Kasuga worked endlessly to turn a confection shop into one of the biggest businesses in the world via proper investments and appeasing shareholders. Infinite Wealth also sees our hero building up a proper business, but this time, it’s their very own resort island. Pulling a hefty amount of inspiration from the popular Switch game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Infinite Wealth tasks players with restoring the once bustling Dondoko Island Resort to its former glory.

Just like in Animal Crossing, players are granted their own home on the island, then spend their days fishing, catching bugs, and collecting resources to build various decorations and amusements at their DIY bench. Unfortunately, opposition arrives in the form of the Washbucklers, a group of trash-dumping bandits who have taken Dondoko Island as their own. If you want to expand your resort to different parts of the island, you’ll have to defeat the Washbucklers and remove their mounds of trash, adding a bit of action to the experience.

Like a Dragon
Infinite Wealth

As you clean up the island and add more amenities, you can even start inviting guests to the resort, leading to more revenue for further renovations. These guests are all looking for something slightly different for their vacations, so it’s up to you to appease their expectations, greet them every day, and provide them with souvenirs to boost their happiness. In the meantime, you can also stop over at the Dondoko Farm, where you can use your Sujimon to harvest materials, earn cash, and much more.

Overall, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth boasts not only the biggest map in the franchise so far, but a plethora of engaging mini-games, side-quests, and bonus activities that will keep you playing for hours. In fact, it’s incredibly easy to ignore the main story for hours at a time by simply exploring Hawaii, chatting with locals, and engaging with every gameplay mechanic available. Best of all, these systems all feed into each other in some way or another, ensuring that you’re never “wasting” your time or stagnating in experience. For gamers who love open-world RPGs with endless distractions and some truly quirky content, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is one of the first must-own games of 2024.


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