Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: SEGA
Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
Release Date: Jan. 26, 2024


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PS5/PS4/XSX/XOne/PC Preview - 'Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Nov. 6, 2023 @ 12:30 a.m. PST

Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth is the latest installment in the turn-based RPG series, and a sequel to Yakuza: Like a Dragon.

The Like a Dragon series has spent much of its time in good ol' Japan. After all, where else would you find Yakuza in such plentiful and dramatic numbers? With the dissolution of the major Yakuza families in Like a Dragon, it's perhaps not surprising that the franchise has moved outside of the norms. In this case, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth brings the franchise tothe sunny shores of Hawaii. Ichiban and Kiryu are in Hawaii for a variety of reasons that we won't spoil since they tie into Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name.

We spent some time exploring Hawaii in the game's Adventure mode, which puts players early into Infinite Wealth with a party of Ichiban, Kiryu, and two new characters. A whole lot is familiar on the surface. This is a true sequel to Like a Dragon, and that means it has gone full JRPG with turn-based combat, equipment and jobs, tons of items, and a full combat party. Like the last game, there's a healthy mix of Dragon Quest and a bit of Persona tied into the basic game design.

Infinite Wealth retains the same turn-based combat from the previous game in the series, but there are a few adjustments. Probably the overall biggest change is that you can now freely move your characters during their turn. This allows you to choose where they are positioned, which is massively important for context-sensitive attacks. Attack an enemy who is standing near a party member, and that party member will follow up with an attack. Attack while standing near an object in the environment, and you can use it for extra damage. Even being close to the enemy will increase the damage you do, but certain moves are probably best used from a distance.

There are new jobs as well. Each character still has their own distinct personal class, which means the new characters also have one. These include Cabbie, which has a variety of elemental spells based on car maintenance and the ability to drag an opponent into a taxi and beat them up with terrible driving. Nobless Obliged hand is well rounded and can do anything from use ballet to beat up foes to heal allies by drinking tea and gossiping. This is in addition to new shared jobs, such as the damage-dealing Samurai and the healing-and-buffing Geodancer (read: hula dancer) class.

Kiryu joins you in combat, and his abilities are overwhelming. He can swap between three stances: Beast, Brawler and Rush. Beast allows you to perform guard-breaking grapple attacks instead of regular attacks, Brawler is a default stance that can use Heat attacks in context-sensitive situations, and Rush allows him to attack twice in a single turn. You can swap between the styles at will, which gives Kiryu immense flexibility. Perhaps more important is his special Dragon's Resurgence ability. Activating this requires building up a hype meter, and it allows Kiryu to temporarily break free of the delusion-based RPG constraint of the game and start beating the crap out of enemies in old-school Yakuza style. Within the confines of the demo, it seemed an absurdly powerful skill, but it was limited enough that it has to be saved for emergencies.

Hawaii is a very refreshing change of scenery for the Like a Dragon franchise. While you will still find a lot of familiar items, there's also an overwhelming number of new shops, new gear and new things to explore. The Hawaii map appears to be one of Like a Dragon's biggest maps to date. You even get your own personal segway to ride around and make exploration faster. Even the atmosphere is quite different, with a much brighter and sunnier environment, dollars instead of yen, and an entirely new cast of weirdos to fight.

Despite the changes, it's still very much a Like a Dragon game, and you'll have plenty of minigames and new things to explore. One is Crazy Bike, which is a bike-based version of Crazy Taxi where you have to zoom around the environment while collecting various deliverable items like burgers and pizza. You must take them to their respective customers, all while performing a variety of tricks for a high score. Another fittingly titled Spot The Sicko, is kind of like Pokémon Snap if Pokémon Snap had you finding speedo-wearing gyrating perverts instead of cute monsters. (Look, it's Like a Dragon, so this kind of stuff just happens.)

Everything we experienced in the Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth demo was a genuine delight. It retained everything that made the last game great while adding enough new things that it felt like a fresh experience. That is even without all of the other new features we know are coming in the full version, such as an Animal Crossing-style island. I can't wait to get my hands on the full version when it releases in Jan. 26, 2024.

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