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Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth (PS5) review: Ichiban's awesome shenanigans are back

By Zelda Lee - 25 Jan 2024

Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth (PS5) review: Ichiban's awesome shenanigans are back

Back in 2020, Sega took a bold leap of faith with the long-standing Yakuza series by remaking the beloved beat 'em up titles into a turn-based JRPG adventure. To the surprise of many, this gamble paid off handsomel and Yakuza: Like a Dragon emerged as a game-changer, breathing new life into the franchise. Now, after four years and three spin-offs, the latest mainline entry in the series, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, has arrived and promises an even more extravagant and absurd experience.

Set against the backdrop of a world transformed four years after the unfolding of the events in Like A Dragon: The Man Who Erased His Name, our journey continues to revolve around the escapades of Ichiban Kasuga and his loyal companions. This time, they are thrust into the heart of an intricate conspiracy that stretches across the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Their mission? To find Ichiban's long-lost mother, previously believed to have died.

As Ichiban embarks on the quest to reunite with his mother and unmask the enigmas enshrouding his distant past, Kiryu, his steadfast comrade, grapples with a more immediate adversary – an unyielding terminal illness. When not standing shoulder to shoulder with Ichiban as a member of the elusive Daidoji faction, Kiryu treads the familiar streets of Ijincho and Kamurocho, revisiting memories from bygone days.

Amidst the game's poignant narrative, Infinite Wealth retains the essence of its Yakuza pedigree – expect the usual moments of outrageous hilarity in equal measure to its heartfelt storytelling. Whether you're battling a colossal shark, hurtling through the streets of Honolulu in the zany Crazy Eats minigame, or embarking on exotic island sojourns to unlock new character classes that defy expectations – the game never relinquishes its signature over-the-top charm.

Oh the minigames. They really are the best parts of Inifinite Wealth.

The beloved Sujimon minigame from Like A Dragon makes a triumphant return, but not without a twist. Previously centered around documenting the oddities and misfits of Ijincho in the Sujidex, it now fully embraces its Pokemon inspiration, urging you to become the ultimate Suji Trainer. Engage in battles against players scattered across Honolulu in pursuit of vanquishing the elusive Discreet Four and restoring the league's former glory.

What could have been a mere diversion unfolds into an utterly captivating game within the game. Sujimon Stops are sprinkled throughout the city, bestowing upon you Sujimunch (essential for evolving your Sujimon), gifts to ensnare defeated Sujimon post-battle – just like Pokeballs – and time-sensitive raids for securing the rarest Sujimon. It's a delightfully absurd experience that can easily consume countless hours as you ascend through the ranks, obliviously losing track of time.

Then there’s Dodonko Island, which elevates the game experience even further. Midway through the game, Ichiban finds himself stranded on a desolate island resort inhabited by local mascots being besieged by a rogue group known as the Washbucklers. Your mission is to rejuvenate the resort and lure visitors back by clearing away trash and debris. The spoils? Crafting materials to fashion various amenities in cleared areas of the park.

As your journey unfolds, you're gifted your private haven, a canvas for your creativity and self-expression. The island's market presents a daily assortment of limited-time items, allowing you to bestow your humble abode with a personal touch. In a delightful blend of Animal Crossing and Theme Park, you'll witness the emergence of new island residents, including familiar faces from the main game.

Other pastimes such as darts, shogi, golf, and the batting cages make a triumphant return, complemented by an array of parlor games that may ease you of your hard-earned currency. Naturally, game rooms are dispersed throughout Honolulu, Ijincho, and Kamurocho, housing SEGA's classic coin-op games. Sega even saw fit to include its arcade classics Bass Fishing and Virtua Fighter 3tb too. If anything, Infinite Wealth almost feels like a Sega ‘Best of” compilation game.

Combat in Infinite Wealth strikes a fine balance between strategy and satisfaction. Meticulous positioning of your characters is key, as maneuvering foes into one another, or environmental hazards will give your fighers an upper hand. But the same works true too, and your enemies will work to exploit such opportunities against you and your squad.

Diversifying the combat dynamics is a bewildering assortment of job classes that your party members can assume. While your personal preferences will dictate your party's composition, experimenting with various job classes – Hero, Chef, Hitman and Homeless Guy all make their return – promises an exhilarating journey of self-discovery tailored to your unique playstyle.

Like all titles of the series, Infinite Wealth is a massive game that can take an incredible amount of hours off you. My review playthrough clocks in at almost 80 hours just to finish the main game and complete most but not all available side quests. For Trophies completionist, this is going to be one heck of a long challenge.

And the game is not without its imperfections either. For one, the pacing encounters occasional hiccups, particularly towards the game's conclusion, where a barrage of chores must be completed as Kiryu before the main story can advance. At times, this abundance of tasks led to moments of frustration, as the desire to propel the storyline forward clashed with the necessity of tending to numerous map icons. The game also turns into a grind fest especially in the early to mid parts of the game, as certain areas’ difficulty levels can catch players off guard.

But all in all, Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth is a great sequel to the Yakuza / Like A Dragon series, and I highly recommend all Yakuza fans to play it. Its refined combat mechanics offer a deeply satisfying experience, while the various mini-games are fun enough to keep you thoroughly engrossed.

Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth is now available for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.

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9.0
  • Playability 9
  • Graphics 8
  • Sound 8
  • Value 9
The Good
Chockfull of excellent mini-games
Great battle system
Dondoku Island is a brilliant add-on
Interesting, if over-the-top, action and story
The Bad
It's easy to get distracted away from the main plot
Kiryu's timeline feels too melancholy at times
Requires a fair bit of grinding
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