The Yakuza and Like a Dragon games are some of the most well-known beat 'em up games, but they expand that genre even more with engrossing story-telling throughout. Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth brought in some unique changes to the series, and here's how I felt about it!
Despite being a game specifically catered toward chaotic battles and abilities, the Yakuza and Like a Dragon Games never fail to deliver heartfelt and intriguing storylines. Like a Dragon, Infinite Wealth continued that report with likable characters, each with their own agendas and personalities, and scenes that succeeded in tugging at the heartstrings.
We were given characters that we know and love, Kasuga and Kiryu, and because of our past experience with them, their new discoveries in this game made me feel for them even more. Kasuga's search for his long-lost mother is endearing and inspiring, and simultaneously, you have the heartbreak of Kiryu's looming fate but also a sense of peaceful closure for him. You feel the ups and downs of the characters as they interact with each other and embark on their adventure, and you get the classic Yakuza humor to soften the blows and make you smile.
One of my favorite parts of the story is the forming of new friendships and how you see the characters grow and change throughout. The sense of commodore and how 'bad' characters could still have a chance to turn things around made the characters and the story that much more lovable.
Score: 5/5 Stars
The gameplay in Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth, for me, felt very smooth and advanced. In the battles, you get a combination of turn-based action mixed with some real-time fighting features to keep things interesting, but also give you a chance to be even more strategic with your moves. Moving your character around and finding bonus damage in proximity or grabbing a nearby item to use as a weapon kept the turn-based combat from becoming too repetitive.
Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth is really piling on the content in this game, giving you so many opportunities and features to explore, especially a ton of mini-games; you should never worry about getting bored. One of the gameplay features I found most interesting was the 'farming sim' side opportunity, Dondoko Island. This essentially turned the game upside down, sharing a lot of similarities to games like Animal Crossing, where you collect materials, build items, and try to turn this run-down resort into a tourist attraction once again. Although it's a weird twist in the usual Yakuza style, I found myself getting caught up in progressing my island and easily spent hours doing so.
As if the farming sim wasn't enough of a change, Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth also introduced us to Sujimons. These work the same as Pokemon, allowing you to capture and utilize different fighters in battle against other Sujimon trainers and their Sujimons. This added another level of exploration and collecting to the game, with so many different Sujimon to find and catch, but I felt it was an unnecessary addition to an already busy game.
Another aspect of gameplay I really loved was the characters' Personalities and Jobs. They gave your dialogue and choices more weight by implementing a system where you earn different personality traits based on those choices. You can build up skills and abilities by making Kasuga act a certain way. This also played hand-in-hand with the Jobs. Each character can perform uniquely in battle by changing up their Job titles, giving them new abilities; their Personality Traits and Bond to Kasuga unlock those Jobs. I had fun changing up my characters' Jobs in an attempt to create a perfectly balanced team, with proper support, healing, and damage.
Although the sound in Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth didn't blow me away, it always felt right for the story and reactions we saw throughout. You have the usual humorous flairs and zingers that are made iconic throughout the series and accurately timed fighting effects that make combat more satisfying.
The most excellent aspect of the sound in these games is the voice-acting. You get the recognizable character voices in Japanese (is there any other way to play?) that you've heard throughout the series, with that anime-style feel of over-the-top dialogue and exclamations. Each character's voice sounds unique and fitting to their personality, and how they express themselves made me laugh and drew me into each cutscene.
In terms of music sound for the game, it didn't really stick out to me too much since many of the cutscenes are done without, and music only plays in the background of particular fights. However, they have the option for you to collect different music playlists and tracks and listen to them via your portable radio, allowing you to listen to whatever and whenever you want. I have to say my favorite music of the game is when performing a bit of Karaoke at the bar locations (Kiryu has a helluva singing voice).
The graphics in Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth did feel like a step up from previous games in the series. The details of the characters, including their facial features and expressions, felt more realistic, and the cutscenes were much more movie-like. The locations were designed in a way that felt real and inhabited, and I found myself appreciating the Hawaiian scenery from the beach to the lit-up street signs.
With a game like this, the art style really takes precedence over jaw-dropping graphics, which is why I wouldn't expect anything too extravagant, but I was still pleased with what we were given. The bright splashes of colorful and eccentric character designs made it feel like the classic games while still upping the quality appropriately.
Verdict - A truly evergreen Yakuza game
Overall, Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth gave us more of the Yakuza and Like a Dragon content that we all know and love, with some unique twists. Even if you aren't a die-hard fan of the series, you can still jump in and appreciate the characters and story for what they are—an epic adventure and engrossing tale. I feel this truly reimagines the Yakuza games into an evergreen experience, allowing you to continue playing after finishing the story and discover new things, thanks to the vastness of the world and the Dondoko Island's potential. If you're wondering whether you should try it, I definitely encourage you to do so!
A free copy of the game was provided to PGG by the publisher for review purposes.
Looking for more Pro Game Guides Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth content? Check out our guides on How to unlock Sujimon in Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth or Where to find all Mini-games in Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth!