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Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth (PS5) Review

February 19, 2024 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth Image Credit: SEGA
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Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth (PS5) Review  

Well, it’s nice to see that my run of reviewing Yakuza/Like a Dragon games remains largely unbroken. Aside from not reviewing Like a Dragon Gaiden, I’ve played/own, or at least most of the Yakuza/Like a Dragon games on the PS4 and PS5. I’m here now to talk about the newest one in the RPG-subsection and I found myself really enjoying it.

Infinite Wealth is the second Like a Dragon game that is starring Ichiban Kasuga. Ichiban, being kind of a lovable dolt, is trying to reform past Yakuza members into productive members of society. However, his own past catches up with him and he is soon back to almost where he started in the first LaD game. However, fate deals a new hand to him when he discovers that his mother is actually still alive and in trouble in Hawaii. He boards a plane and gets swept up in another, typical, Like a Dragon story involving Kiryu, cults, corruption of public servants, etc.

To say that this game isn’t breaking a ton of molds, is a bit of an understatement. If you’ve played any previous Like a Dragon or Yakuza game before, you’ll know just how insane/over the top these games can get. This one almost does try to keep it grounded, right up until you fight a man-eating shark on a boat that you are on, then realism kind of goes by the wayside. No, this game, and Like a Dragon 1 before it, are deliberately exaggerated but in an endearing way. Ichiban, Kiryu and the rest of the motely crew are a great group of characters to kick back with and clean up the streets in some turn-based combat.

Infinite Wealth shares the same turn-based combat as the original Like a Dragon but with a few small improvements. Typically, your characters attack, defend, use items/spells, etc., just like before. Now though, you have a small radius circle where you can freely move your selected character around, to get better positioning to do actions. You can get behind your enemy and do more damage with a back attack or move your character to a better spot in order to do an area of effect heal. This makes the enemy fighting a bit more tactical and less random than in the last one. Your characters will still move around on their own when being attacked or doing certain things but it’s less of a crapshoot of whether or not everyone will be all askew when it is your turn.

Speaking of “less random”, one of my biggest pet peeves from Life a Dragon has been completely eliminated. In the first game, if you were going to attack an enemy that was somewhat far away and another enemy was in the way, a lot of the times, your character would run to your target but the closer enemy could hit them and knock them completely out of the attack phase, thus wasting your turn. In Infinite Wealth, this never happened at all. I have to imagine that the “interrupt attack” thing from the previous game was a major complaint for most people so it is nice to see them fix an actual problem.

Speaking of battles, everyone plays how you might expect them to. There is still the job system in the game, so Ichiban can be a Hero class, or swap to chef, breaker, samurai, etc., same as everyone. The one slight wrinkle is with Kiryu. Everyone has their own unique job but Kiryu has a special “Dragon of Dojima” job. This is a bit of an action class because it allows you to swap between his Heat (blue), Rush (red) and Beast (yellow) styles, which all do different things. Rush style allows you to gain multiple turns per cycle. Beast style has Kiryu do only one strong attack but it can break an enemy guard, which is incredibly useful. The Heat style is the main default one and lets you use environmental weapons and perform certain heat actions, if the conditions are right.

Aside from fixing the battle system to be less annoying, the big addition with Like a Wealth is a whole new area of Hawaii. Now this game doesn’t let you explore the whole state or anything but it gives you a nice, fictional chunk of Honolulu to dig into. From a sunny beach to the back alley slums, you’ll walk across it all, usually beating up dozens of guys along the way. In one way it’s the most unrealistic thing in the game and in another way it’s the most realistic thing. It’s unrealistic due to there being a huge shopping mall for you to shop at and it being the busiest area in all of the game. It is a realistic depiction of Hawaii though by Ichiban being mugged literally five minutes after he gets off the plane.

Yakuza/Like a Dragon games tend to have a lot of side activities for you to do and Infinite Wealth is a small exception to that. It does have the usual stuff: karaoke, crane games, darts, Sega arcade games, Can Quest, Crazy Eats (think Crazy Taxi), various casino games, homerun derby, etc. A lot of this stuff is pretty de-emphasized in this game but it is here. It does include two huge new side activities for you to partake in that make up the bulk of the side stuff.

The first is “Sujimon” and the Suji League. This is a basic Pokemon-esque side game where you can collect various muscular men for you to battle for you against other Suijmon Trainers who have their own teams of muscular men. There are five elements: fire, water, earth, light and darkness and each has their own strengths and weaknesses against each other. You can collect Sujimon from fighting in the open world occasionally, but you’ll mainly acquire new units through doing raids or by spending tickets at Gotcha machines which can net you new Sujimon.

The raids are actual battles that you fight and once they are over, you can have a chance to acquire a Sujimon if you play your cards right. There is also a whole league you can battle against with special bosses for you to take out. You can level up your Sujimon, build friendships between them and even evolve them into more powerful variations of units.

The other big new activity in Infinite Wealth, and the thing you might spend a lot of time doing is “Dondoko Island”. This is basically the replacement for the “Ichiban Confections” mini-game from the first Like a Dragon. Dondoko Island is, to put bluntly, an Animal Crossing knock-off but actually way more fun than Animal Crossing.

Ichiban is tasked with transforming Dondoko Island, a trashed and largely abandoned island resort, into a five star destination resort. You do this by cleaning up the island, beating up trash-spewing pirates, recycling garbage into new buildings and plopping them down in open spots.

Every day when doing the Dondoko Island game, you are given daily tasks, like destroying a certain number of trash piles, chopping trees with a baseball bat (like all good lumberjacks do), breaking rocks, crafting/putting stuff outside or in your own private residence, catching bugs or fish and so on. These tasks give you Dondoko Bucks which you can use to buy stuff from the shop or to permanently clean up sections of the island as you progress.

When breaking up trash or other stuff you gain resources which fall into the cloth, plastic, iron, wood, stone, glass and semiconductor groups. Certain trash piles only give out semiconductor parts but each are recognizable enough. You then use these resources to craft everything from signs, vehicles, furniture, buildings, statues, practically everything on the island is generated by crafting. You have a crafting level that goes up as you craft more with new designs unlocking through this, although you can find some blueprints in the main game by talking to people or on the island in glass bottles.

You’ll want to build a lot of stuff to not only raise your building level but to increase your island popularity so that more people will actually want to go there. Once people start actually showing up, they will spend money at shops, if you have them built, use the various things that you have built and just kind of wander around. After three days they leave and it gives you a decent infusion of Dondoko cash for you to spend building more stuff.

The big reason to actually do this minigame though is it’s a great way to generate real-world cash for you. You can exchange the Dondoko bucks into actual money, which you really don’t get a lot of in the game. Outside of save-scumming the Poker game, or doing some tricky late-game boss stuff, Dondoko Island is the big way to actually make money in Infinite Wealth.

As for actual “negatives” about the game, I can’t think of a ton. Probably the biggest one is that Ichiban or Kiryu, depending where you are in the story, is the designated party leader. So if in a battle, if either of them goes down, it is a game over. Like, if you are in a fight with Ichiban as the leader, and you have three healthy other party members, but all the enemies target Ichiban and he gets knocked out, it’s game over. I would probably change that to be a party-wide game over instead, like the whole party has to go down in order for you to game over.

Also there are some kind of weird narrative flow issues in the game, at least in my view point. There are 14 overall chapters in the game, but you are still getting new party members in chapter 10 and even in chapter 13. Yes, you unlock a new guy in chapter 13 out of a 14 chapter game. This really doesn’t give you a lot of time to socialize with this party member or get their friendship level to as high as the others. There are occasional other issues like if you are playing 8 hour long sessions the performance can degrade a bit, or the karaoke mini-game being a bit uneven, but this is really minor stuff.

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
I like Infinite Wealth even more than I did the original Like a Dragon. The battle system is intelligently improved, it has a great story, even more zaniness going on and is just an endearing product. If you want a somewhat silly RPG that takes place in the real world and is overall just fun, then Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is well worth a purchase.