Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth (Xbox Series X/S) Review

By Luke Hemming 02.02.2024

Review for Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth on Xbox Series X/S

With no previous delving into past Yakuza titles, when given the first in the Like A Dragon series, expectations were low. An enjoyable enough RPG that wouldn't really grab a reviewer more interested in the fantastical, preferring literal dragons to be summoned at every occasion. After a few hours however, it become clear that this was not only a great direction for the series to take, but also a game of the year contender and very real rival for best adventure in the genre altogether. With mouths positively salivating for the next instalment, Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth screams out of the blocks with another sensational effort that has consumed all other gaming and life responsibilities.

As marketed extensively before release, Infinite Wealth swaps the predictable location of Yokohama for the sunny and exotic location of Hawaii. Looking more like Vice City than anything else, the city is realised beautifully and is a postcard perfect recreation. As with its open world counterpart, the beaches and glamourous hotels are juxtaposed with seedy alleyways and slums where a lot of gameplay time will be spent exploring and chinwagging with the locals. Citizens are vastly varied and perfectly suit the setting, adding to the immersion and really selling the idea of a living, breathing environment, with people stopping to take pictures of landmarks, full to brim beaches of sun worshippers and even the odd hula girl. It's a fantastic idea to finally move away from Yokohama and really allows this to feel like a fully fledged sequel rather than a stop gap. Its also a credit to the original that leaving for Hawaii is already an emotional punch so early in the game.

Screenshot for Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth on Xbox Series X/S

Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth puts Ichiban Kasuga front and centre once again, with a penchant for getting into increasingly ridiculous and dangerous situations ensuring a quick connection and pity from the player. Quite how one man can find himself in the centre of such awful situations is almost impossible to comprehend, what is even more absurd however, is that each situation is approached with a laid back, relaxed attitude. Although previous protagonists have erred more on the side of seriousness, Ichi manages to show that side when it counts, but mainly ensures he is the most likeable and relatable "hero" in the entire franchise. Struggling with that approach as a long time Yakuza veteran? No problem! All bases are covered here with long-term fan favourite Kiryu Kazuma very early on becoming integral not only to the story, but the team also. No arguments over who is the real star of the series needed (It's Ichi) as both are giving their own relevant chances to shine with growth that is relevant to each if familiar with their backstory. As with all of the titles the supporting cast is also excellent, all with their own reasons to becoming embroiled in the Kasuga saga and each bringing their own unique talents to the table. Through side missions and interactions simply taking place by having a meal or taking a walk, its nearly impossible to not form a strong emotional connection to a party member or two, causing significant issues when deciding who to have as your core four.
Speaking of the core team, using them in a scrap is a delight thanks to the perfectly implemented combat and job systems. It was always going to raise a few eyebrows that the series was leaning into turn based combat but as with its predecessor, the implementation is sublime. What begins as a simple attack, defend, use skill, standard system quickly evolves into a much more strategic affair when using the job system effectively. Some classic jobs return but are backed up with some great new additions such as the desperado and Aquanaut jobs. Each allows Ichi and his crew to take on a new role as a healer, buffer, tank etc. The possibilities for trialling different combinations are nearly endless and one of the most fun aspects of the entire experience. Character specific jobs can also be gained through bonding with teammates, again playing into providing a strong narrative and creating a bond between player and character. Changing jobs is now easier than ever and the opportunity to do so is usually available before a dungeon or heavy moment, encouraging experimentation and staving off the boredom of being stuck with the same classes and abilities.

Screenshot for Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth on Xbox Series X/S

As with all Yakuza titles, as strong as the story is, (this iteration is no exception, its excellent) a personal tale focusing on the upbringing of Ichiban once again, the real fun lies off the beaten track. Practically every corner, shop and restaurant are brimming with activities to take part in, all of which are intrinsically woven into the fabric of experience and development. Sub-stories are the main meat on the bones with ever increasing levels of craziness. With its sense of humour roots firmly planted in Japanese culture, the best option is to shut off the brain and open the heart to how bizarre some of these stories can be. Fans of the first Like a Dragon will raise a smile too, with some recurring characters and events. It's a nice attention to detail the shows these stories have not been forgotten, even if the reasoning for seeing most again is that they are "taking a break in Hawaii". Most of the sub-stories also consist of multiple parts, evolving as the main chapters are completed and meaning that there is always something to do story wise. Aside from these traditional quests, anything and everything can be given a go with a massive list of mini games, money-making side hustles and even a dating app (which heavily leans into what would be expected from dating app simulators made in Japan, yowser). A personal highlight was the Crazy Taxi themed delivery minigame with points being awarded for fast deliveries and how many tricks are pulled off between customers. Simple to play but as with all on offer, frustratingly addictive. Don't worry too, the arcades are freshly stocked with new Sega titles (who doesn't love a bit of bass fishing).

Screenshot for Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth on Xbox Series X/S

The crowning achievements for many in terms of the side distractions and the two causing the most uproar on those social media twitching devices, is the return and expansion of the Sujimon side quest as well as the new Dondoko island. As with Yakuza: Like a Dragon,Sujimon can be fought and added to the Sujidex for your viewing pleasure. After a battle, Sujimon can now be "caught" an added to the roster for challenging various trainers around the city. With an in-depth system of types and a huge roster to collect, as many hours could theoretically be put into this small addition as the whole game itself. It may well have been too if it wasn't for Dondoko Island. With an island to fully manage, homes to decorate, visitors to keep happy and fish to your hearts content, it feels like the glory days of picking up a certain Switch title before a worldwide lockdown. The rewards for having a 5-star establishment also make this a very worthwhile endeavour, this game isn't called infinite wealth for nothing you know?

Screenshot for Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth on Xbox Series X/S

Cubed3 Rating

10/10
Rated 10 out of 10

Masterpiece - Platinum Award

Rated 10 out of 10

With its predecessor hitting the dizzy heights of a 9/10, Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth was going one of two ways, either resting on its laurels and delivering another great experience, or going above and beyond to provide new and innovative opportunities for mayhem. With a solid story and fantastic cast of characters supplemented by hours of side content, this is again, not only a game of the year contender, but one that is contending for best RPG ever made (Yes I said it, I mean it too).

Developer

Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio

Publisher

Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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