Dive once more into the depths of the underworld with Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, the newest masterpiece by SEGA® and Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. This highly anticipated game was released on January 26th and is now available on multiple platforms, including PS4, PS5, XBOX Series S|X, and PC. Building on the success of its predecessor, Yakuza Like a Dragon, this enthralling chapter delivers a complex storyline featuring fan-favorite characters like Kazuma Kiryu and Ichiban Kasuga. Explore the familiar streets of Kamurochō and the vibrant new city of Honolulu, promising both seasoned players and newcomers an immersive and exciting journey. Join us as we delve into the secrets and mysteries that await in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth.
Life, Death, and the Yakuza: The Intriguing Narrative of Infinite Wealth
Step into the turbulent underworld of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, a narrative masterpiece that unfolds a couple of years after the gripping events of Yakuza: Like a Dragon. The tranquility in Ichiban Kasuga’s life is abruptly disrupted, propelling players into a riveting tale where every decision carries weight.
The journey begins with Kasuga’s seemingly ordinary life, but a fateful tip from a former ally sets the stage for a dramatic turn of events. Driven by the quest to uncover the truth about his origins, Kasuga embarks on a journey to Honolulu, adding a new dimension to the Yakuza universe.
Simultaneously, the legendary Kazuma Kiryu, grappling with the events of Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, finds himself in Honolulu under the orders of the Daidoji faction. As the narrative unfolds, players are thrust into a web of intrigue and suspense, where the paths of Kasuga and Kiryu intertwine against the backdrop of the enigmatic Daidoji faction.
Adding an emotional layer to the narrative, Kiryu’s battle against cancer becomes a poignant subplot that gradually unfolds throughout the game. Witness the resilience of a legendary character facing not only the challenges of the criminal underworld but also the relentless onslaught of a life-threatening illness.
Refined Combat Techniques: Mastering the Art of Street Brawling
The evolution of turn-based combat in the latest instalment of the Yakuza series is nothing short of spectacular, building upon the solid foundation laid by its predecessor. The refinements introduced in this iteration add depth and strategy to the combat system, making every encounter a dynamic and engaging experience.
One of the standout improvements is the enhanced mobility of your character during battles. In the previous version, characters were somewhat static during their turn, creating a stark contrast with enemies who would actively maneuver to avoid bunching up. This often added a sense of urgency to decision-making. However, the latest iteration allows players to move their characters within a limited space, introducing a new layer of tactical possibilities. Now, players can strategically position their characters to line up attacks, take advantage of environmental elements, or set the stage for a devastating combo.
The distance mechanic further amplifies the strategic depth of the combat system. Depending on your proximity to the target, the damage output of your standard attacks varies. Being closer to your adversary increases the damage dealt, adding a risk-reward element to the decision-making process. Additionally, certain abilities encourage players to maintain distance for optimal damage output, creating a delicate balance between engaging closely for standard attacks and strategically positioning for specialized abilities.
In this revamped combat system, positioning emerges as a critical factor. Players who master the art of positioning can capitalize on the synergy between party members. Knocking an enemy back into the path of another party member results in an additional attack, fostering a sense of teamwork and building up powerful combos. This emphasis on strategic placement not only rewards skilled players but also adds a layer of depth to each encounter, making it more than just a test of brute strength.
Honoring the Dragon: A Turn-Based Odyssey with the Hero of Dojima
The inclusion of Kiryu as a playable character in the turn-based RPG effectively captures his diverse combat abilities from the Yakuza series. Players can freely switch between his signature fighting styles – Rush, Beast, and Brawler – each offering unique tactical advantages. Rush emphasizes agility, allowing Kiryu to move and attack swiftly but with reduced damage. Beast focuses on raw power, breaking enemy defenses and enabling environmental interactions. Brawler represents his classic fighting style, balancing offense and defense with the chance to perform devastating heat actions. The seamless integration of these styles enriches the gameplay experience, staying true to Kiryu’s iconic combat prowess.
Despite initial hesitation regarding Yong Yea providing the English voice of Kiryu, spending considerable time with the game has led to a commendation of his performance. Yong Yea’s portrayal has been fantastic in the role of Kazuma Kiryu and should be recognised as the definitive voice of the character.
Unexpected Playfulness Amidst Grit
In “Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth,” players are treated to a variety of experiences that honor the franchise’s long-standing tradition. With an array of content available, players dive into a world brimming with activities that provide a break from the game’s immersive narrative. These additions not only deepen the gameplay but also offer a fresh take on the classic Yakuza formula.
A highlight is the Crazy Delivery mini-game, reminiscent of the fast-paced action of Crazy Taxi. Players must collect and deliver food orders within tight time constraints, immersing themselves in an exhilarating experience.
Dondoko Island offers a whimsical escape, allowing players to develop an island into a bustling tourist spot, inspired by Animal Crossing. The charming gameplay provides a tranquil respite from the main storyline.
The Miss Match mini-game adds a personal touch as players assist Kasuga in boosting his confidence by connecting with women worldwide. This heartfelt experience delves into Kasuga’s relationships in a light-hearted and entertaining manner, with surprising outcomes adding to the fun.
Classic Yakuza staples like Karaoke, Darts, Arcade Games, and UFO Catcher are also available, offering both nostalgia for long-time fans and a glimpse into the series’ rich universe for newcomers.
Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth Solidifies Its Place Among RPG Greats
I’ve thoroughly relished my time delving into the captivating world of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. With each successive instalment, the Like a Dragon series has exhibited a remarkable ability to both evolve its formula and reinvent itself. In this latest iteration, it’s evident that the developers have honed their RPG formula to near perfection. At a time when many other top-tier RPGs are veering into the action genre, Like a Dragon remains a steadfast testament to the enduring appeal and depth of the RPG genre.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of my gameplay experience was the delightful distraction offered by the vibrant city of Honolulu. Amidst the gritty backdrop of Yakuza drama, I found myself frequently immersed in the simple pleasures of exploring the city, exchanging greetings of “Aloha,” and forming unexpected friendships.
The reintroduction of the vocation system added a refreshing layer of depth to character customization. By allowing players to seamlessly switch roles through Alo-Happy Tours, the game ingeniously integrates this feature into the narrative. The acquisition of new roles, such as the Aquanot with its surf-inspired abilities, injects a playful yet effective twist to combat dynamics, showcasing the developers’ creativity and attention to detail.
While my time on Dondoko Island proved to be a captivating diversion, its addictive nature posed a challenge when attempting to maintain focus on reviewing the broader aspects of the game. The intricacies and variety offered within this single mini-game alone is a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship evident throughout the experience.
One aspect that pleasantly surprised me was the balanced difficulty curve of the main story encounters. Unlike in many RPGs where sudden spikes in difficulty can disrupt the pacing, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth provides ample warnings and recommendations regarding level requirements and equipment quality before entering story locations, ensuring a smoother progression through the narrative.
However, the same cannot be said for side quests, where I encountered unexpected challenges in the form of bosses vastly exceeding my current level. While exploring the streets of Honolulu, the contrast between manageable regular encounters and unexpectedly formidable side story bosses added an element of unpredictability that both frustrated and intrigued me, ultimately enhancing the overall experience.
In conclusion, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth stands as a shining example of RPG excellence, seamlessly blending innovation with familiar mechanics to deliver an engaging and immersive gameplay experience. From its meticulously crafted world to its nuanced combat system, every aspect of the game reflects the dedication and passion of its developers. As a fan of the series, I eagerly anticipate future instalments that continue to push the boundaries of the genre.