Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth (Xbox Series) Review

Thrills and Chills in Hawaii

From the mean streets of Kamurocho to the sun-kissed beaches of Hawaii and back again, Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth is the latest instalment in Sega’s long running crime series. Best known as Yakuza in the West, the Like A Dragon series began in 2005 and has gone from strength to strength, creating an intricately carved and plotted world full of murder and deceit, honour and loyalty, and plenty of plot twists with humour galore.

With a massive campaign that spans two cities, side-quests galore, mini-games to play, friendship bonds to build, underground battles to compete in, and your own island resort to build, Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth takes an everything, the kitchen sink and then some approach to its design. It is an unapologetic cornucopia of content bundled with an excellent story and terrific voice acting to boot.

Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth Crew

Following on from both, Yakuza: Like a Dragon and Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, Infinite Wealth drops us back into the shoes of my new favourite character, Ichiban Kasuga. After the events of the prior game, Ichiban is trying to make his mentors dreams a reality by helping former Yakuza reform. But life doesn’t follow sure paths and his previous lifestyle destroys what he’s trying to build. But after a plot bomb by a previous mentor, Ichiban takes a plane to the sunshiny state of Hawaii to find his mother.

And from the moment he steps onto the shoes of Honolulu, everything goes pear shaped in the best, possible way for gamers. A simple trip turns deadly and absurd, reunites him with series stalwart Kiryu Kazama and, with a whole host of new friends, Ichiban takes on the Hawaiian underworld and app dating to boot!

The Like A Dragon series’ strongest feature has always been its stellar story, coupled with some truly excellent character writing. Infinite Wealth is no different. The game is full of twists and turns, with plenty of dramatic meat for our characters to chew on. It’s also full of humour, heart, and plenty of that trademark Yakuza weirdness – though to much less of an extent this time. This is Ichiban’s story and journey through and through, and the reformed, loveable lunkhead shines.

The character work is absolutely stellar here. While Ichiban easily steals the spotlight, the rest of the cast are just as excellent. The developers mine those evolving friendship bonds in a variety of ways to spotlight the character writing. Whether you’re listening to random conversations as you tool around the streets, instigating specific conversations over different topics, or simply hanging out eating food, Infinite Wealth highlights some of the best character growth and development I’ve seen in recent years.

Oh, and it helps that it’s all delivered with some truly phenomenal voce acting that is some of the best I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in the industry. There are no weak performances and the English voice cast truly bring their AAA game to the proceedings.

The gameplay still remains traditional Yakuza. You run about a large semi-open world, picking up items, following the story, playing those mini-games, and putting the smackdown on a variety of creeps making life hard for everyone else. Although these games have always been a 3D brawlers, focusing on multiple fighting styles while making use of everyday items around you as weapons, Yakuza: Like A Dragon embraced traditional JRPG turn based mechanics and these return with Infinite Wealth.

Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth Combat

With Like A Dragon, I was initially sceptical about this change, fearing it would lose the impact of Yakuza’s traditional bone-crunching combat. Thankfully there was nothing to worry about, as turn-based combat fits the series very well. With the additions and improvements made in Infinite Wealth, it brings the combat even closer to its traditional brawling – while remaining completely controlled, cathartic, and challenging with each encounter.

You can move your characters around on the battlefield, lining up your attacks to either knock opponents into each other, various items or other party members for combo attacks. Certain attacks benefit from quick-time button presses that increase damage, while your bonds with your team members open up further avenues for combo attacks. The brutality and drama of combat is highlighted by great sound and special effects, and the fact it plays out exactly where you’re standing in the world. A close wall can be just as effective for extra damage as a passing car, and using items from the environment as weapons is as easy as standing next to them before attacking. And it’s quite exhilarating to chain a series of moves that results in multiple opponents taking damage from one attack.

Complementing these combo attacks are your special moves and a job system. Each character can have multiple vocations and, in typical Yakuza fashion, they’re quirky and not what you’d expect. You can be a Hero, or a brawler, a chef, or an aquanaut. Jobs can be opened up in a variety of ways, from spending time with other characters to exploration and mini-games. Thankfully it’s a blast unlocking all the classes as the developers have put just as much care into the little things as they have the large systems.

If the massive campaign wasn’t enough for you, some of the side stories spring out into lengthy mini-campaigns. The Resort Island sub story sees you fighting a gang of trash dumping pirates to renovate a resort, functioning like a crafting and building game, complete with resources to harvest – usually trash – and buildings or items to create and layout. The mechanics here can be a little clunky, but it’s just as immersive and entertaining as everything else.

Another lengthy questline sees Ichiban attempting to become the best that no one ever was by beating up creeps and then recruiting them to fight for him in the “Sujimon Championships”. Your “captured” Sujimon can be levelled up to take on fiercer foes in three-on-three battles. And yes, it’s as delightfully quirky as it sounds.

Trying to cover every aspect and mechanic that Infinite Wealth has in its playground is daunting. From the multiple ways there are to increase your stats, to weapon creation and modification, or the joy of just to playing Virtua Fighter 3 in an arcade, Infinite Wealth is packed to the brim with so much to do and I never found myself overwhelmed or tired of any of it. If anything, the game is incredibly addictive and near impossible to put down.

Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth Resort

While there are some small issues, such as the camera occasionally having trouble keeping up with the fast-moving action in combat, Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth is an incredibly polished, highly addictive, and super fun game. Despite some of the darker places the story goes, there’s an altogether light-hearted, inspirational and uplifting beat to it. Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth isn’t just my bet for game of the year, it’s one of the best RPG’s I’ve ever played.

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth was reviewed on Xbox Series S|X using a code provided to gameblur by the publisher. It is also available on PC, Xbox One, and PS4/5.

Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth (Xbox Series) Review

Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth (Xbox Series) Review
10 10 0 1
10/10
Total Score

The Good

  • Fantastic, heartfelt story
  • Stellar voice acting
  • So much to do
  • Wonderful combat system

The Bad

  • Camera sometimes can't keep up with the combat
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