Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth Successfully Brings the Series’ Heat and Hilarity to Hawaii

The highly anticipated release of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth has sparked excitement and curiosity among gamers everywhere. As a long-time fan of the Yakuza series, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the chance to dive into this new installment set in the tropical paradise of Hawaii. Having had the opportunity to play a 20-minute demo at the Tokyo Game Show, I can confidently say that this game not only lives up to its predecessors but also brings a refreshing twist to the franchise.

A Dynamic Shift in Setting

Traditionally, the Yakuza games have taken place in Japanese cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Yokohama. The charmingly chaotic streets filled with street fights and zany side quests have become synonymous with the series. However, Infinite Wealth defies expectations by transporting players to a sun-kissed Hawaiian island. I must admit, I was initially skeptical about whether the signature atmosphere and humor of the series would translate effectively to this new location. Yet, my doubts were swiftly dispelled as I delved into the game and found that the essence of Like a Dragon remained intact.

Familiar Faces, Fresh Combat

In Infinite Wealth, we follow the story of Ichiban Kasuga, the new protagonist who trades in his wide-lapel leisure suit for a more laid-back Hawaiian style. Right from the start, the game introduces us to an improved and more dynamic combat system that complements the traditional turn-based mechanics seen in previous installments. Now, players have the ability to move each character around the battlefield, strategically positioning them for maximum impact. This revamped combat system adds a new level of excitement and depth to the street fights, making them feel more dynamic and engaging.

Moreover, the addition of Kazuma Kiryu, the iconic protagonist from previous Yakuza games, to Ichiban’s party enhances the gameplay experience even further. Kiryu brings his expertise in switching fighting stances and his infamous Heat gauge, enabling players to unleash devastating real-time combos. This seamless integration of mechanics from different games within the series creates a truly unique and satisfying combat experience, bridging the gap between old and new fans.

Hilariously Over-the-Top Finishers

One of the hallmarks of the Yakuza series has always been its over-the-top and comical finishers, and Infinite Wealth certainly doesn’t disappoint in this regard. During my hands-on session, I had the pleasure of witnessing some truly hilarious and memorable finishing moves. One standout moment was when a new party member named Tomizawa unleashed the ‘Essence of Buckle Up’ move. This move involved throwing the targeted enemy into the back of a minivan, which then took off in a high-speed thrill ride, culminating in a glorious explosion. The nonchalant attitude of the characters amidst the chaos adds an additional layer of charm to the game’s already captivating combat sequences.

Exploring the Tropical Playground

Aside from the adrenaline-pumping combat, Infinite Wealth offers players a variety of engaging activities to partake in outside of battles. As I strolled along the beach, I discovered the joy of interacting with the vibrant Hawaiian environment. From throwing shaka hand gestures at passersby to diving under the waves to uncover hidden treasures and yes, even stumbling upon some garbage that could be recycled for cash, the game immerses players in a lively and interactive world.

One exciting addition to the game is the ability to hop on a BMX and take on food delivery missions, reminiscent of the beloved Crazy Taxi game. As I zipped through the beachside streets, collecting pizza and burgers while performing tricks and building up combo points, I couldn’t help but be enthralled by the sheer thrill and joy of the experience. The developers have truly succeeded in integrating dynamic and enjoyable side activities that seamlessly blend with the main storyline.

The Signature Japanese Quirkiness

While Infinite Wealth may have moved away from Japan, it hasn’t lost the quirky and distinctly Japanese humor that fans have come to adore. As I hopped on a beachside trolley, I inadvertently triggered a side mission to capture photos of local musclebound perverts. Despite the change in location, developer Ryu Ga Gotoku ensures that the game maintains its unique personality, embracing the seedier side of the Like a Dragon series.

A Vast and Expansive World

One of the most exciting aspects of Infinite Wealth is the sheer size of its Hawaiian island setting. According to a SEGA representative, the game’s environment is three times larger than the Yokohama map featured in the previous installment. This promises a vast and immersive world for players to explore, filled with intriguing side quests, hidden secrets, and memorable encounters. From the short glimpse I had during my hands-on session, I can confidently say that Infinite Wealth has the potential to be the biggest game in the series to date.

Although my time with Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth was fleeting, it left a lasting impression on me. The game successfully captures the spirit and charm of its predecessors while introducing fresh elements that enhance the overall gameplay experience. From the dynamic combat system and over-the-top finishers to the lively Hawaiian setting and plethora of side activities, there’s no doubt that Infinite Wealth has the potential to be one of the best games in the Yakuza series. As an avid fan, I am eagerly awaiting the release of the full game and the countless hours of enjoyment it promises to deliver.