Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is one of the most ridiculous JRPGs I have ever played

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth screenshot
(Image credit: Sega)

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is a chaos generator. Where else could you call a couple of crustaceans into a barroom brawl, dispatching corrupt cops with the devastating Pincer Pandemonium routine. Or learn a new combat class by becoming friends with that dolphin you meet after taking a dip in the ocean. Perhaps you take a break from the crunchy storyline, centring on the importance of friends and family at the crossroads of life and death, to hit the town – a little karaoke here, a little fast-food delivery there. An old man riding the trolley system will teach you the secret art of snapping photos of all the local sickos. Infinite Wealth is a truly ridiculous JRPG. 

It's also a culture shock. Say what you will about the Yakuza series, but exploring the dense outlay of Kamurocho has always been a highlight. Developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio does fantastic work leveraging a sense of legitimacy into its larger-than-life world, infusing it with a sense of character and personality so rarely seen replicated outside of this franchise. Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth takes a big swing by electing to hold its changing of the guard – between protagonist Ichiban Kasuga and a retiring Kazuma Kiryu – in the super chill streets of Hawaii. 

Welcome to Paradise

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth screenshot

(Image credit: Sega)

Infinite Wealth represents the first time that the series has dared to leave the shores of Japan, and it's an impactful change. You feel it immediately as you spot the shorter cityscape and sun-soaked citizens, many of whom begin to sprint for cover as soon as rain begins to pitter-patter across a nearby sandy beach – dynamic weather is in, and the folks who reside in this neighborhood don't like it one bit. They also don't like the street thugs and mischief makers who patrol it readily, pulling Kasuga and his cohort into returning turn-based battles. 

Combat remains fairly rudimentary, but that isn't to say that Ryu Ga Gotoku hasn't sanded down some of the sharper edges. As you take control of a party member you're now able to move them within a small circle, giving me an opportunity to manually line a character up with an object in the scenery to be hurled at an enemy, or bring me in closer proximity to one of my pals to unleash cute combination attacks. Everytime Ichiban and Chitose joined hands to waltz their way through a procession of gang punks I couldn't help but crack a smile. Tomizawa has this 'Essence of Buckle Up' skill where he quite literally sits an enemy in the backseat of his taxicab before slapping them around the interior through erratic driving. Yakuza: Like a Dragon had elements like this in play, but everything just feels a little larger than life – more grandiose, and undeniably silly – throughout my time with Infinite Wealth. 

Kazuma Kiryu is able to break free of the turn-based cycle once his Heat gauge is maxed out, allowing him to unleash a flurry of combo-based attacks more in-keeping with the original Yakuza games. The jobs and fighting styles seen across all of the characters seem far broader. The cadence of battles a little tighter. All of this makes Infinite Wealth feel a little more dynamic, and certainly more expressive. That it can achieve this without diluting the sheer stupidity of it all is impressive. Wandering around this world for even just 30 minutes is a joyful exercise. 

There's still a lot more of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth to see. It's expected that Hawaii won't be the only locale, with return trips to Isezakichō and Yokohama anticipated. There's a question of just how far the job system will stretch combat opportunities, and whether Ryu Ga Gotoku will have the ingenuity to generate enough chaos to cover it all. And how well will all of this mix with the sadder undertones running through the spine of the experience; Ichiban Kasuga in search of family, and Kazuma Kiryu grappling with a terminal illness. 

There's a lot going on in Infinite Wealth, and I'm keen to see more of it. But for all of its silliness and humor, the thing that has stuck with me is its inherent kindness – strutting the streets of Honolulu, clicking a button to make friends with random strangers, listening to your pals talk about this and that. Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is a noisy game, but it also inherently understands the catharsis in taking some time for those who are gravitationally pulled into your life's orbit, and I like that about it a lot. 

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is set to launch on January 26, 2024 for PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, and Xbox One. While you wait, why not return to one of the best Yakuza games.

Josh West
Editor-in-Chief, GamesRadar+

Josh West is the Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar+. He has over 15 years experience in online and print journalism, and holds a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Feature Writing. Prior to starting his current position, Josh has served as GR+'s Features Editor and Deputy Editor of games™ magazine, and has freelanced for numerous publications including 3D Artist, Edge magazine, iCreate, Metal Hammer, Play, Retro Gamer, and SFX. Additionally, he has appeared on the BBC and ITV to provide expert comment, written for Scholastic books, edited a book for Hachette, and worked as the Assistant Producer of the Future Games Show. In his spare time, Josh likes to play bass guitar and video games. Years ago, he was in a few movies and TV shows that you've definitely seen but will never be able to spot him in.