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Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth | REVIEW | PC

''LIKE A DOGGO: INFINITE PETS''

 


Developed: RGG Studio

Published: SEGA

Genre: Action/RPG

Release Date: Jan 25th, 2024

Platforms: PS5/PS4/Xbox Series/Xbox One/PC

Review copy provided to me by SEGA and GAMESPLANET


Get 10% off Like A Dragon Infinite Wealth now on PC Thanks to GAMESPLANET


Like A Dragon Infinite Wealth is the latest entry into the Yakuza franchise and it is developed by RGG Studio and published by SEGA. Coming off the success of the first Like A Dragon entry, RGG Studio has decided its time to get nuttier and crazier with this newest entry. But does it hold true to what the Yaukza series at its core is all about? or did they totally miss the plot on this one? Only one way to find out, so lets go!


STORY:


Two larger-than-life heroes brought together by the hand of fate, or perhaps something more sinister…

Ichiban Kasuga, an unstoppable underdog who's no stranger to crawling up from rock bottom, and Kazuma Kiryu, a broken man facing down his last days.


 


''THE WORD OF THE DAY: BEETLE!''

 

GAMEPLAY:


Infinite Wealth is one of those games that after you finish it, you'll be pretty much spent on your emotions. While it is an intense journey for sure, probably RGG Studios most ambitious creation thus far and the biggest ''ITS ALIVE'' moment since Doctor Frankenstein awoke his monster, it also manages to throw in both the silly and heartfelt moments too that have the chance to grab your heart strings and say ''LOOK AT ME, IM THE CAPTAIN NOW''. Playing through this latest entry into the series you'll understand the care that is put into it, while I may not agree with the yearly releases it seems of this series, ranging from re-releases of the older titles to seemingly a new entry or spin off happening at every freaking turn, even with my disagreement, its hard to doubt the devotion that is made to intertwine and weave together a narrative such as this over various continents and so many new characters that make new stories, as well as finishing others that have run its course over the last two decades or so. Now if only Call Of Duty could actually achieve this and not give us a half baked 2 hour campaign mode for $70 with a 500GB Warzone on the side, then we'd be golden, right?. Yeah ok sorry, it's been like over a year since I took a friendly shot at Call Of Duty, so sue me. The story of Infinite Wealth kicks off a few years after Yazuka: Like A Dragon, as you play as Ichiban Kasuga, who is an ex Yakuza that now sort of rehabilitates people that were once in gangs but now tries to teach them how to function in a normal society, instead of doing a life of crime. However that doesn't seem to last very long, now Ichiban and his close friends that he's made in this ''crimeless'' lifestyle, find themselves in pretty hot water, similar to the Trailer Park Boys. Broke, Jobless and finding their way back into the criminal underworld setting. Ok guys one more job, then were retired boys, FREEDOM 35. Even with being broke, there still leaves a lingering question in Ichiban's life, where is his mother? she's been long lost to the history of time for him, however, a key tip leads him on a brand new journey, this time to Hawaii, where our adventure truly begins. Challenging the environment of Japan to Hawaii honestly feels like my boy Takumi going from racer turf to racer turf, beating everyone on their own courses. Its pretty similar too if you think about it. Here you have a broke and bum like Ichiban coming to new territory of Hawaii and being severely underestimated by people and then Takumi and his Eight Six always making people eat crow and giving out the ''AH!, UGH! UHH!, NANI!?'' anime split shock screens. Yes, Ichiban is this games Eight Six, only without a cup of water and Bunta's chain smoking. But crap, were totally off topic.


Upon reaching Hawaii, Ichiban meets the original series protagonist, Kiryu Kazuma, who is also playable in this entry alongside Ichiban. This game overall from this point on feels like a passing of the torch moment from Kiryu to Ichiban, with Ichiban looking to take the mantle of main character going forth that Kiryu has carried for the entire series. Usually I hate passing of the torch moments because characters either never deserve it, didnt earn it or are shoehorned in for one reason or another, but this time, I feel it actually works. Emotionally bringing you in with Kiryu with his plight and him dealing with his own mortality due to cancer, it takes a non serious game for the most part and adds an extra layer of depth and more intricate views of humanity to this series as a whole, as well as his own personal character itself. While you have silly hi-jinx of SEGA arcade and funny mini games in this big Hawaii setting, you also get to tag alongside Kiryu as he reflects on past series events that unfolded and offers more of a thought provoking journey that you did not expect to witness when going into this title, especially with the marketing the game has had, both from myself creating advertisements for SEGA, as well as stars like Druski. When looking at our advertisements, you really didn't get the idea that you're about to go on a Feel Trip. As stated previously, the game itself lets you go from the perspective of a dual character combination with again, you being able to play as both Kiryu and Ichiban, which allows for broadening of story exploration like when Kiryu and others end up heading back to Japan, it is now Ichiban who is surrounded by various new faces that he's never met before and with this fact set into place, the narrative now that you have it from two perspectives, alternates between the groups of allies that have been made with characters such as Chitose and Tamizawa that further add to the games pacing, setting, and allure. Its not on the same allure level as waking up at 4 in the morning and having a human fish staring at you like on the Dreamcast game, Seaman, but then again, who could ever achieve such heights? that's right, no one. So I guess we'll just settle ourselves down and HAVE SOME FUNNNNNNN WITH CRUHHHAAAZZYY TAXI, YAH YAH YAH YAH YAH. Ok, maybe I had too much caffeine or the SEGA remaster collection is still hype on my mind, but we'll settle back down now I promise. So lets Jet Set!


 


''NOT A BABY SHARK, DOO DOO DOO DOO DOO''

 


But even with the narrative positives that excel at pushing the series forward and continued tradition of social and political commentary done tongue in cheek about issues relating to homelessness , sex workers and America's police system, which aren't done in a shoved in your face pandering way, but treated in a way that highlights issues with a sense of maturity that more companies, looking at you SweetBaby, should take notes from. You CAN give weight to modern social issues without having to bash the message over someone's head like your name is Negan or Abby, and without coming off as a lecture or talking down the player. However, the positives get nipped in the butt a tad bit with negatives the rear their ugly head, mainly with things like the Hawaii storyline. Yes its fun, duh, the gameplay itself makes it worth it, however, when it starts involving the Palekana cult, lead by Bryce Fairchild, it completely takes away what made the rest of the game so solid, its depth. With Fairchild, who is an antagonist being just a one dimensional one way character that is not developed properly at all in way for me as a player to actually give a crap about him, like there's literally no nuance here. He's pretty much like every villain you encounter in a filler of anime, no substance other than ''IM EVIL HA HA HA'', and instead of coming off as someone to be feared, he ends up like Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthor type of intimidating. Hell, even in Keisuke from INITIAL D is more evil than Fairchild. Car broke down and you want to thank him? screw off, dont show your presence within his eye sight anymore, you're worthless, probably stink like hamster food and you annoy him. Bro has his issues. The game itself also has an issue with some of the voice acting. Granted I don't take it as seriously as most people because a lot of the time dialogue in these games ham it up on purpose, but there's a lot of American and English dialogue here that makes me wonder if some of this was just done on one take due to time constraints?. It literally give's me some flashbacks of the days of Shenmue with the one NPC's telling you in the most monotone voice of ''I USED TO BE CHINESE''. But besides that, the japanese voice acting is superb and offers just enough ham next to seriousness that keeps you fully immersed. So don't worry, you won't have a ton of Wand Of Gamelon or Mario Philips CD-I level of cringe for an entire play session, so as Ghostbusters NES says, ''Rest Our Heroes'', broken English and all, you're still in for some high quality voice over work. But didn't we forget something? oh yeah, you know, the actual gameplay itself, whoops, whoopsie.


The gameplay of Infinite Wealth is the true cream of the crop and its overall bread and butter. Weaving the open world exploration in Kamurocho, Ijincho and Honolulu, makes this the most expressive game in the series yet, with Honolulu adding more to the gameplay itself than just a captivating atmosphere. Turned based combat in this title is deeper and more engaging than ever before with new mechanics that add to the strategy of how you approach each battle with giving you the ability to now move in combat, even when not strictly turn based and venturing into a more free roam fighting style that the game switches to from time to time. Adding further into the game play department is this titles job system that allows you as the player to create the most diverse level of character builds that has ever been seen in the Yakuza series before, allowing the grind for each level to be alleviated from tediousness by taking on mini bosses throughout the game, funny and humorous moments like Dondoko Island with its Animal Crossing and Pokemon like gameplay, fun delivery service that gives you flashbacks of days of Crazy Taxi, an ally job system that allows you to partake in stories with individual characters to grow your relationship with them, unlocking new skills to use and weapons to use as combat goes from serious death defying moments where every action is crucial to avoid death, and then straight down to ''what the eff'' moments of combat that literally has you taking on a giant shark for a battle, which comes out of nowhere, but is equally as challenging as it is laugh inducing. House Shark finally made it out of the house and has now arrived in the Yakuza series. That's a glow up if I've ever seen one. Throughout this 40+ hour game, the twists and turns never stop coming and the fun of exploration this huge map, finding new shops to explore, level indicators of street punks power levels to determine who you should and shouldn't fight early on, make this one of the best entries into the Yakuza series that you could dive into, no hesitation in saying that at all. The franchise is now mainstream and there's no escaping that with how ambitious RGG has gotten here and that sometimes, while great, can make it feel like a little of too much and overloads an already great experience with some stuff that could've been held off on for another entry. But no use crying over spilt milk I suppose.



 


''CRAAAAZY TAXI''

 

OVERALL:


At the end of the day, RGG created an engaging and immersive experience with Like A Dragon Infinite Wealth,. Sure its not perfect with less than stellar character like Fairchild, game feeling bloated at times due to a little too much being inserted into the mix, some questionable voice acting, and the term Infinite Wealth becoming literal with the amount of paid content this game has, but even so, even with all those negatives, they still cant take away from the emotionally engaging story of both Ichiban and Kiryu and their journey together, the vast explorable Hawaii and setting of Japan, engaging strategic combat that ranges from both action to turned based, deep combat and job system that allows further use of your allies, and hours upon hours of fun mini games that will keep you playing long after you've completed the main campaign. There's just so much offered here that even someone like myself, who play the games but not necessarily is a huge fangirl of the series, can come out of it saying ''damn now that was a really good time''. It's definitely worth a check out. So with all that having been said, my verdict is clear, GameNChick says BUY NOW




 



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