- Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is an upcoming JRPG developed by RGG Studios and published by SEGA.
- With its expansive content and dense story, Infinite Wealth is looking to be the biggest RPG of 2024.
- Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth launches on January 25, 2024.
2024 is already off to a fantastic start with the release of numerous exciting titles in the first two months. Persona 3 Reload, a remake of the original Persona 3 on the PS2, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth which is a continuation of 2020’s exceptional Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown which should be out by the time this piece is published.
The game I’m most excited for however is Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, the newest entry in the Yakuza/Like a Dragon franchise.
Like A What?
The Like a Dragon series is very close to my heart. Since my first foray into the series in 2017 with Yakuza 0, I have played every single mainline entry in the series, most of the spin-offs, and the remakes including their original PS2 counterparts. Safe to say this series means a lot to me and I assure you that this piece is one hundred percent written on my biases, do not expect otherwise.
In 2019, Yakuza 7 or more accurately “Yakuza: Like a Dragon” brought a major change to the series. Up until then the Yakuza games never really strayed far from their beat-em-up combat roots. Yakuza: Like a Dragon however, took the series from an action beat-em-up to a classic turn-based JRPG. For most other series this could prove to be a recipe for disaster and even many Yakuza fans felt alienated by the idea.
As it turns out, the series’ transition to turn-based was a successful one as Yakuza: Like a Dragon became one of the best-selling titles of the franchise. Part of that was because it wasn’t a major change at all. Yakuza Like a Dragon was still in every sense of the word, a proper Yakuza game. Everything that makes these games unique was kept intact, in fact, it was more at the forefront than ever with some of the most memorable side-quests in the series.
Yakuza Like a Dragon is considered one of the biggest games in the franchise. Filled to the brim with side content and a 40-hour main story, and with Infinite Wealth coming out in a few days, it has the potential to be the biggest RPG of the year in sheer size. It is already confirmed by RGG studios that it’s the studio’s largest game to date, surpassing even the likes of Yakuza 5 with its 5 protagonists and 5 explorable cities.
The director of Infinite Wealth, Masayoshi Yokoyama even had this to say about Infinite Wealth’s length:
Infinite Wealth is a monster-class game longer than anything we’ve made so far. If you go at it continuously, you’ll get sick, and it won’t end with just one or two all-nighters.”
Safe to say, we can already see what Yokoyama-san means when he says this. Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth features a smorgasbord of entirely new and unique activities, from a Crazy Taxi inspired Pizza delivery minigame to its very own Animal Crossing-style side game. Not a side mini-game, but an entire side game that you can play in the middle of this already expansive RPG.
And if that wasn’t enough, Infinite Wealth features another side game too. A gacha-style Pokemon game where you take your “Sujimon” into 3v3 team battles against your opponent’s Sujimon. These Sujimon can be recruited either from your normal battles or can be hired from “Gacha spots” which result in rarer Sujimon. You can then take your Sujimon and train them for battles against rival Sujimon trainers.
Now take a shot every time you read the word “Sujimon” in the last paragraph.
Let’s start with the biggest addition, the new city. Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is the first game in the series to be set outside of Japan. Infinite Wealth will have players adventuring and JRPGing their way through the tropical city of Hawaii, cool! Surpassing even the last game’s already massive Yokohama in size, Hawaii is confirmed to be 3 times larger than Yokohama with plenty of new and returning mini-games.
And sure, you’ve heard it hundreds of times in marketing jargon. Open-world games always use it to emphasize a game’s size, but in practice, it’s almost always either boring empty land that’s equally as tedious to traverse, or just recycled content copy-pasted over and over. In the Like a Dragon games though, things are different. Maps are usually much smaller, and it’s possible to do entire circuits around the city in about 2-3 minutes.
What they give up in size though, they make up for in density. Despite their cities being so small, each Like a Dragon game can offer you over 100 hours of content from its side content alone. This is due to the sheer number of things you can do in these games, from the many hilarious side quests to playing a House of the Dead rip-off at the arcade to playing literal freaking Mario Kart.
If you’re like me and enjoy getting the most out of these games — although that can differ from player to player for some it’s just doing most of the sub-stories while for me it’s generally unlocking and beating the Amon fight which requires you to obtain near 100% completion most of the time — then each game offers around 80-100 hours of content.
The Power Of Friendship
This is without including the dual protagonist system. Throughout the game, players will switch between Yakuza 7 newcomer Ichiban Kasuga and former leading man of the series Kazuma Kiryu. Both characters not only feature their own unique job classes but also unique party members as well. While Ichiban retains his old Hero class from the last game, Kiryu brings with him the Dragon of Dojima style.
Kiryu really said "it's my turn." Based.
Complete the Like a Dragon Gaiden story to unlock the special trial version of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, launching Jan 26, 2024. Pre-order to get Hero's Booster & Special Job Set! pic.twitter.com/kyzGypfvDj
— RGG Studio (@RGGStudio) November 13, 2023
Fittingly for the character, the Dragon of Dojima style is insane in its functionality as Kiryu can switch between different styles during combat, letting him either get multiple turns in a row or high-damage moves. Not just that, Kiryu can channel his inner dragon during combat and literally break the turn-based system to go back into his classic brawler-style combat system to deliver the smackdown.
On top of that, Infinite Wealth features plenty of other improvements over the last game. Combat feels better now that you can finally move your characters around during their turn. The game also incentivizes this by granting extra damage on hitting an enemy’s back and I hope that means attacks have increased accuracy too. Most importantly, this makes environmental objects a lot more viable as it’s a lot easier to grab them during combat.
Couple that with the usual series shenanigans and the longest story in the series, and Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth quickly starts living up to its name. For any other game, I would hesitate to make a statement like this, especially in the same year as a Persona and a Final Fantasy game, but I am fairly confident that Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth will be the biggest RPG of the year both in its sheer size and (hopefully) in relevance.
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