Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth Demo Impressions – A Cheeseburger in Paradise

Introduction to Infinite Wealth: A New Frontier for Like a Dragon Fans

It’s pretty unbelievable that we only learned about Infinite Wealth, the eighth (or ninth, depending on how you count) mainline entry in the storied Like a Dragon franchise, just a few months ago. It’s even wilder that part of it is already in my hands, in preparation for a release just two months away. After getting this short taste, I’m more hyped for whatever Ryu Ga Gotoku is cooking up than ever.

A Bold Departure: Infinite Wealth Breaks New Ground, Revitalizing the Like a Dragon Experience with the Exotic Allure of Honolulu.

The demo, included in the upcoming Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name as a post-game bonus, is definitely brief, but it also packs a ton into its two modes. I won’t say much about the story mode since it contains spoilers for the ending of that game. However, the “Adventure Mode” provides a better taste of what this game has to offer, setting the player loose in a small chunk of the game’s primary setting, Honolulu.

Exploring Honolulu: A Fresh Locale for Like a Dragon

This is extremely uncharted territory for a franchise that has never left Japan unless you count the Fist of the North Star spin-off. The good news is that Hawaii immediately feels like a brand-new place, far removed from the urban streets of Tokyo or Yokohama. It does strike me as reminiscent of the anime version of America, but that element of absurdity plays into the strengths of the franchise anyway.

The player is essentially dropped by the beach with a short list of possible things to do. The familiar karaoke mini-game is here, but the player is also encouraged to try “Sicko Spotting,” a new mini-game that’s effectively the crazy Like a Dragon version of Pokemon Snap.

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Fan Feedback Matters: ‘Infinite Wealth’ Listens and Delivers, Elevating the Anticipation for the Game’s Launch to New Heights.

Also present here is a nice sampler of side content, with three of the series’ trademark Substories that are suitably wacky, but they’re mostly a staple at this point. The other prominent element featured here are the brief, Tales-esque party skits that were introduced in the previous main game, but they’ve seen a few improvements. They’re marked on the map now, and rather than just adding a bit to your completion and bond stats, each party member has a full bingo board of interactions to fill out. As you fill out the board, completing lines will result in huge boosts to their affinity with the party leader, which immediately makes them feel more meaningful and exciting than the basically random triggers from Yakuza: Like a Dragon.

Enhanced Gameplay and Player Feedback: Infinite Wealth Promises Exciting Changes

There are various aspects of this demo that showcase how the team has taken player feedback from the previous entry to heart. While you could move around during the turn-based battles before, it was of limited usefulness. Now, movement is limited by your character’s level, but intentionally putting characters near each other can trigger follow-up or even team attacks.

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Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth takes the Like a Dragon franchise into uncharted territory, introducing players to the vibrant and distinct setting of Honolulu, a departure from the familiar urban landscapes of Japan. The demo offers a tantalizing glimpse into the game’s features, from quirky mini-games like “Sicko Spotting” to enhanced party interactions that add depth to character relationships. Several improvements to the series found in this demo already make the experience more engaging and immersive. With its innovative approach and commitment to addressing player concerns, as well as a fresh location and a story that will probably make me cry my eyes out, it might just live up to the team’s promise of “the biggest Like a Dragon game ever”.

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam on January 26, 2024.

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