Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth Is Sega’s Quirkiest Series at Its Very Best

Inverse Score: 9/10

Video Game Reviews

Ichiban Kasuga is out of his element.

After 10 games spent wandering the neon-lit streets of Japan in Yakuza games, stepping onto the sandy shores of Hawaii is like culture shock as he wanders into American burger joints and runs past punks who exclaim, “What are you looking at?” But given enough time, this shimmering new setting starts to shine even more as it flashes the trademark Yakuza charm and whimsy.

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is a direct follow-up to 2020’s Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which wildly altered Sega’s long-running series by introducing turn-based combat, a brand new protagonist, and a host of other changes. Like a Dragon game felt wildly innovative in 2020, and while Infinite Wealth isn’t nearly as revelatory, it’s a sequel that successfully builds on nearly everything from its predecessor, with ambition to spare in both storytelling and scope. It’s the longest game the series has ever seen, and the most “Yakuza” Yakuza game imaginable — in the best way possible.

Once More With Feeling

Kiryu and Kasuga serve as dual protagonists for Infinite Wealth, with their stories intertwining across the entire experience.


Infinite Wealth picks up three years after the previous game as Ichiban Kasuga and the rest of the party try to get their new lives off the ground, free from the criminal underworld’s shackles. In the wake of Like a Dragon’s events, there are also thousands of ex-Yakuza seeking a normal life, and Kasuga tries to do everything he can to make that happen.

The opening of Infinite Wealth is a stroke of brilliance that builds on Kasuaga’s overflowing charisma by showing how he’s essentially become best friends with the entire city. It’s a kitschy piece of humor that’s executed well, before things all come crashing down.

So Kasuga heads to Hawaii in search of Akane, the woman who might be his birth mother that he’s never met. While in Hawaii, a moment of kismet brings Kasuga face to face with Kazuma Kiryu, and the pair find themselves quickly embroiled in another country-spanning, underworld conspiracy.

Infinite Wealth doubles down on making compelling party members, and the camaraderie between characters is the beating heart of the story.


If Like a Dragon was a game about clawing your way up from rock bottom, Infinite Wealth is a story about your life falling apart again after you thought you’d rebuilt it. It’s a theme I wholly didn’t expect, but one that works exceptionally well. There’s a heavy emphasis on celebrating life and the connections we make with other people, along with not being afraid to lean on others in a time of need.

These themes play into every facet of Infinite Wealth, from the emotional beats of the main story to the absurd side content, and it’s all driven home by a phenomenal cast of characters brimming with personality and vigor. Every party member from the previous game gets their time in the spotlight again, but three new party members are also introduced, each with their own unique story arc. Tomizawa is a down-on-his-luck cabbie forced into crime, Chitose is a rich heiress who seeks a normal grounded life, and Seonhee is the leader of Yokohama’s underworld struggling with newfound authority and responsibility.

The narrative of Infinite Wealth struck a chord with me. It’s rare to see a game deliberately take time to reflect on the nature of life, how it inevitably comes to an end for everyone, so therefore, how to make the most of the time we have. It’s a profound message and there are some gut-wrenching moments that really drive home how special these characters have become, especially Kiryu.

Infinite Wealth’s story has a few pacing problems that slow down the momentum of its story, but that sometimes feels like an intentional choice meant to let you engage with the game’s cornucopia of side content.

A Tropical Twist

Like a Dragon’s version of Hawaii is gorgeous and filled with personality. A welcome change to the concrete jungle of past games.


The sunny beaches of Honolulu are the perfect shot in the arm the series needed, shaking up its visual design and aesthetic. The massive city is a joy to explore, packed with details that play into the tourist trap location. Most of the game’s side content is designed around this new setting as well.

Substories are delightful little tales that can be both quirky and heartfelt, often playing into those core themes. In one, you help an elderly man create snow for his sickly wife who wants to see it one last time before passing on. Another has you helping your pet lobster fall in love with a bejeweled Hermit Crab.

Alongside these substories are a handful of chances to bond with your party members. “Walk and Talk” moments are fun little snippets of conversations that build your affinity with friends, certain restaurants can prompt “Table Talk” chats that do the same thing, and each 10 levels of affinity unlock a new “Drink Link” dialogue that dive into a party member’s backstory and personality.

While the dozens of substories and party member interactions provide ample distractions, that’s nothing compared to the minigame selection in Infinite Wealth.

In one minigame, you’ll deliver food on a bike for an “almost livable wage.”


Developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has done a great job of playing with and satirizing elements of American culture, like with the Crazy Delivery minigame where you deliver food on a bike for an “almost livable wage.” Another called Sicko Snap is a rail shooter photography game that has you taking pictures of buff men in leotards and masks as they burst out of hiding spots and undulate like sea creatures.

The studio even decided to fit entire Pokémon and Animal Crossing games in Infinite Wealth, and somehow, they’re both pretty darn good. While exploring the streets of Hawaii, you can collect Sujimon, which are weirdo enemies you battle. You build a team with Sujimon and can take on rival trainers and eventually gyms, which earns you badges to raise your Sujimon’s levels and make them stronger. There are multiple substories tied into Sujimon, and a whole gacha system that involves Pokémon-style evolution. It’s astoundingly well-thought-out and fun to engage with, which is even more true for its cozy island-building distraction.

Partway through the game, Kasuga travels to Dondoko Island, a defunct resort island that he agrees to build back to its glory days. This is a Yakuza take on Animal Crossing, requiring you to gather resources, build structures and decorations, invite and please guests, and fight off a group of pirates determined to use your island as a trash dump. Dondoko Island is astoundingly well-designed, giving you incredible amounts of freedom in how you want to build your resort while making sure the rewards and resources are dolled out at a steady clip. The minigame does a phenomenal job of making it feel like you're always making progress and keeps things moving with a fun little story filled with over-the-top characters. You can spend dozens of hours on Dondoko Island. It’s practically an entire game in itself and honestly one of the most enjoyable Animal Crossing-like experiences I’ve ever played.

Dondoko Island feels like an entire game unto itself, filled with bizarre characters.


As if all these distractions weren’t enough, partway through Infinite Wealth your party splits in two, with dual stories that follow Kasuga and Kiryu respectively. Kiryu gets his own selection of side content that revolves around reflecting on his life and fulfilling a Bucket List before his cancer diagnosis ends things.

Collecting “Memoirs of a Dragon” gives you glimpses of Kiryu’s life and previous Yakuza games, even letting the legendary hero reunite with a selection of important people from his past. I won’t spoil anything contained in these moments, but anyone that’s stuck with the series for years is absolutely going to find their heartstrings tugged more than once. Kiryu’s selection of side content also plays into that central theme of life, and I found myself constantly blown away by the degree of melancholy and introspection looped into the game’s tropical exuberance.

I had serious reservations on the idea of bringing Kiryu back as a playable character after the ending of Yakuza 6, which seemed final in many ways. But the poignancy and payoff found for the character in Infinite Wealth has put to bed all of those concerns I carried going into the game.

A Journey Worth Taking

Infinite Wealth’s combat is tremendously improved by putting more of an emphasis on character placement attack effects, like blowback.


It’s utterly impossible to talk about everything Infinite Wealth does. This is one of the biggest, most ambitious games I’ve ever played in my life. I haven’t even touched on combat yet, but that’s another aspect of this game that’s hugely improved. The turn-based battles of Infinite Wealth are every bit as good as the last game, while bringing in dynamic new elements that focus on character placement, area-of-effect attacks, and being able to knock enemies into each other for extra damage.

I could spend more time diving into the intricacies of combat or the job system, or any number of things I didn’t touch on, but that’s not what I think is important with Infinite Wealth. This is a game that does literally everything well, but some things exceptionally, to an almost overwhelming degree.

You could easily argue there’s too much in Infinite Wealth, too many minigames and story beats, too many little distractions. In that regard, the time commitment may turn some players off, and that’s justifiable. At the same time, Infinite Wealth also heavily relies on a degree of familiarity with the series. I'd have a hard time recommending the game to someone that’s not, at the very least, familiar with the events of Yakuza: Like a Dragon.

Infinite Wealth effortlessly manages to tread a line between absurd comedy and moody drama.


All that being said, the way all of Infinite Wealth’s content is implemented is what makes it shine. Nothing outside of the main story is ever forced on you, but it’s all there if you want to engage with it. The game lets you pick and choose what you want to do: just like you would on your own tropical getaway. And when you do engage with that content, it all ties into those wonderful overarching themes of valuing life and togetherness, working with others to build something better.

I don’t think the studio can make a better Yakuza game than this without significantly altering the series formula or trying something wildly new. Infinite Wealth is simply the quintessential Yakuza game, which means you’ll laugh and cry in equal measure.


Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth releases on January 26 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. Inverse reviewed the PS5 version.

INVERSE VIDEO GAME REVIEW ETHOS: Every Inverse video game review answers two questions: Is this game worth your time? Are you getting what you pay for? We have no tolerance for endless fetch quests, clunky mechanics, or bugs that dilute the experience. We care deeply about a game’s design, world-building, character arcs, and storytelling come together. Inverse will never punch down, but we aren’t afraid to punch up. We love magic and science-fiction in equal measure, and as much as we love experiencing rich stories and worlds through games, we won’t ignore the real-world context in which those games are made.
Related Tags