Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth (Multi, Sega)
IF YOU thought Tokyo’s streets had little more to offer fans after nine mainline Yakuza games, you’d be right. But by shifting the action to Hawaii, Sega has discovered there’s plenty more milk to be wrung from the series’ well-yanked teats, with an island paradise of Polynesian goons ready to say “aloha” to your fists.
The last time Hawaii was this much fun, Tom Selleck was mooching about the islands in his Ferrari.
Uniting Yakuza’s dual protagonists in Honolulu, Ichiban searches for his long-lost mother, while Kiryu - now in his 50s and dealing with a seemingly terminal illness - ticks off his bucket list. With a string of goofball companions in tow - and in regulation floral shirts – our misfit crew uncover murky political dealings amid Hawaii’s seedy underbelly.
In Sega’s words, Infinite Wealth is a “monster-class game” that dwarfs previous titles, but its lengthy luau never feels like a drag-on. Despite marking the series’ first foray outside of Japan, Honolulu City is stuffed with familiar Yakuza treats as players explore an open world brimming with battles, quests and an enormous cast of old favourites and new pals, including Dwight, a gang leader played by none other than moustached badass and fajita-flogger Danny Trejo.
Committing to the turn-based RPG battles introduced in 2020′s Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Infinite Wealth refines every element for smackdowns so intuitive, there’ll be no more grumbles from fans who preferred the button-mashing fisticuffs of old.
Characters now enjoy a circle of free movement to line up blows while all manner of environmental clutter can be used to smack thugs around.
Parodying the usual RPG classes, jobs make a return, with skills learned as, say, a hula dancer or chef opening up fresh combat options.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Yakuza without a healthy side-order of cheese, and Infinite Wealth offers more of the series’ wacky shenanigans than you can shake a ukulele at, from delivering pizza Crazy Taxi-style to a new rash of classic Sega arcade games, including Virtua Fighter 3tb, Spikeout and the brilliant Sega Bass Fishing, which is almost worth the entry fee alone.
Its greatest side-hustle, however, is just a dolphin ride away to Dondoko Island: a fully-fledged Animal Crossing rip-off where you can fish, catch bugs and craft furniture. And when you tire of the silliness, Kiryu’s Memoirs of a Dragon substories are both an emotional trip down memory lane for the Dragon of Dojima and a fitting send-off for the series star.
The one smudge is that the usually free New Game+ is only available in deluxe versions of the game, meaning players must cough up an extra £15 for the luxury of staying in Hawaii once the credits roll.
Bursting at the seams with stuff to do, Infinite Wealth never buckles under the weight of its ambition, and its sun-kissed vibes and picture postcard setting deliver the perfect getaway from our Irish winter.
The Japanese haven’t made this much of an impact on Hawaii since Pearl Harbor.