Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth review – An abundance of riches

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is brimming with a bright, puppy dog charm.
yakuza/like a dragon infinite wealth review

Ichiban Kasuga is a much better person than me. I know this for a fact, after dozens of hours with Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. He’s a brighter person, and a more forgiving one. Someone who consistently turns the other cheek, embraces his enemies, and takes life in his stride. He’s not pushover – far from it – but he confronts his struggles in Infinite Wealth with a persistent puppy dog charm that makes his attitude aspirational. He injects Infinite Wealth with such a vibrance, that on the strength of his character alone, you’ll find yourself more enthralled in the game’s world with every step.

Like Kasuga, the game also brims with a sense of sincerity, one which buoys the narrative through each turn, and allows you to revel in its wonder, its strangeness, and its absurdity. Infinite Wealth is a game with deep themes – it explores the preciousness of life, and the nature of trust and friendship – but like its predecessor, it’s also unabashedly weird, and takes you on a bizarre odyssey that charts the full breadth of the human experience.

You spend time in Infinite Wealth delivering burgers. You spend it discovering the true meaning of family. You also spend it making friends with dolphins, playing a Pokemon-like strategy game with real human men (and tigers), and carving out a life on a special island home. It’s a game with so many facets that it’s difficult to fathom them all at once.

like a dragon infinite wealth
Screenshot: GamesHub

In essence, Infinite Wealth is the story of Ichiban Kasuga’s search for his real family – and his eventual discovery of the clearer importance of friendship. As the game opens, Kasuga is dealing with the knock-on impacts of Like a Dragon – his former association with the yakuza, and the consequences of his past actions. He attempts to make amends by working at a job centre, helping to reform yakuza members and provide embattled, jobless folks with new opportunities.

But of course, the past always has a way of coming back and Kasuga is soon thrust back into his old life after a series of mishaps, and a very public exposure of his yakuza connections. Rather than feeling sorry for himself, Kasuga uses these mishaps as motivation, forcing himself onward as new, unexpected faces pop into his life.

Read: Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth includes a resort management mode

After his whole world seemingly implodes, he’s sent on a quest to Hawaii to uncover a long-lost family connection – a quest that inspires a cavalcade of new hijinks, as Kasuga’s orbit attracts an array of wayward souls. He makes friends with a cab driver at the mercy of the Hawaiian underworld. He makes friends with a young socialite who may have a sinister agenda. He also links up with former Yakuza protagonist Kazuma Kiryu, who rejoins the Like a Dragon series as a hard-hitting companion – and as a cancer sufferer.

Kiryu’s appearance in the story is poignant. He serves as a reminder of the Yakuza legacy, but also provides a touchpoint for those feelings of life being so precious. Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth postures as a hard-boiled crime story on occasion, but beneath its surface, it’s a far more dense, complex, and light-hearted exploration of life in all its forms.

It analyses political corruption, family expectation, and the nature of romance. It’s about the motivation for living. It’s about not being bogged down by tragedy. Its narrative, while occasionally dialogue-heavy and overlong, might focus on over-the-top drama and odd circumstances – at multiple points, Kasuga is assaulted by costume-wearing mascots – but it also devotes time to the smaller moments in life.

donoko island like a dragon
Image: RGG Studio

Kasuga and Kiryu sit down to discuss the nature of love, and Kasuga’s seeming inability to find companionship, despite his best efforts. Kasuga and new companion Tomizawa share equally touching moments, in which Kasuga highlights the need for self-confidence, and to stand up to bullies even in dire circumstances. With Chitose, Kasuga espouses the merits of family – and of knowing when to leave them behind.

In these connections, Kasuga forms his own makeshift family, taking an ever-growing crew with him on a quest through Hawaii riddled with mounting challenges, only overcome by his loveable sense of confidence and perseverance. It’s Kasuga’s ability to take everything in his stride that defines the journey through Infinite Wealth, and what makes it feel so warm and rewarding.

Infinite Wealth is a game that takes its time. It’s littered with countless distractions, in the form of mini-games and side quests, and a fully-fledged island management simulator, but with its combination of snappy action-drama and its quieter moments, it does well to encapsulate the scope of Kasuga’s world, and the bright mundanity of the real world.

It makes a clear statement: that even in those smaller, quieter moments, life remains precious. And when we think about our own lives, we should remember the small moments are important – perhaps the most important of all.

And then Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth sets a batch of giant killer clowns on your day, and you remember its other most important message, too: that life can be incredibly strange, and occasionally magical, and no matter what we encounter, we should persevere through that, too – in any way we can.

infinite wealth like a dragon
Screenshot: GamesHub

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth does well to balance these tones, matching its deft poignancy with enough strange flavour for the experience to feel deeply compelling, emotive, and memorable. Kasuga is the perfect character to lead Infinite Wealth, with deft writing elevating his inherent charm and imagination, and allowing the game’s narrative to breathe well.

You will need an ocean of patience to unfold the many wrinkles of Infinite Wealth – to master its Sujimon battles, hamburger mini-games, arcade games, Dondoko Island management, and dating quests – but devote time to its intricacies, and you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful, frequently surprising game that brims with goodness and features a heartfelt, wholesome exploration of the true meaning of living.

Five stars: ★★★★★

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Developer: RGG Studio
Publisher: Sega
Release Date: 26 January 2024

The PS5 version of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth was provided for the purposes of this review. GamesHub reviews are rated on a five-point scale. GamesHub has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content. GamesHub may earn a small percentage of commission for products purchased via affiliate links.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.