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Hawaiian Hijinks

Updated on: 04 February,2024 07:23 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Jaison Lewis |

Ichiban Kasuga and Kazuma Kiryu go international taking the Yakuza series’ brand of wacky humour and over-the-top combat to the Hawaiian shores

Hawaiian Hijinks

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth
Rating: 5/5
Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
Publisher: Sega
Platform: PC, XBO, XBS, PS4, PS5
Price: Rs 3,999

The Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has been churning out a steady flow of Yakuza games since 2005. Some games in the series have been absolute gems, while others have been middling, but none have been bad. What is notable, though, is that the studio is never afraid to take a risk, resulting in some spectacular wins for the franchise. Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is a refinement of all those ideas and risks into a spectacular game you must play.

You play the lovable lead character, Ichiban Kasuga, who is on a mission to find his mom in Hawaii. However, this game is not all his. Ichiban has to share his screen time with a favourite character, Kazuma Kiryu. These two travels to Hawaii to complete Ichiban’s quest. That said, nothing is ever simple for these two, and they get into a lot of shenanigans will the local mob bosses. One of them resembles and is voiced by Danny Trejo. The story is pretty good and I don’t want to add spoilers. In fact, I would go ahead and say this is amongst the best in the Yakuza series. The only downside is that the cut scenes go on forever, and there are a lot of them. Needless to say, you might not want to skip them because there are bits in there that are important to the storyline or are just plain funny.

As with most Yakuza titles, this one is loaded with action, wacky arcade games, and just the most insane collection of villains you will ever see. All of this is thrown into the picturesque world of Hawaii. The map honestly feels much bigger than the Japanese ones in previous games. The size difference is very evident because there are levels on the Japanese locations as well in Infinite Wealth. The size of the map, however, is not the biggest improvement of the game. The combat has also been revamped. It is still turn-based but fluid at the same time. The action selection bits are turn-based, but you can place yourself favourably. You can move your character to take advantage of weapons and even stack damage by putting your opponents in unfortunate locations like in front of oncoming vehicles, your teammate, or even a hungry shark. Just like in Japan, there are groups of people looking for a fight in America as well, and yes, they dress up in costumes that are almost always ridiculous.

The RPG elements of the game are well thought out, where your stats get updated with every new level, unlocking powerful moves. There are also personality elements like kindness, style, intelligence, and the like that get upgraded when you perform quests or select the way you want Ichiban to behave. There are accessories that improve your stats and help you defend and fight. Here you have an opportunity to go full cosplay. Choosing the cosplay option would, of course vastly change your combat experience in a good way. There are some ridiculous costumes to don, but my favourite was, by far, the Bruce Lee-esque Enter the Dragon costume. It had you fighting and screaming like Bruce Lee, which was fun. You can also have your team cosplay for some additional wackiness.

Another highlight of Like a Dragon are the mini-games. There are lots to pick from, but let’s instead focus on the standouts. A lot of fun can be had with Crazy Delivery. It is very similar to Crazy Taxi, but instead of reaching passengers to their destination, you are delivering food to hungry patrons.Then there is Dondoko Island, which is a pretty full-fledged game in itself and may remind some players of Animal Crossing. In this mini-game, Ichiban has to return a former resort island back to its five-star glory days. This is easier said than done because Ichiban has to do pretty much everything, from harvesting resources and clearing garbage to building furniture and buildings.

The game offers exclusive items, cash, and personality boosts in return. Not to mention it is super-duper fun and you will spend a lot of time there. Another fun game is Miss Match, a dating sim where you have to match and sweet-talk women. The responses you give in the app directly impact your success in the game. Finally, it is also worth looking into Sicko Snap, where you have to essentially take pictures of oiled-up, scantily clad bodybuilders while moving on a trolley. It is more challenging and fun than you think it will be.

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is a masterclass in what an RPG and even what a game can be if you are willing to focus on fun above everything else. This game is instead well-balanced with a good storyline, lots of mini-games, nuanced combat, and plenty of over-the-top wackiness. This is one game you must play.

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