Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth preview - family values

A tag team attack from Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth
(Image credit: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio)

Even after just five hours with a preview build of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, it became clear to me that Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio (RGG) has iterated on almost everything that made the original Yakuza: Like a Dragon so remarkable, all while preserving the charm, whimsy and soulfulness at the series’ heart. A Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) wearing the skin of a third-person crime-based action game, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth revels in its absurdity, inviting you into its madcap yet emotional world with a smile and a wink. 

The Like a Dragon series follows Ichiban Kasuga, a well-meaning goofball who’s been chewed up and spat out by Japan’s criminal underbelly too many times to count. This time around, our golden-hearted protagonist has ventured to Hawaii to track down his biological mother, Akane Kishida. However, Kasuga isn’t the only hero this time. Kazuma Kiryu, star of the original Yakuza games, also takes center stage, making for a fittingly straight-laced counterpart to cheery Kasuga.

In the first part of the preview, we joined Kasuga and Kiryu in Hawaii. Already, the game’s ability to oscillate between deadly serious and laugh-out-loud hilarious was on full display as the gang set out on the first leg of their journey to track down Kasuga’s mother. Yes, there’s an introspective family drama, but there’s also a cute beach montage and a strange man dressed as a giant banana - no change there.

The map is far more expansive than the previous title, feeling at times like a fully-fledged open-world game. The environment is packed full of things to do, from a madcap delivery minigame to a full-on Pokémon parody where you battle strangers with your own team of wrestlers. There are oodles of combat encounters, too, which, thanks to the game’s finely polished battle system, I found myself actively seeking out more often than not.

Job center 

Chitose uses the Maid job to scrub away the enemy

(Image credit: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio)

Infinite Wealth may have its share of childish moments, but the systems that underpin its turn-based battles are among the most sophisticated I’ve seen in a long while - standing alongside many of the best JRPGs. As with its predecessor, RGG’s upcoming game has Ichiban and friends take turns to hit one another, carrying out wacky, over-the-top attacks. Magical pigeon swarms, flaming tire throws, and mid-battle power naps are par for the course here.  

Infinite Wealth improves on its predecessor’s formula in almost every respect. For starters, battles now make heavy use of movement and positioning. Each character can move about on their turn and many techniques have areas of effect or cause your character to reposition themselves. Attacks and animations are fluid and satisfying, with no movement or flourish overstaying its welcome. Fans of the Trails series will find themselves at home here, as will fans of Persona 5’s fast-paced and stylish battles. Scratch the surface of absurd attacks, and you’ll find a well-oiled JRPG battle machine, easily a match for some of the finest out there. 

Magical pigeon swarms, flaming tire throws, and mid-battle power naps are par for the course here

Borrowing from the likes of Bravely Default 2, Infinite Wealth also offers a robust job system, allowing you to heavily customize your party’s playstyle. Though each character has their own unique job, there are plenty more on offer, including the Samurai, the Aquanaut, and the Desperado, all boasting unique approaches to battle. The Samurai, for instance, dishes out bleeding effects while getting damage bonuses against bloodied targets. The Aquanaut, conversely, is a versatile spellcaster, with a cool wetsuit to boot. 

This diversity is spiced up by how characters can inherit attacks from jobs in which they’re proficient, allowing them to mix and match a portfolio of abilities. This level of customization allows you to craft bespoke characters that can fill unique battlefield roles. Even in my limited time with the preview, I was able to use this system to build a Kasuga who could hit like a truck with Samurai skills while also maintaining the survivability of some of his Hero abilities.

No regrets

Kiryu discusses his mortality with friends

(Image credit: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio)

Though producer Hiroyuki Sakamoto described Infinite Wealth as “more of an Ichiban game” in a press conference on the day, the title uses Kiryu to explore a dark storyline where the grizzled Yakuza battles his own mortality in the form of cancer. During the preview, we played through the beginning of Kiryu’s bittersweet ‘bucket list’ arc, where the legendary bruiser takes stock of his situation, and does his best to make the most of what remains of his life.

I spent an hour playing the first part of this arc, and I was touched by the resonant and moving story that RGG presented. Kiryu’s emotional return to Survive bar and the stirringly powerful scene where he draws up his bucket list with the help of his friends Nanba and Seonhee both brought tears to my eyes, showcasing that Infinite Wealth continues the series’ tradition of poignant storytelling. 

Everybody goes through stages in life and experiences different problems

Hiroyuki Sakamoto

Infinite Wealth pulls no punches. Kiryu is gray, tired, and suffering, but despite all that, he’s not alone. As Sakamoto put it when I asked him about Kiryu’s new story arc: “Everybody goes through stages in life and experiences different problems and issues, and so we want to illustrate that [... he’s] not Superman.” However, the producer was also keen to emphasize that he didn’t want “Kiryu to just rot away.” Instead, it’s a chance for “turning things around” and figuring out “what would make him the most happy.”

Ichiban and pals fight a giant shark

(Image credit: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio)

It speaks to the staggering breadth of the Like a Dragon games that the next snippet of our preview took us from melancholy scenes about mortality and regret to an over-the-top boss fight with a giant shark. Joyous from start to finish, the late-game setpiece gave us ample opportunity to see high-level skills in action, including the game’s dramatic array of tag-team attacks. 

Crucially, I never felt like this zany, imaginative showdown detracted from the poignant section I’d played before. Infinite Wealth is so earnest and so confident that you feel compelled to take everything it presents to you at face value. Mirroring life itself, Infinite Wealth encourages you to take the good with the bad, the silly with the serious. This is the ace up Like a Dragon’s sleeve, and it warmed my heart to see that Infinite Wealth is as brazen as ever in playing the series’ winning card. I can’t wait to see the full product when it releases on January 26. 

Want something to play while you wait for Infinite Wealth’s release? Check out our lists of the best single-player games and the best RPGs. 

Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent. 


Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure. 


Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.