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Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth Review – Unveiling Challenges in Japanese-Made Blockbuster Games



Like a Dragon Series Explores Realistic Japan and delves into Provocative Themes

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth brought me joy as it felt like revisiting the classic Japanese RPGs I used to enjoy. Despite requiring over 90 hours for completion, a potentially daring endeavor for a busy professional, the rich content proved to be a worthwhile investment. It evoked memories of my childhood, particularly my immersive experiences with Final Fantasy V, where I enthusiastically learned various jobs and unique abilities associated with each occupation.

The long-running Like a Dragon series, which has been ongoing since 2005, stands out as a unique gaming experience, distinct from titles like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. The primary settings include bustling districts resembling Kabukicho called Kamurocho, and a foreigner’s quarter reminiscent of Isezakicho in Yokohama. The central protagonist is Kazuma Kiryu, formerly known as “The Dragon of Dojima,” a former yakuza member. The series revolves around his involvement with the Tojo Clan, a designated boryokudan (organized crime group) to which he once belonged, depicting intense conflicts involving yakuza, Chinese and Korean mafias, and more nationwide. Characters meet untimely deaths, and the narrative delves into provocative themes such as drug trafficking and human trafficking. It’s a video game tailored for adults, with swords and magic, and themes of love and courage left far behind.

Story Trailer for Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth

In the genre-redefining Yakuza: Like a Dragon, shifting from the previous action-adventure style to RPG, the narrative follows the typical juvenile fantasy structure, featuring the protagonist Ichiban Kasuga who aspires to be a hero. He forms bonds with companions, nurtures friendships, and confronts formidable foes. However, what sets it apart is Kasuga’s background as a former yakuza striving for social reintegration after his release from prison. His adventuring companions include a homeless individual who lost her nursing license for diverting hospital medication and a cabaret hostess with a troubled past. Each character seeks a fresh start in life and hopes for a turnaround. From a different perspective, it can be seen as an adventure tale for “us,” addressing real struggles such as poverty and inequality in a lifelike Japan.

On the other hand, the game is not entirely fixated on realism. It offers a rich variety of mini-games, such as a parody involving capturing delinquents known as “Sujimon” to become a “Sujimon Master.” Additionally, there are absurd sub-stories featuring robots, UFOs, and other fantastical elements. The juxtaposition of a serious main narrative with light-hearted and outlandish side stories creates a uniquely entertaining balance, contributing to the enduring appeal of the Like a Dragon series.




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