Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth review: From Yokohama to Hawaii, there’s an infinite wealth of fun (and fighting) to savour in this latest instalment in the Yakuza series, writes PETER HOSKIN

0

Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth (PlayStation, Xbox, PC, £59.99)

Verdict: Epic silliness

Rating:

Persona 3 Reload (PlayStation, Xbox, PC, £59.99)

Verdict: Dark delights

Rating:

Infinite wealth, indeed. The name of the latest release in the Like A Dragon — formerly the Yakuza — series gives you a good sense of how it feels to play. 

There’s a seemingly endless amount of stuff to do in this game, and most of it is shiny and enticing and satisfying.

But first: where are we in the series’ (also seemingly endless) timeline? This one acts as a sequel to 2020’s Yakuza: Like A Dragon. 

It follows that game’s protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga, a goofy former street hoodlum who’s now helping other gangsters find lives outside of crime.

And it contains all of its predecessor’s charms. There’s Ichiban himself, of course: one of the most lovable characters in all gaming. 

There¿s a seemingly endless amount of stuff to do in this game, and most of it is shiny and enticing and satisfying (screengrab from Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth_

There’s a seemingly endless amount of stuff to do in this game, and most of it is shiny and enticing and satisfying (screengrab from Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth_

There are even Yakuza-themed spins on other popular series, such as Pokémon and Animal Crossing

There are even Yakuza-themed spins on other popular series, such as Pokémon and Animal Crossing

There’s the stunningly evocative version of downtown Yokohama. And there’s the same enjoyable turn-based combat against various ne’er-do-wells — all spun out of Ichiban’s imagination and his love for old Japanese role-playing games.

Except there’s more. After a prologue that (even for this Yakuza fan) may be a bit too slow and self-indulgent, Infinite Wealth takes the series outside of Japan for the first time — to sunny Hawaii, where Ichiban goes in search of his long-lost mother.

And that leads to more fights. More jokes mixed with socio-economic observation. More minigames. 

The thing with having infinite wealth: you can¿t get through it all at once

The thing with having infinite wealth: you can’t get through it all at once

There are even Yakuza-themed spins on other popular series, such as Pokémon and Animal Crossing.

It’s a lot. Sometimes too much. But that is the thing with having infinite wealth: you can’t get through it all at once. You have to give it time, let it work for you. You have to savour it.

To some extent, this ¿Reload¿ of Persona 3 has been Persona 5-a-tised: it now plays and looks a lot more like the later game (Grab from video game Persona 3 Reload)

To some extent, this ‘Reload’ of Persona 3 has been Persona 5-a-tised: it now plays and looks a lot more like the later game (Grab from video game Persona 3 Reload)

We’rein a rich patch for remakes, redos and reboots. In just the past few weeks, we’ve had the brilliant The Last Of Us Part II Remastered and Another Code: Recollection. 

In the next few weeks, there’s the excitement of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth and Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster.

And right now, slap-bang in the middle, there’s this: a modernised and — in many ways — improved version of 2006’s Persona 3, one of the most intriguing entries in a series of Japanese RPGs that peaked, in terms of quality and public awareness, with 2016’s Persona 5.

To some extent, this ‘Reload’ of Persona 3 has been Persona 5-a-tised: it now plays and looks a lot more like the later game, with slicker animations and cooler-looking characters (if waifishly goth-y teens are your idea of cool).

But much of Persona 3’s originality and distinctiveness still shines through. This one — with its story of supernaturally powered high-schoolers struggling against the demands of teenage life by day, then nasty, leering, multi-limbed demons by night — didn’t just set the tone for Persona 5. 

If you played Persona 3 when it first came out, return to it now with all the accumulated experience of the 18 years in between

If you played Persona 3 when it first came out, return to it now with all the accumulated experience of the 18 years in between

Think Scooby-Doo, but where the gang of mystery-busters faces up to death on a nightly basis ¿ and not just the threat of death, but the meaning of it

Think Scooby-Doo, but where the gang of mystery-busters faces up to death on a nightly basis — and not just the threat of death, but the meaning of it

It totally committed to that tone, making it a darker, more challenging, more infective experience than any of its successors.

Think Scooby-Doo, but where the gang of mystery-busters faces up to death on a nightly basis — and not just the threat of death, but the meaning of it.

As your characters battle, in classic turn-based fashion, up the levels of the otherworldly Tartarus complex, they’re actually travelling deeper into their own psyches.

Which, in a way, is what makes this remake make so much sense. 

If you played Persona 3 when it first came out, return to it now with all the accumulated experience of the 18 years in between. What you’ll find is a far more adult game than it looks.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.