It feels like it hasn’t been that long since the last time we saw Kasuga, the down on his luck Yakuza member who made his debut in Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which we absolutely loved in our review, thanks to team Ryu Ga Gotoku’s shakeup of the usual series’ formula.
So it’s to my surprise that the thing that I had most of a blast with during Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth‘s demo: having the ability to play a brawler while still having the turn-based RPG combat from the previous game. How is that possible, you ask? Well, for the little that was surmised story-wise, Kiryu is part of Kasuga’s main crew this time around, and well, the Dragon of Dojima is not a man to be talked down from not wanting to play with the kids.
Sadly, not much in regards to the reason for our lovable perm-wearing protagonist to be in Honolulu, outside of a quick cutscene showing him in a plane holding a letter with a postage mark from Hawaii. Shortly after that, the game cold cuts to him and crew hanging out at the boardwalk. New characters, a male and a female, join the team, along with a very different looking Kazuma, now sporting a gray and brushed down hairdo.
As control was given to me to guide the team around town, we were quickly approached by a team of no good bandits, wherein combat ensued, which carried out exactly the same as in the last game, with each character getting their turn dishing out pain. Like I mentioned at the beginning, Kiryu’s main deal is that by pressing R2, he can enter a limited time rage mode that allows him to freely attack enemies much in the way older games in the series.
And as expected, this attack mode is particularly helpful in dealing with the opposition. On the other hand, other party members proved useful in the jobs that they held, Kasuga in particular, thanks to his elemental weapon that dealt lightning damage, which happened to be the enemies’ main weakness.
Outside of combat, the other juicy little bit in the demo were the odd jobs that could be partaken. I of course chose to try out the new delivery mini-game, and it’s absolutely the distilled awesomeness of the series’ trademark insanity in a five-minute chunk of gameplay. In it, I rode Kasuga’s bike as I picked up food as it lined up along the road, trying to avoid getting hit by cars.
Like Crazy Taxi, the actual deliveries are marked as huge circles in the ground, and they have you fully stop before you are scored. I was also able to do insane stunts that both boosted my score even further and helped dealing with the annoying cars in Kasuga’s way.
Upon reaching the end of the deliveries, the very last one had me engage in a QTE where I mashed a button, resulting in us riding our bike as fast as possible along a vertical plane, ending the minigame is something I could only describe as ‘style’. Unfortunately, as the gameplay switched back to walking around Honolulu, the demo had to be cut short.
From the little that was played of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, it was clear that it’s a continuation of the insanity that was on display with the previous game, and for that alone, I’m particularly anxious to get going with the final version. Much like the other demos at Sega’s booth, the wait won’t be that long and I’m sure we will have our review of the game at the ready once Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth hits digital and physical on January 26th of next year.