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Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth Hands-on Preview – RGG Studio Goes Hawaii

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Game Rant recently previewed Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, leaving us both thrilled and disappointed at the same time. The preview gave us a glimpse of what to expect from the game, further increasing our excitement for its release. However, it also broke our hearts as we realized that we still have to wait for some time before we can get our hands on it.

In Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, players will once again step into the shoes of Ichiban and Kiryu, the beloved protagonists of the Yakuza franchise. This time, the story takes them on a journey to Hawaii and beyond, as they confront personal struggles and become embroiled in a dangerous criminal conspiracy. Ichiban sets out to find his long-lost mother in Honolulu City, while Kiryu battles cancer, his toughest opponent yet. As they navigate these challenges, the two heroes find themselves caught up in a web of international intrigue, with all the action and drama fans have come to expect from the series.

Game Rant recently attended a preview event for Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, where we had the opportunity to play the game for three hours and experience its various features. We explored Honolulu City, completed side stories, and got a glimpse of the game’s storyline before being transported to Dondoko Island, a crossover between Like a Dragon and Animal Crossing. We also witnessed Kiryu’s story, which quickly shifted from humorous to emotional, culminating in a one-of-a-kind boss battle that stands out in the franchise’s history.

RGG Studio’s Take on Honolulu City

RGG Studio is renowned for its ability to bring cities to life, as evidenced by the immersive environments of Kamurocho, Sotenbori, Ijincho, and other locations in the Yakuza franchise. However, recreating Honolulu City posed a unique challenge for the team, as they were unable to physically visit the location due to COVID-19 restrictions. To overcome this obstacle, the team relied on internet and satellite imaging to create an initial version of the city. Eventually, they were able to travel to Honolulu and gather visual references to refine their recreation. Despite the lengthy development process, the end result is a stunningly accurate depiction of the city that players can explore and enjoy.

RGG Studio’s expertise in creating immersive environments is once again on full display in the design of Honolulu City in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the team managed to recreate the bustling beach city using satellite imaging and visual aids obtained during a later visit. The result is a vibrant and lively city that feels like a real place, complete with palm trees, resorts, stores, and food.

The game’s side content, including substories and activities like Crazy Delivery and Karaoke, add to the overall experience and provide hours of fun. Even non-essential elements like finding love for Nancy the lobster and a bejeweled Hermit Crab are enjoyable diversions. While it remains to be seen just how much side content there is in the game, it’s clear that players could spend a significant amount of time exploring and engaging with everything Honolulu City has to offer in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth.

The classes in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth are not only visually appealing but also add a layer of depth to the gameplay. Each class has its own unique set of skills and abilities, allowing players to customize their party to fit their playstyle. The Westerner, for example, is a gunslinger who can deal massive damage from a distance, while the Samurai is a master of the sword who can slice through enemies with ease. The Pyrodancer, on the other hand, can set enemies on fire with their fiery dance moves. With so many classes to choose from, players can experiment and find the perfect combination of classes to suit their needs.

Overall, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is shaping up to be a fantastic addition to the Yakuza series. With its stunning visuals, engaging side content, and deep combat system, it’s sure to please both longtime fans and newcomers alike. Whether you’re exploring the streets of Honolulu City, collecting Sujimon, or mastering new classes, there’s always something fun and exciting to do in this game.

The addition of new classes in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth adds a fresh layer of excitement to combat, and mastering each class’s unique abilities is just as enjoyable as expected. However, it’s important to note that the combat system is nearly identical to Yakuza: Like a Dragon. The only significant change is the ability to move characters around the battlefield within certain limits to maximize damage or hit multiple enemies with one attack. While there are some fun tag team combat elements, they are more iterative than innovative. Nevertheless, these new features inject some vitality into the combat, even if it remains turn-based like the previous game.

Dondoko Island: RGG Studio’s Take on Animal Crossing

RGG Studio’s Dondoko Island, unveiled in November, is reminiscent of Animal Crossing in both appearance and gameplay. The plot is simple: Ichiban is transported to Dondoko Island, a neglected resort island plagued by pirates. After being rescued by the owner, Ichiban offers to help restore the island. This involves using his trusty bat to clear trash, catching bugs and fish, collecting seashells, creating DIY projects to beautify the island, and sprucing up Ichiban’s own island abode. In addition to working towards larger objectives, players must complete daily tasks to rejuvenate the island.

Our experience with Dondoko Island was brief yet cathartic, much like taking a baseball bat to garbage. However, it’s evident that there’s much more to explore. As players accumulate Dondoko Island’s special currency, they can permanently clean entire areas, expand the island into a full-fledged resort, and manage satisfaction and popularity while running their new establishment. In many ways, Dondoko Island is a blend of Tycoon games and Animal Crossing, making it a welcome addition to the Like a Dragon franchise.

Kiryu’s Bucket List

RGG Studio abruptly transported us from the idyllic Dondoko Island to Japan, where we assumed the role of a despondent Kiryu. This section of the game was heavily focused on the narrative, and to prevent any spoilers, let’s just say that it involved delving into Kiryu’s past, uncovering and fulfilling his bucket list, observing the impact he has had on others, and witnessing how they cope with his cancer diagnosis.

Kiryu’s story is a testament to RGG Studio’s ability to pack an emotional punch, no matter how wild the franchise may seem. The game features collections that serve as nostalgic nods to past games, beloved characters returning to Kiryu’s side, and a poignant narrative centered around his battle with cancer. The game constantly hints at Kiryu’s possible demise in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, leaving players on edge throughout the entire experience. Whether or not RGG Studio decides to take the leap and kill off Kiryu remains to be seen.

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth’s Giant Shark Boss Battle

In our final segment, we experienced a boss battle that was truly unique to the Yakuza franchise. While the game has featured animal enemies in the past, such as powerful tigers, nothing compares to the massive shark we encountered in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. This beast was as large as a boat and could have easily devoured our entire party. Thankfully, RGG Studio provided us with better-than-average weapons and an abundance of items to help us defeat it. However, it still required every skill we possessed and every item we could throw to emerge victorious. It was a ridiculous and thrilling battle, and we were delighted to learn that there are even more “ridiculous enemies” to face in the game.

In conclusion, the preview of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth showcased RGG Studio’s impressive ability to create a vibrant and engaging city, while maintaining the franchise’s signature humor and emotional depth. The boss battle against a massive shark was a highlight, and the promise of more “ridiculous enemies” adds to the excitement. With the addition of new features like Dondoko Island, the franchise continues to innovate and push boundaries. Overall, if the preview is any indication, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is poised to exceed expectations and deliver an exceptional gaming experience. The game will be available on January 26 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. Game Rant attended the preview event with travel and lodging provided.

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