Kazuma Kiryu is one of gamings most stoic, cool, and manly man characters. When

Like a Dragon 7

released and introduced us to Ichiban Kasuga and changed the combat system from button mashing brawling to a unique turn-based adventure in a setting where that style is not traditionally seen.

Having completed

Infinite Wealth

, which gave the story of Kiryu during the events of the seventh game, it was refreshing to step into the shoes of Kasuga, a nave and good-hearted guy who just wants to help. We find him working at an employment center where he helps the yakuza who were outlawed in the previous game find a job that suits their particular skill set. Hes not afraid to crack a few heads if need be, but he ultimately is a forgiving and caring person in stark opposition to the usual macho yakuza youll be used to if youre a fan of the series.

In typical Yakuza fashion,

Infinite Wealth

takes a long time to get going. In fact, I think this may have the longest setup of any game in the series so far. The first chapter, while being a great re-introduction to our characters and the world as it stands following the seventh games surprising finale, is so long I found myself zoning out. I hate saying that as

Like a Dragon

is one of my favorite game seriesbut something about this early story failed to really grab me.

It takes a while before that story really gets going and I can see that being a big brick wall for those seeking out the minigames and insanity you see in the trailer. By the time you get to the Pokemon-esque minigame that was what had me super interested to play the game, youll have sunk 15 hours in.

The turn-based combat of

Infinite Wealth

is where the game really shines. Its a unique, intuitive system that is among the best Ive ever played. The typical back and forth that can be dull for some (like myself) is juiced up by allowing you to position yourself in a way that best deals the most damage or puts you in range of a weapon. The fights are so dynamic because of thisand unlike the previous game which had some steep difficulty curves during boss fights, Ive found

Infinite Wealth

to be very fair and fun because it hasnt required hours of grinding.

This is the biggest game in the series with multiple massive maps that really showcase how vast, fun, and interesting this world can be when the developers go nuts. Throwing baddies into the mouth of the shark will never get old and that level of joyous abandon in a story as bleak as

Infinite Wealth

, which focuses especially on real-world issues of homelessness and tourism, helps make the game such a cornucopia that regardless of whether you want to engage in a deep plot or just goof around, theres something for everyone.

That isif you can get past how much of a slow burn

Infinite Wealth

can be. What I think holds the game back from truly being great is the wealth of very deep and involving content is so overwhelming. While it is introduced at a good pace for those who have a specific feature they wanted to focus on or check out, youll be engaging in a lot of gameplay you may not find as interesting. And while the series has always been that way to a degree, I think with how deep every little piece of this game is, it means you need to be immediately invested or you might fall off long before the game actually picks up and opens up.

Ultimately your mileage with this game will depend on whether youre a fan and how much you invest in the story and characters. It is an extremely well-made game, perhaps the best in the series. But I definitely wasnt as engaged with it as I hoped to betill much later in the game.a point that is probably past no return for others.

Rating: 8/10

Publisher provided PS5 copy in exchange for review