I have never met Ichiban Kasuga in my gaming life, but after less than an hour with Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, I would declare my fervent and everlasting desire to protect that bundle of pixels with my very life. Ichiban, like Infinite Wealth, is an awkward, stilted dork who can, at times, grate on your nerves with his tediousness. But (and this is a huge but), he is infused with a level of charm that can forgive every other sin.
Infinite Wealth is the eighth entry in the Yakuza series and the second starring Ichiban Kasuga, a 40-year-old former felon whose chest you could crack open and find a literal heart made of gold. Though I’m decently versed in the Yakuza series, having dabbled in Yakuza 0 and a little bit of Yakuza Kiwami, I missed out on the previous game that was our first introduction to Ichiban: Yakuza: Like a Dragon. However, Infinite Wealth does a decent job of getting you up to speed if you didn’t play or simply forgot the events of Like a Dragon.
In Infinite Wealth, we catch up with Ichiban some time after becoming the Hero of Yokohama. He now works at the local employment center and is dedicated to helping ex-yakuza members find gainful employment in a climate where laws prohibit ex-yakuza from participating in society. Though this is a noble goal, it leads to trouble for Ichiban, who, after shenanigans, heads to Hawaii to find his long-lost mother, making friends — who become party members — along the way.