Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth fails its villains
10.02.2024 - 13:49
/ Ryu Ga
/ Danny Trejo
In the recently released Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth, developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio tells a story of rehabilitation and proves that everyone has the chance to be better. No matter your past, there’s the human element of wanting to leave the world a better place than you found it, and that often rings true throughout the lengthy main story.
However, many of its villains never see the fruits Infinite Wealth’s story tries to bear because they are discarded for grander plot beats. It constantly swaps out the target antagonist for the next “big bad,” but ultimately forgets to give many of these villains room to breathe. Infinite Wealth undercuts its themes when they matter most by relying on a handful of weak villains throughout the game’s early and mid-game chapters to build to the final battle.
This article contains spoilers for Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth.
- Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth makes gaming’s best hero even more lovable
- Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth will make you cry tears of laughter and sorrow
- Our most anticipated video games of 2024: Final Fantasy, Hellblade 2, and more
Too Little Too Late
In Infinite Wealth, the lovable Ichiban Kasuga is sent on a mission to track his mother down in Hawaii, which opens the door for new characters, villains, twists, and turns. Shortly after reaching Honolulu City, Kasuga learns his mother is embroiled in something much greater, and every person in power is looking to find her. Infinite Wealth goes for a quantity approach to its villains, treating them like dominoes set up to knock the next plot beat over. They always fall the same way and in the same direction.
This is most notably seen in Dwight Mendez, played by Danny Trejo. He serves as the captain of the Barracudas gang, roaming the Hawaiian streets at night to terrorize anyone who steps up to them. While the Barracudas are a gang you’ll encounter often through Infinite Wealth, Dwight is largely absent outside Chapter 3. He is given very little motivation besides simply wanting to please Bryce and acquire more power. It wouldn’t be egregious if Dwight were just one stepping stone to something else, but they bring him back in the last few chapters as just another guy standing in Kasuga’s way.
He has no real character, development, or even real reason to make him a foil to Kiryu or Kasuga. That first fight is a significant moment for your newest party member, Tomizawa, as his life has been turned upside down by the evil lurking in Hawaii, but Tomizawa gets another scene later on that retreads the same beats. Dwight exists to give a small bit of exposition before moving on.
This is all in service of the main antagonist, Bryce Fairchild, leader of the Palekana orphanage and, ultimately,