Having spent some time in Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth’s Hawaii, I’ve come to realise that it’s a wonderful place, home to trams that’ll let you see the sights and soak in the warm breeze. But moreso than that, it’s home to the previous game’s Pokémon parody, Sujimon, which has now kicked into overdrive. From what I can tell, Infinite Wealth is as much a Pokémon trainers paradise as it is a game about the Japanese criminal underworld. I’m sold.
In Yakuza: Like A Dragon there’s a point where you bump into a professor who tasks you with cataloguing all the enemies you face in battle. He refers to them as “Sujimon”, which is an abbreviation of “Super Jittery Men”, because their weirdness… give you the shivers? Anyway, in LAD your Sujimon are relegated to portraits in a grid, like little tick boxes that say, “Yes, I have beaten this glowstick-wielding otaku senseless with a baseball bat and tongs”. Besides pulling up the credentials in the menus, they’re more of a means to a pat on the back from the professor and maybe a nice trophy while you’re at it.
Well, on the sunny shores of Hawaii they take their Sujimon seriously. Infinite Wealth has gone hard on Sujimon, transforming the collectathon into a full-blown Pokémon parody. Not only can you collect Sujimon, you can now build a roster and actually use them in battle. Dotted around Hawaii are loads of Sujimon trainers, each with ranks and levels. Beat them and you’ll rank up your team of adorable (?) weirdos, unlocking new abilities and, presumably, putting you one step closer to becoming the ultimate Sujimon trainer.
I won’t pretend to understand exactly how a Sujimon battle works, because all of the Sujimon trainers I encountered had Sujimon of a far higher rank than my lowly lot. Still, here’s the basic setup: they’re three versus three battles where you’re warped to a separate arena, your parties of Sujimon stand opposite one another, and you take part in a turn-based battle. From what I gather, it’s reminiscent of LAD’s real estate minigame where you’re trying to appease and disrupt shareholders in a rock, paper, scissors-style format. You know, red beats blue, blue beats green, that sort of thing. When it’s your Sujimon’s turn to attack, you’ll ideally choose a skill that’s colour-coded to prey on the enemy’s weaknesses.
When it comes to collecting Sujimon, you’re able to recruit powerful bastards once you’ve defeated them in fights. For instance, I bumped into a half-naked city-slicker who dripped with tanning oil and battered me with a lilo (a variant of the same lubed lads from LAD). Having knocked the “Oiled Baron” onto his arse, I was sent into a minigame where I could recruit him into my Suji-squad. I hit him with a gift, then rapidly smashed a button to persuade him. I failed in the end, but my excuse lies in the fact my play session time ran out. Gah.
You can pick up Sujimon gifts at Sujimon Stations, also littered around Hawaii. At these posts you’re also able to strengthen, awaken, and evolve your weirdo pals. You can buy special shakes to strengthen their stats, while duplicate Sujis can be mashed together to eventually evolve them into a more powerful kook. Finally, you’re able to spend special Sujimon tickets to partake in Yakuza’s version of a gacha system, except it’s not colourful capsules being cracked open and sweet anime boys leaping out of them, it’s hooded criminals being let out of prison and then unveiled in all of their strange horror. Honestly? I am worried I’m going to become hooked on the tickets chase, which doesn’t look like it has any microtransactions baked in – fingers crossed.
Outside of Hawaii being a delight to wander about in, it really stood out to me just how much of a role Sujimon trainers and stops played in my brief play session. Of course, it’s all optional stuff you don’t need to engage with, but the sheer depth of it all has me compelled to give it my full attention. I mean, I got really into the LAD: Gaiden’s colosseum during my time with it for review and I can see Infinite Wealth’s Sujimon tickling the same bit of my brain receptors.
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