Yagami’s first adventure is well-written and action-packed, but hardly different from the Yakuza series.
For the review of the judgment, Sander added up all his air miles for a one-way ticket to Tokyo, to shake up the Kamurocho red light district again. It’s time for street fights, visits to Don Quijote and a good game of karaoke… what? How about karaoke ?!
The Kiryu saga is over, but that doesn’t mean the tumultuous Kamurocho will end. There are many stories to be told about Tokyo’s famous fictional red light district. It serves Judgment therefore, which tells the story of a disgraced lawyer who, as a private investigator, finds himself in a sinister murder plot. According to SEGA’s Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, the game is ideal for new players without knowledge of the Yakuza series, who are therefore not overwhelmed by the seven story games. According to SEGA, the game is also different for veterans who now know Kamurocho from start to finish, as the setting feels new. But there, the shoe only pinches.
As for the story, the judgment hits a home run. You play as Takayuki Yagami, a former lawyer who runs a detective agency in Kamurocho with a friend. Yagami is involved in a case where a murderer puts the eyes of his victims on the outside. The pace of the story is just right thanks to a deliberate blend of drama, action, and comedy. Plus, the story stays clear and isn’t based on unnecessary twists and turns. New characters have time to develop and enrich the story. Along with a few small references to the Yakuza series, this game is standalone and is a great time to experience this dark underworld. The story of judgment is a bull’s-eye and is perfect for you to dive into.
Yagami is much more vital than Kiryu and you see him in everything. It can sprint endlessly, and you can effortlessly jump most obstacles like walls and cars. During the fight, jump over enemies and lean against walls to sell Kamurocho’s Moss for a well-earned kick. The two Chinese fighting styles Yagami learned himself are brutal and lightning-fast, with the new EX moves as their highlights. In cutscenes and fast-paced events, the action comes across as a cross between Jackie Chan’s films and Yakuza 0’s best moments, centered around spectacular stunts with a touch of humor. An important part of the Yakuza series DNA is brought to light in a way you won’t soon forget.
However, the game doesn’t just subtly remind you of the best moments from previous games. Judgment copies Yakuza mini-games, animation, game systems, and even music. The animations of EX moves with weapons like bricks and bikes are exactly the same as the old heat moves, so you are immediately fed up with them. Mini-games like darts and baseball aren’t a surprise either, and even the new Girlfriend events are a bit too similar to the host clubs from previous episodes. There are definitely times when Judgment does new things like thrilling drone races and a VR board game with ever-changing rules. However, the open world gameplay is so unchanged that it’s easy to forget you’re playing a new game. So when the team manages to welcome new fans with a whole new story, they also push away those looking for. more than a new Yakuza.
Plus, the game’s detective approach doesn’t make any significant difference. Investigating a crime scene, taking incriminating photos, or pursuing a suspect may seem important at first, but they are completely harmless. Whether spotted in a lawsuit or drawn wrong conclusions in court, the game puts you back on the right with no penalty. Investigations are completely linear and tension is artificially generated – until failure is impossible, even at key moments. The biggest factors differentiating Yakuza’s judgment therefore benefit the story, but are completely docile and low-key in terms of gameplay.
In the end, the judgment differs too little from Yakuza to fully keep SEGA’s promises. While the story is indeed fully open to newcomers, the gameplay is not innovative enough to generate veterans. Judging is not a bad game, but it is predictable. The story is easier to follow than the average Yakuza series plot and the action is top notch, but surprising or innovative it is anything but. The judgment is therefore quickly rendered: the judgment is the classic example of a game that was made “for the fans”.
For the judgment review, Sander played on the PlayStation 4 Pro.