This title is exclusive to PS4 and was reviewed as such.
Judgment is a story heavy action adventure from the creators of Yakuza. In fact, the game is set in the exact same location as the Yakuza series, Kamurocho, but this time you are playing as a new protagonist named Takayuki Yagami. Judgment is very similar to the Yakuza series in many ways with there being a ton of side activities to do, and the fighting is what we know and love with a few tweaks and side cases and friend missions that resemble the sub stories. Yakuza is one of my favourite series so heading into Judgment I was really excited, and I was definitely not disappointed! Check out my review below:
Once again you will be traversing the streets of Kamurocho but with updated graphics and stores to explore. You will also on occasion head to mission only areas in certain chapters. You play as Takayuki Yagami, a disgraced lawyer turned private detective who sets it upon himself to solve a series of gruesome murders plaguing Kamurocho. On your way to solve these crimes other events will play out making the life of Yagami difficult. Do all these events intertwine with each other? Well to find out you will have to play!
Where to begin! Judgment is full of content. I ended up playing around 15 hours before even hitting Chapter 3; which is crazy as more content becomes available the more chapters you get through. It constantly introduces new mechanics such as investing, which is where you can invest money into an app which will in return give you rewards depending on what you have invested in (such as a set of fancy darts to use in the darts mini game, skill books that will allow you to acquire certain abilities, and drone improvements).
Some of the unique mechanics that are in Judgment are investigating locations and also tailing people of interest. The investigating is pretty simple as you just use your camera and move around the area until your controller vibrates and then zoom in to inspect the area more closely. You will also have a checklist on the screen that gives you an idea on what to look out for. There is some other stuff that you can go out of your way to try and find while investigating but these are related to trophies rather than game progression. The tailing is a feature that I am real 50/50 on – it’s great in the fact that it does make you feel like a detective and the first few times was quite thrilling but it soon got really tiring. Some of the sequences are pretty long and once you have the mechanic down pact you realise that it is just the same thing over and over again, just longer and the character you are tailing will look behind their shoulder more often… maybe.
I guess we had better get into the combat of Judgment. Yagami has two styles of combat; Tiger and Crane: Tiger is what you would use for your one on one combat situations; the move set is very focused on only one individual and also allows you to grab your opponent to do some nasty takedowns and punches. Crane is used for when you get ganged up on which is pretty much most of the time; your attacks will include wide reaching kicks which hit multiple foes at once. It also seems to be a bit quicker as well. Now of course you will be able to use some brutal takedowns as you fill up your EX bars. You will be able to use EX actions such as breaking a store sign over your opponent’s head, and you can also get some special takedowns if you have made friends with the store owners that your fighting near to. Such as one including a chicken store owner who runs out and throws you a bottle of hot sauce which Yagami pours into a poor man’s eyes. Ouchy! There is also EX Boost which will power up Yagami, increasing your attack speed and the gauge will also absorb damage; this will allow you to use special EX actions which you can unlock in the skills menu. Your foes can also enter this state and you will want to be careful as if they hit you with a deadly attack it will not only do a ton of damage but will also reduce your maximum health until you use a med kit or see the doctor in the sewers.
Throughout Judgement you can acquire friends if you complete their requests. These can be as simple as turning up every once and a while to a store or restaurant and giving them advice or just letting them talk, through to completing coffee taste quizzes and protecting people from harassment. As you acquire friends not only can they help you in battle, but it also increases your reputation within Kamurocho, which will in turn allow you to accept more requests known as side cases.
Side cases are requests from people in Kamurocho asking you to do various things. You will get cases to investigate a relationship between a celebrity and a fan, a case of adultery or even just having to chase a person’s “hat” (it’s actually a wig). You can accept side cases from different locations including your own office, some will require certain pre-requisites to be completed such as getting to a certain point in the story, completing a previous side case, or having a certain amount of reputation. Once you have completed a side case you will be rewarded with a decent amount of yen, SP, and items.
In Judgment you will acquire skills by spending SP, you can choose from Ability, Battle, or the Special trees to gain skills from. Ability will give you upgrades to your health, damage, and your tolerance of booze. The battle tree is pretty self-explanator, you will acquire your combat moves here. You can get abilities that allow you to dash and roll to avoid your opponent’s attacks or EX actions for you to use in combat. Some of these require specific locations to trigger, such as one where you can perform an action with a swing at a playground. And then there is the special tree. These skills are mostly passives that will help you out throughout the activities you can do throughout Judgment, for example you can grab skills that will extend the time to locate a target that your following if you happen to lose track of them, or skills that will buff how much affection you will attain from being with your girlfriend. You gain all this SP by completing side tasks as I previously mentioned but also by winning fights and completing challenges.
Judgment is a fantastic game and the story is gripping from start to finish. This is the type of game where you just want to keep playing to get to that final scene. Story aside, there is so much to do in Judgment and each activity is as fun as the last. You can lose hours of your day just playing these activities, doing friend quests, and side cases. The only negative thing to say about the game is the tailing as it just gets a little repetitive and boring. Yagami is a great character and feels much more vulnerable than Kiryu ever did, which gives the game a very brutal and down to earth feel. But don’t worry, there is still all the over the top action scenes and hilarious side events to give you some laughs. Judgment is a must play for anyone who is a fan of the Yakuza series as well as new comers.