Review | Judgment
"I've dated 4 girls at once, shot ninja from the wall with my drone, caught Ass Catchem, pervert king and panty professor. Of course, I've beat all Kamurocho's sorry yakuza asses who got in my way and defended justice in the court. Welcome to Judgment."
There is not enough time and space to write about how absurd some things are in this game. Let's introduce the game and get back to all that. Judgment is very similar to Yakuza franchise and is considered as spin-off from those series. It was released on December 13, 2018 in Japan, and on June 25, 2019 worldwide. Fun fact - in March 2019, it was pulled from sales in Japan following the arrest of one of the game's actors, Pierre Taki. It took some time to replace all his lines while localizing the game and in the end, all was finished and ready. If you think about it, it’s a game about detectives and crime, which is what Pierre was doing with his cocaine, ironically enough.
Yagami-san. Amount of details on your protagonist is astounding. Change from Kyriu to Yagami works very well.
Worth to mention is that there is an English dub in the game. Although it’s just natural and best in Japanese, English dub is excellent. I was curious and did it in English and wow, job well done. No one is obnoxious, they did spot on voice over for almost everyone. Although some “voices” like shouts from random NPC’s are still Japanese but even better. If you are skeptical about English dub, don’t be at all, it doesn’t ruin the experience.
A detective game based on perversion, fist fights and yakuzas
You are Takayuki Yagami, the layer. At first. It all starts with a case where Yagami proved his client’s innocence, but it turned out that he killed his girlfriend afterwards. All that was too much for Yagami and he lay low by de-promoting himself to detective. Simple collect evidence and take the money approach. Place of crime – Kamurocho. Hehe, yes, for who-know-how-many-times again we are back in Kamurocho. One might ask, why o why are they keep shoveling same assets and locations all over again. But one might play and enjoy as well. Even though it’s again the same, it’s not. It feels fresh somehow. I just don’t know how they do that. Congrats Ryu Ga Gotoku, definitely you are one of the best recycle studios out there.
It wouldn’t be a Gotoku game without some Yakuza in your team. Kaito is here for that purpose. Ex-Yakuza guy, strong and stubborn. He will help you on every mission and every step. Many friend are here to help as well, but there is not much connection to Yakuza universe except Tojo clan and Yakuza’s in general.
Drone is not the only thing that will fly in this game. It's hard to be detective.
This is a game about detectives, investigation, tailing, catching and beating yakuza’s. That is the main description. Main story is really strong, like in Yakuza. Even though Kyriu is not here with us, Yagami is cool dude with very cool jacket. Many missions you encounter will be collecting evidence from first person investigations where you need to look in the area for signs to solve the case. It all leads to getting the big picture about mysterious Yakuza killings. Much will happen and the joy of exploring is entirely on you. It’s a shame that all choices you make in your investigations aren’t affecting the plot, but here and there you can listen to some good comments. The most tedious new thing are the tailing missions. Like every detective, you lay low and follow people around. It’s a mission where you walk slowly as a snail behind culprit while avoiding being seen. You can hide behind walls, cars or pretend you are smoking in the crowd. At first it felt mediocre, then it felt like I want to kill myself. There are so many tailing missions, it’s a complete waste of time.
History of fun and perverted mini-games is back in its full glory. Do not miss any side content, I insist.
You can visit many interiors through the town and enjoy the details. It’s even better and detailed then in latest Yakuza remakes/sequels. Graphics are top notch in animations but not bad in game as well. Random NPC’s are less detailed though. Movement is good, but running through the town is a mess, I hit the wall more times then I pressed run button. There is unlimited run here, so you get use to it. Overall, I would say its an improvement, but they need to get rid of that parts where you can stumble upon every inch and slow down and just keep hitting the wall. Camera could be also better. At least its improved from latest Yakuza where I didn’t know where I’m aiming most of the time. That paradox is present here; more when we cover battle system. Across the town there are harvest points which will reward you with sellable items or crafting materials. No keys this time.
Investigate delicate area to get a trophy. Nothing is sacred here, but thats what it makes it fun.
In my last review of Yakuza 6 I complained about repetitive battle system mostly which happened by having only one fighting style with not so much variety of moves. In here we have 2 styles which can be used, both different and fresh. Crane style is more one-on-one style while Tiger works well for groups of enemies. It's easy to switch them in the fight. I see it as improvement for sure. Still, Yakuza 0 owns them all. I guess when they developed this new engine they needed to develop everything from scratch so it’s taking some time to get to complexity of Yakuza 0 fighting style.
Beautiful yet the same Kamurocho town is back. No worries, still a fun place to be.
Whole approach is fluent enough; running through time and entering battles is instant with small delay to load the battle. When you have friends that helps in battles, it will take 3-5sec after you finish the battle to continue running. That bothered me a lot. Other than that, not much bad things. There is enough skills to combine killer moves. I loved the wall runs where you can bounce towards enemy and smack in the face. Physics are great, really. Especially for Yagami. It’s so detailed, lovely. I heard there are frame drops in the game, but I experienced them few times maybe on my PS4 Pro. I guess the “weak” PS4 have more problems.
Dice VR game. Enter another dimension to enjoy apsurdness in virtual reality.
There is no equipment here. Only items to eat and regenerate and 3 types of skills to learn. It works well. Even the menu (your phone app btw) is new, colorful and fun to use. The presentation and design - very nice. New mechanics are that certain weapons can damage you and break your Health bar. That will shorten you bar, you will need to recover in clinic which is in sewers. Yes, in sewers. Never heard of sewer clinics? They are convenient, when you die they just toss your body to the rats.
This time around you can be friends with 50 different people in town. Consider that part as side missions which are also in the game. Every friend needs something different, for example ones behind counter will require to buy items or certain food to max their level. Some will have tasks for you and some will have short storyline to follow. I found those very interesting. You will also meet one and learn to craft potions which can enhance your stats in fights.
What would a modern game be without smart phone? In real life you can also recover your HP from app on your phone, you just don't have right application if you can't.
One of those side missions can be considered Keihin Gang which will randomly appear on the map. Leaders of the gang which terrorize your friends appear and they want to beat you as well. I found them boring and tedious to fight without any real effect. You start with one, then doing missions will unlock more and finally there is a bonus in the end including this gang and old Amon fellow which is the most difficult boss (but optional) in every Yakuza game. Skip fighting them randomly around town, it is not needed.
Keihin Gang bang - The fat one screams "Fooooooood!" and that alone is enough to fight him all over again.
Now the real deal. The side missions. Oh my oh my! The thing I love the most in this universe of Gotoku games is humor and those side missions. Play them, you will value them. There is a mission called Ass Catchem. It’s line of quest about perverts; this certain one turns on when touching asses. Like Yagami goes into Heat mode, Ass goes as well when he touches that arse. Then you have The Pervert king, missions where you need to find who eat the cake – presented like real life case. There are chasing missions where you chase hair tupe which wind took from the bold guy. There are no words to describe what you can experience here.
Make sure to finish 49 side missions to challenge Amon again. Best in game fight you can do.
If that doesn’t work for you, you can date girls. 4 girls to be exact. It’s not so tedious as working in Cabaret club like in Yakuza - which is great. You meet the girl doing side missions afterwards which she will text you and from there you need to raise affinity levels by doing dates and request from each girl. Much better then in Yakuza but still I find it a bit tedious. As you can see, there is something for each one of you in this game.
Even Villans are fabulous. Nothing without appropriate dance moves.
Next onto mini games. Some new ones are here, like flipper, drone races and Dice VR game. Just to list them all it would take one page of text, so I want to focus on main ones. Drone League is one of the biggest ones. Since you have a drone in the game; logically there are drone races. Drone is upgradeable, and you will need to take care of that part, otherwise you will not win anything. First few leagues are easy and simply upgrading your Drone a bit is enough. It’s not a bad mini game, but it’s also not the must fun one. When you enter Champions League you are screwed. You need to be almost perfect driver to win. If that is not hard enough, every track has time attack challenge which is so hard, almost impossible.
Wet shot yakuzas, can't avoid it. Just one bullet is not nearly enough to take down Kaito-san.
Dice VR is VR game that does not require VR – instead Yagami ventures into VR and throws dice to reach the goal. It’s like Mario Party meets with I don’t know who. Still don’t know if I like this or not. It’s great for collecting money though. Basically, you need to throw dice and on what field you end up you will need to finish challenge to gain more dices (moves), or you can aim for fields that will give you items which in the end gets converted to money.
If that is not enough you can enjoy in baseball, Shogi, Mahjong, Koi Koi, poker, blackjack, Club SEGA games like Virtua Fighter and some other ones. How much this game offers is worth every praise. Figures, since they could recycle few and just add couple of new ones. For new ones, the flipper mini game is really bad and stiff. If you ever want to collect 100% in this game, remember two words: Puyo Puyo. Worst challenge mini game ever.
How to grade this one now…It’s hard, I’m still influenced a bit by Yakuza and all platinum’s I collected in those. Still, this feels fresh and good. It’s a good ground to build more games, just maybe with new environments and better interactive missions, maybe with story changers depending of the answers. Story is strong and almost all content stand its ground. Not much to say, if you like everything that Yakuza has, this will not disappoint you, not even a bit.