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Review | Lost Judgment

"Yagami the detective is back with his best fighting style and maybe not the best detective stuff. Explore beautiful towns and become the most fearsome drone racer Japan has ever seen. Or simply play the story."

by Foggy, 31-12-2021,

Ryo Ga Gotoku makes a game, I play that game. It's simple. You don't have to think much about it, they always deliver whether it turns about to be OK or extra saucy (which would mean freakin' awesome). This time around Lost Judgment had to wait for me to finish SMT V (sorry Yagami, turn-based JRPG's are my sweet spot). When I did, it was time to finally see how they continued the detective saga of Yagami, Kaito and the crew. I loved them. Will I still love them after Lost Judgment? Let’s see.

Before we start though, let’s just say that the game runs flawlessly on PS5, without any drops and with quick loading times. 0 crashes, all good.

Welcome to Lost Judgment

First impression were wow. Not World of Warcraft, but the impression I was under. The towns in the latest Yakuza and now Judgment games… Just wow. Kamurocho and Ijincho never ever looked more detailed and fun. I honestly can’t remember when some town in games looked so unique and rich with details. Walking through Kamurocho while awaiting what detective plot we will end up into never felt more real. I loved everything about the town we are AGAIN inside of. I want to emphasise that, because Ryo Studio games tend to tell their story in the same locations. Although that never means the “same”, but it’s real magic how they made so many sequels and made them so unique every time around even though we walk the same streets most of the time.

We continue where we left of, story-wise. Same stuff, same detective business. Prepare for darker themes though. Lost Judgment is a really good name for a game this one represents. It’s all about mocking the legal system and trying to laugh at faces of bureaucracy, all in regards of bullying and taking justice into your own hands as individuals (which you will, of course, try to prevent).

This journey will take you through the Seryo School where you’ll investigate professors and recent bullying activities that lead to some murders, that ultimately leads to an even bigger cause.

I was really hooked on the storytelling, but the second part of the game is just too complicated and diluted. It’s great how they introduce characters, give them meaning and breathe a real person inside that virtual character. I always loved when they achieve that in games, makes me want to care about everyone. But, just but, they didn’t achieve that peak which the first game had.

When you are not taking care of school bullies you can ask yourself who you main in VF, find clues or enjoying the animations

Like mentioned, it starts strong. You are introduced to the big school area where you spend a lot of the time. Investigating dead teacher slowly grows more tentacles and the story goes into well-known battle against the legal system and how that system is always flawed, so the bad guys win. The whole idea of losing innocent people when individuals takes justice into their own hands is solid, but how they did that in the second part of the game just didn’t “sit” with me.

I was playing using Japanese audio. It’s awesome. Translation? It sucks! One moment they mention the names of 8 persons involved in a case, the next they refer to those persons as “aniki” or other terms that most people of not familiar with. I lost the train of thought too many times, I had to google and ask my friend (hi Jim!) about some events as I was confused like hell. Stick with the names! When you tend to overcomplicate things and use different naming for characters, people lose you. That is my main issue with the game, they just dragged on too long with some plot points, made the main plot highly unlikable to happen and in the end it was way too predictable. I still don’t think it’s bad, I just don’t think it’s their A game.

And you thought it's serious game. Well, it is, but it also very much isn't. You can be a death race champion, Dance contest choreography master (well, dancer), seduct girls and drink like crazy... It's all here.

Yagami may lost the main story, but Yagami prepared good for hilarious side cases. Remember all those side missions in early games and how they’re out of your mind silly? Nothing different here, same level of greatness. I can honestly admit that some of the side cases made bigger and more positive impression on me than the main plot. The guy that painted himself to look like tissue-skeleton model you see at doctors, just so he can stay in the classroom overnight and “get” good grades in the exam? The mission where developers develop a challenging game using scrum methodology (my job haha!), but the business wants a game to be easy so everyone can play it? Some ideas are top-tier.

Even though some side missions are high class, some are just mediocre. Alongside of side cases you can solve school missions, first time around. You investigate side school events and play new games like Skateboarding, Dancing (Karaoke equal!), Robotics etc. I loved some, hated the other. Not bad, but side content is bigger than main content. Maybe too much content? Well, who loves games like these, I think they will appreciate it.

Don't, by any chance, miss out on side content. Some stories are just... I have no words, i'm still laughing.

One thought: Why do a detective game where your exploration factors gets ruined by pointing out what you have to do and where you have to go on every second of your way? I just don’t like when everything is given to you on a silver platter. I think this game should’ve invested more into making you feel like a detective instead of just giving you easy, basic detective assignments. There is always just one solution, and assignments like taking photos, checking items on the floor and then coming up with the story are just… Nothing special.

I even liked the tailing missions (I hated them in the first game). They are way better and lesser than they were in the first game. Remember the chasing parts when you run and avoid obstacles until your opponent runs out of stamina? Yeah, those are tedious here. Many side cases also force them. Overall, you will sail through the main story and enjoy occasional side content. Getting more into everything this game offers can lead to a burndown. I’m 90h in, did 100% of everything. Drone races are again the best side thing there is, I hated Robotics and loved the Boxing. Golf is also not bad, and the Baseball is one tough cookie to conquer.

Exploring the town is just about petting the cats and collecting common items. And finding Squirrels. Squirrels? Yes, no more Drone QR codes across towns to be found, now we have Squirrel graffiti’s that will each have an assignment of using the Noise or other amps you have on your disposal.

Endless running in town – finally (plus the easy taxi travel helps).

Freestyle(r). I do love some karaokes, and I did loved some boxing here and there.

It’s a challenge to even mention everything there is. Let’s continue with the fighting system. The most fun part was most definitely the fight; the action part of the game. Tiger, Crane and Snake (new one) styles are present, and they makes the best fighting system after Yakuza 0, which is still the best in my opinion.

It starts weak until you learn more skills and start learning to use Tiger style for example. Combining kicks and moves is delicious. Later on, when you have to think about the strategy, you will learn to appreciate how you fight. You can use a Warrior’s Extracts (they are like boost potions you can store in empty bottles you find) and mash your way through, but they are hard to collect, so you will have to depend on your skill (which is the best thing there is). I honestly enjoyed the action part of the game very much, the most after Yakuza 0.

Boss fights are good, and they are the ones where you have to use your skill. Running and tackling the enemy with your knee is just good as it sounds. Also, loved the EX move (finisher moves) from Ranpo, the detective dog (the pow kick is cute as a button!).

I maybe miss more challenges and more boss fights, I really enjoyed those. When you beat the game there are Gaunglet challenges, which are among drone races the best thing to play. It’s just fun trying to conquer some parts of the game fast and differently than you were playing.

Yeah, the “parkour”, aka the assasins creed climbing is new thing in Judgment/Yakuza world, and I wish they will add more of that. It was better than chasing missions.

Fights are the most coolest thing in the game. If they added more boss fights (like Yakuza 0), lose the long second part of story, this would be a better game. But, it never gets boring when you break some necks on the street.

So, what does that leaves? Not much. Lost Judgment is yet another game set in Kamurocho and new Ijincho (introduced in Yakuza Like a Dragon), which will challenge you not to bump into people while running through the beautiful, rich town that will offer Mahjong and racing with your drone, or simply throw some thugs to kick your sorry, sniffing, detective ass. I almost feel sorry how many times I bumped into someone while running around. Sometimes I felt sorry for not being able to burn down the Mahjong parlour. Well, it is what it is.

Lost Judgment is a detective game with a strong story which is a bit more tedious in its second part than it should be, with lesser plots and predictable events (in some extent). Maybe they can spice things up and let us be detectives instead of marionettes of pointers where to go and what to do next?

Kicking ass is fun as it can be, with strong fighting system and multiple different skills that will really impress you. Add hilarious side content, many mini-games and stuff to do, good soundtrack (somehow it gave me persona/school vibe and I loved it!), and you have another Ryo Ga Gotoku game you will probably end up enjoying. Yagami, come back please.

"Worse than previous game, better than some Yakuza games. Who liked the first Judgment, probably will like this one too."
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Yakuza_stinger commented

on January 01, 2022 at 18:54h

I like the 1st Judgment, So I must play this one too

Foggy commented

on January 01, 2022 at 20:30h

Yakuza_stinger commented

on January 01, 2022 at 18:54h

I like the 1st Judgment, So I must play this one too

It's more of the same, so for sure you will love it. As far as I remember, you gave the first one quite the high grade when you reviewed it :) 
This one is a bit darker, and actually maybe better with the idea they were going for, but they just lost me half way and never hooked me back. But, even if there is no main story, the side content can carry the game :D