Judgment PlayStation 4 Review

This Yakuza meets Ace Attorney is not perfect, but remains entertaining from beginning to end.

By itsamurray, Posted 07 Jul 2019

The series of Yakuza games on PS4 has a new addition: Judgment. No Yakuza in the title? True, but it is set in the same universe. Although Kiryu is nowhere to be found, we are already experiencing adventures in Kamurocho. This time we do this as private detective Yagami. Can he successfully follow the Dragon of Dojima?

Yagami is an independent private detective in the starting area of ​​Tokyo: Kamurocho. In the past, however, he was a lawyer and even succeeded in getting a murder suspect released. Although this is very exceptional in Japan, after a dramatic turn Yagami says goodbye to his lawyer badge and solves all sorts of small and large cases for different people. However, when several Yakuza are found murdered and the eyes are removed, he investigates. Is it just a statement, or is there something more behind it? In this way, he ends up in a shadowy world full of corruption and danger, and in addition to conducting research, he has to beat up a lot of scum. Although, for the most part, his heart is in the right place and he does not approve of injustice, Yagami is not just a modern copy of Kiryu. For example, he does not shy away from sometimes being nasty or collecting blackmail material as part of his job. His plans also do not always end well and he is sometimes in danger. So, it is refreshing to play with someone who does not have the most rigid moral code in all of Japan or who can hardly be defeated.

Judgement, PS4, Review, Character

The main story is (certainly in the beginning) slower than before, but remains wonderful with good (but sometimes predictable) plot twists and fun characters. Where Yakuza games were usually reminiscent of crime films, everything is presented here as a long season of a TV series. You have the main story that is often interrupted by smaller plotting elements or side stories, but not without returning and culminating in an exciting finale. At the start of each chapter you also get a brief "previously in Judgment” segment so that you do not lose track of the many names and motifs. During the story, you should not only find who committed the murders and why, but also think about what justice is, what a lawyer's job is and how far you would like to go to find that justice.

After a few chapters, you can carry out a lot of side missions to your heart's content. The main story is very serious with a lighter moment here and there, but those who are afraid of losing the typically absurd Ryu ga Gotoku humor can be reassured. You have to investigate witch-filled apartments, help catch a group of perverts and solve the horrific murder of a number of koi. You will not only find these things on the street, but you will also see a series of customers in your office or in other places. In this way, Tak’s job as a detective is cleverly linked to the usual Yakuza nonsense.

In addition, the city is also full of characters who each have a smaller mission for you. These characters become your friends as soon as you completed their missions. With some you have to visit their restaurant or store; with others, you can play mini-games or use your martial arts skills. The more friends you make, the more important missions become available. So you try to gather every new friend in every chapter of Judgment as quickly as possible, and you discover more locations and mini-games. It is also nice that those friends often walk through the city and help you when they meet you or you get involved in a fight.

Judgement, PS4, Review, A number of locations you can accept different side cases during the game.

Yagami, unlike Kiryu, has to rely more often on his speed and agility. Those who have already played the Yakuza games will immediately feel at home when it comes to gameplay. As always, you walk through the city to talk to the residents, shop, go out or fight the street thugs. In combat, you can finally choose from multiple fighting styles, but the two main styles are the fast crane and the powerful tiger. The powerful EX actions (the new name for Heat actions) will be the highlight of the fighting. This way you can constantly push off walls to hurt your enemies or you can easily jump over every enemy and end up behind them.

In addition, you will find more objects everywhere (but fewer real weapons), and yes, bicycles are still the ideal weapon to use. Experience now comes in one form instead of five, and you can invest in three different categories. You don't get much of it at the beginning of the game, but towards the end, even the simplest of actions give you a great boost. Thanks to shortcuts you can now heal yourself in the middle of a fight without having to open your menu. Finally, enemies can do very powerful attacks, giving you annoying mortal wounds that can only be cured with the most expensive items or with an expensive doctor.

Judgement, PS4, Review, The city is full of weapons, um, bicycles.

Another major novelty in this game is the detective elements. You not only have to fight but you also often have to investigate locations in search of clues to solve small or large riddles or take an ideal photo. This gives you the chance to take a good look around (finding lots of hidden cats in the process) and is a nice change from the adrenaline-filled fights. Sometimes you can indicate the correct evidence in confrontation to reinforce your arguments. If you like Assassin's Creed and chasing many targets slowly, or quickly following them on foot, you will like these side cases. Others will hate these segments, as they occur too often.

When I finished playing Judgment, there was already a good 40 hours on the clock. Of course, there is much to do in Kamurocho for those who want to leave the main story behind. In addition to the usual baseball, darts, old video games (including a nice reference to Dead Souls) and complicated Japanese gambling games, you can especially lose a lot of time on the two new additions: drone races and a (not so interesting) kind of psychedelic board game. Just like in Yakuza Zero and Kiwami you have to assemble your vehicle during the races with the right (and expensive) parts. But unlike those games, you control the drone yourself during the races. It is nice to see the familiar city (and the inside of certain locations) from the air in exciting races and from a different perspective; It’s a sure-fire way to easily lose track of time.

Judgement, PS4, Review, Flying with a drone

As always, the characters look very much like their actors, and especially the facial expressions in the cutscenes are very well done. The many neon lights or the setting sun in combination with the Dragon Engine ensure that you can stroll through the city with great pleasure. The voice acting in Judgment also deserves a big compliment, and we can even choose between the traditional Japanese cast or English voices this time! Judgment may be an original story with new characters, but it still radiates the Yakuza influence. The main story is wonderfully noir and entertaining from start to finish and the side stories are full of absurd situations. On the one hand, great mobility during combat is great fun, on the other hand, the detective mini-games sometimes disappoint and I hate the pursuits. All in all, it is a nice addition to the Yakuza universe, and the combination with Ace Attorney elements was a smart move.

Andrew Murray, NoobFeed

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General Information



Platform(s): PS4
Publisher(s): SEGA
Developer(s): Sega, Ryu ga Gotoku Studio
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Crime
Release Date: 2018-12-13

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