Sega and Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio present us with an exceptional entry point for the series. If you are overwhelmed by taking the step to a saga that already has 7 installments (finally available on both PS4 and Xbox One), it may help you to know that Judgment does not require that we have played any of them the above. This title was launched a year ago on PS4, and now we welcome it with improvements in the next gen. Here's a comprehensive Judgment game review.
Judgment Game Review: Excellent Yakuza Spin-Off
A release that occurs almost at the same time that its producer, Daisuke Sato, gives us long teeth with the possibility of recovering two parallel installments, Yakuza Kenzan and Yakuza Ishin, which never left Japan and were set in the era of the samurai.
But let's not advance events, what does Judgment offer?
This time, the gangsters step aside and give the limelight to a private detective, "Tak" Yagami, a former lawyer who left the profession after obtaining an acquittal for a murderer.
It is a film noir story, which is inspired by classics of the genre such as Battles Without Honor and Humanity, the films of Kinji Fukasaku (the director of Battle Royale) inspired by real cases.
But as in all Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio games, the realism of the situations and locations can be recognized by anyone who has visited Tokyo.
They are mixed with a very crazy sense of humor and unique characters, whom we quickly become fond of. If you want to learn more about the story, do not miss our analysis of Judgment on PS4.
Judgment Game Features
The elements that differentiate this adventure from Yakuza are not just plot lines.
Controlling the detective adds new mechanics, such as first-person evidence investigation, spy drone control, chases, and disguises. We have the feeling of being authentic investigators.
In our opinion, the detective tone suits this type of game wonderfully (and serves as an excuse for some hilarious tasks, such as chasing a flying toupee), but we also believe that Yagami is not as "cool" a protagonist as Ichiban Kasuga or Kazuma Kiryu.
What we do love is the group of secondary school that surrounds him and the life that is breathed in the neighborhood of Kamurocho. These alleys (actually called Kabukicho and in the Shinjuku area) are bustling with activity and a favorite hangout for thugs and "go-getters." Premises and shops are reflected in the game with an incredible level of detail, and we have the feeling of being there, once again.
Judgment features the classic confrontations of the saga, those that were inspired by Virtua Fighter. Whether real-time or turn-based battles are better (as in Yakuza Like a Dragon) is a matter of taste. It seems to us that this system works very well; raises the pace of the game and offers us exciting moments.
In addition, real-time combat prevents "downtime" during development, which forces us to level up to face a particular enemy. Still, fighting in Judgment is easier than in the previous Yakuza.
The combat system has only two styles, dragon and crane, and an energy bar that allows us to execute EX attacks, in addition to using objects and elements of the scene. But we can learn and improve our attacks (we find no less than 126 unlockable abilities) and consume substances that improve our performance.
On the new generation consoles - at 60 FPS - these fights are more fluid. It is true that we ran into some problems with collision detection, but still, it is a great way to solve our encounters with gangs of thugs or members of the Tojo clan of the yakuza.
Classic arcade games and minigames
In addition to the main story and 55 side cases to solve, Judgment is loaded with minigames, which give it much more depth. As for the classic Sega arcade games, we find Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown, Virtua Fighter 2 (in the original version it was Puyo Puyo), Fighting Vipers, Space Harrier, Fantasy Zone, and Motor Raid - in addition to a shooting machine designed specifically for Judgment and baptized as Kamuro of the Dead.
Away from the arcades, we also find Blackjack, Poker, darts, drone races, and even a virtual board game based on the streets of Kamurocho. Although there are some absences from other games in the series, such as the fun film sessions of Like a Dragon, they are more than enough to have a good time while our investigation can wait.
Improvements in Judgment on PS5 and Xbox Series X
The improvements in the technical section are especially noticeable in the 60 FPS rate, higher resolution, improved textures, and new lighting. Load times have also been drastically reduced thanks to SSD drives (and this is especially appreciated). During the announcement of the game, there was some controversy due to the change in the appearance of the characters. The realism of the faces is one of the "workhorses" of the Dragon Engine, but in this case, the changes also affect artistic decisions.
Although the light falls much more naturally, the contrast shown by some sequences is lost. Tak's skin tone has also varied (he has become desaturated and has a redder hue) and the particles - in particular the smoky sequences - are more natural.
In our opinion, the improvement is evident, but there are those who prefer the original "yellowish" tone, perhaps because it has a more cinematic style.
This edition also includes the DLC that was released for the original game, but it should be noted that it is not about content that delves into the story, but about new objects to decorate the office, the possibility of dating a different girlfriend, additional parts to modify the drone or perks for combat.
Hope you enjoyed this Judgment game review.
If you want to know more about the best games around, stay here and read some of the best guides, only on GamesAtlas.