Publisher: Sega| Developers: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio| Release Date: September 2, 2021, | Genre: Action/RPG| Reviewed On PS5
A review copy was bought at retail
Lost Judgment continues the Yakuza spin-off series by going to bolder themes, expanded side content, and more mechanics you can chew through.
Here, it’s mostly a re-iteration and not a revolution like Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon. The three basic styles of dragon, crane, snake, and as well as new boxing style (which is bizarrely part of DLC) are here for the meat of the game which is combat.
The highlights of the original, detective mode, come back with more additions such as a laser mic to listen to conversations, and sound sources, a Shiba Inu that can sniff for crafting materials and be used for your main/side investigations, and of course the drone.
You also have a new traversal mode, parkour which has Yagami traverse walls or complicated structures. There’s tension with the additional grip gauge and once the gauge runs out you will fall and take damage.
Last and least are the stealth segments which are overly simple and rely too much on trial and error. The stealth mode’s over-the-shoulder camera also has a narrow field of view where getting enemy locations are a bit muddled. This is a bit of blemish on an otherwise worthwhile suite of open-world gameplay mechanics.
Overall, it adds enough variation to make Lost Judgment feel fresh and improved from its predecessor. Its stealth section bogs it down somewhat.
It’ll take most players about 30 hours to go through the mainline quest, but (Like any RGG Studio title) a bevy of side content.
Graphics and Presentation
The graphics are great as they were in Yakuza 7, thanks to The Dragon Engine. When running on PS5 and Series consoles it runs at a mostly locked 60 Frames Per Second. You can also select fidelity mode, but I recommend keeping it on performance.
The art style goes for a hyper realistic look which helps with is help sold by some excellent facial capture, and motion capture for the action-packed cut scenes. Voice acting is top-notched in either dub or Japanese original. In the English version, Greg Chun returns as the main character Yagami. As well as veteran voice actor Christian Freeman as his sidekick Kaito. The rest of the cast with talents such as River Vitae, Keira Buckland, and Stephanie Sheh round up the excellent English localization
Extra content can be bought with a season pass priced at 34.99 as well as a smaller enhancement for 4.99 a piece which is bizarre for this day and age. Let’s hope the larger DLC can be bought separately at a lower price.
The story is set 2 years after the original Judgment and a year after the events of Yakuza 7 where the Tojo clan has been disbanded. It starts when Yagami and Kaito help out the Yokohama 99, a startup detective agency by his partners Fumiko Sugiuyura and Makoto Tsukomo investigating instances of bullying at Seryo High School, a private academy in Yokohama that has seen its share of bad publicity.
When the High School is investigated, a sexual battery case where an off-duty Police Officer harassed a woman at a train station in Tokyo. The trial goes off the handles with his confession of murdering a Seryo High Student Teacher. These two seemingly unrelated crimes become related and what erupts goes up to people high up in The Japanese Government.
The game’s plot revolved around bullying (which is common in issue in Japanese schools), vigilantism, and answering the question: ‘What is justice?’. Lost Judgment deals with it in a mature tone, but also has humorous parts to break up the drama (as usual) thanks to the side quests which are numerous and are mostly set in the Seryo High School. These range from skateboarding to helping the school’s fledgling Robotics Team.
This allows you to connect with the kids, and as well as have more of a focus on minor characters who go through their own arcs as you progress through them. It also helps in quest design as it is in a more concentrated and less scattered hub to explore.
Now, onto the conclusion.
Overall, Lost Judgment is a worthy sequel to Judgment, and adds enough to make it worthwhile getting now. There are minor gripes such as the questionable DLC pricing and simplistic stealth system, but you can’t go wrong with this venerable spin-off.
Frederick Guese is a video creator and editor at PlayStation Haven. A QA industry vet and has worked at Respawn Entertainment, 2K Games, and Activision-Blizzard. Frederick is working on being a narrative designer, writer, editor, and video producer. You can visit his Twitter, Youtube channel, and Instagram. He’s a big fan of Hideo Kojima games and JRPGs.