Truly, SEGA’s Ryu Ga Gotoku studio is one of the very few studios that we can rely on to push narrative boundaries and really explore the potential for what video games can offer as a traditional storytelling medium.
Judgment is more than “more Yakuza”; it’s a markedly different beast that, despite using assets from Yakuza 6, re-introduces you to Kamurocho through a new set of eyes. Tak is brasher, smarter, and more inclined to use brains than brawn, and the characters he goes up against are surprisingly grounded. Altogether, it's a thoroughly delightful detective adventure.
While it largely follows the same general formula of the Yakuza games that came before it, Judgment's focus on playing as a detective and solving cases around the city of Kamurocho never once got stale.
A story that is engaging, intriguing yet thoughtfully structured, complete with another grand cast of new characters, even when it risks of becoming too pedestrian, Judgment predominantly finds the means to keep players fixed on the events unfolding. Fans of the Yakuza series may be quick to filter out what’s genuinely new from everything else, but for a game as packed and as entertaining as this, what it may lack in pure originality, Judgment more than makes up for with a game that is as fun to engage with as it is to just sit back and watch as the now-commonly bizarre antics of Kamurocho play out to delightful and convincing effect.
Judgment is very much a Yakuza game in detective clothing, but with some clever twists and a killer mystery at the center, it ends up feeling surprisingly distinct. While some of the detective-specific mechanical additions are a drag, everything else vibes really well with the familiar Kamurocho setting. It's easily the best of the recent line of Dragon Engine-developed games in the series—even without Kiryu Kazuma at the center, and even without a karaoke minigame.
There is much to be said against Judgment, a title in the vein of Yakuza that nevertheless fails to match its illustrious forebear. Clumsy and with a more choppy rhythm than ever, we still recommend it to lovers of police intrigue and Japanese detective stories. Thanks to a successful atmosphere and well-crafted plot, this new offering from Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios often manages to make you forget the scattered nature of its gameplay.
Liked the game, but there were many things that really bugged me. I never played any Yakuza game or anything from the studio, so I didn't have any expectations.
First of all, I really liked the story. It was quite long and had serious pacing issues, but it really felt like a top-tier crime series. Overall very well written and engaging. Funnily enough, the last third of the game, which is made up of the shortest chapters, felt extremely stretched out and wasn't particularly fun (except for the story bits).
I really did not like the combat, though. The system itself is not necessarily bad, but it seemed very rushed. Many mandatory fights are straight up badly designed and some bosses are pretty unfair (I'm talking Bed-of-Chaos-unfair here...). It doesn't help that the game basically consists of constant fighting. For the first 15 hours it was pretty fun, but after that it just felt tedious and unnecessary.
Some mechanics are just not good. Singled out, they do have a lot of potential, but in this game they seemed just crammed in with little effort to shake up gameplay.
The mechanics that I disliked:
- Tailing missions; fun for the first two times. Just annoying afterwards. Especially towards the end they seemed to have skipped any kind of testing on them.
- Perma-damage; generally not a bad idea and definitely effective in keeping the player on their toes. The implementation was just poor. It basically just meant that long fighting sequences without any chance of accessing the open world became a risky endeavour. As soon as one was in the open again, it basically was just a waste of time and money. (The worst was one "boss" who dealt out non-dodgable perma-damage. Depending on the last save-point, this fight could become a huge problem for some players)
- Bosses; I don't mean the bosses as characters - they usually were rather intriguing. How the fights were arranged was very bad, though. No consideration for how the combat works. The fact that I had to eat up to 30 meals during a fight just to heal up from some random non-dodgable combos is ridiculous. The worst was one passage were I had to fight one certain "boss" four or five times over. Really made the single fights seem useless and insignificant.
- Threat Level; probably the worst thing about this game. Increased chance of random battles basically for the rest of you playtime... Seriously? Definitely one of the most annoying, unnecessary and time-consuming things they could've thought up. Clearly, this was a last-minute implementation that was not thoroughly tested.
Overall everything related to combat simply felt lazy in terms of design. It doesn't help that apart from fighting, there is very little in terms of gameplay if you concentrate on the Main Story.
This is one of the better games out recently. Its amazing its not a AAA title like most of the overhyped ones Sony is stuff doing throats through PR stunts which ultimately fail due to too much hype and very little attention to detail when it comes to fixing bugs. Probably the best Yakuza game from Sega in fact that there is no driving activities but still the whole approach of doing tasks to kill item just for the sake of doing so can get tiresome. The developer adds some puzzle solving skills to break the monotony. I found the girlfriend side quests also to be a waste of time in that its essentially sterlized for courtesties in japanese culture even with some of the mature themes involved. As with any Yakuza game, the fighting leaves something to be desired and is a mash of buttons as the main character can be overpowering rather easily with early ability upgrades attained easily. Another annoying thing, is the random battles that pop up constantly even during down times. Its fortunate the player's character is again overpowering to simply outrun enemies and avoid these endless battles.
Hey, I've got an idea... what if we made a game which took all of Yakuza's problems but stripped out all the fun and goofiness that make the games so enjoyable, replacing them with a set of tedious "detective" mechanics which you can't possibly fail but which consume lots of time?
If that sounds like a great idea then I have some good news: Judgment is that game. If it sounds like a terrible idea then I've got some bad news...
Judgment takes us back to the same few blocks of Kamurocho that we know and love from Yakuza, now looking nicely shiny and HD but otherwise basically unchanged. It gives us a new player character, Ex-Yakuza, ex-lawyer private detective Tak ... great hair but zero charisma. Before long we're given a case to work, collecting evidence for the defence team in a murder trial. This mostly involves running across the city collecting clues, which the game leads you to and then pieces together for you. This is no puzzle game.
Every so often you get into a fight where much like Yakuza you're fighting the camera and the finicky controls as much as the NPCs. In Hard difficulty these are either so easy they're tedious (e.g. any street encounter) or so difficult the only way to get through them is repeatedly hitting pause to eat sushi (e.g. first proper boss fight).
I've only played about 6 hours of the game, so maybe it gets better, but since I haven't cracked a smile once in those 6 hours, or found any reason to care what happens, I can't see any good reason to keep playing on the off-chance it's going to improve.
Absolute b grade trash, clunky, boring, horrible sound and graphics, it’s more talk then anything, and so much off it ripped out from the yakuza games, from the fighting animations to the whole map. Just trying to cash in from yakuza success.
SummaryFrom the makers of the acclaimed Yakuza series, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, Judgment is the dramatic tale of a disgraced lawyer seeking redemption in a world rife with corruption and despair. Investigate the seedy Red Light District of Kamurocho by stepping into the mind of private detective Takayuki Yagami and utilize innovative investigation...