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Judgment is an action-adventure game that was first released for PlayStation 4 in December 2018 in Japan. But only nearly 2 years later, the game suddenly released a remaster for a new generation of consoles with upgraded graphics with sharper resolution and higher frame rates. Although considered a spin-off of the Yakuza game series, the game possesses its own unique features with an extremely attractive case investigation gameplay, inheriting and improving many familiar gameplay elements of the game series. on with the old context but still brings many new feelings.
Due to the control character and completely new storyline, players do not need to experience any Yakuza games to understand the story. In addition to the old context and assets, this is also the biggest difference between these two game series. In addition, the combat system also has some minor adjustments and is quite similar to Yakuza 0. Players can switch between the two main character’s fighting styles: crane-style and tiger-style. Each attack is aimed at different enemies in combat.
The Judgment experience brings players to Yagami Takayuki, a famous former lawyer after helping his client get acquitted in a serious crime trial. However, after escaping the sentence, his client suddenly committed the crime of murdering his girlfriend and burning down the house. The case becomes the beginning of Takayuki’s tragedy. Unable to bear the guilt of helping such an evil person, the main character quits his job and and his best friend Kaito open a detective agency. Worth mentioning, Kaito was once a member of a yakuza gang.
If you wonder if Kaito has anything to do with the gang of “marshal” Kiryu Kazuma before the time of Yakuza: Like A Dragon, the answer to this question, please experience Judgment. Back to the game plot. After the above incident, Takayuki’s detective agency only accepts small cases such as debt collection or adultery monitoring with the money earned just enough to live through the day. Bad luck comes when a yakuza boss is accused of murder and the old law firm receives a request to invite Takayuki to help investigate.
As you might have guessed, the above yakuza boss case is just a premise that opens up many other unexpected cases during the investigation. I can only reveal the plot and the setting like that. The most attractive part is waiting for you to participate in solving a series of cases through the game experience. Unlike Yakuza games that tend to shift to role-playing experiences, combat in Judgment still has a lot of beat’em up game feel. Opponents are none other than gangsters “beg for mercy” as you explore the streets of Kamurocho.
If you’ve ever played any Yakuza games, you know that Kamurocho was actually recreated by the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio development team from the Kabukicho red light district in Tokyo, the capital of the rising sun. Judgment’s gameplay has not changed much compared to the main series, still revolves around completing main and side quests; Upgrade your skills and enjoy food at the many restaurants in Kamurocho. Although the setting is old, there are a few things here that help refresh the old familiar image, from the road to the people and the drone races.
Referring to the race, the ability to customize the drone is quite impressive. Besides, Judgment also has no shortage of exciting minigames and arcade games that are quite in-depth, making the writer spend a lot of time relaxing between Takayuki’s investigations. While I’m not too excited about virtual reality board games, I’m still quite impressed with the variety of extras in the game. Similar to the Yakuza games, the massive volume of side quests with details that resonate in everyday life is also an interesting plus.
New in Judgment’s gameplay mechanics compared to the Yakuza games is the investigative aspect, but it only brings excitement at first, but it gets boring later on. Specifically, in addition to collecting evidence from the scene, the investigative experience also requires Takayuki to participate in situations of stalking the subject without being detected. Gathering evidence from the field is quite interesting, mainly requiring good observation and interaction. In contrast, object tracking is awkwardly built with hidden times in the screen environment, avoiding detection by the NPC’s probing eyes.
To easily infiltrate locations to collect investigation information, Takayuki also has the ability to crack through minigames. However, this factor also only brings initial excitement. Not only that, the main character also has a new wound that cannot be healed with normal healing items. Instead, you have to see a doctor or use expensive items to completely restore the character’s HP bar to “original”. These types of wounds are only inflicted by sharp or high-damage weapons such as guns.
The problem is, most of the new elements mentioned above in Judgment leave the writer with a mixed feeling. For example, healing wounds requires you to spend time running to the doctor, which is very annoying and frustrating while busy at home. Similarly, tracking the subject is also time-consuming as the NPC being watched is often overly suspicious, to the point of often going back and forth to find Takayuki, making these moments last, as if to increase the amount of time. playing time rather than to diversify gameplay mechanics.
In terms of the PC version, Judgment is well optimized by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio with many options to customize the quality of graphics. Even if the computer hardware is powerful enough, players can still experience the game at an ‘unlimited’ frame rate. Personally, the writer also recommends that you set a minimum frame rate of 60fps, to avoid problems that cause game crashes and affect the experience. The PC version is built from the remaster, so the audio-visual quality is excellent and there is nothing to complain about.
The plot is also a plus point of Judgment. In fact, the writer feels it is much more attractive than the games in the Yakuza series. The cases always have unexpected details and the writing team is quite sure when they always know how to balance between serious and profound moments, creating an engaging story from start to finish when combined with exciting gameplay. and provide a very satisfying experience. Although some segments are a bit awkward, they do not negatively affect the player’s emotions.
Finally, Judgment offers a unique action-adventure experience with a fascinating case investigation theme. If you love the Yakuza series and detective themes, this is definitely an indispensable name in the game library.
Judgment is available for PC (Windows), PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 4.
Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
The article uses games supported by the publisher.
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