Now, there’s no shortage of Yakuza games for you to play, unlike many of the petrol stations in the UK at present. But if you’re waiting for your next fix, then I have just the thing. Lost Judgment, released on PS4/5, Xbox One and the Xbox Series S/X and developed by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and published by Sega, is the sequel to the 2018 release Judgment, a Yakuza spin-off game.
Buckle Up, Sweetheart…
The game opens up in Isezaki, Yokohama. Fire engines are en route to a suspected blaze, believed to be some sort of prank call. But it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Two firefighters enter a building and notice that something clearly isn’t right. Flares have been suspiciously laid out on the floor in the shape of an arrow.
Pointing towards something that has been covered with a large, blue tarp in the centre of the room, they carefully remove it and discover something that even people with the strongest stomachs would definitely wince at: a fly and maggot-riddled corpse that has been bound to a chair with zip ties.
The screen fades to black, it is now December 6th, 2021 in Kamurocho, Tokyo. You play as Takayuki Yagami, head of the Yagami Detective Agency, alongside fellow investigator Masaharu Kaito. Starting off on an investigation for a client who believes they are being scammed for their money, your first objective is to ‘tail’ the target.
Calling Sherlock Holmes…
Now, given that you play as a detective, moments like this are to be expected. It’s just a shame how tedious and frankly boring these moments are. In fact, I would probably have had more fun taking part in a three-legged race with Oscar Pistorius. The only enjoyable thing about these stealth parts is that Yagami can be aided by a Shiba Inu (detective dog) that can sniff out important items for you.
Much like in the Assassin’s Creed games, you are able to blend into your environment by holding the respective button for the console you’re playing on to avoid being spotted. You’ll find yourself then doing such things as fiddling with your phone or looking into a mirror, you know…things a tail wouldn’t do.
As well as this stalking action, you will also have to go into peeping tom mode and take photographs of the suspected perp. There are two ways in which you can take these pictures. You can either take the photograph as normal, or you can photograph the perp in a specific pose or doing a certain action to earn yourself bonus SP, which is used to upgrade Yagami himself.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled
Not only that, but there will also be times where you need to ‘search the area’. This entails, again, pressing the respective button to enter detective mode and search the area you are in for clues, hidden entrances, etc. As far as being a detective goes….that’s about it. Pretty sure the nosey old bint from Murder, She Wrote had more detective capability in her than this game does.
And not only that, but the hit zone to actually select something you’ve found at times was smaller than a pair of Thumbelina’s shoes. So, I found myself most of the time hitting the action button harder than Chris Brown hits….the top of the charts. Yeah, that’s what I was going to say.
Can’t Hold on Much Longer!!
Along with this, there are also times where you’re going to have to do some climbing. Now, this is where Lost Judgment brings in one of my top 3 pet peeves when it comes to video games: a goddamn grip gauge. And anybody that has played Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness will agree how awful this bar is. There’s a special place in Hell for the person that first came up with this idea!
There is also a “school stories” system featuring new side quests and secondary characters. Yagami has access to the Seiryo High School, where the plucky detective and his pals have to make the character stop bullying in the form of side quests. Now, these come in three different forms. First, there is The Mystery Research Club, where you act as the club’s advisor and partner up with a student to solve various cases in the area.
Second, there is the Robotics Club, where as the name suggests, you can build robots and pit them against those of other students and club members. Last but not least, there is The Dance Club, which I think is pretty self-explanatory. A boxing mini-game is also available.
Come at Me, Bro!
Anyway, enough ranting…let’s move on to the combat. In typical Yakuza-like fashion, there are a number of different fighting styles to play around with: Crane, Tiger and Snake, all of which have their own unique attacks and abilities to go with them. Crane style is more for evasiveness, centred around crowd control and mobility.
Tiger is your hard-hitting style for those one-on-one moments where you want to get a bit more intimate…with your fist to their face. And finally, Snake. This style puts its focus on swift, flowing strikes and counterattacks. This style is best suited against enemies with weapons, all of which have their own unique special abilities and attacks. You can also unlock more moves by spending the SP you gain from missions.
Don’t worry, it’s not all work and no play. Similar to previous titles, there are a number of classic emulated Sega games at your disposal. As well as the arcade games at Club Sega, you can also play several Master System games in Yagami’s office. These games include Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Fantasy Zone and Maze Hunter 3-D, among others.
Though it can drag its feet in places like a rather disobedient Husky, and Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio may need a hand the next time it comes to detective work, Lost Judgment is a great sequel to a solid spin-off gme and well worth the time you put into it.
Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S
Release date: 21 September 2021
Gaming Respawn’s copy of Lost Judgment was provided by the publisher.