Lost Judgment Review- Worthy Justice

Posted October 11, 2021 by Thomas James Juretus in Video Games

Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios

Publisher: Sega

Release date: September 24, 2021

Available on: PS4 (reviewed), PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

RGG Studios 2018 offshoot from its Yakuza series, Judgment, introduced us to the character of lawyer turned private investigator Takayuki Yagami and another look into the seedy underbelly and government corruption in Kamurocho. The compelling story and fun combat lifted Judgment up where it could stand shoulder to shoulder with its Yakuza brethren. Now Yagami returns in the sequel Lost Judgment, dealing with new crimes and making commentary on social issues. It’s a larger game, expanding from Kamurocho to Isezaki Ijincho, last seen in Yakuza: Like A Dragon. But does it hold up against its predecessor? The answer is a resounding yes, and Lost Judgment proves to be a worthy sequel that we can only hope will lead to more.

The story begins with the discovery of a body in Ijincho, which leads a newly formed detective agency to call in Yagami and his associate, former Yakuza Masaharu Kaito. The investigation leads to high school bullying and crosses with a case being handled by Yagami’s old partners at Genda Law. The plot starts simple enough, but grows in complexity that expands beyond Seiryo High School in Ijincho to encompass a much larger case that reaches into the government. There’s enough twists and surprises to keep you engaged for the game’s 13 chapters, though it’s not without a couple of stumbles along the way. While not as compelling as the first game’s story, it’s still a solid enough crime tale that will leave you satisfied over the main story’s 25-30 hour run. But the main story is just a part of the whole (finishing the main story had me at just 15.1% complete). The Yakuza games and Judgment had plenty of side activities to keep players going, and Lost Judgment expands on this.

The big addition here are the School Stories, a collection of side quests involving secondary characters at Seiryo High School. It stems from the case involving bullying at the school, and Yagami ends up becoming an advisor to the school’s Mystery Investigation Club. From there he gets involved with other student clubs leading to further cases and benefits to your progression. These can be done as you work on the main story or can be tackled in the Premium Adventure mode, which unlocks upon completing the main campaign. There’s a lot of content here, enough to easily tack on an additional 20 hours or more to your game time. These quests can run from the amusing to quite involved, and give the game extra life beyond the credits rolling.

School Stories isn’t the only distraction for players, of course. There’s the wide array of familiar diversions throughout both Kamurocho and Ijincho. There’s mahjong, drone racing, and the batting cage, which offers a couple of options for play in the Home Run Derby (only home runs count toward your score) and Challenge, where you can add to your score by getting hits as well. The Club Sega arcades return, with games like Sonic the Fighters and Virtua Fighter 5, as well as a new zombie game (found in the Chinatown Club Sega in Ijincho) called Hama of the Dead. There are also side quests involving citizens you encounter, through a surveillance gadget, and even a dog that leads you to mysteries. There’s also the challenging Gauntlet mode, which imposes specific conditions for the completion of missions. There’s a two player mini-game mode as well, giving Lost Judgment a ton of content to make it worth your purchase.

Along with completing quests and eating at restaurants, combat is your main source of experience points to level up. Unlike Yakuza: Like A Dragon, which moved the series to turn based combat, fighting takes place in real time in Lost Judgment. You have your assorted list of moves here, complete with blocks, kicks, punches, throws, and using objects around you or taken from enemies, such as traffic cones or baseball bats. Yagami has multiple skill trees for you to fill out, encompassing three different styles of fighting- the returning Crane and Tiger styles, a the new Snake style. You can switch easily on the fly with a tap of the Down button on the directional pad. As always its smart to stock up at your local Poppo market with health supplies, though in longer stretches enemies will drop these as well. Boss fights require you to be well prepared, though the game does have a variety of difficulty options to accommodate players of all skill levels.

As far as getting around, hoofing it through Kamurocho and Ijincho is generally the best, especially to take in the sights and find materials for crafting or to sell at a pawn shop. Roving gangs again will try to hamper you, and while they can provide some quick experience, cash, or materials, they do get rather tiresome towards the later chapters. To make traveling a little swifter, Yagami can pull out a skateboard to wheel along the streets. Fast travel is provided by the many taxis found throughout both cities, and they can prove very useful to get you where you need to be quickly without any hassle from street punks. How much you use them is up to the individual player, as there are only a few instances where the story dictates that you use a cab. Throughput your journey Yagami’s smart phone works to let you enter a Photo mode, so you can grab some screenshots of the environments. There’s no full fledged Photo mode, however, to get those action shots. The apps on the phone also help with switching gadgets and tracking keywords overheard in conversations. The keywords provide clues to side quests, and add another thing to distract you from the main story.

The game looks good visually, and you do have the option of putting the game in Japanese with subtitles or putting it in English. Voice acting is well done on both counts. The gameplay is nicely varied, with segments involving stealth, tailing, and platforming. The stealth segments work best, though at times they limit your choices to a pre-planned path. The platforming is fairly solid, with a few missteps along the way. As in every game of this type, tailing bits and those involving chases are the weakest, with tailing being the more annoying of the two. Thankfully, they’re very limited, so there’s not any overall negative impact on the game. The game runs smoothly, though there are some minor camera issues here and there. I experienced no crashes or frame rate slow down on the PS4, so those playing on the previous generation of consoles can take heart in the fact the game works well.

With loads of content and fun combat, Lost Judgment proves itself to be a worthy sequel. The cast is engaging, and the story is well written and has you wanting to see how it all turns out. Side activities and quests give you plenty to return for under the Premium Adventure mode that unlocks after you complete the main story. The game is well worth the price of admission, and is among the best games released this year. We can only hope Yagami returns to deliver his brand of worthy justice in future installments, as the series provides an excellent companion to RGG Studios’ Yakuza franchise.

9/10 stars

About the Author

Thomas James Juretus