Beastly Review of Sega’s Judgment
It depends on your outlook on how justice tips in which favor. You are either Guilty until proven innocent or Innocent until proven Guilty. It all comes down to how strong are your convictions to prove that justice has been served. Can you live with the consequences of your client? In Judgment, you will have to face these issues and dance with the blind eye of the law. Let’s check this review of Sega’s Judgment from the makers of the Yakuza series.
You are a former lawyer now detective Takayuki Yagami who is a hard as nails P.I, but he has some demons. During his time as a young lawyer, he ended up freeing an alleged murderer only for him to allegedly kills his girlfriend and burn the house down. Kind of a slap to the face when you think about it having a victory only to look like a big mistake. So, you are blacklisted while still keeping your lawyer license, but tackling justice in your own way.
Things get sketchy as a serial killer surfaces leaving the victims without their eyes. Of course, you are caught up in the middle of all this between a feud going in within the Yakuza. There is a lot to discover in this long plot and sadly all the fingers begin to point at you. Time to use those sleuthing skills and finally discover the culprit and bring peace to Kamurocho or become corrupted trying.
All eyes are on you now as you are trying to solve these murders and save face at the same time. No matter where you go and how you try to do good people antagonize your horrible decisions from your past. Yagami still holds on to his decision and that will come to light later on as you play.
Gameplay of Judgment
If you played any of the Yakuza titles then you have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Judgment. However, you will not have a grand advantage the Yakuza provided meaning you will not be able to have weapons on the fly to keep with you. You are on the side of the law and must abide by them, but do not worry when it comes to combat you still have environmental weapons to use.
When it comes to combat, Yagami has two different martial arts styles. You will start with both Crane and Tiger Style. By pressing down on the D-Pad you can switch between stances easily. You will have a lock on the stance button with R1 and Block for L1. Square and Triangle are your medium and hard attacks. Circle utilizes your throws and X is your evade or run.
Expect a formula when it comes to Judgments combat and utilizing not only your martial arts but the environment as well. You can jump off walls for an attack, hop over enemies and use either a kick or a throw. The best part is paying attention to your EX moves. With your boost ready, you can hit R2 to give you invulnerability or use Triangle when indicated to perform a power move animation.
Moving on to power-ups and healing. You can buy food or tonics in order to give you an advantage in a fight. Using the directions on the d-pad left, right and up you can add 3 items. Sadly the food will not give you the full health at times so it is ideal to see who I call the Sewer Doctor. He will provide you with medkits varying from Small, Medium and Large each costing quite expensive. One large kit will run you 110,000 yen. Bit pricey, but worth it when in combat fighting a strong opponent.
Speaking of opponents, you will have your fair share of them in Judgment. From the random street-thug encounters to Keihin Gang boss fights. Many fights will earn you XP, so if you get a chance to fight do it, but watch your health because some enemies will fight at boss levels.
Time to get your cardio in with pursuit mode. You will have to chase down perps in a fun quick time event. You will have some control while running around, but there will be obstacles. You run into too many and you can guess that you will fail the pursuit. So, be mindful of the streets and keep your hands on the controller at all times.
Build Up Yagami
You want to be a better detective or all around experience player then you need to allocate those skills properly. There will be three different categories for Yagami. You have Abilities, Battle and Special all color coded and require different experience points that you gain throughout your adventures. They are a bit costly but if you enough activities and that includes eating, playing and fighting you will gain what you need in no time.
Judgment is full of Life
There is a level of appreciation I have with Judgment because of the people that reside in the game. The city feels like a city full of life with many strangers showing off or talking out loud their thoughts. The encounters you run into, especially the formal greeting when going into stores or restaurants give it authenticity.
Then you have your cast of characters which are based on real Japanese actors, well except for one. You have Masaharu Kaito who is like your back up and colleague for your detective business. Always getting into trouble together and getting each other out of it as well. Enter Takashi Genda captured from real actor Akira Nakao who is Yagami’s mentor in a way. This senior lawyer runs his own law offices where Yagami started. He kind of scolds Yagami at times, but is a cool father figure.
With the main Villain Captain Himura one of the leads of the Yakuza who you had to help out in chapter one. His story goes far deeper down the plot hole. There are many situations with over 3 dozen characters that put you through the emotions. This is a great story driven game that makes you question a lot of scenarios and people. But, so far my favorite has been Saori for her quirky nature and that funny scenario with the missing cake case.
The Art of Detective Work
You can’t bring down enemies without hard evidence and Judgment introduces a new tailing mechanic where you will have to follow behind your target. The trick here is there is a spot meter for the person you are pursuing and you will have to hide behind structures so you are not seen. At times your mark will grow suspicious and start running and this brings a new wave of challenges. If you lose sight of your mark there will be a timer countdown until you spot them again.
There will be times you might need photo evidence and in this day and age, you have the art of a smartphone by your side. Get the right position and even better catching your subjects in the act for the ultimate proof.
At times you will have to go into First person mode or investigation mode. Once here you can see things a bit closer and your controller will begin to vibrate over key items. To access all of your evidence, just hit options and open your phone to your cases and see what you have come up with it. Make sure you have a good understanding of each piece of evidence because you will have to present it during interrogations to gain the truth.
An Abundance of Side Quest
Even though there is an overwhelming amount of content you don’t feel it. At times there will be gaps within a chapter so might as well take care of many side quest which involve friend events, dating and other detective cases. It is important to do Friend Events as you will gain allies for information or help in fights. They will often give you items for being such a good friend too. You will see icons of green hearts in the shape of hands at shops or in the streets.
It is important to gain the trust of the people as it can help you progress through the game. Especially when it comes to matters of the heart. That was a weird segway, but relationships happen in Judgment and it is pretty good fun. Right now I am romancing a young songstress who is going through the issues of a music career and choosing the right choices will upgrade the level of intimacy. This little dating simulator is cute and enjoyable.
Your apartment is your command center where you can see other detective jobs pinned on your board and one particular Friend quest is with your landlady who will leave you food to test out and or give you a boost. Decorate your place with trinkets that you acquire through your playthrough and in certain friend events you can obtain albums to play on your record player. This is almost at the simulator level.
A Game within a Game
I guess the developers figured that the core game is not enough and want you to experience Japan to its fullest or classic Sega titles. As many of you are aware that if you are playing an open world Yakuza style game you can expect visits to Club Sega to play full arcade titles. Judgment takes it up a notch by adding a House of the Dead game that is true to the spirit, but I prefer a light gun instead of using the cursor.
You can also expect to play Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown, Space Harrier and a game I must have missed during the Saturn Era called Motor Raid. You will also get claw machines to win prizes that you can display in your home. Other games include gambling, batting cages, darts. But the one game that is new to the franchise is drone racing.
You have a drone that you use for your detective work and you can take it a step further for just racing fun. After you play your first race and trigger the side mission you will notice some pieces throughout the city. These will be needed to upgrade your drone with its own unique paint style and enhancements. As stated previously there is a skill tree specifically for your drone as well to tackle wind resistance. I didn’t do too bad, but once the game goes live I want to see how the online portion is going to work.
You can spend a lot of time just taking in the sights and enjoying the photorealistic food. That’s another thing, shame on your Sega for always having high-quality images of the food that you eat. That’s just wrong, even down to the little snacks. Shame on you!
Art Direction is on Point
All the titles in this franchise just make you want to visit Japan. The developers pulled no punches in the attention to detail even adding certain tourist attractions. We are even greeted by a celebrity chef Kunio Ichinose who is president of Pepper Lunch. You can explore almost anywhere and walk around in first person mode like a tourist to take pictures of places and people that you can share through the PS4 share button.
In all its glory I do have some issues with Judgment regarding the choices you can make or rather the illusion of choices. I have a huge peeve with games that offer a choice, but there is none. For example, I was con’d out of 100,000 yen for a drink and the bar owner threatened to stab herself and you have two options. I chose not to pay to let her stab herself and hopefully get a mini-game to get out of the consequences of that decision. Sadly the option would not change no matter how many times I chose not to pay, so I had no choice but to pay.
The outcome worked in my favor as I obtained my money back, but honestly why give me the choice? I can’t stand that.
I wish the combat received an upgrade as it is still a bit clunky. You have an issue where you run at a wall to perform a wall attack only to just run into the wall or trying to vault over an enemy only to perform a ground slide attack. When it works it is great, but you will have to fiddle with combat at times.
Judgment takes a different path to the Yakuza series in a clean way. The new cast of characters even though in the same environment brings a different light. I highly recommend playing this game in the Japanese voice over, because in some of the cut-scenes it is kind of weird when Yagumi introduces himself as if he is on the phone saying, “This is Yagumi!” which is just off in the middle of a conversation.
It is worth the price tag with over 20 hours of gameplay and even more than that with replay value I would say pushes close to the 60’s being the trophy’s you have to get maybe more. You can challenge yourself by changing the difficulties, but even with the funny moments, this is one serious story about finding the truth and innocence.
Judgment is definitely a Buy, worth the money and if you pre-order, you can play the full game early starting the 21st of June. The official release date of Judgment drops on June 25th, 2019 and thanks to Sega for the early review copy. I hope you enjoyed this review and check out my playthrough on twitch.tv! – Beast Out –
Developer: SEGA / Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
Release Date: June 25, 2019 (NA / EU) | June 21, 2019 (PSN Digital Pre-Order Early Access)
Genre: Action RPG, Courtroom Thriller
Platform: PlayStation 4
ESRB Rating: M for Mature