Even though Judgment released on June 25th, 2019 on PlayStation 4, I didn’t give it a try then. I had a huge backlog of games to play and kept holding it off. Fast forward to April 2021, the game was remastered and released on other platforms. I jumped to play this on Google Stadia. If nothing else, I can’t ignore the convenience Stadia brings for my busy life. I was a fan of the Yakuza series so I knew this game would be a treat as a spin off. The game was developed by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and published by none other than Sega, a staple in the video game industry.
Tokyo is where the game takes place, and is beautifully done, great detail went into the design of the city. The game starts out with a cut scene that starts to introduce us to the story we are about to embark on. The voice acting is excellent, and it brings the story to life. We play as Takayuki Yagami – which some people call him “Tak” for short. Tak starts the game off as a lawyer who works at Genda Law, but quits the law game due to one of his clients whom he freed who commits a murder. Tak had initially got him aquitteda and put him back on the streets. Tak decides to turn into a private investigator. Yagami’s first case is where he works alongside his really good friend Mashaharu Kaito who used to be a member of the Matsugane family.
Judgment packs 12 Chapters to complete, plus a ton of different side missions. The main story took me approximately 30 hours to finish. I have not completed all the side missions but judging from the list of missions it would easily add another 20 hours to the game. Judgment features a smooth gameplay with several different aspects incorporated into the game. Tak can access many different features from his cell phone. This is an important hub for information as the game is played.
When Tak’s phone is open you can do various things. Case file here and you can see notes and how far you have progressed in a case. It is important to keep information fresh in your mind. The items menu is pretty self explanatory – this all the items Tak currently has in his inventory that can be used or sold at shops. Skills is my favourite part of the phone. In this menu, you can upgrade Tak how you see fit. Purchasing moves, health upgrades, and other important improvements, depending on your playing style. In the map menu, you can see where you are and all the points of interest around you. Need to go somewhere far? Look for a taxi and they can drop you off for a price. You can also use the phones camera to scan QR codes all around the city and take photographs. This is a very versatile piece of equipment!
While exploring the beautiful Kamurocho, a fictional district of Tokyo, Japan, it’s important to keep an eye on the bottom left of the screen. This is where Tak’s map is, and following the red marker will take you to the next objective in the current mission. This map will also display shops, enemies, and other points of interest. While exploring, Tak will randomly get attacked triggering a street fight; you will know this by the red arrows that come on the map. When in battle, Tak can use several attack techniques. Once the meter on the top left fills up, you can do a special that will take out your enemy. The fighting is interesting but can sometimes feel repetitive, after each battle skill points are earned.
Doing missions for Tak’s friends will earn friendship points, which is important to maintain relationships throughout the game. Judgment has mini games you can play as well, meaning there is always something to do around Kamurocho. The first few hours of the game start off slow, however the game picks up dramatically and sucks you in. At the start of the game, I was originally unsure if I would enjoy this game, but thankfully I stuck with it and I am glad that I did. The most enjoyable moments for me was the storytelling, and I was really interested in the cut scenes.
Judgment is a must play for any video game fans. Even if you have never played Yakuza since this is a fresh spin off, you will not feel lost. This game adds several hours of entertainment with excellent replay value. Exploring the beautiful city, smooth gameplay, and so many memorable characters. I really enjoyed the detective aspect of the game scanning areas for clues, engaging in investigative chats, on top of that side missions.
Thank you to Sega, one of my childhood favourites, for bringing this game to us. Also, thank you to Google Stadia for providing us entertainment on the go.