Lost Judgment is the follow up title to the much adored spinoff of Yakuza franchise, Judgement. Lost Judgement brings a new tale of intrigue, mystery, and that eastern style noir story that made Judgment beloved by both the new comers and long time fan of the Yakuza franchise.
Along with a fresh new tale and mystery, players can now explore both the district of Kamurocho (possible spoilers “along with Yokohama”). Fans of the previous wouldn’t be disappointed to the follow up due to it being true to the previous iteration. That being said, for new comers like myself you don’t need to worry about the continuity being an issue as the previous game is just mentioned in the story. That being said, with what Lost Judgment has to offer, a lot of people would be hooked to the series.
The story follows the previous protagonist of Judgement Takayuki “Tak” Yagami. Tak is a lawyer turned detective whose initial job would give players the rope into the basics of gameplay. Over the course of the story, more and more activities would be available to the player. As soon as the tutorial is done, Tak can freely explore the streets of Kamurocho for him to explore.
Lost Judgment still gives that similar touch much like the previous title down to the combat mechanics. As for the general features and other unlockables, many would be unlocked as the story progresses which somehow manages to fit to the narrative. Content wise, side quests, in this case side cases, offers a variety of takes along with its peculiar take. It truly gives a sense of individuality on the side cases. That being said, players are given a variety of activities and minigames to be lost in the streets of Kamurocho and Yokohama.
The gameplay is newcomer friendly with the given combat tutorial. Furthermore, the art style and story makes me want to dig in to the previous title along with the Yakuza Franchise. That being said, fans of the franchise would still find the same over the top action and humorous banter. Added to this, Lost Judgement also give a new unique Snake Stance players get to fight with. Giving a more flexible and more variety on the combat which is a far more defensive style of gameplay.
The in game UI is something to be looked up by new comers like me on for both as a learning curve and as a feature to be endeared with. Gone are the typical status icon of other JRPGs, in are the subtle visual cue that blends in seemingly well. From status ailments to buffs, it’s all combined with a simple aura which is given off by Tak if he is gets it.
As for combat, the more you learn how to pull each combo, each evade, and each EX strike would feel more rewarding. Further to this, you will pull off the most wonderful finishers available if you manage to time it with the environment. Gameplay wise, there is a variety of ways the story plays out, it isn’t just punching and kicking, but also the investigative side which properly reflects the story of Tak.
The story also tackles the issue of bullying and a mishap on justice which is honestly a welcome social commentary. With this heavy commentary, it is not uncommon for video games to feature such topic and that is a good thing. Moving from a more generic plot of “beat this dude because of he made you miss your character’s favorite drama” or “you’re the chosen one to defeat this unknowable darkness with your voice”. This game hits close to home to many of us that uses video games to cope with similar matters. To know that we are not alone, that we are not forgotten gives it a bit of familiarity.
While exploring the world of Lost Judgement, I find it quite unique in a sense that one shop from one district would sell this food, while the other would give another menu. Which may or may not give the same benefits. But this personally is a huge quality of life for people new to JRPG like me. Gone are the generic roasted meat, or fried chicken menu but rather, each merchant sells their own specialty. This might seem a bit bloaty to some, adding unnecessary details, but I disagre, this adds a bit of life to the world.
Lost Judgement is not without its flaws, and the game has a fair share of it. Of course it might be fair to say that as new comers, this is their take on the gameplay and/or it might be its charm, but I digress. This does not mean by any chance that it is a lame or a bad game by any chance but rather a point of constructive criticism.
For one, the graphics at times could do a little bit better. This is a particular minority on my observation. Cats look like it could blend in, but for some reason, dogs on this game feels like an asset from the PS1 era ported into the PS4. Many might say it is due to the art style but I disagree, there could be a lot of improvement instore.
Another would be the QTE laden gameplay nature. Some new comers might be weary of it but personally it isn’t heavy as other games and it is quite fun for me. There are many who doesn’t want that being too many things for their game. Luckily, majority of fights doesn’t revolve around it. That being said, it might not be a criticism of the game itself but rather the way players might be averse to it by this.
We could add the sluggish way Tak moves along with the AI, your companion could get stuck. You bump to people like they didn’t see you barreling down. It is a tad bit frustrating knowing they could easily move but choose to stay like a deer in a headlight. Notably, you’d run into them quite frequently. Added to this is the quite repetitive and similar plot progression akin to Judgement.
Overall, Lost Judgment is a fun foray for new comers to breathe in. It is truly a fun experience for the likes of me. A lot of things were done swimmingly by the game and a lot of things could have been improved further still. In terms of the enjoyment I have with the time I spent, I could definitely say this is worth a look for new comers and fans of the series. Not a dull moment specially for the side quests that could see you investigating the best of the zaniest of characters the game has to offer.