Classic RGG Studio Action Returns In Lost Judgment
The 2018 holiday season was a big one for Ryu ga Gotoku Studio, fresh off releasing Yakuza 3 Remastered. For months, RGG Studio teased a new IP separate from Kazuma Kiryuu's adventures. In December, Japan saw the release of Judgment. Western fans wouldn't see the escapades of Takayuki Yagami until June 2019. Upon release, Judgment reached global acclaim, praising its unique twist on the city of Kamurocho. A city that Yakuza fans explored for well over a decade. Two years later, Yagami and his allies return to another case in Lost Judgment
Before the release of Lost Judgment, fans introduced themselves to Yagami on the PS5 and Xbox Series X earlier in 2021. The Judgment remaster served as a prelude to what fans could expect from Lost Judgment. Many improvements from the original remaster applied to the sequel as well. High-fidelity 4K graphics running at a smooth 60 fps. Impressive facial models even for RGG Studio standards. Most importantly, a brand new city for Yagami to explore.
Lost Judgment Treads New Paths In Yokohama
From the beginning, Yagami and his partner, Masahiro Kaito, are in the middle of a stakeout in Yokohama. The victim, a young college woman, was the subject of a fraudulent crime. The suspect, a young male in cahoots with ex-yakuza, uses the money to blow it all on gambling. Yagami, doing what he does best, is on the job to catch the perp in action while serving justice.
There are parallels between the introduction to Judgment and Lost Judgment, as both involve tailing a suspect across the city. The difference from the former is that Yagami is more involved with cases than before. One of the newly added features is the ability to take a photo of the suspect. While in photo mode, Yagami must complete several goals including taking a clear photo of a point of interest.
One goal may ask to take a photo of the suspect and a woman (who Yagami suspects he's cheating on his client with) smiling. Another goal may ask to view the suspect's transactions as they withdraw from the ATM. Failure to take proper photos will not only dock Yagami's potential pay but also lead to a Game Over.
As You Give Chase, Dangers Lurk In Lost Judgment
While Yagami tails the suspect, he draws the ire of street thugs who have noticed his appearance in Yokohama. It would seem that the Yokohama residents don't think as highly of Yagami as Kamurocho thugs do. Much like his foes in Tokyo, Yagami is forced to fight his way out of an ambush.
With the release of Yakuza: Like A Dragon, RGG Studio had been on record to say that its turn-based gameplay "is here to stay." Fortunately, fans of the classic Yakuza action they've grown to love will find it here in Lost Judgment. Combat is similar to Judgment as Yagami has access to his Crane and Tiger fighting styles. Each style has new abilities, including a parry for the former and an armored technique for the latter.
Yagami can also enter a powered-up state known as "EX Mode," increasing his damage, lowering his stagger, and other benefits. Yagami's controlled martial arts was a marvel to look at in Judgment, in contrast to Kiryuu's street-fighting and Ichiban's...improv. In Lost Judgment, Yagami is expressive than ever with new Heat actions --- I mean --- EX Moves that look just as flashy as they are brutal.
Lost Judgment Is A Playable Action Movie
At some point, Yagami loses the suspect in a gambling parlor, which is invite-only. This opens up another new mechanic in which Yagami has to identify a new entry point. By looking at points of interest, Yagami can deduce paths to intrude without drawing attention. Of course, as this is Lost Judgment, Yagami does just that and a fight ensues. Later, to draw less attention to himself, he has to sneak to the top floor while avoiding armed guards.
While the previous preview of Judgment had no inkling of stealth, Lost Judgment introduces it front and center. There are guards on patrol in which Yagami can easily sneak around. Upon identifying certain locations, he can find key items like, well, a key that will unlock doors. Anything else, Yagami can rely on good ol' lockpicking to get the job done. At one point, Yagami even uses a 100 yen coin to distract a guard before putting him to sleep with a stealth choke. The climax to the series of events end with a chase sequence, similar to Judgment. Once Yagami catches up with the suspect, a sequence of fights transpires followed by a humorous conclusion.
The Yagami Detective Agency Is Re-Open For Business
The team behind RGG Studio does a fantastic job at leaving first impressions with their titles. The first hour of every game they've made recently sets up the rest of the game successfully. Lost Judgment is no different, with the entire opening feeling like something out of a Jet Li movie. I suppose this is the best way I can explain both Judgment and Lost Judgment, in that it's a playable martial arts movie.
Yagami is a lawyer-turned-detective who uses the long arm of the law in unconventional methods. He draws the ire of both criminals and badge wearers. Lastly, he's all business but not without his snark. Fans of the prequel should need very little convincing to try Lost Judgment. Those who are interested in the series should begin with Judgment, but everything is picked up right from where the former was let off.
Lost Judgment is now available on the PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One