Judgment (PS5, Xbox Series X|S) - Review
Yakuza in any time frame did not enter, but mostly hero was Kazuma Kiryu and his alter ego in one era or another before the release of the sixth part. The Judgment project – an unofficial spin-off of series-broke the tradition in 2018 and told a twisted story about detective Takayuki Yagami.
Today we will evaluate the release of an improved version of the adventure for the PlayStation 5.
Refreshing the stale formula with new mechanics, Judgment has remained true to the traditions of Ryu Ga Gotoku. Here is a cinematic plot with charismatic characters, dizzying battles, colorful humor and mini-games.
The basis of the course change is the narrative setting. If Yakuza number games are crime dramas, then here we are witnessing a detective thriller. Takayuki Yagami, or simply "Tak“, is a former lawyer and now a private investigator who is, as he calls himself, a” mediator" between crime and the police.
Naturally, everything is not as dichotomous as it seems from a distance, because the guards break the law under certain circumstances, and the yakuza can be moderately good with their honor and principles.
We find ourselves in the very epicenter of all the urban forces-in the most” big game " with high stakes, where human destinies become bargaining chips, when huge amounts of money and the possibility of gaining power are put on the line. The game allows you to look at the usual relationships from a different angle, which only makes it more exciting to follow the storyline.
The authors raise an interesting problem of the real world, saying that in Japan, 99.9% of sentences in court are guilty. We will see in the game not only the work of a detective, but also police officers and prosecutors, because we will visit crime scenes, talk to witnesses, prevent offenses and even speak in court. As it is not ironic, but Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio do not forget the sources of inspiration and even made a reference to the cult Ace Attorney series (yes, I'm talking about the Object! I say).
Kamurocho this time seems more compactly put together – this is significantly compensated by a slightly different approach to game design in Judgment. The fact is that the developers have previously flirted with the introduction of sidequests that correlate with the main plot and the protagonists, but here they went even further. We can say that the game has a cross-cutting narrative, a number of characters from minor quests you meet in the course of the passage of the plot, and they, in turn, also penetrate into other optional quests. This makes Judgment even more seamless and fun. Of course, there are also humorous stories, such as the chase for the wig of a show business star, performances as Count Dracula or mimic moments with the search and feeding of seals. From the mini-games, I was struck by the dating simulator with the need to choose the appropriate answer options, where the background and character of the girls are thoroughly worked out. If desired, you can get the hearts of all the ladies.
If we talk about gameplay mechanics, they perfectly dilute the gameplay and contribute to a more dense immersion in the atmosphere of the game. The search for clues takes place by highlighting important things on the screen, which is signaled by the vibration and shine of objects. When interrogating witnesses and suspects, you need to choose the correct answers according to the meaning, where, if successful, you will be rewarded with additional experience points. It is desirable to remember various moments, as in a number of dialogues it will be necessary to choose the necessary evidence at the crucial moment in order to pin the character and extract information. When entering protected areas, you have to wear a disguise and behave appropriately.
Sometimes you need to track down a target using a remote-controlled drone or follow it on foot, trying not to get caught in the eye. Sometimes you will need to take a photo that incriminates you in a particular act at the right time. Not without running with obstacles for the suspects on the streets and entering various premises. In the latter case, you will need to open locks with a master key, open doors with digital codes or pick up keys – all this is designed in the form of separate mini-games. But alas, it was not without a fly in the ointment-there are too many pursuits and they quickly get bored with their monotony, and at the later stages of the passage only irritate.
Unlike Kiryu from Yakuza, whose core was the heroic strength, Takayuki fights more deftly, striking with honed movements and performing pirouettes. Wielding two fighting styles, he makes tackles, turntables, flips, and even bounces off walls. He does not hesitate to constantly use the environment, including cars, chairs, and even friends with whom relations are developed at the proper level. Leveling up in Judgment involves a division into three categories-abilities that give new techniques for styles, improved combat characteristics, and other useful skills-from simplifying mini-games to stomach capacity and better results when dating.
Graphically, the game is prettier in every way. The image has acquired a more realistic look thanks to improved lighting and methods for processing shadows, textures and shaders. As a result, the models of the main characters became more similar to their real prototypes. Some of the roles were performed by some of the top Japanese actors and seiyu.
All the features of the faces acquired a characteristic shade against the background of a colder contrast. This is perfectly combined with the cinematic style of the project, where we often see the characters close-up and can see all the wrinkles and creases of the face moving during animation. If we talk about the effects, then I especially want to highlight the puddles. As it does not sound comical, but they look cool, you can see a scattering of drops, they realistically reflect the environment, at night at the sight of numerous bright neon buildings, this is especially impressive, because Yagami often has to track down suspects at this time. Of course, the steam, smoke, fire and bruises on the faces look no less good.
The animation of movements pleases with its detail with an extensive variety of combo bundles, although there are only two styles of combat. The main thing – do not forget to fight drunk, drunk master performed by Takayuki-this is something! And what is important, the downloads are now instant, so the game is almost seamless and instantly transfers to a battle, a movie or a new location, unlike the old version, where you often had to wait after many actions.
The new version of Judgment, among other things, also offers 60 FPS instead of 30 FPS, as well as all previously released DLC. These are costumes for the hero's girls, filters for the camera, details for mini-games, arranging the shelves of the virtual room, as well as useful combat items.
Unfortunately, the lack of a free upgrade option from the PS4 version to the PS5 version and the inability to transfer the save file is definitely an omission from Sega against the background of what other publishers offer. The unique features of DualSense are also not used in the game, which is sad, given the dynamic duels and diverse gameplay. In addition, some may be disappointed by the lack of the usual Yakuza karaoke in Judgment. He is not here, perhaps because of a desire to save money and not pay another round sum to the already expensive actor Takuya Kimura, who gave the appearance and voiced the main character.
On the next-generation consoles, Judgment has become even more beautiful. It boasts its own unique flavor that makes it stand out even against the background of traditional bitmap parts of Yakuza, so if you are impressed with the rest of the games Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and detective entourage, then you should definitely pass it. And in the fall of this year, a direct sequel to the adventure detective-Last Judgment-will go on sale, and immediately on consoles of two generations and simultaneously around the world. We hope that the developers will be able to diversify the gameplay activities and surprise with unexpected twists.