Judgment - Analysis
In this open city adventure, loads of things to do and investigate, progression, action, minigames, eloquent dialogue and attractive graphics again moved with the amazing Dragon Engine , we embody a new character in the brand, the detective Takayuki Yagami , who Far from the adventures of Kazuma Kiryu (protagonist of the Yakuza saga), he is rather dedicated to achieving his ends by much more intelligent means than his mafia violence. Although only from time to time, because in Judgment they repeat the frequent street fights of martial arts and spectacular combos , or the crude extortion of anyone who opposes their objectives. This is a very violent game .
Tak was a Tokyo lawyer who, according to the prologue of this good handful of hours that can exceed 50 to complete the main story, is ruined in his career after an unfortunate accident with one of his previously defended, now a repeat murderer. His working life is going downhill and he is soon forced to change his profession but without completely abandoning the world of crime fighting, although too often crossing the limits of good. He is a man of principle, but he also believes in brute force as a measure of defense or success in situations that are going to get complicated, with the worst underworld of the Kamurocho neighborhood, once again the complete protagonist of this judicial journey as a thriller .
Because yes, they repeat the dozens of places where to eat oriental noodles, vending machines, bicycles, alleys, arcades, internet cafes, megacorporations, luxurious offices, nightclubs, taxis on the corner to travel fast ... Everything is purely Yakuza, to the point that we already seem to know Yagami from very early on . And to the point of, if you come from another recent game, feel that, a priori, this is more of the same.
But it's not like that. After the first 5 or 6 hours Judgment unfolds its true personality, with a more mature and credible protagonist, and a series of serious playable mechanics that force you to think and not just solve everything quickly and easily. Here each of the cases, sometimes more closely related to the detective and other mere assignments of his profession, are long and require preparation based on finding evidence, following witnesses, preparing traps, entering prohibited sites, collecting incriminating documents ...
The game structure is thus drawn more enveloping, getting the willing player to feel interested in each new case and situation, with its unpredictable characters, with good script twists in between and cinematics and dialogues that detail everything at the level narrative, of course. Now the conversations propose an examination to the attention. With the clues, evidence and suspicions,
Tak Yagami will have to question a lot of bosses and personalities, and the player will guess which question first and will give him information, with a new minigame based on correct and incorrect questions to guess in series, in different numbers according to intensity of the conversation and with bonus of experience points if it is not failed. It's a simple mechanic, but it starts to bring in fresh air.
Badass Detective from Kamurocho
It's not the only detective mechanic that splashes into the game frequently and brings even more variety to what the Yakuza already did so well. Yagami has many chases in the race , resolved through quick time events and compulsory attention in the labyrinthine alleys, and also covert espionage , hiding behind corners so that his spy does not detect him, in a fairly automated and simple coverage game that, in the last bars of the story, it becomes more agile and interesting, providing a certain challenge that requires all the previous practice.
There is no shortage of moments of donning a costume and sneaking into ultra-protected facilities to steal documents, a minigame of lock picks that, without being the most difficult we have seen, requires a certain skill in armored doors, or permanent attention to any comments from witnesses that can give us the answer to the code of a safe or some coordinates. With a first-person view , there are quite a few passages where the player must search the rich scenes for details of interest, at first very marked but later becoming more complicated and hiding. We will also have to sabotage and inspect security cameras , or pilot Yagami's own, a drone that, silently, is able to see or hear what he cannot and from the air.
All this, luckily for the clueless player, is automatically noted in Tak's notebook , actually making things quite easy for anyone who wants to get to the point and be guided by the indicators, which we would like to have been able to deactivate to some extent for the players. that we want a superior research challenge. But Judgment is not an Ace Attorney or a puzzle game , at heart. Its arcade approach and fully drinking from the spirit of Shenmue what it tries is that the player has a good time at all times. And for that, you know, we also have a lot of additional tasks and endless activities in the different environments of the game.
The maps of the game are the conventional ones in Yakuza, with countless places of leisure and commerce, feeding that role-playing and semi-open world style characteristic of the Kazuma Kiryu saga, They repeat the Sega Club with the recreational ones that, for the most part, we already had seen in the last Yakuza, like Figthing Vippers or Virtua Fighter 5 Showdown. And also bars and clubs where you can spend yen and consume, play bowling and other entertainments, and reinforce attributes and statistics, even momentarily.
The mobile phone is, once again, the center of the character's progress and the main HUD of the player. From here we can take photos or see the map, check Tak's notes, receive calls, unlock skills, manage inventory ... Nothing that we have not seen before in the open worlds, of course, but it still works great.
Tiger and Crane: Kung Fu even faster
The combat in Judgment is again incredibly well resolved. What starts out as simple combos of smashing square and triangle button chains, plus some circle grip and lethal deployment of specials when filling the bar, as new combat skills are gained for the detective becomes an interesting beat'em. up where you have to better measure the styles, the keys, the locks and cons, the walls ...
Judgment is super agile in its combats and the blows are felt in the vibration of the command and forceful sound, with two fighting styles, Tiger and Crane, to be exchanged according to focus on an enemy or a group that surrounds us. There are a good number of new animations and wall support combos, as well as advanced techniques to discover at the end of the game and that make the protagonist an almost supernatural being, with a great sight to behold when seeing him in motion and a lot of satisfaction and fun also as an action game.
It is true that the change in tone and character could have been used to bet on something new and fresh, but it is seen that its developers advocated "if something works, why change it". And once again, too, the fights are fired in the streets and against the final bosses as always, with prior warning and scoring according to certain factors, which makes it desirable to stick at all times to gain more and more experience points to spend buying skills, plus bonus items and some cash almost always. There are a lot of fights.
In the audiovisual aspect we can get few cracks from a Dragon Engine that continues to be a graphic delight, especially in the finishing of the faces and the treatment of wet textures. The sound is masterful and the musical soundtrack behaves wonderfully, giving the experience at all times that cinematic touch that all Yakuza - including its spin-off - always pursue. Too bad there are transitions to black between cinematic and ingame , something to be polished in the future, almost in the new generation of consoles. Needless to say, we owe a huge applause to Koch Media, the distributor in Spain, for getting the translation into Spanish of texts once and for all. Voices in English and Japanese , we recommend Japanese dubbing, definitely.
Lastly, Judgment doesn't forget that its fans love to jump into the various skill challenges and mini-games, and compare their scores with the rest of the world. Here there is no lack of record mode, just as there is no lack of a difficulty selector to make all the fights more or less hard, as well as to enhance certain aids. However, we repeat, in terms of investigation mechanics we would have liked to be able to configure it more thoroughly.