The Yakuza series and its derivatives are notorious for juxtaposing simmering crime drama plots with more outlandish complementary twists, but Lost Judgment marks the first time that the side dishes have been more satisfying than the main course. An intriguing murder case at its center doesn’t go the distance thanks to the lack of twists and turns in the late game and deep detective gameplay, but rather to a surprisingly absorbing series of optional investigations that place returning star Takayuki Yagami. undercover in a Yokohama. high school does a lot to redeem the adventure in general.
When a decomposing body is found in an abandoned warehouse, the prime suspect has an airtight alibi – being caught committing an entirely different crime at the exact same moment the warehouse murder is believed to have occurred. It’s a provocative starting point for meeting private investigator Yagami and his sympathetic crime-solving cohorts, and it kept me enthralled in his opening hours as a number of contradictions were sorted out and modern concepts such as deepfake technology were posited that made me feel like I’m the lead in an episode of CSI: Shinjuku.
This initial intrigue doesn’t last, however, as all of the main parties and players in the main Lost Judgment case have been identified and unmasked at around the beginning of Act Three, meaning any sense of mystery evaporates from it. there when the characters speak in circles and in depth while reexamining the same evidence without revealing any new details. I kept waiting for a plot twist that never came and despite the usual boss fights on the rise in the final chapters of Lost Judgment, I couldn’t help but feel like I was just following the moves.
I was equally apathetic towards Yagami’s detective work which, despite a few minor tweaks and additions, remains as disappointingly shallow and uncompromising in Lost Judgment as it was in the original. The fast-time event chase sequences are repetitive and often ridiculous, running laps of the same small circuit and always looking like a few comedic touches of Yakety Sax far from being a real parody of Benny Hill. Meanwhile, covert follow-up missions are a bit less frustrating this time around thanks to the ability to press a button to “act casually” and hide in plain sight, but no less laborious.
Then there are the parkour sections, which are clunky enough to make an Assassin’s Creed fan want to fall on their hidden blade, and the stealth scenes that require you to toss coins in very specific locations to distract the guards before you hit. that you can get them out (just silently crawling behind them greets them with a gray button indicator and no other course of action other than running back to their clearly marked hiding place). The added detection devices like a high-sensitivity microphone and a hidden camera detector are certainly welcome, but in practice they’re not that different from the simple pixel hunt at the crime scene from Yagami’s first outing.
The only aspect of the Lost Judgment investigation that feels a little more involved is Yagami’s ability to eavesdrop on conversations between pedestrians to pick up certain words or phrases that can be used as search terms in the Buzz Researcher app on your telephone. By doing so, you can examine a text message source and triangulate specific points on the map where new clues can be discovered. It’s still relatively restrictive as you can only use the exact search terms given to you, but as far as the actual deduction goes, it at least made me feel like I was getting my hands dirty rather than just holding them up.
Private Eye Of Private School
And yet, despite all these complaints, I can’t say that I didn’t end up enjoying my time with Lost Judgment in general, and that’s almost entirely thanks to the surprisingly meaty undercover side cases that Yagami is able to undertake at Seiryo High School. . . Playing the role of a Japanese Johnny Depp in a 21 Jump Street-style high school scene feels refreshingly novel, and I enjoyed posing as a choreographer for the school dance team or helping the robotics club refine their machines, while who at the same time was snooping for clues to the identity of an anonymous professor suspected of recruiting students for criminal activities.
These school stories often extend to interesting locations outside of the school grounds and they also do a great job of contextualizing many of the mini-games found in Lost Judgment. The amount of time I spend in the virtual Segas Club found in Yakuza games has decreased with each subsequent sequel over the years; However, in Lost Judgment I was forced to brush up on my Virtua Fighter 5 skills in my efforts to win the love of the school’s eSports team while investigating one of its members accused of cheating at tournaments. I appreciated the way Lost Judgment cleverly takes pre-peripheral ingredients and makes them feel vital.
Lost Judgment – Game Screenshots
In total, there are 10 different school societies to infiltrate and investigate, combining to add more than a dozen hours of compelling case work to the package. It amazes me that all of these are completely optional, as I found them much more attractive and mechanically diverse than anything offered by the main story. This is despite the fact that since they are treated as ‘side quests’ they are sadly not given the same level of elegant presentation brilliance as the full-voiced cut scenes that develop much of Lost Judgment’s core mystery. .
My only major problem with the schoolyard subplots is that in a game that details the potentially horrible ramifications of bullying, including youth suicide, you spend a surprising amount of time as a grown man beating up teenagers. It only takes a few pranks on the math teacher for Yagami to transform into the meanest form of Mr. Miyagi and send a gang of troublemakers from the classroom to the ER, which seems more than a little contrary to the virtuous message. main of Lost Judgment. .
Not exactly like a dragon
Fortunately, most of Yagami’s street fights are fought against consenting adult combatants. Unlike the turn-based battles of 2020 Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Lost Judgment stays true to the real-time Streets of Rage beat-’em-up action that the Yakuza series was built on. That suits me well, as my personal preference is to pull off a combo-based quick beating rather than getting stuck in menus and puzzling over which defense spell to cast next. In addition to the Tiger and Crane fighting styles returning from the original Judgment, Yagami now has a Snake style, which is full of slippery parrying moves, and I was inclined to use it most of the time thanks to the satisfying counterattack opportunities it offers. . constantly create.
However, Lost Judgment simply cannot compete with Yakuza: Like a Dragon when it comes to a wide variety of enemies. While Like a Dragon contains enough colorful characters to crowd the world’s most angry, Where’s Wally? poster, Lost Judgment just pits you against pretty much the same standard street punks in the vast majority of their fights. Leftovers certainly increase in challenge as you go, with gang members increasing in numbers and bringing in more deadly weapons like katanas and flamethrowers, but in the end it feels a bit stale when the thousandth head you break has the same scowling facial texture. than the first. .
Speaking of textures, the Kamarucho and Yokohama settings from Like a Dragon are still as detailed in Lost Judgment, and as dazzling as ever to walk on, especially at night. Yagami has access to a detective dog named Ranpo who can be used to sniff out hidden secrets, but I also enjoyed the simple pleasure of just walking him peacefully through the neon-lit streets. However, it’s a shame that Lost Judgment’s environment isn’t quite as functional as that of the last Yakuza, and in fact, even though there are vending machines on every corner, you can’t buy items from them like you could in Like a Dragon. . Instead, you have to head to the nearest Poppo whenever you want supplies, which ironically makes these convenience stores seem somewhat awkward in comparison.
Kung Fu Kickflip
That extra fieldwork is mitigated a bit with the inclusion of a skateboard, which former attorney Yagami can magically pull out at any time to go from expired legal eagle to aspiring Tony Hawk. However, it is unfortunately quite clumsy implemented. The button you hold down to run is the same button that activates the skateboard, so I often found myself accidentally skidding into a group of pedestrians and piling it up when I was just trying to speed past. That made it move a lot faster than I would have liked. Also, cash is so easily earned that I was more inclined to order a taxi from Yagami’s phone than to try to get anywhere on foot.
In fact, while Lost Judgment has an incredibly long list of features and some of them are very well done, skateboarding is just one of many that looks good on paper but not so good in practice. Admittedly, you can compete in violent Road Rash-inspired motorcycle races, try to score high scores at a warehouse skate park, and go incognito to a Russian school for ninjas. But it’s also true that motorcycle racing is hampered by stiff controls and an impractical chase camera, skateboarding tricks are on rails (and not in a good way), and infiltrating the ninja school basically amounts to playing a game. Darts game and get sucked into another monotonous chase sequence. In a way, Lost Judgment is a bit like a gacha machine – all those toys look attractive and varied when you look at them through the glass, but once he dispenses a capsule and you open it, you realize they are made to a surprisingly low price and suddenly you’re not sure if you really needed it in the first place.
For that same 100 yen token, there are a lot of really fun activities that only come up over time. I spent more than 30 hours in my game and well beyond the credits accumulated in the main story before unlocking a robust arcade boxing minigame, complete with 24 different opponents and its own leveling system and unlockable special moves, for example. I have only discovered three of the 12 game cartridges that you can play on the Sega Master System at Yagami’s office yet. And what is this? A fun minigame where you have to drunk chat with waitresses at the local nightclub? There are certainly plenty of hidden delights to be found by digging around Lost Judgment’s sandbox, provided you’re prepared to invest the time and take the good with the bad.