The review of Judgment, spin-off of the Yakuza series

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Marie-Ange Demory
@marie-angedemory
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Black and white, two colors that - dissolving like the protagonists in the opening film - mix, giving life to gray. This last tonality represents ambiguity, uncertainty, blind spots and that line along which lawmen tend to dance. Between an entirely personal sense of justice and the use of unorthodox methods we find precisely Yagami, the protagonist of our adventure. Shortly before E3 2019, Judgment already gave way to fans of Yakuza studio to test a small portion of it, presenting more shaded areas than bright certainties. A few months later we have finally been able to get our hands on the spin-off of the Yakuza series definitively. After testing far and wide the new creature of Toshihiro Nagoshi, we are ready to formulate our judgment: once the preliminary questions have been dispelled and the high expectations in terms of narration confirmed, we could comfortably recommend the purchase of Judgment. This of course only after reading our review.



Takayuki “Tak” Yagami is a brilliant budding lawyer, with out-of-the-ordinary argumentative skills and an apparently downward future. Raised by patriarch Matsugane, head of a minor family affiliated with the powerful Tojo clan, the protagonist was able to learn martial arts, street fighting and the basics of criminal life, all while managing to complete his law studies at evening schools. Once he embarks on his own path in the world of law, Yagami joins the small law firm of Genda-San, one of the three father figures for our hero. After obtaining an acquittal for a murder case - a more unique than rare event in Japan - Tak lives his moment of glory, also arousing the envy of Shintani, the oldest member of the office. However, the time to rest on one's laurels is short-lived, as Shinpei Okubo, the man just cleared of the charges, has returned to commit the same crime, this time taking the life of his girlfriend and setting the apartment on fire. Torn by the sense of guilt for not having recognized his insane murderous nature, Yagami decides to hang up his jacket, effectively putting an early end to his career as a lawyer. Together with Kaito, the old Matsugane lieutenant now an ordinary citizen, he is born the Yagami Private Investigation Bureau. On the horizon, a new war between the Tojo Clan and a group of Kansai threatens to bring fire and sword to Kamurocho, as a gang of young acrobatic thieves line up a series of thefts with dexterity.



Criminal families, corrupt executioners and shady multinationals make up the threads that make up the plot.

It is therefore up to us to get to grips with the situation, unveiling plots and scenarios far greater than one might expect. Straddling the hard boiled cinema and the Holmesian adventures, Judgment turned out to be a true pearl of the narrative, with a plot that does not struggle to match the quality of what is seen in Yakuza 0 (to date the best episode in terms of storytelling). After a full-bodied first chapter and a series of slower setting brackets, the former Judge Eyes (the previous title of the production, ed) begins to crackle in its crescendo, in the direction of an explosive ending. With its events with a "sepia effect" flavor, this new episode has been able to kidnap and amaze us, touching not only the surface of the criminal world but also delving into the rot of the strong powers. Criminal families, corrupt executioners and shady multinationals make up the threads that make up the plot. With such potential we would challenge anyone not to be intrigued by the darkness that lurks in Tokyo's alleys.

Again Yakuza studio gave birth to a solid imagery, supported by a very high quality weave and a cast of undoubted depth. One almost wonders how it is possible that Nagoshi-San and his companions have almost never "cannoned" a character, both in the main saga and in the unrelated episodes. It will be for his eccentric style, his vision of life or for all those behavioral traits and for the stylistic elements that have made the immense fortune of manga and anime, but trust us when we tell you that every single face will be able to impress itself on your mind. Even without the intervention of historical names for the series, the cast of Judgment still manages to keep intact that atmosphere of epicness mixed with the most vulgar exaggeration, letting a one-of-a-kind product sprout once again. The actors who donated their voices and features to Yagami, Kaito, Hamura and many others did a commendable job. For this reason, although the English language dubbing is of a good standard, we recommend that you complete the adventure with purely Japanese audio. Finally we emphasize deo gratias the presence of subtitles in Italian: now you have absolutely no excuse to postpone your entry into the streets of Kamurocho.



Although in the first instance the absence of the Dragon of Dojima can be felt, the young investigator will know how to conquer the players

Tak Yagami is not Kiryu Kazuma and it never will be. This is a fact that must be accepted and internalized, on pain of not fully enjoying a more than valid protagonist. Although at first the absence of the Dragon of Dojima can be felt, the young investigator will know how to conquer the players, leaving us hopeful for a future appearance of him. Widely distant in terms of personality and physical power, the two share some traits that have made fans of the Sega series fall in love so much. Why let's face it, Judgment is a "Yakuza" in all respects: storytelling, fights, secondary activities, game dynamics, locations, assets, everything is shared with the main strand of the brand. If at first the game decides to put us in the shoes of a smart and thoughtful detective, the core typically of action explodes, kicking off a whirlwind of fast and breathtaking events. From sneaking into a building in disguise to smashing doors with a series of powerful kicks, it's a very short step. The investigative mechanics have been promoted as the real point of difference of the title from the other episodes of Yakuza, but there is a bit of clarity on this. Some of these can be pleasant and fun, such as the use of the drone and the chases, while others - for example the stalking and the photographic sections - suffer from the exploitation of playful tricks that are really too old-fashioned. Finally, the change of clothes is perhaps the least popular artifice, since the player is asked to do it only a couple of times during the entire campaign.


We take care of keeping our role fresh and alive secondary cases, that is to say the evolution of the Substories that we have already had the opportunity to know previously. Just like in the Sherlock television series, clients come to visit us at the studio, exposing their drama and suspicions. Once the case is accepted, we must stalk, gather evidence and face all sorts of enemies, from cheating husbands to the most bizarre and lustful sex addicts. Together with the main events, theand side missions make up an important part of the package, managing not only to capture our attention but also having fun with a healthy dose of laughter. The number of secondary cases also depends on the reputation Yagami enjoys in the city, dictated by the level of agreement with potential friends scattered throughout the game map. By completing the most disparate requests in Friend Events, the bond with them is consolidated, allowing us to unlock bonus items, skill tomes and new clients for the study. Our phone once again assumes great importance, both for taking photos within investigations, and for managing inventory, combat techniques and contacts. The app KamuroGo in fact, it covers the role of the infamous Completition List, a series of objectives to be completed before considering our experience in Kamurocho 100% complete. With the new messaging service, on the other hand, it is possible to keep alive relations with our friends but also with them love affairs: the flames of the moment can turn into life companions, reacting credibly to Tak's comments, all giving us the impression of being in a dating simulator, a genre so dear to a small videogame circle. As usual, the plethora of recreational activities returns, ranging from games to cursed Mahjong to long sessions in Sega branded salons with Virtua Fighter 5, passing through drone racing to a VR version of The Goose Game. While not reaching the heights of Yakuza Kiwami 2 in terms of content and quality, Judgment has all the numbers to capture most of your free time, provided that the other releases of the month of June were lenient in this regard.


Although without reaching the heights of Kiwami 2, Judgment is a Yakuza in every sense.

The differences between Yagami and that golden-hearted legend called Kazuma Kiryu they are not limited to the simple role played in Japanese society. Where the good Kazuma makes up for the lack of grace with unnatural strength, Tak finds in acrobatic combat his true calling. A little Akiyama a little Goro Majima, our detective can use two different fighting styles, namely those of the crane and the tiger: the first is more suitable for facing large groups of enemies, while the second obtains better results in the one-on-one fights. Pirouettes, whirlwinds of flying kicks and jumps on the walls are only a small part of the repertoire at our disposal. The Heat Actions - this time called moves EX - come back in style and as always over the top. By pressing the triangle button in certain contexts, a short animation is started with which to spread the unfortunate person on duty in the most absurd ways. The right trigger is instead dedicated to activating the enhancement, a state in which greater damage is inflicted and otherwise unusable techniques are unlocked, complete with a Saiyan-like colored aura. To acquire new moves and powers it is necessary to spend your PT (experience points) in three different lists, the first dedicated to strength and our constitution, the second to techniques and EX moves while the last contains all those useful goodies social and investigative activities. Although it is always possible to collect objects on the battlefield, unfortunately there are not the weapons that we enjoyed so much in Kiwami 2 and Yakuza 0. The inventory is therefore mostly dedicated to the management of medicines, first aid kits - essential for treat fatal wounds - and parts for the drone. The game system in Judgment is therefore not as well-finished as the some previous chapters, but that's enough to keep the involvement alive.

 

As for the episodes following the remake of the first chapter, Judgment also exploits the Dragon Engine, the current graphics engine of Yakuza studio. Really pleasing to the eye after a first impact, the dragon unfortunately fails - at least for this time - to impress as in Kiwami 2 and the reasons are soon said. As we all know, the fictional Tokyo district has always been able to fascinate the player with its almost omnipresent neon lights: in the case of Judgment, the darker tones have ended up penalizing this factor, making Tak's night walks less evocative than fist fights. of Kiryu in the moonlight. Also from the point of view of performance, the technical sector shows the side of some critical issues, on all some textures that are rather slow in loading and in low definition. Although the latter do not give particular annoyance during the phases of the game aimed at action, it is undeniable how their presence makes you turn up your nose in photo missions, where you switch to a first-person shot to search for clues. The stability of the framerate even in the most frenetic situations remains one of the strengths of Nagoshi's productions, but the real applause must be made to the modeling of the main characters, particularly faithful to the real counterparts and to the sound sector. The dubbing it is in fact of the highest level (the Japanese one is excellent, the English one is good), while the musical tracks they manage to worthily cover the various passages of the plot. With the exception of the opening theme - “Arpeggio” by [Alexandros] for those interested - don't expect memorable pieces like in Yakuza Zero, Yakuza 6 or Kiwami 2.

USEFUL INFO

We have completed Judgment on PlayStation 4 and tested the technical sector also on PS4 Pro. Once the main campaign, numerous secondary cases and side activities, we are ready to recommend Sega's title to anyone who has never approached the world of Yakuza .

Duration
  • About thirty hours for the main story alone
  • By adding the secondary missions and other activities, you can also reach sixty hours
Structure
  • History divided into twelve chapters
  • Large map, accessible only on foot (if you are looking for GTA, you are in the wrong building!)
  • Streets full of pedestrians, shops and activities to do
  • Brawler fighting with two different styles
  • Skill points to spend
Collectibles and Extras
  • QR codes to photograph
  • Skill Tomes
  • Components for the drone
Game Card
  • Game Name: Judgment
  • Release date: June 25 2019
  • Platforms: PlayStation 4
  • Dubbing language: Japanese - English
  • Texts language: Japanese - English - Italian

You left with a good dose of questions, Judgment was able to dispel all our doubts. The goodness of the production of Toshihiro Nagoshi and Yakuza Studio is ascertainable thanks to a very high quality narration, a simple but solid combat system, a well-made technical sector and a wide range of games. The title of Sega he lives more on lights than shadows and - despite not reaching the heights of Kiwami 2 - he does not struggle to match the writing and emotional involvement of Yakuza 0, which is saying something. We therefore recommend the purchase to anyone, having the development team finally opened its doors even to those who do not chew English well with Italian subtitles.

Farow's review
Graphics

Judgment looks good visually, with good use of the Dragon Engine. The main characters' facial animations and their polygonal models are of excellent quality. The framerate always remains stable, unlike some slow-moving and low-quality textures.

83
SOUNDTRACK AND DOUBLE ROOM

The original dubbing - together with the acting of the interpreters - demonstrates the goodness of the entire product, giving even more strength to the player's involvement in the events. His English counterpart does a decent job, however, without making a miracle cry in terms of quality. Staying on the subject of miracles, the game is completely subtitled in Italian.

87
GAMEPLAY

Serious, mature, exciting but also fresh, funny and exaggerated: Judgment lives on the same duality of the chapters of Yakuza. Because in the end this is what it is, a canonical chapter in disguise. The combat system, although less refined than that of Kiryu, still returns positive sensations, thanks to the agility and dynamism of the protagonist. Recreational activities may be fewer than in the past, but they do not betray expectations when it comes to entertainment.

90
Total Rating scale
86
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