The simultaneous release of Judgment and Lost Judgment was a very pleasant surprise. Even more so when it happened completely unexpectedly, in the form of the so-called "silent drops". Probably, the Google Stadia shutdown played its part in the sudden appearance of the two games on Steam, but in the end, as PC users, we don't really care that much. After all, always a new story from the "masters" at Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio is welcome and Lost Judgment is no exception.

As you (probably) read in Admiral's review, Lost Judgment is the first sequel to the Yakuza spin-off series, and one of the major (if not the only) differences that will make it stand out from the "regular series" is that it will continue to use action-based combat instead of the turn-based combat first implemented in Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Besides that, Judgment features an entirely new, but equally likeable and dynamic protagonist, Takayuki Yagami. A guy who may not have a dark and bloody past deep in the underworld, he nonetheless remains an irritatingly righteous, stubborn and master martial artist, former lawyer/current detective.

Visits to school premises are essential if we want to find evidence of bullying.

The sequel takes place a few years after the events of Judgment, however it chooses to tell a completely new story, which you can easily follow even if you haven't touched the first title. Of course, there are some references and throwbacks to Judgment's characters and events, yet you're not really missing anything important if you're unaware of them... However, once again Ryu Ga Gotoku chooses to stir the pot by addressing an issue that is of serious concern to all nations worldwide and, as it seems, will continue to do so: that of bullying in schools and its long-term effects on perpetrators and victims alike.

As much as this kind of case might be a piece of cake for Yagami, that's not the case at all. When two of his friends from the first Judgment open a new office in Yokohama and call on him and his partner Kaito to help them with one of their first cases, which involves "stalking" a private school regarding suspected bullying, things soon get complicated.

Οι μάχες με διάφορους τέτοιους τύπους είναι ρουτίνα στον κόσμο του Lost Judgment.

That's because a gruesome murder, first made known in a courtroom at a sexual harassment trial, something seemingly unrelated to the case Yagami is investigating, sets the stage for a series of terrible revelations and secrets. Secrets that may even reach very high up in the government, which has every reason to want to sweep the dirt under the rug. It's up to Yagami to find out how deep the rabbit hole goes, always at the risk of his physical integrity (his own and his friends') and the future of Japan.

Overall it's a pretty strong story, which keeps the player interested in its conclusion, though admittedly it takes a while to get going. Once it does, however, it's almost impossible to let go of the keyboard/controller until the many darker aspects of it are revealed. Of course, there's no shortage of exaggerations and extremes, this is a Japanese story after all, but the way the plot unfolds and the surprises it presents are, once again, delightful.

Dancing with the school stars.

We can't be as positive about the gameplay, not because it's problematic, just because unfortunately, once again, it doesn't innovate and doesn't dare to offer anything different. To be fair, though, Lost Judgment largely corrects the shortcomings of the original game: on the one hand, there are far fewer (hated) tailing missions, and on the other hand, the side quests are clearly more thoughtful and more varied. Of course, by no means are they considered few, but the creators have shown restraint in their unremitting supply of them, and you can take them on in a variety of ways. In the classic pattern where... you "accidentally" stumble upon them, through the cases you find posted on the wall while visiting your office or while searching for keywords on your mobile phone. The main thing is that they avoid "overwhelming" the player, forcing him to do the same thing over and over again... except for one, optional but important part of the game, which we'll explain a bit further on.

However, the detective element remains weak. It makes no difference what answers you give to each question or what evidence you provide to the witness/suspect, since if you get it wrong, you try again until you get it right. Even when you need to locate a clue with a gadget (camera, noise amplifier, detector or... dog - where's the weirdness?), it's very simple to do so, let alone when the game itself limits the space you can move around in or the suspects under investigation. And the stealth and climbing elements incorporated are so simplistic in their implementation that it's rather funny to talk about any comparison to games like Thief or Assassin's Creed. 

EX moves, besides being impressively choreographed, do a tremendous amount of damage.

Consequently, Lost Judgment still avoids boggling the minds of would-be players, choosing to do so only in their reflexes during the game's various (dozens of) battles. Battles that, at least on the normal difficulty level, aren't particularly difficult, as long as you have a basic idea of the various kung fu styles Yagami knows, when and where they're best used, along with the EX moves that crush each opponent. There are (initially) three styles; Tiger, Crane and Snake, all of which have different kinematics, but also power. For example, Tiger is the most powerful at dealing damage and is mainly aimed at one on one combat, while Crane is ideal for crowd control. And the Snake, which is my favorite, emphasizes counters and deflections, especially against armed enemies, "staging" some beautiful sequences. Also, another style is added later on, that of the boxer, but you'll need a lot of time to unlock all its secrets.

You will also need to spend a lot of time on School Stories, the parallel (optional as we said) story that takes place at the same time as the main story. In essence, School Stories is a series of "big" side quests, quite interesting and considerably more well-written than their mundane counterparts, where you are tasked with tracking down a criminal who has infiltrated the private school premises. There the game decides to get more grindy than necessary, as you'll have to deal extensively with mini-games, such as dancing, in order to gain the sympathy of the school's students to move on. Most mini-games are fun and are indeed quite entertaining, but there are times when, as detectives, we'd rather do something else to find the criminal than dance every now and then with little girls. That said, these are common situations for the Japanese, and mini-games are an important part of "Yakuza" games anyway.

Unfortunately, the detective element is still very poor.

So here too, you'll find a plethora of mini games (dancing, boxing, baseball, darts etc), as well as the ability to play old arcades, dominated by titles such as Super Hang On, Space Harrier, Virtua Fighters and Fighting Vipers. Besides that, many people will be pleased with the fact that there is a Master System in Yagami's office, which works properly, having several games built into its memory, and you can find more cartridges to enrich your collection. A batch of Alex Kidd, anyone?

Moving on to the technical side, Lost Judgment features the same graphics engine used in the last few Yakuza games, so you pretty much know in advance what you're going to be watching. It's just that this time it seems like the budget was bigger than Judgment, as the game looks overall more beautiful both in the Yokohama and Kamurocho environments, where you'll primarily be wandering around, and in the animation and expressions of the actors. And the voice-over is once again amazing, even in case you decide to play with the English one (I wonder why?).

Kamurocho by night.

To sum up, Lost Judgment is another very worthwhile offering from Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio. In case you're a fan of the Yakuza series, it goes without saying that you'll also get this title: you're guaranteed to be entertained for hours and hours. On the other hand, if they never "clicked" on you, then this episode is not going to change your mind either. Nevertheless, if you're interested in learning what "Yakuza" (or Like A Dragon, as they'll be called from now on) is all about, then Lost Judgment is undoubtedly an excellent choice.

RATING - 84%


Stop the Bullies

It hardly innovates at all, but Lost Judgment is still a very fun and addictive Yakuza-style game that can keep you busy for hours.

Γιώργος Δεμπεγιώτης

Lover of action, shooter, adventure, RPG's and sometimes racing games, he prefers mainly single-player gaming. Every now and then he breaks out into a multi, but he doesn't overdo it.


  1. Θα τα παιξω και τα 2 ! Ειναι και αυτα παιχνιδαρες οπως ολα τα yakuza(εκτος απο το like a dragon) απο οτι εχω δει !

  2. [QUOTE=”shredder, post: 609336, member: 103108″]
    Θα τα παιξω και τα 2 ! Ειναι και αυτα παιχνιδαρες οπως ολα τα yakuza(εκτος απο το like a dragon) απο οτι εχω δει !
    Ξεχαθαρο Χ επειδή το like a dragon είναι παιχνιδαρα. Συμφωνώ με την υπόλοιπη πρόταση.

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