Lost Judgment

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Lost Judgment
LostJudgmentcover.png
Developer(s)Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
Publisher(s)Sega
Director(s)Yutaka Ito
Producer(s)Kazuki Hosokawa
Designer(s)Natsuki Isaki
Programmer(s)Tomoaki Nakamura
Artist(s)Naoki Someya
Writer(s)
Composer(s)
  • Hidenori Shoji
  • Yuri Fukuda
  • Chihiro Aoki
  • Saori Yoshida
  • Satoshi Okamura
  • Keitaro Hanada
  • Takahiro Kai
SeriesYakuza
Platform(s)
ReleasePS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
  • WW: September 24, 2021
Luna
  • US: March 31, 2022
Windows
  • WW: September 14, 2022
Genre(s)Action-adventure
Mode(s)Single-player

Lost Judgment[a] is an action-adventure video game developed by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and published by Sega. It was released for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S on September 24, 2021, for Amazon Luna on March 31, 2022,[1] and for Windows on September 14, 2022.[2] A sequel to the 2018 game Judgment (a spin-off of the Yakuza series), the game focuses on private detective Takayuki Yagami as he investigates a criminal accused of both sexual harassment and murder.[3] Yagami manages to see the connection between the suspect Akihiro Ehara and his links with a series of murders committed against bullies in Kamurochō and Isezaki Ijincho. The game builds on the action sequences from the first game while revising its stealth elements. Yagami uses two returning fighting styles plus the new aikido-based Snake.

Lost Judgment is the directorial debut of Kazuki Hosokawa, who aimed to make it superior to its predecessor–on which he worked as producer–while attempting to also create an appealing narrative. Major Japanese voice actors include the returning Takuya Kimura (Yagami) and the newcomers Hiroshi Tamaki (Soma) and Koji Yamamoto (Kuwana) whose characters rival Yagami as the writers wanted their stories to explore the subject of bullying and whether or not Yagami has the power to stop it.

Like its predecessor, the game received positive reviews from critics. The plot was generally praised for handling multiple controversial subjects in a serious manner though the pacing and style was the subject of mixed responses. Nevertheless, Yagami and the cast were well received. The gameplay was also praised, particularly the new improved fighting styles, but the stealth and parkour moves were often noted to be poorly developed. Downloadable content in the form of new sidequests and a story expansion focused on Yagami's partner Masaharu Kaito was also released.

Gameplay[edit]

Yagami walks around the streets of Ijincho with a Shiba Inu named Ranpo. He can be called in to help Yagami find hidden items and clues.

In Lost Judgment, the player controls Takayuki Yagami as he explores the Japanese cities of Kamurochō and Isezaki Ijincho (recreations of the real-life Kabukichō and Isezakichō districts, respectively). Yagami can switch between three fighting styles in battle. In addition to the crowd-control Crane style and the one-on-one Tiger style from Judgment, Yagami uses the newly added Snake style for counterattacking and disarming enemies.[4]

As in the previous game, Lost Judgment also features stealth segments, platforming segments, and "tailing" missions where Yagami chases suspects around the city.[4] The trailing sections of the game have been changed in order to give the players more activity in the segment.[5] New to Lost Judgment is the "Detective Dog", a Shiba Inu named Ranpo whom Yagami can take on walks to find hidden items or track suspects via their scent.[6] The game also features a "School Stories" system, where Seiryo High School's Mystery Research Club president Kyoko Amasawa requests Yagami investigate and assist other clubs and students in order to solve a greater mystery. Yagami can fulfill these requests by taking on side missions and playing various minigames.[3] Some of these side missions include coaching the school's dance team through a rhythm minigame; building and controlling a robot in competitions for the robotics club; defeating a biker gang in a series of motorcycle races; and helping a troubled teenager overcome his violent tendencies through boxing training.[7][8]

Similar to previous games, the player has access to emulations of classic Sega games. The in-game Club Sega arcades feature multiple playable arcade cabinets, including Space Harrier, Fantasy Zone, Super Hang-OnFighting Vipers, Sonic the Fighters, Motor Raid, and Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown.[9] Yagami can also play several Master System games in his office, including Alex Kidd in Miracle World; Fantasy Zone; Secret Command; Quartet; Enduro Racer; Penguin Land; Maze Hunter 3-D; Woody Pop; and Snail Maze.[10]

Yagami's partner, Masaharu Kaito, also appears as a playable character via downloadable content. Kaito uses two different fighting styles: Bruiser, which focuses on offense and utilizes quick evasion; and Tank, which focuses on defense and environmental weapon usage.[11][12] Sega has stated that Kaito's story campaign lasts roughly 10 hours.[13]

Synopsis[edit]

The Ijincho district of Yokohama is based on Isezakichō

Setting and characters[edit]

The game is set in December 2021, three years after the events of Judgment. Three days after police officer Akihiro Ehara is accused of sexual harassment, a dead body is found in Yokohama's Isezaki Ijincho district, and his defense lawyer Saori Shirosaki calls on private detective Takayuki Yagami to help investigate Ehara's involvement.[4] The main theme of the story involves whether or not Yagami will "defend the law or enact justice" the more he is involved in the case.[14] Yagami's investigations take place across Kamurochō and Ijincho.[4] The staff aimed to balance the game's dramatic and comic stories.[5]

New characters include Kazuki Soma (Hiroshi Tamaki/Matthew Yang King), the head of the "RK" (Red Knife) Hangure syndicate that has attempted to seize power in Kamurochō in the wake of the Tojo Clan and Omi Alliance disbanding, as depicted in Yakuza: Like a Dragon; Akihiro Ehara (Ken Mitsuishi/Artt Butler), a Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Officer accused of criminal activity; and Jin Kuwana (Koji Yamamoto/Todd Haberkorn), a mysterious handyman with ties to the incident.[15]

Plot[edit]

Private detective Takayuki Yagami and his partner Masaharu Kaito are invited by their friends Fumiya Sugiura and Makoto Tsukumo to assist their fledgling detective business in Ijincho to solve a bullying case. Seiryo High School chairman Yuzo Okuda explains he wants the detectives to covertly investigate the school to determine if any bullying has been taking place among the students; the school was pprevvously involved in a bullying scandal in 2017 when a student, Toshiro Ehara, committed suicide. Yagami covertly discourages a group of bullies from targeting student Mami Koda by convincing the rest of her class to stand up to them. Yagami receives a call from his friend Saori Shirosaki at the Genda Law Office. Shirosaki explains that one of her clients, Akihiro Ehara, Toshiro's father, was arrested and convicted for sexual battery, but during his court testimony he revealed he knew about the death of Hiro Mikoshiba, a student teacher that went missing two months prior who he holds responsible for Toshiro's suicide. However, the discovery of Mikoshiba's body and identification of his corpse only occurred after Ehara's statement, leading Shirosaki to believe Ehara was involved in Mikoshiba's death and deliberately got himself caught for sexual battery to provide himself an alibi for his murder.

As Yagami investigates, he discovers that Ehara's case is connected to an attempted suicide in 2008 which led to the victim, Mitsuru Kusumoto, being trapped in a coma. Yagami learns from Seiryo teacher Yoko Sawa that Mikoshiba was in fact bullying Toshiro, but she was coerced by the school to stay silent. It is later revealed that Sawa's former homeroom teacher, now known by the alias Jin Kuwana, obtained a secret recording of his students bullying Mitsuru. Feeling guilty over enabling Mitsuru's bullying, Kuwana used the tape as leverage to blackmail his students into assisting him on his crusade to rid Japan of bullies by murdering those responsible for causing suicides. Yagami gains enough evidence to force Ehara's admission to his entire scheme, as he not only wanted to get revenge for Toshiro, but also to expose the flaws in Japan's legal system. However, despite these successes, Yagami is unable to save Sawa from being murdered by the RK, a Hangure gang led by Kazuki Soma, who are hunting Kuwana.

Yagami discovers that the police have pinned Sawa's death on Kuwana, and RK have invaded Ijincho in full force to find Kuwana. Further investigation leads to Yagami discovering that the National Police Agency's Public Security Division, led by Hidemi Bando, has secretly hired RK to capture Kuwana, as they have learned that Mitsuru's mother, Vice Health Minister Reiko Kusumoto, murdered one of Mitsuru's bullies, Shinya Kawai, with Kuwana's assistance. With evidence of Kusumoto's crime, Public Security can blackmail her into giving them access to Japan's national pension fund of ¥160 trillion which they hope to use to jumpstart Japan's stagnant economy despite it being effectively a gamble. To avoid being used as a puppet by Public Security, Kusumoto considers turning herself in to the police, but Mitsuru finally awakens from his coma, giving Public Security the necessary leverage to force her to betray Kuwana.

Intending to force a confrontation, Kuwana calls Yagami, Kusumoto, and Bando, offering to give up the location of Kawai's body. Yagami and his friends follow Soma and RK to an abandoned warehouse in Ijincho, where they battle for possession of Kawai's body. Working together with Kuwana, Yagami and his friends defeat Soma and his men. Kuwana decides to destroy Kawai's corpse to erase any possible link to Kusumoto, as he just wants her and Mitsuru to be happy. Yagami challenges Kuwana, stating if Kusumoto doesn't reveal the truth, then Sawa's death would never see justice. Both men battle with Yagami being the victor, but Yagami lets Kuwana escape. Kusumoto turns herself in to the authorities, Soma is taken into custody, Bando is formally charged for sanctioning Soma's illegal activities, and Koda's bullies reform their behavior and reconcile with her.

The Kaito Files[edit]

A month after the incident with Ehara, while Yagami is out of town on a job, Kaito is contacted by tech CEO Kyoya Sadamoto. Sadamoto asks Kaito to find his wife Mikiko, who allegedly committed suicide two years prior but was recently spotted in Kamurochō. As Mikiko was his ex-girlfriend, Kaito feels emotionally compromised and declines the case. Later, Kaito encounters Sadamoto's son Jun, who believes the circumstances around Mikiko's death were falsified and that she is alive. When Jun claims that Kaito is his biological father, he finally agrees to take the case. While searching, Jun is kidnapped by the corrupt Bato Detective Agency, but is ultimately rescued by Kaito.

During their investigation, Kaito and Jun learn that a man was asking around Kamurochō about Mikiko a few months after her death. Traveling to his home in Chiba, they meet Yasutaka Shirakaba, a doctor who admits to faking Mikiko's death to protect her from a gang that was looking for her. Shirakaba explains that he found Mikiko suffering from dissociative amnesia after falling from a waterfall, and has been caring for her in secret for the last two years. However, Mikiko recently disappeared after her memories finally resurfaced. The three are then confronted by Crimson Lotus, a gang from Shinjuku led by Shusuke Kenmochi whom Shirakaba identifies as the ones who were looking for Mikiko. The gang demands they hand Mikiko over, claiming she is responsible for killing several of their members, but Kaito and the others manage to escape.

In Kamurochō, Kaito finds Mikiko confronting another Crimson Lotus member, learning that Crimson Lotus killed her family and had attempted to murder her and frame it as a suicide, but is unable to catch her. He tails Kenmochi, expecting Mikiko to do the same, but this proves to be a trap for both of them by Crimson Lotus. Kaito rescues Mikiko, who reveals that she has not yet killed anyone, as someone has consistently reached and murdered each of her intended victims first. She also reveals that she hired the Bato Detective Agency to help her, including protecting Jun, who she confirms is not Kaito's son. Mikiko then escapes, intending to finish off Crimson Lotus, and Kaito and the Bato detectives pursue her to Ijincho, where the remaining Crimson Lotus members are having a reunion.

Kaito reaches the roof of the party and finds Mikiko confronting Sadamoto, the mastermind behind everything. Sadamoto reveals that he married Mikiko and killed her family to gain their fortune, that he ordered Mikiko's death two years ago when she found out the truth, and that he was the leader of the group that became Crimson Lotus. He has been killing the other members to cover up his ties to the organization, including poisoning everyone at the reunion, and intends to frame Mikiko for their deaths. Sadamoto tries to hold Jun hostage, but Jun escapes after being inspired by Kaito, who subdues Sadamoto. Mikiko attempts to kill Sadamoto, but Kaito stops her, reminding her that Jun still needs her. Kenmochi, still guilt-ridden over killing Mikiko's family, kills Sadamoto before succumbing to the poison. In the aftermath, Shirakaba demands Kaito duel him for Mikiko's affection; Kaito wins, and he and Mikiko decide to rekindle their relationship.

Development[edit]

Toshihiro Nagoshi, speaking into a microphone
Writer and executive director Toshihiro Nagoshi

Lost Judgment is the directional debut of Kazuki Hosokawa who aims to make it superior to its predecessor from which he worked as producer while attempting to also create an appealing narrative. He claims "About a year ago when we were in the initial phase of development there was no lockdown in Japan, and the situation wasn’t as severe, but once we entered the final stages of production, things were getting serious and it became harder to communicate. There was a loss of speed and we wished we were able to discuss things faster. If we were in person, we would have been able to do that, so it was definitely a cause for stress." As a result, Hosokawa claims that he wanted the staff to be comfortable in the making of it. They aim to properly balance the different types of gameplay: fight, puzzles trailing, and disguises.[16] One thing that did change is with how he talks with the development staff: Many still see Ito as a programmer due to his previous role, and so he has to actively ask them to also ask him about planning and design elements and not just programming issues. Hosokawa says that one thing he found interesting is how directors who come from a specific team tend to not hold back against their former team. Hosokawa is a designer, and when he became a director he went tough on the design team. Likewise, Ito gave no quarter to the programming team upon becoming director. Hosokawa aimed both Judgment to be seen as unique when compared. The programmers in charge redid several elements them. As a result, the characters feel more realistic, with the tailing targets now breaking out into jogs, turning back when they hear sounds, and he hopes that players notice this.[17]

Ito also says that by becoming the director, he found out that each section of the team kept trying to reduce work for the other sections. Ito says that they spent a lot of time and effort on the tailing sequences at the start of the first chapter. The tailing sequences in the previous game were divisive, and they received a lot of feedback from players outside of Japan who said they wanted to hurry up and get to the fights. As such, they put effort into showing how tense and fun the tailing is, test playing it several times. They spent an entire year working on it.[17]

The game was designed in this way to allow players to immerse themselves in the drama while ensuring a certain degree of freedom. They have balanced the game in a way that all players can enjoy the thrilling experience stress-free. The game uses original Dragon engine, but the texture of the screen is more realistic than that of the Yakuza series, with a touch of film-like feel. Sega thinks this effect is more apparent in the suspenseful scenes. They developed this technique by working on the Yakuza series for so long, and Lost Judgment has benefited from that. For a better resolution, Nagoshi recommended playing the new generation consoles. A new fighting style known as Snake was added. It was based on Aikido with Nagoshi commenting it served as a merciful style.[18]

Although Judgment was a spin-off to the action series Yakuza which became a turn-based RPG with Yakuza: Like a Dragon, executive director Toshihiro Nagoshi and producer Kazuki Hosokawa claimed that Judgment would stay true to the action system originally developed for Yakuza.[19] The open world from Yokohama features a high school which was based on real life.[4] Nagoshi claims Lost Judgment was made thanks to the positive responses towards Judgment and thus aimed to improve the system based on the feedback.[3] The games was set to be released on September 24, 2021, worldwide.[3] On May 27, it was announced by Sega that the 1996 arcade game Sonic the Fighters would be playable in the game's arcades, in celebration of 2021 being the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise's 30th Anniversary.[20] Despite Judgment and Yakuza taking place in the same universe, there will be no crossovers as a result of the two being different IPs despite similarities.[5]

On July 6, Lost Judgment's intro cinematic was revealed, featuring the game's theme song "Rasen", by jon-YAKITORY feat. Ado.[21] jon-YAKITORY produced the theme after multiple talks with Nagoshi. Ado enjoyed working alongside jon-YAKITORY and looked forward to how it will be executed in the game.[22]

Scenario[edit]

A photo of Takuya Kimura
A photo of Hiroshi Tamaki
Koji Yamamoto
Major Japanese voice actors include the returning Takuya Kimura (Yagami) and the newcomers Hiroshi Tamaki (Soma) and Koji Yamamoto (Kuwana)

Although Judgment was originally titled Judge Eyes in Japan and Asia, Sega liked the naming for the Western version, resulting into "Judgment" being part of the sequel's title even in Eastern territories. The plot was written to be realistic, something the staff found challenging while providing themes seen as sensitive to the audience like bullying as well as what should people call justice, with the latter being explored through Yagami's characterization. The youth drama is meant to balance the dark storytelling based on how Yagami interacts with teenagers.[23] As the previous game's story was well-received, by the audience, Sega once again attempted a new story that would appeal to the audience. While Hosokawa cannot give an exact timeframe, he does say that work on the story began even before the development team was put together. Writer Furuta first came up with the outline of the story, and then he worked with Nagoshi to add the finer details. It was only after it was done to some degree that the planning team and director joined the project, and started considering how to turn the story into a game.[17]

The cast features multiple returning and new characters. According to Yagami's Japanese actor Takuya Kimura, the story is "deep and suspenseful"[4] but also features lighter scenes like the School Stories. Hosokawa claimed that the school interactions reveal a "unique side" of Yagami's character.[4] Hiroshi Tamaki focused on realism when recording, comparing the entire game with a film. His first work in video game, the actor found it as an "out-of-body" experience. He described Soma as looking like "aloof" and "clearly perceptive" but hides a true persona he wanted the fans to look forward in the game.[24] Ken Mitsuishi recalls Judgment was popular within the acting world so he felt engaged when being offered the role of Akihiro Ehara. He did not find troubles understanding his character especially thanks to the motion capture. As a result, of the two crimes that Ehara claiming he committed, Mitsuishi said that his character was given a mysterious air.[25] Koji Yamamoto who plays the new Jin Kuwana said he was fascinated by the work, especially since it was his debut in a video game. He was surprised by Kuwana and the narrative due to how Kuwana's role changes.[26] Akira Nakao reprises his role of Ryuzo Genda who often mentors Yagami. The actor noted that he became highly popular thanks to Judgment especially within the young demographic.[27]

Hosokawa said the team read books from authors like Keigo Higashino and Hideo Yokoyama when preparing to write the game with the former's novel The Devotion of Suspect X being a major influence. The narrative focuses primarily on bullying as they consider it as a "Distorted justice" which clashes with Yagami's morals. Strichart commented that Yagami is not a hero so he is not able to solve all these cases on his which contrast the fantasy style Persona 5 which often deals with the protagonists saving victims using their powers. During Lost Judgment Yagami meets Kuwana who instead tries to solve every attempt of bullying regardless of methods. In contrast to Judgment, the sequel does not end on satisfactory note for Yagami as Kuwana manages to escape from the protagonist. Nevertheless, Yagami demonstrates a major influence on the bullies he meets in the game's beginning to the point they become heroic figures during the climax.[28]

Localization[edit]

The new English voice cast from Lost Judgment includes Todd Haberkorn (Kuwana), Erica Lindbeck (Sawa), and Stephanie Sheh (Shirosaki).

The English recording studio was made in PCB Productions owned by Keith Arem with major aid by Vicky Lee. The translation was done by Jyun Takagi, shored up with support from Shun Fukuda and Mino Iwasaki. Josh Malone, who worked on Yakuza: Like a Dragon and Shinada in the Yakuza remasters, stepped up in a big way to help handle voice over. He was supported by Shervin Zadeh, Shaun Gannon, and Stephanie Spoleti, who was also a Yakuza vet.[29]

Localization producer Scott Strichart said that Lost Judgment might be one of the most challenging works he has done due to the multiple requirements, including the dual audio and English subtitles, the multiple subtitles and the game being released for four consoles. Nevertheless, he believes he has already produced similar content ever since Yakuza 0.[30] Multiple words have to work in multiple situations, which Stritchart considered localization challenge. There is also the "chatter posts" in the buzz researcher that use variables for the keywords players are searching. Strichart considered this one of the most challenging parts of the making of the game's localization.[29] Having felt nostalgia from the years he localized the heavily school themed game Persona 4, Strichart claims that the narrative involves multiple dark elements involving students involving bullying or suicide. Although Judgment is not a popular game, Strichart finds challenging releasing the game at the same time as the director's cut of Death Stranding, a game by the famous Hideo Kojima.[31]

Lost Judgment was the ultimate pinnacle of challenge, just turning around that game in essentially a year with the amount of audio and languages that we had to do.

It takes its toll. Under the weight of that, you're looking at it almost like, "Okay, next time, we need to not do it this way, but for this time, let's just get it done."

Scott Strichart[32]

For the English version, many of the cast members from the first installment returned, but Strichart said some were replaced for logistical reasons.[33] Greg Chun noted that the predecessor helped to properly develop Yagami to the point he seemed like another person when quitting his lawyer occupation as he took a liking to being a humble detective; this was mostly seen through the scene where Yagami tells Kaito that they should search for a lady's cat as part of their job in a pleased manner, something the localization team enjoyed recording. As a result, he claimed that for the sequel "the game kind of teed me up to really be in that Yagami mindset where, yeah, I love being a detective, but some cases are real bummer and super boring." However, in regards to the narrative, he claimed that he had to keep "living the character" due to new elements being provided. He believed that Lost Judgment explores more of Yagami's anger, something the first game did not focus on.[34]

Aside from Chun reprising his role as Yagami, returning cast members include Crispin Freeman as Masaharu Kaito, Brain McNamara as Ryuzo Genda, Mark Whitten as Fumiya Sugiura, River Vitae as Makoto Tsukumo, Joe Zieja as Issei Hoshino, Steve Blum as Toru Higashi, and Cherami Leigh as Mafuyu Fujii. New English cast members include Artt Butler as Akihiro Ehara, Brent Mukai as Daimu Akutsu, Todd Haberkorn as Jin Kuwana, Erica Lindbeck as Yoko Sawa, Kayli Mills as Mami Koda, Xanthe Huynh as Kyoko Amasawa, Edward Bosco as Kisuke Watanabe, and Aleks Le as Shinya Kawai. Returning actors such as Matthew Yang King, Jamieson Price, Yuri Lowenthal, SungWon Cho, and Keith Silverstein voice new characters entirely, being Kazuki Soma, Yuzo Okuda, Sadao Takano, Tesso, and the Owner of Bar Siren respectively. Aimee Castle does not return to voice Saori Shirosaki in the sequel, and is replaced by Stephanie Sheh.[35]

Promotion and release[edit]

Following the release of the game, Sega staff felt that if there should be a sequel to Judgment, Yagami and his partner Masaharu Kaito would retain their lead roles and would still be set in Kamurocho.[citation needed] Rumors of a sequel were reported by publications in March 2021, hinting at the return of both Takayuki Yagami and Kaito.[36] In April of the same year, the official website announced a major tease related to Judgment on May 7, titled "Judgment Day".[37] The official Twitter account of the game also revealed new footage of Yagami, hinting at the sequel.[38] On May 6, 2021, a day before "Judgment Day", an entry for Lost Judgment was leaked by PlayStation Network in Japan, which stated the Digital Deluxe edition would be released September 21.[39] The game was officially announced on May 7, 2021, for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One.[4] The team listened to fan feedback in regards to what elements from the gameplay needed to be improved.[5] A demo was released to the PlayStation Store on September 10.[40]

Three downloadable content packs were developed for the game. The first is the "Detective Essentials Pack", which was released at launch. The pack adds twelve additional side missions, three new girlfriends for Yagami to date, and an additional superboss battle for the game's "Gauntlet" challenge mode. The pack also grants the player several bonus items, including three alternate color skins for the Detective Dog, an additional drone frame, six new extract recipes, a hoverboard with three additional skateboarding challenges, and four additional Master System games (Sagaia; Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa; Alien Syndrome; and Global Defense).[41][9] The second DLC is the "School Stories Expansion Pack", which was released on October 12. It includes additional items for the School Stories minigames, three additional sparring partners for the boxing minigame, and a fourth fighting style for Yagami-based around boxing.[42] The third DLC titled "The Kaito Files" was released on March 28, 2022, and includes a new story campaign featuring Masaharu Kaito as a playable character.[13] On consoles, all three pieces of content are available individually or as part of a season pass; excluding The Kaito Files, all DLC is included with the Windows version.[43] Work on the DLC was still continuing in August 2021, as production on "The Kaito Files" did not begin until the main game was completed.[44]

It was reported in July 2021 that Lost Judgment could be the last game in the series, due to Sega and Johnny & Associates (the talent agency which represents Kimura) being unable to come to an agreement concerning the use of Kimura's likeness in a PC release of the existing Judgment games or any future titles.[45][46][47] A television live-action series titled Unjudged is reported to be follow Lost Judgment with Kimura taking the role of Yagami.[48] However, both Judgment games were released on Steam on September 14, 2022, implying that this issue had been resolved.[49][50][51]

Reception[edit]

Lost Judgment received "generally favorable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[52][53][54][55] Critics commented on the narrative and Yagami's role in Lost Judgment. He was praised by Destructoid for giving new parts of his personality that are developed in the narrative. The various amount of sidequest were praised for balancing the game's narrative in delivering both light and dark stories.[56] GameSpot felt that the sequel had Yagami struggle with the themes of whether or not the lead is able to deal justice by himself. Additionally, the subplot of Yagami working in a school attracted positive response by the same publication due to how fun it becomes.[60] Although he does not team up with Kaito many times in the sequel, GameSpot felt that Yagami became a more likable character in the sequel and is able to deliver emotional scenes properly. The reviewer further praised the handling of the narrative as properly focuses on several conflicting themes like the issues the law has, bullying and sexual harassment.[60] Both Game Informer and GamesRadar+ agreed but felt that the adult themes addressed in the game might bother the sensitive audience as it further can be seen about society commentary than previous games. However, Game Informer felt that the sexual harassment substory from the game to be worst one despite being generally a moving story.[61][58][71] IGN criticized how Lost Judgment establishes the plot's complete idea in early chapters, making it look disappointing in retrospect as there are not major or interesting plot twists in the second half of the game.[63] Shacknews enjoyed the improved visuals but felt the main plot was a "mess" due to how difficult is to understand it with the Ehara's case taking several chapters of focus which makes the pacing to be poorly handled.[68]

In regards to the gameplay, IGN enjoyed the usage of action style as Yakuza: Like a Dragon replaced the series' famous beat 'em up style with turn-based role playing game and that Yagami is more enjoyable to play than in previous games.[63] While praising Yagami's fighting styles and its aikido-based new style, GameSpot felt there were not major additions to the sequels and that the new stealth mechanics are too linear.[60] Destructoid highly enjoyed Yagami's improved moves as they cinematic techniques or weapons are visually more appealing and how simple is for the players to use. The loading times were also noted to have been reduced, especially on the PlayStation 5 version. The heavy amount of sidequests and arcade games like Sonic the Fighters gave the reviewer to recommend the game not only to Yakuza gamers but also Shenmue gamers.[56] While found as still enjoyable, GamesRadar+ commented that the game lack more innovation when compared to Judgment despite being more improved than the Yakuza games' fighting styles.[61] Nevertheless, IGN still felt the sidequests were too tedious due to how difficult is to unlock them and their variety on narratives.[63] Shacknews criticized the stealth quests for being too simple while some sidequests were noted to drag the experience.[68] Eurogamer outlined in their review "RGG Studio's broadest, most packed open world is matched by mediocre additions and an ill-fitting story."[72] Game Informer felt that the sidequest were a good a balance to the dark narrative, but felt the parkour and stealth were poorly implemented.[58]

GameSpot and Collider praised the presentation in terms of graphics, character renders and two districts Yagami can visit.[60] The latter also praised both Japanese and English voice actors for giving good deliveries though the lypsinced are more appropriate in Japanese unless a cutscene is played.[70] Shacknews also noted the voice actors, most notably Yagami's Takuya Kimura and Greg Chun, to give appealing works most notably when playing a serious scene.[68] Besides enjoying Yagami's actors, Metro also felt that Kaito and Soma's actors deliver strong performance regardless of language.[71]

RPG Site listed it as one of the best 2021 video games.[73] The game was also nominated for the category "Xbox Game of the Year".[74] In the 2022 "Famitsu Dengeki Game Awards", the game was won "Best Scenario Award" as well as "Best Actor Award" for Kimura's performance as Yagami.[75]

Upon its release week, the PlayStation 4 version of the game topped Famitsu's list of best-selling games with 111,852 copies while the PlayStation 5 game sold 33,151 units.[76] In the United Kingdom' sales, the game reached the fourth place with most of its sold copies being from the PlayStation 5 version.[77] Initial sales were 76% higher than those of the original game at launch.[78][better source needed]

The Kaito Files[edit]

The Kaito Files also received "generally favorable" reviews according to Metacritic.[79][80] RPG Site enjoyed the narrative, mostly praising the handling of Kaito as a protagonist.[83] The Mako Reactor also found it accessible as a result of not referencing previous events from the story and found the content more enjoyable than Goro Majima's sidestory from Yakuza Kiwami 2 which gave a major role to such character. Crispin Freeman and Suzie Yeung's performances were also the subject of praise.[84] Siliconera referred to the story enjoyable even if it comes across as predictable.[85] While the gameplay was found enjoyable for giving the player different fighting styles from Yagami's in the main game, it was still criticized for being noticeably smaller despite the price.[86] The boss fight were still well received as well as the visuals employed whenever the character is fighting.[84] Siliconera was more critical to the gameplay for lacking several new gameplay elements from the original Lost Judgment as Kaito uses the same deductive skills as Yagami in contrast to hand-to-hand which comes across a more original.[85]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Known in Japan as Lost Judgment: Sabakarezaru Kioku (Japanese: LOST JUDGMENT (ロストジャッジメント):裁かれざる記憶, lit. Lost Judgment: Unjudged Memories)

References[edit]

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External links[edit]