July 30, 2019



DAMIAN REID sometimes appreciates a story with his gaming and this one has eye-gouging Japanese serial killers. What’s not to like?

I want to start this review with the official release information from the distribution company for Judgment:

“Kamurocho – the perfect place for a night out. That is when you don’t have to worry about a serial murderer gouging out peoples’ eyes and making a mess of the place. That’s where you, as private detective Takayuki Yagami, come in. You’re about to face off with thugs, Yakuza, and UFO Catchers.

“From the makers of the acclaimed Yakuza Series: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios presents Judgment, the dramatic tale of a disgraced lawyer seeking redemption in a world rife with corruption and despair.

“Investigate the seedy red-light district of Kamurocho: Step into the mind of private detective Takayuki Yagami and utilise innovative investigation systems to uncover the secrets that lie deep within Kamurocho’s corrupt underbelly.

“Experience visceral combat with two unique combat styles: Takedown groups of thugs with sweeping blows in Crane style, then switch to Tiger to overwhelm a single foe with a series of powerful strikes. Practice mixing-and-matching styles in combat in conjunction with a wide variety of skills, weapons, and powerful (and hilarious) EX Actions to unlock a whole new dimension in combat.”

I was intrigued, as I’ve played the Yakuza games and enjoyed them enough to look forward to this newest member of the franchise.

The start of the game is very cut scene heavy which is great for a story buff like myself, but could be a bit slow for your action junkie. It’s very much like Tokyo Noir, and as with that game you have a case and you investigate around the city to find clues and ultimately solve the crime. You are hand held through it and there is not a lot of difficulty in finding the clues in each scene as your controller will vibrate when you are near evidence, and it tells you when you have found everything to be found.

There are still plenty of things about this game that are fun, like the side cases and the video game arcade that allows you to shoot zombies or stroll down memory lane with a large variety of old SEGA games to play. Add to that a VR style game and drone racing and there is plenty for you to do in Kamurocho while you are between cases.

The fighting is simple and there are two styles: Crane (for multiple opponents) and Tiger (for single opponents). The different styles make for some cool looking moves. You can grab items and beat your enemies with them, and then there’s the EX Action that results in some brutal finishes. It does get repetitive but as you need the skill points to build up your character you are always glad for the random thug fights.

Building your character using skill points is a case of accessing the skills app on your phone and spending the SP you have earned on new skills, moves and abilities. From wall throws to lock picking, alcohol tolerance to having your drone less affected by the wind, there are multiple skills to buy.

There are several small things that prevent this game from getting 10 stars, however.

  • The graphics are good but with the motion capture available now the graphics are a little outdated
  • The fighting style is a little repetitive
  • The cut scenes can sometimes interrupt the flow of the game
  • The voice acting feels laboured

I want to elaborate on the last point. I have met a lot of voice actors and spent many hours talking to them about their craft, and my view is that the reason the dialogue seems a little slow and laboured in places is because the English actors are trying to match the words with the mouth movements of the characters. What this means is that while it is noticeable to me, it has nothing to do with the quality of the work, and it may not be something that other gamers notice.

All in all, Judgement is a very enjoyable game and a nice change of pace from the action packed adrenaline-inducing games I have been playing lately.

For fans of the Yakuza franchise, LA Noir or any gamer looking to experience something a little different, I can definitely recommend Judgement.

Damian has been called a Geek, a Nerd, a Gadget Tragic, a Thespian and a Meathead Sports Fan. To all he responds with a resounding yes. As MC for the Armageddon Conventions here in New Zealand Damian is immersed in Geek Culture. Gaming has always been a huge part of Damian’s life from board-games, to RPGs and of course electronic gaming from the moment he got his first Force Two console. The only thing he loves more are his dogs, which is how he came to meet Pat Pilcher who introduced him to Witchdoctor and now here he is sharing his opinions on gaming for the more mature (chronologically speaking) player. Game on dude!

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