Game news Lost Judgment: the comeback of the Yakuza saga spin-off
Lost Judgment is the last spin-off episode of the Yakuza saga. Does Detective Takayuki Yagami live up to the legend of the Dragon of Dojima?
Let’s start by re-situating the plot. Lost Judgment begins several months after the events of Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Takayuki Yagami, still a private investigator, takes on a seemingly simple sexual assault case that turns out to be much more complex than it appears. Without even wanting to, our hero will cause a series of chain reactions and lift the veil on a much more mysterious case. The detective agency will then plunge into a dark case of school harassment and suicide.
The Yakuza saga has always been an invitation to discover and explore Japan, and Lost Judgment continues on this path. The 1: 1 scale reconstruction of the Kamurocho and Isezaki Ijincho neighborhoods is a model of its kind. These environments have a special atmosphere specific to these places. Realism reaches new heights, despite the recent technical limitations of the Dragon Engine. We must admit that the game engine is not very young, even if several adjustments improve the whole. We think of the effects of lights, reflection or crowd management. Nothing problematic on the horizon then. The pleasure of discovery remains intact.
Gameplay level, the regulars of the Yakuza saga are on familiar ground. Small precision all the same, Lost Judgment puts aside the combat turn-based Yakuza: Like a Dragon to return to a good old Beat’em All in real time. Takayuki Yagami distributes the stuffers like never before, and even learns a new style for the occasion. The Serpent allows him to disarm his opponents, and perfectly complements the Crane and the Tiger to be used respectively against a group and in 1v1. Takayuki Yagami even learns new martial skills throughout the adventure. The clashes are technical and of rare intensity especially in the higher difficulty levels.
The « investigation » dimension also occupies a preponderant place. Our hero is an outstanding detective, and proves it once again. This translates into play through various phases of play ranging from spinning, searching for clues to chases and infiltrating highly guarded locations. Unfortunately, these gameplay mechanics retain a certain rigidity already present in the previous episode. Generally, The playful approach of Lost Judgment is sometimes too interventionist. The studios compensate for this problem with a rare generosity, certainly awkward, but beyond measure. Without even touching on the plethora of mini-games and activities, the mere presence of so many features is to be commended.
Lost Judgment anchors its plot around a high school, and it changes the traditional mafia stories that the Yakuza saga is fond of. This change of setting is both surprising and refreshing, and allows the writers to approach contemporary themes rarely seen in a license game. It is about bullying, suicide and indiscriminate revenge. The studios even have the intelligence to oppose without plunging headlong into an outrageous Manichaeism two visions of justice … the law of Talion and state justice.
The fans know that. The Yakuza saga is openly inspired by the 7th Art, and the cinematographic staging of Lost Judgment lives up to this heritage. The camera shots, the sense of timing… everything has been thought of to make the adventure memorable. The performance of the actors as well as the precision of the facial animations greatly participate in making this scenario credible, which literally takes the guts out. However, it should be noted the lack of connection with the Yakuza saga, beyond a few winks here and there. In terms of playing comfort, because Lost Judgment is verbose at will, the studios offer dubbing in Japanese / English and subtitles in French.
Lifespan has never been an issue on the show, and Lost Judgment is further edifying proof of that. The main story takes about 20 hours to complete in a straight line, something unthinkable if you’re a fan, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Added to this are the dozens of secondary cases entrusted to the detective agency, the high school intrigues which alone require many hours of play to see the end and all the ancillary activities offered in cities. Golf, Baseball, drone races, dancing, virtual reality center, mahjong, shogi, SEGA arcades and even a Master System II – Japanese or PAL version to choose from -… there really is something for everyone
We could also mention the Buzz Radar, a kind of hacked Twitter to get into town quickly, the myriad of mouth-watering restaurants, the shops, and the Rendezvous. Completing 100% Lost Judgment will take time, a lot of time… around fifty hours if not much more. Faced with so much content, it is advisable to return to the two districts where the adventure takes place. Kamurocho and Isezaki Ijincho are nothing new. Tokyo’s red light district is a classic, featured in every episode, and the Yokohama port one was already featured in Yakuza: Like a Dragon. We must admit it, the lack of a new city to explore is sometimes felt.
Lost Judgment is the worthy heir to the Yakuza saga. Without revolutionizing the series, he continues it with a certain talent, despite some approximations and notable absences. For all these reasons, we give it a score of 16/20.