Judgment (PlayStation 5) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 02.11.2022

Review for Judgment on PlayStation 5

Ryu Ga Gotoku studio has had a stellar run with its Yakuza series, and its new side-story spinoff Judgment. It has taken some time to port over recent efforts to the new PS5 and Xbox consoles, allowing for many improvements in terms of graphics and engine, in line with the developer's new games. Judgment is the latest game to receive the new-gen treatment with a host of new and upgraded visual features.

Return to Kamurocho at 60fps! This PlayStation 5 port of Judgment boasts updated visuals with much-overhauled lighting, textures, and character models to bring the game bang up to date with its sequel Lost Judgment. These little tweaks really help the world pop and feel more grounded, and the 60fps gameplay really smooths out the combat for a very fluid experience. As usual, this also benefits from the fast-loading infrastructure of the system, with load times dramatically reduced from the last-gen version with a typical load of five to ten seconds from load game to gameplay. Aside from the performance it seems like Ryu Ga Gotoku has taken its time to tweak shadows and lighting as well as refining a few features on the characters such as how Yagami himself is rendered. This all lends itself to a much more refined look than its PS4 counterpart that helps the world of Judgment come to life like never before.

Screenshot for Judgment on PlayStation 5

Storywise nothing has changed, but scenes all run with the improvements at play; higher resolution, 60fps, and some re-lit parts in some cases. This all helps the tale of Yagami Detective Agency shine. Players can look forward to the gritty crime story that made the original stand out, a tale of intrigue and violence spanning a multi-chapter, muti-era narrative. Yagami & Co. are incredibly likeable and a stark change from the characters of the main Yakuza series. As always though, this is an incredibly male-heavy cast, so if that was a negative in the previous titles it still is here.

The tale itself is set in motion by some Yakuza killings that Yagami investigates, but it quickly opens up into a sprawling narrative with absolutely incredible twists. The scenes in which these stories play out are more than enough to drive players to the end of the game. They're expertly directed and fantastically animated, even if the game is still lacking in some key animations like clothing and hair simulation. The in-game dialogue scenes are still somewhat stiff though, it would really pay off to use something AI driven like FFVII Remake or more motion capture like Horizon Forbidden West.

Screenshot for Judgment on PlayStation 5

Gameplay is the same excellent setup from the PS4 version with fun eccentric mini-games punctuating a technical, physics-based combat system, and a dark and gritty detective story. The biggest change is the removal of long load times, but in other places the control is refined a little and now also features PS5 haptic feedback allowing players to feel the combat or the wind pushing their drone around, all in all it feels excellent. The haptic feedback is quite light but because of this it never feels overbearing or leads to tired hands. As with all of the studio's titles this is an RPG, and has a razor focus on producing a satisfying progression structure. Levelling up is done with EXP; EXP earned not only by fighting, but by exploring and playing mini-games such as the arcades or doing drone races. This is all then funnelled into things like detective skills for unlocking doors or fighting skills like wall rebound attacks. It is all intertwined with other supporting systems like the friend system, allowing inquisitive players to follow side dialogues that, on completion, offer up support during fights when a friend character is nearby. These are usually comical attacks like throwing food at someone.

Screenshot for Judgment on PlayStation 5

Yagami being a detective opens up many other types of gameplay as well, with detective mode sections where the player is thrust into first person to examine scenes for clues and to find optional stray cats. These scenes are regularly implemented in the main story, as well as a few side stories, and they help to really emphasise that Yagami actually does this job for a living. These detective side games were seen as un-fun by many, but for many this won't be the case, really, as the in-universe reason for them makes them invaluable. When not interacting with these scenes Yagami has moments where he has to stake out a location, do photo ops, and even use the drone to spy on people or scope out a situation and it all lends itself to a really immersive and detailed experience.

However, to save this review from becoming a feature descriptor here's a look at tweaks this introduced to the old Yakuza systems. Saving is now possible absolutely anywhere by pulling up Yagami's phone; combat is now free flowing like Yakuza 6, but allows for more interactions with the environment; and, finally, visually the entire city is super dense and available to explore in first person allowing for a level of immersion not found in the older game engines of the series. Naturally this version also includes all DLC, so you can expect about 10 or more hours of content with a heft 25-30 hour story mode.

Screenshot for Judgment on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

The definitive version of Judgment is here! It is an almost perfect blend of incredible details and mechanics reinforced by a huge technical upgrade. A long and impressive title that takes the Ryu Ga Gotoku game design and maxes it out for a new side story while their main game goes in another direction. Heartily recommended!

Developer

Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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