Lost Judgment (PlayStation 5) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 19.01.2023

Review for Lost Judgment on PlayStation 5

Ryu Ga Gotoku studio is on an absolute roll. With the Like a Dragon (formally Yakuza) series evolving and expanding, it's great to see them managing to keep producing the Judgment side series. With Lost Judgment they are expanding the story of Yagami Detective Agency and once again promising to push their game design to the next level. Publisher Sega had a patchy past of bringing the series westward but now they've synced up all regions with their killer apps and boy is it paying off. Let's waste no time hopping into this new mystery!

Join Yagami Takayuki and co as they get embroiled in a very complex set of murders across both Kamurocho and Isezaki Ijincho in Yokohama. Anyone who is a fan of Yakuza: Like a Dragon will know this is where that game is set. The game covers themes of bullying, sexual harassment, murder and suicide; in many ways it's darker than the original Judgment. Most of the first game's cast are back and as bold as ever, alongside many new well rounded cast members.

The narrative is sprawling and yet is focussed primarily on the school in Ijincho where Yagami goes to investigate a historical bullying case. As the story progresses it covers multiple murders, in-fighting and more with twists every couple of chapters, each of which is a mind-blowing revelation! It's deeply impressive writing that highlights that grey morality of real culture incredibly well.

Screenshot for Lost Judgment on PlayStation 5

Gameplay has remained largely untouched from the first game in terms of base mechanics but much of the intricacies have been overhauled in great ways. Returning from the first game are the experience and level-up systems and some of the fighting styles. With the increased scope of the world, Yagami now has access to a skateboard to speed up traversal, as well as a much better pace to his sprint for on foot segments. Fighting has been overhauled with more stances added, one of which can be used to scare opponents instead of "knocking them out". This results in a much more strategic system where parrying and timing factor much more into combat. The combat AI is also a little better with enemies seeming to try and counter player techniques, forcing them to consider different options as the game goes on. This expanded repertoire also covers some new environmental attacks, all of which are fun to experiment with.

Missions are very varied this time; Yagami has a ton of side activities. Some are huge narratives of their own and some are typical "do this tiny task and get reward" jobs. A massive side activity is focussed on him being the mentor for a dance troupe in the school. This "mini-game" involves managing and leading the group in order to win competitions and also to fix the members' problems in their own side quests. This is itself an off shoot of the side quest where he is the advisor of the mystery club which has great semi-supernatural quests alongside helping out its members with their issues, too. It's such an expansive game that just bleeds side activities while also having the normal series' staples, such as sports, arcade machines and more, to interact with and beat. With the game being this humongous, players might expect there to be some less polished things in the game and well, obviously there are, however the baseline quality means that even these less polished activities are great.

Screenshot for Lost Judgment on PlayStation 5

In terms of keeping the world interesting there are a number of collectables as well as the fights to keep an eye on. Skateboarding has collectables, arcades have collectables, the streets have collectables. It's insane really just how much time can be put into running around and finding bits and pieces, most of which contribute to Yagami's stats or a side mission. The developers have clearly mastered this art with their time developing this side series and the main Yakuza games.

Graphically this title takes the base of the first game's PS5 release and adds a few layers of shine. Characters are more expressive and animated, there are less of the stiffer moments that have plagued the Ryu Ga Gotoku studio games since the PS3 era. Kamurocho is as thickly detailed as ever, now with improved lighting and a few changes to chow the advancement of time. Ijincho is still a mixed bag with some very good, detailed areas and some unfortunately blocky areas that are just shy of the quality expected, yet again still better than in Yakuza: Like a Dragon.

Screenshot for Lost Judgment on PlayStation 5

In performance mode the visuals are a tiny bit softer than its quality mode but the animation quality during gameplay benefits from the 60fps and the smoothness it brings. Asset quality is great and holds up in most places even in the first-person mode. Area design also seems to have been tuned up as things like the school are realistically portrayed and full of expected details.

The music and sound design in this title are fantastic. Designers nailed the timings for music which always knows when to be melancholic or to pump up the mood. Character voicework is believable and sublimely emotive. These games have always been excelled at creating mood and empathy with the characters and here it's at its peak. There are scenes where choices made by the characters get people killed and the game effectively portrays the sadness and regret caused by those actions.

Screenshot for Lost Judgment on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

The slightly mixed quality is only a slight blight on Lost Judgment's otherwise stellar quality. It oozes style and has content that will keep players playing for potentially hundreds of hours. The story is a masterpiece of twists and turns, highlighting many issues within society. If the original game is the marker, this meets it with pride. An excellent crime thriller action game with lots of comedy and referential moments that make this one to remember.


Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio




Action Adventure



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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