I’ve only become a fan of the Yakuza franchise in the last few years, thanks to Yakuza Kiwami. In 2019 I crossed that game off my backlog list—the same year that Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio released Judgment in the U.S. That November, I picked up a copy of Judgment and streamed the game to our twitch channel. It took me around six months to mainline the meaty murder mystery, and I adored it. I don’t have that luxury with Lost Judgment this time around since we were lucky enough to acquire a review copy on its early access launch day. I share all of that to say I need more time to see this 25-50 hour sequel to completion, which is standard for an RGG Studio game. Therefore, welcome to Geek’s Under Grace’s very first “Review in Progress”.
Thus far, Lost Judgment feels very much like the first entry in the series, but with new features. It feels as though I am experiencing the second season of my new favorite show. When the game begins, Yagami and Kaito are on a case doing what they do best. There are plenty of familiar faces, and some new ones too. This story brings the Yagami Detective Agency to Yokohama, a city first introduced in Yakuza: Like a Dragon. It makes sense that the developers would want to use those assets they spent so much time creating, and Kamurocho is in a very different state than it was in previous entries of the Yakuza franchise.
Fans will not be disappointed in the slightest with the amount of extra content that Lost Judgment has to offer. This franchise is known for its side activities, whether it be goofy mini-games or side quests. As seen in the showcase, Yagami spends much of his time at Seiryo High School; this school plays a part in the case he is working on and has a chain of side missions called “School Stories”. These do not specifically link to the main story but offer some fun and sometimes hilarious mini-games centered around the school’s clubs. The School Stories are only the newest avenue to spend extra time in Lost Judgment, as there are plenty more activities and sidequests that will easily extend my playtime.
In Lost Judgment, Yagami is far from rusty in his fighting prowess. He developed his own new martial arts style called the Snake style, which brings his arsenal of techniques up by one style. Snake is best for counters and merciful takedowns. Roaming the streets of Kamurocho means you’ll get into plenty of fights, enough for me to notice that some small streets seem to spawn enemies too quickly. This observation is a bummer since it breaks the immersion and offers a look into the seams. However, I got a twisted enjoyment from beating down the same group of students four or five times in the main story until they decided to show Yagami some respect.
I am enjoying my time with Lost Judgment, but my current fear is that it simply won’t live up to the first game. I grew an attachment to some characters and the story in the first game, and I haven’t had that experience yet. Thankfully, I’m at a point in the story where the case is starting to heat up, but I also want to get some quality time in with the School Stories as well. Finding the right balance of progress and side activities is something that many gamers struggle with regarding open-world games. I’m currently exploring the best way to do that to deliver a review in a timely manner. The Yagami Detective Agency and I need more time in Yokohama, but I look forward to sharing my final thoughts.
Review copy generously provided by Forty Seven Communications and Sega.