Judgment PC review – A gritty and unforgettable crime drama from RGG Studio

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When first released on PlayStation, Judgment was a new style of game for RGG Studio, best known for its excellent combat-focused Yakuza titles. Instead of a Yakuza member, players control a lawyer-turned-detective who finds himself embroiled in a dark and gritty story with a mysterious killer.

It can now be experienced on PC after SEGA announced Judgment along with its 2021 sequel, Lost Judgment, with little warning. While both games can be purchased together, we’ll do separate reviews for each.

There’s a lot to be said for both games, and as someone who’s reviewed the original versions of both, I’m more than ready to dive back into the gritty world of Kamurocho, with Judgment.

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Judgment is finally coming to PC, but which version is it?

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From what I’ve seen, the PC version is based on the PlayStation 5 re-release of Judgment. It comes with all the DLC and extracts that came with that particular version of the game. This is good news for PC gamers as combat was an absolute chore in the original release.


Gameplay is solid but moderately flawed

Players control Takayuki Yagami, a former defense attorney turned detective. Both games have amazing storylines, and while the sequel’s overall narrative might trump the original in subject matter and structure, for my money, Judgment has a better, grittier detective story. It’s filled with twists, turns, and gripping moments that are still worth experiencing, despite the game’s flaws.

And oh, does he ever have them. While I love Judgment, it also has some really glaring issues that can frustrate many players. However, for the first attempt at a detective game, it’s a treasure trove, and there are memorable moments, characters, and music throughout the game.

The opening gives players a clear idea of ​​what they will be up to throughout the game. It introduces detective work, chasing suspects, chasing suspects, and of course, combat.

Players must avoid people and objects on the ground while keeping an eye on their target. While I enjoy detective work and shadowing, I think sometimes it takes too long. Following a suspect seems like an eternity, and you do it often, and almost all detective missions and side cases require you to do it.

It’s very slow and steady, which makes sense, but I couldn’t stand how long those parts of the mission lasted. Detective work was fun, but zooming in to focus on specific things for clues slows the cursor down to absolute exploration.

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However, the pursuit feels good in both games. It’s basically a mini-game where you press the right button at the right time and avoid bumping into people and objects.

In Judgment, Takayuki Yagami has two fighting styles: Crane and Tiger. Crane is better for groups and Tiger is more geared towards solo fights. For much of the early game, combat was stiff and weak. Only when you unlock a few skills does it get better.

You can use the various snippets you have — items you can craft with scraps found on the ground — to easily win fights. You don’t really need to do much crafting in this build either; there is an unlimited supply of several of these extracts, including the Instant Kill extract. It has a timer and deals a massive amount of AOE damage.

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It’s a simple combat system though; easy to switch positions and satisfying for jumping walls and punching opponents. He does a solid job using Yagami’s parkour and running skills alongside his martial arts expertise.

It’s also worth noting that despite being the PC version, this is a game that’s arguably best played with a controller. That said, the attacks performed via the mouse were excellent. It was also quite easy to access all the menus and buttons.

The worst part of the fight has to be Mortal Wounds though. Occasionally you will encounter strong characters or characters with guns/swords. Getting hit by them leaves you with a mortal wound, which cuts off a percentage of your HP bar and cannot be healed by normal means.

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This requires a medical kit or a visit to the doctor in the sewers. He can sell you medical kits or treat you on the spot. However, it is very expensive – minimum investment of 30,000 yen for the weakest – and many important fights can do this to you. I was so happy when I learned that the sequel didn’t have this system. I get it, though; Yagami isn’t tough and invincible like Kiryu, so it makes him feel more human. Nonetheless, it just left me frustrated.


Kamurocho is a living and breathing city

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It’s what RGG Studios does best – creating a living city that players can get lost in. It’s the same city that fans of more recent Yakuza games have explored; however, it has been remade and contains new characters like Kaito.

He also has a system that ended up frustrating me. The friendship system is key to the game. Yagami is a detective, so he needs friends and contacts to help him find a job and generally get along. There are around 50 people/companies to befriend, and some are easier than others.

This system is key to getting the most out of Judgment, but it feels a little forced. The payout was good though, with free items, access to more dating options, and some really satisfying side cases.

Although the friendship system is quite clunky, it leads to one thing that I didn’t appreciate. Occasionally, players will be harassed by the Keihin Gang. They have a few strong leaders, and Yagami will feel guilty helping against them. While not too bad on its own, it’s abysmal when combined with Mortal Wounds.

All the bosses in this section of the game give them out, and it can get maddening. It got very expensive in my original part of the game.

Despite these issues, the town was beautiful, easy to navigate, and Kamurocho felt very much alive.


What is the audio and visual quality of the port?

The game is, in a word, magnificent. Even with the default settings, the game looked gorgeous on my 4K monitor. The character models are fantastic, and the visuals and sounds were solid overall. The game’s music is some of the best in the franchise and the animations are pretty smooth.

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I didn’t really notice any graphical issues. No artifacts, or anything of that nature. It’s a dirty, gritty town, and even that is somehow beautiful. It’s also my first time listening to the English dub of the game, or any RGG game, for that matter. It’s great and worth playing in Japanese or English.


Conclusion

The Judgment port on PC is really impressive. I didn’t notice any optimization issues, crashes or anything like that. The game is visually appealing, and despite some of its issues, I enjoyed myself.

Yagami’s story is worth putting up with the game’s flaws, and I felt genuinely moved by the end of the story. It made me want more, and luckily Lost Judgment covered and fixed all the issues in this game. Judgment. Takayuki Yagami’s tale is a wonderful experience.


Judgement

Although flawed, Judgment is an excellent, enjoyable story (Image via Sportskeeda)
Although flawed, Judgment is an excellent, enjoyable story (Image via Sportskeeda)

Revised on: PC (Code provided by SEGA)

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC, Luna, Stadia

Developer: Studio R.G.G.

Editor: SEGA

Release date: September 14, 2022


Edited by Sandeep Banerjee

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