Lost Judgment Review – Improvements Detected (PS5)

Judgment impressed many when it released in 2019, and now we have its sequel, Lost Judgment. Familiar faces, familiar places, and a fresh new story from developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio promise to build a thrilling successor, but is this simply more of the same? Would that really be such a bad thing, anyway? Find out in our Lost Judgment PS5 review.

Lost Judgment PS5 Review – Great Looks, Decent Length

Lost Judgment looks great, with the custom-built Dragon Engine capable of rendering the cities of Kamurocho and Ijincho in exquisite detail. Dozens of citizens walk around the town in any given area, while vehicles line the roadways and are more than happy to run into you if you walk into the street without looking. While there doesn’t appear to be any ray tracing enabled, the lighting in Lost Judgment is impressive nonetheless. On the PS5, graphical options include prioritizing resolution or quality, and even the quality mode maintains a high frame rate. Load times are of course short as ever owing to the SSD. The DualSense controller’s vibration is used to mimic a cell phone ringing when Yagami receives a call, and it is a very convincing mimic.

Mainlining the campaign will take most players 20-30 hours, depending upon just how easily distracted they are. Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio really loves to put in all kinds of fun, and kooky, minigames, and Lost Judgment is no exception. There’s the stalwart SEGA arcade, which even includes a bizarre and surprisingly deep Sonic fighting game, and elsewhere you can find batting cages, a golf driving range, a virtual reality board/action game, a SEGA Master System with eight full games to find/purchase inside Yagami’s home base, and once certain points in the campaign are reached, skateboarding and dancing activities to partake in. After a while it can really start to feel like you’re living within this virtual city.

Lost Judgment PS5 Review – How’d He Manage That?

Without spoiling anything, the story of Lost Judgment involves Takayuki Yagami and crew taking up the seemingly impossible task of proving how one man, Akihiro Ehara, seems to have been in two places at once. It’s a gripping story that covers some dark and serious subjects including murder, suicide, serial killing, and the twisted reality that the justice department exists in. A power vacuum has been created due to the recent ouster of the Yakuza, and as such some interesting characters run into Yagami through his travels. There’s also Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s trademark zaniness mixed in, so you’ll do your fair share of nabbing mastermind criminals such as panty thieves, or playing a game-within-a-game in virtual reality. These side quests can provide some much-needed levity after some of the heavier chapters, even if their tone doesn’t really sit well with whatever dark event just transpired.

Lost Judgment may have the Yakuza series in its roots, but it is also its own thing, and much like in Judgment you do have to play the part of detective every now and then. The first-person detective mode makes a return, which tasks the player with examining key objects within a location before the story can progress. If the player gets stuck, holding the L2 button provides a hint, but that’s about it. Most scenes don’t take very long to find all clues in. Some cutscenes also feature sections where Yagami must chose what to say, and which evidence to reveal to make his point. Since the story is pretty linear, choosing the wrong line or piece of evidence usually results in a funny or unexpected response from the other characters, and since there doesn’t seem to be a bonus for choosing the correct answer anymore, half of the fun can be in purposely showing the wrong piece of evidence. With no real threat of consequence for saying the wrong thing, these sections kind of lose their weight to the story.

Lost Judgment PS5 Review – Familiarity Breeds Superiority

Combat will feel familiar to those who played the original Judgment, or those who played a Yakuza game. It’s a beat-em-up where Yagami now has three different fighting styles, as a new Snake style has been developed for this entry. Snake is geared towards counter-attacking enemies, and is also useful for disarming any fool who dares approach Yagami with a weapon. There are dozens of skills to unlock for each style, using SP earned while fighting. Other abilities and perks can be unlocked in this way as well. Learning which fighting style will help in a given situation is rewarding, as is ranking each style up.

Yagami gains access to a slightly faster method of travel early on in the campaign—a skateboard! When on any road where cars can travel, and along certain wider streets normally meant for pedestrians, holding the spring button will make Yagami bring out his skateboard, and special points icons will appear around the city. Yagami can even jump, grind, and perform tricks, though these actions are all performed by simply holding and releasing the circle button. Unfortunately, the city remains packed with people while riding the skateboard, and if Yagami so much as brushes against someone else he will immediately roll out of his skateboarding mode and proceed to sprint along. The city is still mostly designed with walking in mind, but this skateboard does come in handy when booking it from one end to the other.

Lost Judgment is a subtle improvement on the original, and continues the fun of seeing the seedy sides of Kamurocho and Ijincho while staying mostly on the good side of the law. A new combat style combined with a few more tricks up Yagami-san’s sleeves provide more entertaining ways to dispatch or get the upper hand on enemies, and of course the usual slate of minigames offer a much-needed respite from the main campaign’s twisted story. It may tread a lot of the same ground as the previous game, but that is absolutely a good thing.

Lost Judgment review code provided by the publisher. Version 1.001 reviewed on a PS5. For more information, please read our Review Policy.

8.5Silver Trohpy
  • Engaging, weighty story
  • Plenty of side quests, things to do
  • Best-looking and running version of the game
  • Skateboard feels under-utilized
  • Feels weird to beat up teenagers
  • A very safe sequel