Lost Judgment is an is an action-adventure video game developed by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio (RGG Studio), published by Sega and released in 2021. It is a spin-off of and is set in the same universe as RGG Studio’s flagship franchise, Yakuza, and is the sequel to Judgment, which came out in 2018. The game is a single-player experience featuring an expressive combat system and is also heavily story-driven, touching on topics such as bullying, justice and the importance of knowing the truth.
Lens 9: Elemental Tetrad
The game has a realistic art style and mostly uses 3D models and assets. It is set in 2 cities the player is able to roam around in. The first is Kamurocho, a shady entertainment district based off of Kabukicho, a real red-light district in Shinjuku, Tokyo. During the game’s night time, Kamurocho has many bright lights and signs which provide a contrast the dark roads and alleyways, doing an excellent job at selling the city’s culture of nightlife.
The second city is Isezaki Ijincho, based on Isezakicho, a shopping district in Yokohama. Ijincho is much bigger and has a variety of environments such as a high school, a park, and a bar district. It has a very vibrant and varied color scheme that suits a lively city.
However, I feel that Lost Judgment’s biggest strength aesthetically lies in its animations. Yagami’s fighting styles consist of moves inspired by various martial arts such as Aikido, Boxing and Kung Fu with stylish and over-the-top movements that are fun to execute and watch. Each fighting style also has its own combat music to make the player feel energized, and every attack feels impactful and weighty, making the combat not just fun to look at but also satisfying to play.
Lost Judgment was developed in RGG Studio’s Dragon Engine, which was originally developed for Yakuza 6 in 2016. The game was originally a Playstation exclusive, but was eventually ported to PC and is now available for purchase on Steam. This has also allowed the game to be modded more easily, as RGG Studio’s engines are highly scalable, and players have been able to import old models and animations from the older games in the series, as well as modding animations from Lost Judgment into RGG Studio’s other titles.
Lost Judgment’s primary gameplay loop comes from its combat system, where the player can switch between 4 distinct fighting styles and perform combos on enemies. The system’s appeal mainly comes from the wide variety of moves the player can use, which allows for very expressive and varied combat experiences. There are also heat actions, which consume heat, a resource the player gains by damaging enemies. Heat actions are special moves that deal big damage and have cinematic shots of their animations. Furthermore, certain moves can apply certain effects to enemies like stun, fear and agony, which can allow the player to perform special heat actions.
Lost Judgment follows the story of Takayuki Yagami, a private detective investigating Akihiko Ehara, a criminal accused of both sexual harassment and murder. The main draw comes from the mystery, as the initial evidence used to accuse Ehara of sexual harassment acts as an alibi for him during the murder as the 2 crimes seemingly take place at the same time, which would allow him to get away with murder on a much lighter sentence. As Yagami works to uncover the truth, the case eventually leads him to the school Ehara’s son once went to, where he discovers a link between Ehara and a series of murders committed against bullies in Kamurocho and Ijincho.
Lens 50: Character
When it comes to character, games by RGG Studios are widely known for having extremely serious and climactic stories while also including silly and over-the-top moments, and Lost Judgment is no exception to this. For instance, the player can perform a heat action on enemies afflicted with fear where Yagami will perform a Kabedon on them, a move associated with a confession of love in Japanese culture, causing the enemy to pass out from fear in response.
Lens 79: Freedom
In Lost Judgment, players are free to roam around the cities of Kamurocho and Ijincho, and are rewarded with interesting substories and activities for doing so. The only instance where the player may not be free to roam the city is during a main mission, where the game has a fixed path and sequence of events it wants the player to follow, so it restricts them to a certain area or level.
Another aspect of the game which gives freedom is its combat system, where the player is free to tackle combat encounters in many ways due to the wide variety of moves and fighting styles. Together with the animations, this makes the game’s combat feel incredibly satisfying and entertaining.
Lens 87: Character Traits
As a private detective and ex-lawyer, Yagami has a strong sense of justice and regards the truth very highly. This can be seen in his actions and dialogue throughout the story. Although he does not go through much of a character arc in this game, his personality can be largely attributed to the events of Judgment, as much of his growth as a character was written in the first game.
The rest of the game’s cast are also quite likeable and fun, and are generally regarded quite highly among fans for their interesting and charming personalities.
Lens 68: Moments
Many of the key moments in Lost Judgment are climactic boss battles against powerful enemies that are also significant to the story. These are elevated by the intense soundtrack, as well as the dynamic intros that RGG Studios is known for. All of these serve the purpose of hyping the player up for the encounter and do a great job at it.