Judgment | Logo

Title: Judgment
Publisher(s): SEGA
Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Release Date: June 25, 2019 (Worldwide)

Judgment was a game that, despite being only about two weeks from release when it debuted at E3 2019, I knew very little about aside from when it was infamously pulled after release in Japan thanks to the arrest of Pierre Taki, one of the game’s actors. That said, as it was developed as an offshoot of the Yakuza franchise by that same development team, I knew it would be worth checking out. And rightfully so, as this was a game that was one of my favorites to play at E3 2019 and something that I actually intend to pick up in the near future. While oprainfall is planning on doing a full review for Judgment, I am writing this E3 2019 hands-on impressions piece of the game’s opening sequence in the meantime while we get that completed.
In Judgment, you play as Takayuki Yagami, a private detective, who investigates crime in Tokyo. The demo opened up with Yagami and another investigator (Masaharu Kalto) tracking yet another detective. The dialogue between Yagami and Kalto, and between Yagami and the street thugs that I had to fight a short bit in, was fantastic. This is a well-written game, and the localization voice actors did a great job of showing just how weary and gritty this game’s world is. The graphics are beautiful too, and the detail and attention given to minor details such as surrounding background characters, the environment, and the lighting is spot-on.
Combat in Judgment is a LOT of fun, even in this clearly introductory battle. The game encourages me to both use items in my environment (such as traffic cones and signs) to beat my opponents down with, and you can chain attacks together by pressing attacks one after enough into a combo. The combat flows extremely well and Yagami moves quickly enough to feel like he is clearly an experienced fighter with a flurry of punches and kicks at his disposal. After awhile, his EX Guage filled up, which allowed me to perform an EX Action during combat whenever an enemy is knocked down, grabbed, holding a weapon, or near a wall. This EX Action turned out to be a super brutal and intense move that was incredible to watch play out as a cinematic sequence.
Judgment | Combat
Combat in Judgment is quick paced and relies both on using items from the surrounding environment and linking attacks together to make combo attacks. (Image owned by SEGA).
After the battle, I was told where my target was, and I elected to go follow him now instead of Kalto in the cutscene. As I walked through the streets of Tokyo to Pink Street, I was struck by how the NPCs stand around and are doing their own thing while environmental aspects were blowing in the wind or being lit realistically. This city in Judgment is gorgeous to look at, and I wanted to explore it more.
Judgment | City
Judgment does an amazing job depicting the city life that surrounds the gameplay events. (Image owned by SEGA).
Once I arrived at Pink Street, another cutscene kicked in. After that earlier short fight time sequence, I had apparently forgotten what he looks like, and so I began tailing in yet another gameplay mode. My game pulled up a hand-drawn sketch of the suspect and highlight in text elements such as the fact that he was unshaved and that he had a ‘distinctive mole’ on his face. I was then told to look at the NPCs surrounding me, and see if anyone fits that description by zooming in to examine them a bit more closely. If that NPC is a match, then I am to tail that NPC. In my demo, identifying the detective was extremely easy…mostly because there were so few people around and he looked exactly like his sketch.

Judgment | Sketch Matching



Judgment | Sketch Matching
Match the sketch and the physical characteristics to NPCs in the surrounding area in order to find your target. They really do look alike, don’t they? (Images owned by SEGA).
I then had to tail the detective for a somewhat lengthy period of time. Tailing basically consists of hiding out of sight while your target doesn’t see you. If he sees you, his Caution Gauge will fill up. This is not revolutionary gameplay, and it honestly did not need to be in order to be entertaining as I hid behind signs and crouching behind cars on the street. A minor issue that I had was how insanely touchy the game would be if I moved the camera away, even if it was just being obstructed from the target, as a timer in a red box would pop up and the music would get more intense. As soon as I would shift the camera back, the timer would go away and the music would slow back down, even if neither the NPC nor myself had moved from our locations.
It was after this point that I had to move onto the next title in my hands-on time at Atlus/Sega, but I walked away thinking about how Judgment is a really fun game with wonderful controls, a great environment, and great voice acting. This is a game that I actually enjoyed playing and one that I am excited about being able to pick up tomorrow!
You can pre-order Judgment now for PlayStation 4.

Are you planning on picking up this Yakuza franchise off-shoot title? 
Let us know in the comments below!
Quentin H.
I have been a journalist for oprainfall since 2015, and I have loved every moment of it.