PS5 Review: Judgment

I’ll make the Judgment if this upgrade is worth the price…

From the makers of the acclaimed Yakuza series, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, Judgment is the dramatic tale of a disgraced lawyer seeking redemption in a world rife with corruption and despair. Investigate the seedy Red Light District of Kamurocho by stepping into the mind of private detective Takayuki Yagami and utilize innovative investigation systems to uncover the secrets that lie deep within Kamurocho’s corrupt underbelly. Experience visceral combat with two unique combat styles. Take down groups of thugs with sweeping blows in Crane Style, then switch to Tiger to overwhelm a single foe with a series of powerful strikes. Practice mixing-and-matching styles in combat in conjunction with a wide variety of skills, weapons, and powerful (and hilarious) EX Actions to unlock a whole new dimension in combat.

I’m a big Yakuza fan, I’ve finished each game with the most recently being the PS5 free upgrade for Yakuza: Like a Dragon which I can gladly say I somehow earned the Platinum trophy! Like a Dragon was a big departure for the series as it switched combat from street brawler to a turn-based system like an old-school RPG and that’s probably why I managed to nab that sweet Platinum because as much as I love the Yakuza series, I’ve never been that great at the combat and wouldn’t stand a chance on the harder difficulty.

I’m ashamed to say that I missed out on the original release of Judgment, which is separate from the main series and goes back to the street brawling combat that was last seen in Yakuza 6. The difference here is the whole tone of the game, it’s got detective-like puzzles alongside the combat and an engaging story that fits well without being attached to the usual players in the series like Kiryu and Majima.

Despite Like a Dragon getting a free upgrade (several months after the Xbox did, for some reason), Judgment’s PS5 version does not come free, but at a reduced price from even the PS4’s version on the PlayStation Store at the time of writing. It’s a strange one but I can see why as it’s a slightly older game, I’m just not sure why the PS4 version hasn’t lowered in price.

The game itself looks superb on PS5, running at a smooth 60fps, faster load times and improved visuals over the PS4 version. It’s a great game overall and with a sequel just announced, I can see that this is where Yakuza fans will go for the original type of combat as I can imagine Yakuza 8 (or whatever it will be called) will still be turn-based. Kamurocho still has all the typical mini games you would expect from the series, as well as a few new ones and yes, even the SEGA arcade machines are still there.

The game also allows you to pick between English and Japanese voice-acting, something I mistakenly thought began with Like a Dragon. I personally prefer the Japanese cast, but it’s down to personal preference. The soundtrack is also pretty sweet.

The Verdict

Judgment is a superb spin-off of the Yakuza series that takes Kamurocho in a new direction. I honestly can’t wait for the sequel that comes out in September and to see it take more advantage of the PS5 hardware.

Score: 8.5