Yakuza may have permanently switch over to being an RPG, but those who still yearn for the series’ classic brawler structure still have Judgment to turn to. On September 24, its sequel Lost Judgment is launching worldwide (which also marks the first simultaneous launch for any Yakuza or Judgment game, incidentally), and given how good the first Judgment was, it goes without saying that anticipation for Lost Judgment is high. As we gear up for its launch, here, we’re going to go over a few key details that you should know about the game.
Lost Judgment takes place a couple of years after the events of its predecessor. What ropes protagonist Takayuki Yagami is the trial of Akihiro Ehara, a man accused of harassment. When, during his trial, it comes to light that he may possibly have something to do with a recently discovered dead body, his defense lawyer contacts private detective Yagami and hires him to look into the case- which serves as a springboard for the game’s story. Supposedly, one of the things that the story will focus on is Yagami’s growing moral dilemmas as he becomes more involved in the investigation and has to decide whether he wants to uphold the law or to make sure that justice is delivered where the system fails.
DEALS WITH “VARIOUS TRAUMAS”
As Lost Judgment’s central setup makes it quite clear, the game’s narrative is clearly going to go to some pretty dark places. In fact, according to the game’s localization director Scott Strichart, in fact, though Lost Judgment will of course have all the humour and weirdness you’d expect from the series, the story does deal with “various traumas” that he warns players should be prepared for. Apparently, as Strichart puts it, the game isn’t going to pull any punches.
Judgment’s central characters are, of course, coming back for the sequel, with Yagami being the protagonist once more, and his partner Masaharu Kaito also returning. As you’d expect though, Lost Judgment is also going to introduce plenty of completely new characters, some of who the developers have already spoken a fair bit about. There’s the aforementioned Akihiro Ehara, of course, a man who was forced to break the law because he’s been failed in devastating fashion by the legal system before. There’s also Jin Kuwana, who is sort of an ally to Yagami, but according to the developers, develops quite a unique dynamic with him. Then there’s Kazuki Soma, who was once the member of a Yakuza clan that was eventually disbanded; now, he runs an underground network of thugs that operates from the shadows. Given how winding and packed Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s stories tend to be, we have high expectations from Lost Judgment’s cast of characters.
As is was the case with Judgment and all Yakuza games that preceded it, Kamurocho is going to be featured in Lost Judgment, with all of its streets and sights and establishments that you know so well. It is, however, going to be one of two settings in the game, because Lost Judgment will also take us to Yokohama, the city where a significant chunk of Yakuza: Like a Dragon was set. That’s quite exciting, because we haven’t had any classic Yakuza brawler combat on the streets of Yokohama till now.
Perhaps the biggest new addition in Lost Judgment is its school. What does that mean? His investigation of the case will take Yagami undercover into a high school in Yokohama, where as part of his cover, he becomes an advisor of the Mystery Research Club. As such, school-based activities will be a big part of Lost Judgment, and the school itself will also serve as an important element of the narrative. Even here, Yagami will uncover underlying problems of abuse and bullying, which should ideally serve as a nice foundation for some solid character arcs and storytelling.
Lost Judgment will once again let players choose from multiple different fighting styles, each with their own unique strengths. Crane Style and Tiger Style from the first game are obviously returning, but there is also a new, third style, called Snake Style. Where Snake Style is best for fighting against large groups of enemies with quick and sweeping attacks, and Tiger Style is best-suited for harder, more precise attacks in a more focused manner, the new Snake Style will be all about counter-attacking, especially against enemies that are armed.
Of course, unlike Yakuza, Judgment doesn’t put all of its focus on fighting. Yagami is a private detective, after all, and his investigations and detective work also form an integral part of the core gameplay loop. In Lost Judgment, in fact, investigations are going to be expanded even further, with Yagami having an even wider range of detective tools at his disposal. These devices include the Noise Amp, which can be used to listen in on conversations from a distance; the Signal Detector, which does what it’s name suggests; and even a detective dog, who’s a new furry friend that can help not only in investigations, but can also be called upon for help in combat. Other stealth missions, chases, disguises, eavesdropping sections, tailing sections, and more are also going return.
Another area where Lost Judgment is making some notable improvements over its predecessor is movement, with Yagami being a much more nimble protagonist this time around. That means that some light parkour elements willnow be involved, which you’ll have to make use of during the course of investigations. This will including scaling and climbing walls, swinging on pipes across chasms, shimmying along walls, balancing on pipes, and more.
SIDE ACTIVITIES AND MINIGAMES
Obviously it wouldn’t be a Yakuza/Judgment game without a deluge of fun side activities to mess about with. As you’d expect, there will be plenty of that on offer in Lost Judgment. Expect a ton of side quests, while classic minigames and activities will also be returning. Additionally, Lost Judgment will also feature eight playable Master System games that you can find throughout the two cities. Those eight games are Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Enduro Racer, Fantasy Zone, Penguin Land, Woody Pop, Maze Hunter 3-D, Secret Command, and Quartet.
There are also quite a few new side activities that Lost Judgment is introducing that sound quite promising. The school, for instance, has a dance club with a dancing rhythm minigame of its own. There’s also a boxing club, which has special rules for fights. Then there’s skateboarding, complete with grinding and pulling of tricks and what have you.
NO PLANS FOR PC VERSION
Sega has brought over the entire Yakuza series to PC by now with a flurry of releases in the last couple of years, but Judgment still remains a console exclusive. Lost Judgment, too, is only releasing for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One, and Sega says it has no plans of bringing the game to PC. Reports have strongly suggested that that’s because of a dispute between Sega and the talent agency of Takuya Kimura, the actor who plays protagonist Yagami, which, for several reasons, doesn’t want the game on PC. It’s been claimed that the dispute might mean that this could be the last Judgment game, though it remains to be seen exactly how true these reports are.
ENGLISH LIP SYNC
Following in the footsteps of Judgment and Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Lost Judgment will also be releasing with a full English dub. The localization for both those games was excellent, so expectations are high from Lost Judgment as well. That said, one area where you shouldn’t expect it to be on the same level as last year’s Yakuza is the lip syncing. Localization director Scott Strichart explained that while Japanese voice overs for Yakuza: Like a Dragon had wrapped up a full nine months before the game’s launch, Lost Judgment’s were finished only four months before its launch. That meant that the localization team didn’t have enough time to perform and record English words aligned with lip movement, while Sega did not want to delay the game, what with it being a simultaneous worldwide launch and all.
On top of its $59.99 standard edition, Lost Judgment will also have Digital Deluxe and Digital Ultimate Editions. Deluxe will include the Detective Essentials Pack – which will give you various “lifestyle and detective items” – and the School Stories Expansion Pack – which will include a new set of items for each of the school club activities – and will cost $69.99. Meanwhile, the Digital Ultimate Edition will include all of that, on top of the Story Expansion Pack, which will feature additional story content. It will cost $89.99.