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Video Game / Judgment

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The legend of the Yagami Detective Agency unfolds.

"You still wanna sue? Y'know, you won't know what hit you..."
Takayuki Yagami

Judgment, known in Japan as JUDGE EYES: Shinigami no Yuigon Translation  is a "courtroom thriller" Action-Adventure game by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, the same studio behind the critically acclaimed Yakuza series. It released on the PlayStation 4 in Japan and for the Asia-Pacific region in December 13, 2018, with a Western release to follow on June 25th, 2019. While Japanese sales for the game stopped in March 2019 due to Pierre Taki's arrest, Sega announced in May 2019 that a new version of the game will be released on July 18, 2019, with the new character model and Japanese voice actor for Kyohei Hamura.note  It is a Gaiden Game to the main Yakuza games, ignoring almost all of that series' plot elements in favor of telling it's own detective story set in the fictional Tokyo district of Kamurocho.


Judgment places players in the role of Private Detective Takayuki Yagami (portrayed by SMAP alumnus Takuya Kimura) who is on the hunt for a mysterious serial killer. Once a promising defense attorney, his reputation would be permanently tainted after one of his old clients, acquitted of a previous criminal charge, was caught by police for murdering his girlfriend. As such, he's forced to work as a PI in order to make ends meet and take on odd jobs from time to time. When an everyday case leads to a link between his past and the serial killer. Yagami is thrust into the murky world of the Yakuza in order to find out the truth of who set him up.

To get to the bottom of this deadly mystery, Yagami will need to use every tool and skill as a PI at his disposal; tailing suspects and chasing them down if the need arises, taking incriminating photos with his phone and remote-controlled drones, cornering persons of interest with damning evidence, and fighting his way to the truth — through brute force, if necessary.


Judgment is the first major release of the Yakuza series after Yakuza 6, which concluded the story of the series' main protagonist Kazuma Kiryu, and represents a sharp contrast in narrative: while previous games focused on characters who lived outside of the law, Judgment has players in the role of a private detective attempting to solve crimes. This carries over into the gameplay, as well; in addition to investigating crimes and pursuing criminals, players must also take care to stay within the bounds of the law — even if it means running from the authorities.

Beyond the new characters and story, the core of the Yakuza series is ever-present in Judgment as players delve into a hard-hitting criminal drama story, while fighting off ruffians on the regular with both martial arts and environmental objects. Players can also pursue more light-hearted sidequests and engage in numerous mini-games, from arcade games to drone racing.

The official website is here.

The sequel, Lost Judgment is set for a worldwide release on September 24th, 2021, a franchise first for a Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio game, accross the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. This time around, Yagami travels to Ijincho to solve a brand new case.

The game provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: During a chase, Yagami will shout "Cho, matte yo!" Translation  which is one of Kimura's famous Catch-Phrases from his 1997 drama Love Generation.
  • Adult Fear: Alzheimer's disease, and a potential means to cure it, is the impetus for a considerable portion of the plot. More than one antagonist in the game had suffered from having a loved one who was a victim of this real life disease.
  • Alcohol Hic: The hostess Madoka lets out one in your first Friendship event with her at Apple Pie, despite being non talkative otherwise.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Downplayed. Certain sections have you in the role of someone other than Yagami. Most of them are in the role of Saori, and are obviously investigations rather than a full-on combat sequence.
  • And the Adventure Continues: After the case was solved and Okubo is proven to be innocent, Yagami decides to remain as a detective instead of going back as a lawyer. The ending shows him and Kaito taking up a case of finding a missing cat.
  • Anti-Climax: One side case has Yagami hunt down a trio of perverts. One of them was an ass groper whom Yagami had to chase after having groped someone. After beating him down, the pervert then recovers and emits a battle aura as if going into a second form while proclaiming how groping a woman’s ass gives him power. Yagami then breaks it to the guy that the last person he groped was actually a man. The pervert gets so horrified at this fact he undergoes a breakdown, then gets caught by the police.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The first Quick Time Event prompt in the story has no punishment for failure and repeats until the player gets it right. Amusingly enough, it is Yagami telling a goon to look behind him over and over.
  • Battle Strip: It happens far less than in the mainline Yakuza series, but still shows up on occasion:
    • Ass Catchem rips off his shirt to reveal his muscular physique before the fight with him.
    • The Mad Bomber takes off his shirt before his fight to reveal his suicide bomb vest.
  • Ascended Extra: On top of being the only returning characters, most of the shopkeepers now have their own sidemissions, called "Friend Events".
  • Bittersweet Ending: More sweet than bitter. Shono and Kuroiwa are dead with their crimes revealed. The Medical Institute (And by extension the ADDC) will be shut down with every member of The Conspiracy on their way to jail, with Kajihira on trial for his scam. Many innocent (and not so innocent) people like Emi died (sometimes very painful deaths) for a drug that was never going to be nothing more than poison. Okubo got his innocence proven, but that doesn't hide the fact he spent 3 years on death row, as well as the fact that Ayabe and Hamura had their crimes brought up to the world, meaning they'll probably go on trial for those crimes and will be found guilty. The Matsugane Family and Kyorei Clan have been gutted of their leaders and future leaders, leaving it dubious those families will ever fully recover. Kaito will never be a Yakuza again, and Yagami feels like if he goes back to being a lawyer, what happened to Okubo will happen all over again if he stops looking for the truth. But the duo stay best friends and continue being detectives. Doesn't take away that every criminal act was All for Nothing, but at least life goes on.
  • Bland-Name Product: The crowdfunding app "Quickstarter".
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • You can purchase additional Play Passes with real money, letting you take a few more runs at the profitable Paradise VR minigame.
    • The Ultimate Battle Pack gives you a bunch of reusable extracts that grant powerful effects like giving you a powerful One-Hit Kill attack and making you unkillable for a period of time.
    • The Play Spot Fun Pack not only comes with Play Passes, but also gives you drone frames with a high cost capacity, letting you put high-cost parts on your drone early on.
  • Chase Scene: Scattered in many places in the game, both chasing for and away from someone.
  • Casting Couch: The “Amidst A Dream” sidequest has Sana Mihama tell Yagami that she would have to “entertain” the CEO of the record label after dinner.
  • Casting Gag: Takuya Kimura is no stranger to legal or crime dramas. He was a public prosecutor in the 2001 TV drama HERO, another public prosecutor in the 2018 film Killing for the Prosecution, and then he starred as a homicide detective in the film Masquerade Hotel a month after the game was released in Japan.
  • The Cameo: Nikaido from Dead Souls is the final boss of the Kamuro Of The Dead minigame.
  • Central Theme: Truth and Justice. How far are you willing to go to know the truth and do the right thing? Are you trying hard enough to know the truth and are you really doing the right thing, or just doing something good for your own ego?
  • Combination Attack: Yagami and Kaito have two Ex Actions depending on whether there is one or two enemies.
  • Cure for Cancer: What the game ultimately centers around. AD-9 was intended as a full-on cure to Alzheimer's, but while it was, indeed, fantastic on mice, it was incredibly lethal on humans, painfully so. As such, Yoji Shono, the drug's creator, sought to perfect it. Unfortunately, the toxins that comprised it ensured it would never be, and in his madness, dozens died in unsanctioned tests, forcing him to dispose of the victims. Kuroiwa, the Mole, made sure their side-effects would not be noticed; said side-effects being that the eyes were filled with blue pigment caused by said toxins.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to Yakuza games the main story has a more serious and dark vibe to it, Serial Killer takes the eyes out of their victims, guns are being pushed in the streets of Kamurocho by street gangs and the yakuza are not lionized like Kiryu and Daigo. The only active Yakuza shown to be somewhat decent is Matsugane, and he became a figurehead because of it since he didn't want to see what his underlings need to do to bring in money. Even the side story has adultery and terror portrayed more seriously than when Kiryu has to handle it.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Should Yagami take too long to end random encounters and fail to escape from the police, there is a chance a female cop will attempt to stop him physically. The look on his face when his arm is placed into a hold and touching her chest shows he enjoys it. The option to mash out of the hold is given to the player, but if that's not fulfilled then Yagami will be flipped over and is taken into custody with a smile as the female cop holds his head quite close to her chest.
  • Eye Scream: The Mole M.O. is to kill yakuza and taking their eyeballs out. Turns out, there is a major reason why this had to happen: one of AD-9's symptoms is that the eyes go blue and bloodshot due to its toxins it has in it, and as a result evidence that human experimentation was in play during development of it, so removing the "client's" eyes was to cover that up.
  • Foreshadowing: During a flashback to Okubo's murder trial, in which he was accused of killing the person whose corpse he disposed of, one of the incorrect responses that the player can give while Yagami is questioning the prosecution's witness is to accuse said witness of having committed said crime. This turns out to be correct later on, though it was completely unintentional on the witness' part.
  • Gaiden Game: To the mainline Yakuza series. While several elements are shared with regards to gameplay and even lore, Judgment by and large remains independent from it, and can be played without having ever played a single Yakuza game.
  • Game Within a Game: As is now a tradition, the Club SEGA arcades contain several SEGA titles. Newly added to this game is 1995's Fighting Vipers, 1997's futuristic racer Motor Raid, and a tribute to both Yakuza: Dead Souls and House of the Dead in the form of a Rail Shooter titled "Kamuro of the Dead".
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: In Chapter 5, you get to play Yagami in a flashback when he was still a lawyer, which includes a fight. During said fight, you play as if everything in Yagami's arsenal is not yet unlocked, making it sort of a No-Gear Level.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The story and a couple of Ex Actions emphasize Yagami trying his best to not actually kill anyone, but you can still throw people off buildings and stuff them on microwaves all you want as usual. They won't really die.
  • The Goomba: The doctors fought in Chapter 9 are possibly the weakest enemies in the entire series.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: None of the victims' empty eyes are seen on camera. When the victims are found, all are wearing dark sunglassees. The fact that Shintani sometimes wears sunglasses can make this a bit of Foreshadowing.
  • Gratuitous English: Invoked with Kaede Sanada at Quadra Garden who's trying to learn English. Yagami, being a former lawyer, knows better English and can help her out. As her friendship goes along, her English gets better to the point she not only greets him in English but now has an American boyfriend.
  • Guide Dang It!: There's a hidden backroom dealer at Lullaby Mahjong, but the game doesn't tell you about it unless you go through some steps. After dealing with the Panty Professor, you start up a chain of friendship missions involving Yosuke and his friend Madoka at Apple Pie. Once her friendship is raised enough, you can talk to her coworkers enough until they give you the key to the backroom to Lullaby Mahjong for the high rollers.
  • Honey Trap:
    • One of the sidequests is named this trope. A comedian named Hyuga's career is ruined when a girl he dated said she was underage and asks Yagami to find the truth. It turns out to be a plot by his jealous costar Higurashi to tarnish his career and that she truly is legal age.
    • In Chapter 12, Saori gets to be this by posing as a reporter and seducing Kido and using it as blackmail to get him to Kamurocho.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: In the same vein as the Yakuza games, multiple major characters are modeled after their Japanese voice actors.
  • Inspired by...: Interviews with the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios personnel mention that development of the game was inspired by legal dramas, movies and video games, including the Ace Attorney franchise.
  • Lockpicking Minigame: Scattered in many places in the game, not just the infiltration missions. For example, in the VR board game, the player was required to open a safe within a time limit. This also means that Yagami would have to open different kinds of locks throughout the game, each with their own unique mini-game.
  • Luck-Based Mission: One of the friends you make, Yuriko Tachibana, gives you mahjong based challenges that depending on your hands can turn into these. To win her friendship, it involves going out while Yagami has Wareme. The challenges then rise in difficulty with a no points hand, an all triplets hand, a half flush hand and finally the dreaded Nine Gates hand (111, 999, then straight flush in circles). Each time you complete a challenge you get a cheat item to help you in different gambling games, with the last one being a Nine Gates Tile.
  • Market-Based Title: Outside Asia (which uses the name JUDGE EYES: Shinigami no Yuigon), the game's known as Judgment.
  • Maximum HP Reduction: Getting hit by bullets or bosses' Deadly Attacks will take a chunk out of Yagami's maximum health. The only way to restore it is to visit the underground doctor below Children's Park or use a Med Kit.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: During the endgame, an injured Yagami starts seeing ghostly images of the past ending with a conversation he had with Emi about Okubo's defense. Emi suddenly turns to the present day Yagami and asks him to look after Okubo and her little brother. The hallucinations then end and Yagami is suddenly unaffected by his previous injuries. While this appears to be a mere hallucination, Sugiura, who was not injured, tells Yagami that he also heard Emi's voice, raising the possibility that Yagami really did interact with her ghost.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Chapter 1's title "Three Blind Mice". Yagami and Kaito investigate the case of three dead yakuza wakashus with their eyes taken out.
    • Similarly, the final chapter's title is "Down Came The Rain". Much of the game's final moments take place during a storm, most notably the final battle against Kuroiwa.
      • The title is also a thematic and direct reference to the nursery rhyme "Itsy Bitsy Spider", with it's simple allegory for picking yourself up and pushing onward to victory when all seems lost. ("Down came the rain and washed the spider out...")
  • Meaningful Rename: With the change of protagonist there are modifications in terminology for some systems. Heat moves are Ex Actions and Substories are Side Cases.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The dresses Saori can wear during Chapter 7 shout out to several hostesses in Yakuza history. In particular, you can pick any of the dresses worn by the hostesses in Yakuza Kiwami 2, and even a dress based off Yuki's, with the description saying that it was once worn by a legendary Osaka hostess.
    • If Yagami wanders around Kamurocho, you can see that parts of the Little Asia district are cordoned off from the public due to reconstruction projects.
    • Yagami can also end up involved in a case revolving around Ono Michio, or more specifically his new actor, who feels he's inadequate compared to Kiryu's portrayal of the mascot.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: A major theme of this game is that no amount of good that comes out of being a Well-Intentioned Extremist justifies the horrible crimes they do, and that they only self-righteously think of themselves as heroes.
    • Morita turned a blind eye to the Mole's crimes over his Freudian Excuse, (which earns him a scathing strip-down by Yagami and a immediate dismissal once his actions have been revealed.
    • Hamura was simply looking for money to aid the Matsugane Family's finances (which ended up with him strongarming the patriarch into handing effective leadership to him due to Condescending Compassion), and aided in Kuroiwa's downfall into insane delusions and his killing spree across Kamurocho.
    • Kido is being blackmailed with the threat of his reputation and what AD-9 could do to it, both good and bad (though the instant it's made clear that AD-9 has no hope of success, he decides it's no longer worth it and testifies).
    • Ichinose couldn't care less if AD-9 saved the world, as long as the ADDC would continue to run and get him a good buck and the reputation to go along with it.
    • And Kuroiwa killed left and right as the Mole just so that he'd go down in history as a hero.
    • As for Shono, he's the worst one out of all of them, given that he could've avoided most of the mess he made if he wasn't such a Narcissist and let someone else look into AD-9, and by the end of the game, it becomes clear that he continues to believe his own lies that AD-9 could still be fixed even after three years.
  • Old Save Bonus: You can get a special gift of 50000 yen if you have a save from any Yakuza game.
  • Permanently Missable Content: The “Oh Look A Cat” trophy requires you to find a cat during each first-person search whether it's in the main story or side quests. Missing one means you’d have to restart the whole game from scratch since it doesn’t keep track of each one you’ve looked at.
  • Press X to Not Die: Most boss fights have input prompts between phases as they perform what amounts to their own Ex Actions on Yagami. Miss and you'll take a sizable amount of damage.
  • Reality Ensues: In the final chapter, Yagami cross examines Ichinose and how he created the Medical Institute and thus the ADDC as free income for senior executives to retire to, even getting the Vice Minister position for his move. However, he points out a glaring flaw: Because these men and women are just not doing anything innovative and thus was a waste of tax payers money. The institute was in the process of being shut down when AD-9 was announced.
  • Rescue Romance: Yagami rescues all of his potential girlfriends in the side cases that lead up to his being able to date them:
    • He rescues Tsukino from the Twisted Trio, a gang of perverts who keep sexually harassing her.
    • He rescues Sana from being raped by a crooked music producer.
    • He rescues Amane from a man who tried to murder her over her predictions of calamity disrupting his life.
    • He rescues Nanami from a stalker.
  • Secret Test of Character: The Mystery Writer chain of sidequests is one for Takumi Katagiri giving it out. In each one, he puts the manuscript to his latest detective novel in a safe requiring a puzzle to solve. After completing all three, the author reveals that the novels were intended to be a trilogy and says if anyone ever published any of the other two beforehand, he would terminate both of the previous book deals and retire from the public eye. Since the client figured it out and waited for part three, he has now decided to work with his company for life. He did this because he felt like that nobody actually cared about what he was writing anymore regardless of how much or how little effort he put into it and that the publishers didn't even bother reading his books, mindlessly publishing them regardless of their content: by making the books into a trilogy without mentioning it to anyone else, he made sure that any potential publishers would give his books the respect they're due by refusing to publish an incomplete trilogy before knowing for sure that they can aquire the rights for the rest of them as well.
  • Shout-Out:
    • During the case "Justice is Sweet", a makeshift trial of Hoshino for supposedly eating Saori's cake, both Hoshino and Yagami object to the accusations against the former by pointing and yelling "Objection!."
    • The Challenge of getting 777 headshots in Kamuro of the Dead is “This Is My Boomstick.”
    • The second of the Twisted Trio is Ass Catchem.
    • A game achievement can be unlocked for taking the taxis is Crazy Taxi.
    • Ryan Acosta will sometimes say “Believe it!
    • Another game achievement for beating 1000 enemies in random encounters is Streets of Rage.
    • When talking to the gambling woman in Chapter 8, Yagami asks if she likes her drink to be a vodka martini. Shaken, not stirred.
    • When learning about the burglary ring in the main story, Yagami encounters some thieves codenamed Jester, Fox, and Crow. Crow even explicitly compares them to Robin Hood, Crow's own Persona, and when it's revealed that he's betrayed the group, much like Crow in Persona 5, he mentions that Jester might have a "change of heart," when it comes to his actions.
      • Additionally, one of the nicknamed opponents you can play mahjong against is "No-Good Tora", the same nickname given to the politician confidant.
    • In the story, you become friends with the tailor at Le Marche. After helping him out of a tight spot, he makes a free suit for Yagami and says "You're going to like the way you look. I guarantee it."
    • In Smile Burger, Ida will occasionally quip with "Why so serious? You should put a SMIIILE on that face!"
    • In the "Mr. Try and Hit Me" substory, after hitting him for the first time, one of the onlookers says "...he was fast as lightning! ...It was even a little bit frightening."
  • Surprisingly Good English: The main theme song "Arpeggio" by ALEXANDROS features a mix of English and Japanese vocals, with the English portions of the lyrics being pronounced clearly and correctly.
  • Surveillance Drone: Yagami has a drone named "Pigeon" that he can use as a remote camera to gather evidence, to shoot down trespassers as well as participate in drone races.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: It doesn't seem like this at first, but the later stages of the game are much harder than those of previous games in the series. The Mortal Wound mechanic makes firearms a legitimate threat, as they limit how much maximum health Yagami has if they connect, and to make matters worse, bosses, once they gain a HEAT aura, become capable of performing Deadly Attacks that are also capable of inflicting Mortal Wounds. Their damage output also raises substantially in general, with street bosses being capable of destroying your health in practically one fell swoop with certain attacks and counters, and even story bosses have similarly absurd damage outputs. This is amplified by the lack of equippable weapons in the game which prevents Yagami from taking cheap shots using something like a gun.
  • Super Mode: Extreme Heat Mode from 6 and Kiwami 2 make a return under the new name of EX-Boost.
  • Supervillain Lair: Shono's lab look like a set out of a Torture Porn movie, while there is a reason to keep it like an abandoned hideout for hobos and gimps, having hobos and gimps as guard is a bit of an extra mile.
  • Tagline:
    • A weapon named justice. Japanese  (Japan)
    • Justice is blind. (Western regions)
  • Tattooed Crook: During Amane romance route she tells you to beware a cow calamity. It turns out to be a yakuza patriarch who sports an ox on his back. However we don't see it and there is no tattoo reveal like in previous games.
  • Terrible Trio: Yagami deals with a perverted version of this trope in sidequests called the Twisted Trio.
  • The Conspiracy: The main villains of the game are revealed to be part of one, centered around a drug that is meant to cure Alzheimer's. While a relatively noble goal, issues arise when the drug is revealed to be fatal in humans, which leads to patients and yakuza thugs being kidnapped and fatally experimented on in further attempts to "perfect" it.
  • The Power of Friendship: Yagami can befriend 50 people in Kamurocho by helping them out in side cases or performing specific tasks. In "The Golden Mouse" side case which involves the Keihin Gang attempting to turn the city against Yagami, all of his friends express concern and can support him by giving items, becoming distractions for him to escape, and fighting alongside him against the Keihin Four.
  • Timed Mission: If you stay in a random encounter for too long, the cops will arrive and you'll have to make a run for it.
    • Also, certain boss fights and search missions have a time limit for different reasons, and failing them will result in a game over.
  • Uncertain Doom: One variation of "EX Traffic Safety" involves a mook trying to punch Yagami and miss, carrying himself into the side of a passing-by car, which said mook starts vandalizing, culminating in the car's occupants (revealed to be Yakuza goons) pulling him into the car and carting him off away from the fight. What happens is never shown, but judging by Yagami's reaction it can't be good.
    Yagami: 'Kay. That just happened.
  • What You Are in the Dark: When Morita says he is doing what he does for the greater good after being coerced Yagami fires back he made the decision himself over empty promise of greater good for sacrifices and would likely have done it again.
    Yagami: Fire tempers iron and temptation steels the just.
  • Wham Shot: In the Finale, the shot of Shono's eyes turning into Creepy Blue Eyes after AD-9 takes effect when he injected a syringe of it to himself, giving the major reason why his alongside the Mole's victim's eyes were removed in the first place.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: As is par for the course with Yakuza Studio, this game has an urban sandbox to explore, with a variety of side-activities to engage in.
  • Worthless Treasure Twist: AD-9, the supposed miracle Alzheimer's cure that was supposed to save ADDC from closure, for which dozens of innocent and not-so-innocent were sacrificed for, and dozens of people willingly gave up their careers and prestige in order to protect, considered more valuable than a hundred billion yen redevelopment project... turns out to be pure poison for humans.

Alternative Title(s): Project Judge


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