Judgment, known in Japan as JUDGE EYES: Shinigami no Yuigon Translation is a "courtroom thriller" Action-Adventure game by 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 2018, with a Western release to follow on June 25th, 2019.
Taking place in the 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, he was damned by his fellow attorneys and the public 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's 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 engaging in numerous mini-games, from arcade games to drone racing.
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.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: As opposed to Kiryu being Unskilled, but Strong, Yagami has more refined technique. In fact, one of Yagami's Ex Actions involves using Drunken Boxing.
- Chase Scene: Scattered in many places in the game, both chasing for and away from someone.
- 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.
- Continuity Nod: Onomichio, a mascot that appeared in Yakuza 6, briefly appeared in the game's trailer. The person using his costume has a knife though.
- Combination Attack: Yagami and Kaito have two Ex Actions depending on whether there is one or two enemies.
- Eye Scream: The Mole M.O. is to kill yakuzas and taking their eyeballs out.
- Game Within a Game: This time, the Club Sega branches have a House of the Dead iteration made just for the game called "Kamuro of the Dead".
- 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.
- Ink-Suit Actor: In the same vein as the Yakuza games, multiple major characters are modeled after their Japanese voice actors.
- 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.
- Man in White: Kyohei Hamura, the intimidating captain of the Matsugane Family, dresses in a white suit.
- Market-Based Title: Outside Asia (which uses the name JUDGE EYES: Shinigami no Yuigon), the game's known as Judgment.
- Stance System: Yagami has access to two combat styles, one that puts more emphasis on kicks, the other on punches. They are used for crowd fights and one-on-one respectively.
- Surveillance Drone: Yagami has a drone named "Swan" that he can use as a remote camera to gather evidence, to shoot down trespassers as well as participate in drone races.
- A weapon named justice. Japanese (Japan)
- Justice is blind. (Western regions)
- Timed Mission: If you stayed in a random encounter for too long, the cops will arrive and you'll have to make a run for it.
- Uncertain Doom: One mook-eliminating Ex Action involves a mook getting nearly kicked into the path of a passing-by car, leading to said mook vandalizing said car, 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.
- 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.