Game Over: Lost Judgment
I started playing through the Yakuza series in 2020 and like most people I fell in love with Ryu Ga Gotoku games. I haven’t played all of them — Yakuza: Dead Souls is still locked to the PlayStation 3 — but I was glad to have tied up Lost Judgment before the Like A Dragon: Ishin! remake released. I can move straight into that the moment it comes out!
Lost Judgment is a sequel to Judgment (which I finished about six months ago), set three years later. The Yagami Detective Agency is asked to help out with a case in the city of Isezaki Ijincho, trying to find out if there is bullying happening in a prestigious local school. There wouldn’t be any plot if there wasn’t, but also Yagami is pulled into a murder case when a body is discovered in an abandoned building.
I won’t go into too many details about the plot, because that’s always the best thing about these games in my opinion. Trying to work out how the mystery will twist and turn, see if I can solve things before the characters… I enjoy a good mystery.
And boy does Lost Judgment have mysteries! You’re asked to aid one of the school’s clubs, the Mystery Research Club (referred to as MRC). The club is looking into someone known as The Professor who has been helping out students who request it. The first case involves finding out which member of the Dance Club is going around town as a sugar baby (flirting with older men for money), which results in Yagami helping out said club.
There are only a certain number of the MRC quests that are required for the main story to progress. I’ll be honest though, I got annoyed a couple of times when I couldn't keep going with the MRC because the main story had to move on before I could! Having to choose between which story to follow was frustrating, but when I had spent about 20 hours without any main story progression because I was dancing, skateboarding, photographing, and fiddling with robots, it was probably about time. At one point I had to stop because I ran out of money, so I just couldn’t afford to keep doing MRC stuff!
Anyway, back to Lost Judgment and what it does well: fighting. Yagami has some different fighting styles this time, to complement his Tiger and Crane styles from the previous game. Well, one of them is part of the School Stories DLC to be fair. Snake style is the most fun because it involves a lot of holds and throws, and when an opponent is afraid you can pull off special moves that frighten them into submission, rather than smashing their teeth in. The other is Boxer style, which is literally boxing moves and super powerful, but as I said that’s in one of the DLCs.
Speaking of DLC, there’s also the Detective Essentials pack that adds three girlfriends, a super hard final side case fight (it was SO HARD), and some other things. Both this and the School Stories DLC were on sale when I picked them up and they definitely made certain things easier. Not that fight, though, that took me like six attempts with maxed out health, and I basically found a cheat by using a Warrior's Onslaught extract and Boxing style to keep juggling my opponent.
Admittedly, there is one DLC that I haven't bought yet. The Kaito Files, an expansion which has you play as Kaito. He has his own quests, mini-games, and I honestly was hoping it would be on sale when I finished Lost Judgment. Not that it really matters, I’m happy enough giving SEGA money for Ryu Ga Gotoku games.
Speaking of finishing Lost Judgment, I didn’t say how long it took. 72 hours and two minutes. When I said that I spent 20 hours just doing MRC stuff, I meant it, and that wasn’t even the end of it, that was just going into Chapter 7. Thinking about it, I probably spent about half of those 72 hours doing the main story, and the rest doing side stuff. Mystery Research Club, locating squirrels, going on dates, playing on Yagami’s Master System, Dice & Cube, blackjack, fighting random people to earn skill points… There’s a staggering amount in this game, and I didn’t even do everything. I didn’t play a single match of shogi, no mahjong, only one attempt at koi-koi before giving up entirely, maybe three hands of poker…
I did complete every single story element, though. The main story, the side cases, every part of the MRC, and even located every squirrel (no I will not explain that), and had spent almost ¥12 million. Some of that may have included taking a taxi back to Kamurocho by mistake, don’t judge me. The results screen told me that I had 82.6% completion, which I believe is at least 10% more than my completion on Judgment.
Is Lost Judgment a perfect game? No, it stumbles with some dodgy forced stealth sections, the RNG can be punishing, and there are no random cats to find in the investigation sections. But damn was it worth spending 72 hours playing it. Now I need to go and buy The Kaito Files, the next Ryu Ga Gotoku game is coming out soon…