After having tasted Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise and the last one Yakuza released, it is finally the turn of a completely new production by the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio.
At its announcement it was not clear whether it was a title part of the universe of Yakuza, given that the main city in which the events are set is once again the laughing one Kamurocho.
After a few months the confirmation arrived: Judgment (or Judge Eyes in Japan) is set in the same universe as the Dragon of Dojima.
The production was unfortunately the victim of some disastrous events, in fact the actor who played Kyohei Hamura (Pierre Taki) was arrested during the distribution of the title in Japan, forcing SEGA having to block it to run for cover.
Because of this news, Westerners thought the release was at risk, but in reality SEGA promptly stepped in by calling a replacement to take over from Pierre Taki, thus filming the scenes with a new actor.
After this unfortunate event, SEGA has also confirmed the release from us and in addition, has also announced that for the first time a title of the vein Ryu Ga Gotoku it would be translated into Italian.
The title is finally in our hands and after trying the Japanese version, we are here to give you our opinion on the full version.
The misfortune of Yagami
The story began three years earlier from the events that make up the main story where the protagonist, ie defense attorney Takayuki Yagami, he just won a trial where his client was accused of murder.
Despite the momentary moment of celebration, a call interrupts everything: Shinpei Okubo he has just been arrested for murdering his girlfriend and setting his home on fire.
For Yagami it was a hard blow having failed to glimpse the case in its entirety, in fact his gaze was turned only to the defense of his client, regardless of the truth.
Due to this tragic event, Takayuki decides to permanently abandon the Genda associate studio, feeling responsible for the death of that poor murdered girl.
The protagonist's life undergoes a strong change and he decides to open a private investigation agency together with his friend Kaito, a member of the family Matsugane, belonging to the Clan Tojo.
Indeed our hero is not far from the life that the "Yakuza" lead, because he too was part of Matsugane's family, and it was he who paid for his studies in order to officially become a lawyer. As if that were not enough, the head of the family considers Yagami like a son.
Three years later, an interesting case appears at our detective's door. A new suspected criminal has targeted the Yakuza, precisely those of the Kyorei gang which in turn is connected to the clan Kansai, leaving the victims on the ground disfigured and with a common element: the eyes removed.
The accusatory head falls on Kyohei Hamura, one of the captains of the Matsugane family. Our task will be to exonerate him from this accusation, trying to find the perfect defense and an unassailable alibi.
This time Yagami is very cautious, in fact from this moment we begin to glimpse the common thread that will then be the driving force for the whole story of Judgment: lto Mole, the mysterious killer.
It is not only a story of murders and murders, but also of a pharmaceutical project called Adeck 9, which aims to combat senile dementia, although unfortunately it didn't go the right way.
The personal narrative path
The narrative presents a structure that initially appears to be very similar to that of the Yakuza series. But we can assure you that in the thirty hours it took to complete the story we saw a something completely new, a breath of fresh air for the videogame genre named by Shenmue.
Human morality is put on a scale, because in Judgment we will have the opportunity to see the two sides of the world, one from the side of justice, and the other from the side of the Yakuza underworld.
Since this is also partly a title focused on investigation, we will be able to come across some stalking. In this phase, the "Tracking search mode“, Where we will have to identify our prey based on the known characteristics of the suspect through a first-person view.
In the menu on the right we will have the details we gathered about the suspect, while with the cursor we can move among the people in our vicinity, and if we find the person who respects all the indications listed, we can initiate the stalking and start following our goal.
Like a real detective!
Once the stalking has begun, it will be necessary first be careful not to create confusion and not to get noticed, as this would cause the attention bar to increase. It goes without saying that once the bar is filled we will come across a sound Game Over.
To avoid being noticed we will have available several covers scattered around the city and various ways to hide. For example, we can take shelter behind the sign of a shop on the ground or take advantage of the crowd to hide our presence.
The important is never lose sight of our target, to avoid further bankruptcies.
During the investigation we will happen to have to strengthen our speech with evidence, and for this comes to the rescue a menu with all the clues collected. You have to carefully choose what you want to show, not to end up in a dead end.
Furthermore, during the conversations we will have to chain the correct answers to take the right path of the investigation. If we choose wrong, we will lose the chance to earn bonus PT points.
One of the most important things is consult the dossier often, through the appropriate App on Yagami's phone.
Inside we will find everything we collected during the case, all the required actions and what our current goal is. In some situations we will have the opportunity to access the quick search mode, which is primarily used to examine immediate evidence.
Within this mode we will have in the left pane the proof / photo in full format, while on the right the area enlarged by the cursor to search for the key element and find the overwhelming proof.
It was also introduced a drone that will allow us to turn around the areas in search of targets or evidence we will need for our case.
While operating the drone, we will have a menu on the right that will allow us to keep an eye on everything we need to look for in order to complete our task.
The news is only part of the epic
Another novelty introduced with Judgment is that of burglary system, that although it is a very questionable measure for an investigator, many times we will be forced to use this "illegal" method. With a pointed object we will have to move the pins, until it will remain stationary and turn yellow.
Making a wrong move will result in the other pins losing their position, thus forcing us to do it all over again. Many times we will have to break in within a certain time limit, worth the Game Over screen.
Also during the investigation missions, in some moments of history we will be able disguise Yagami's identity with a variety of disguises, which you can use from the item app in the disguises tab.
This tactic cannot always be used and often we will only be able to do so when an investigation requires it in detail.
Normal exploration of buildings is also complicated, because if a door is closed, we will have to use the right key. The problem lies in the fact that during the story we will get many keys and each time we will be called to choose the right one to open the door.
It has also been implemented a friendship system with NPCs. Individuals with whom we will be able to forge a bond will be characterized by the special green icon. As friendships increase we will receive many more secondary cases to deal with.
To forge a deep bond you will need to fill the amicometer bar. It will be possible to increase it by helping our friends to solve problems or simply by taking certain actions in the dialogues.
Often we can receive very useful gifts from NPCs with whom we made friends.
Tiger the Gru?
In combat we will have the opportunity to choose between two fighting styles: crane e tiger. The crane style is much more effective in the presence of large groups of enemies, as the attacks expand at long range to be able to hurt all enemies in the area.
The style of the tiger is designed for one-on-one fights, featuring lethal and quick attacks, destined for a focus on style.
If in the fighting we get injured by a bullet or some fury mode attacks from the enemies, we can suffer a fatal wound. When you suffer it, maximum health is reduced and cannot be restored using salvage items. The only way to heal such a wound is only through a "specific" doctor (which we will encounter in the story) or a Medical Kit.
The skills they can be learned in a variety of ways, including obtaining a book of techniques through mini games or while completing a side case.
Confront the bullies who haunt the city it's not always the right choice. If the fight goes on too long, the police will come to an end to the fight and will be happy to accompany us to prison.
The quality of the localization and the audio sector
The English dub captures the right tonality of the characters played. However, we played with Italian dubbing active for this review and we could see how the cast of voice actors are very talented, expressive but above all never out of tune.
For the European version it was kept la opening Arpeggio of Alexandros, a musical masterpiece that fits perfectly with the theme dealt with by Judgment.
If that's not enough, the soundtrack is just perfect, always consistent with the scenes and that has nothing to envy to that of Yakuza.
We want to break a lance in favor of the translators who have dealt with the Italian adaptation. We can confirm that it has been done a lot of localization work, and even using Japanese dubbing, the subtitles are very consistent with what the characters said.
In conclusion, we were fascinated by the new production of SEGA and we are happy to have been able to walk the streets of Kamurocho once again.
Takayuki Yagami's Adventure and companions it was qualitatively excellent for all thirty hours required to complete the main story. Perhaps the only drawback lies in a slightly too slow start, which may not please everyone.
The graphics engine guarantees a fairly convincing rendering, albeit every now and then it is possible to see some marginally treated details, such as the elements present on the screen during battles.
Despite everything, this is a new IP of great depth, which we hope will have a sequel. We feel obliged to advise everyone on the purchase!