Lost Judgment once again puts players in the sneakers of lawyer turned street-fighting detective Takayuki Yagami. Joined by his partner, ex-yakuza Masaharu Kaito, the crime-fighting duo is called on to investigate a seemingly perfect crime whose lead suspect has an airtight alibi. What starts out as a tale of revenge reveals a tangled web of conspiracy involving several unlikely factions taking advantage of a broken law system. But as victims pile up and Yagami unravels the truth, he must choose between defending the law or exacting justice.
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This review contains spoilers
Nearly everything is in tip-top shape and quite the improvement over the last game; the combat, with its wide variety of combo options and approaches to encounters; for starters, the preexisting styles; Crane and Tiger are actually viable and useful in encounters unlike the last time, and we have two new styles; Snake and Boxer, and while Snake is an awesome and fresh new style with plenty of fun mechanics, Boxer falls a little bit short but is still fun in combos. Oh, and there's also the boss fights, the side content and activities, as Seiryo High is a brilliant, unique, and brand new setting for the RGG franchise, the music, the writing, the character interactions, and the majority of the new characters: with my favorites of the bunch being Kuwana, who is the best antagonist in the franchise, Sawa, and Amasawa, who is the best substory character the franchise has seen, (although there are duds like Koda and Bando), hell even Akutsu, Tesso and Soma, as relatively minor as they all are, are still pretty great and memorable despite their lack of screentime comparatively, and there's also the storytelling, which is deliciously gripping, enthralling, and morally complex all the way through, and on par with the great storytelling of the previous game, maybe even slightly better, as the first game had a bit of an issue with its pacing.
Even though the narrative's government conspiracy kind of trips over itself in the last few chapters of the game, the positives far outweigh the negatives, as I think it's a very refreshing, unique, and engrossing story narrative, tackling themes and topics the mainline Yakuza series wouldn't even dare to touch, like bullying, suicide, and sexual harassment, and what kind of damages it inflicts upon society and its people, and how various people get caught in the crossfire of it all. People might say the story's worse because it's less personal; and I'd say I disagree with that notion because while it may be a bit less personal than the first game, it still fits the Yagami squad's M.O as detectives, taking on various morally complex jobs and stories, and it does the job perfectly.
The only things that fall a bit too flat here are the detective and courtroom aspects, as they feel way too simplistic and tacked-on, and don't really require too much critical thinking to solve, and that Mafuyu does absolutely fucking nothing in this game, and by GOD, I hope JE3 fixes that because both of these things been the Judgment series problem since day one, that and the boxart is uhh... yeah it's bad, not even gonna sugarcoat it. But, despite the negatives, I'd say that the game is still more than the sum of its parts in the best way possible
If I had to describe this game's narrative in a single word, it would be... morally grey. No one's right in this whole situation, but no one is wrong either, and no single perspective is correct, and that's the beauty of this game... so in short, it's absolutely peak, play the Judgment games now!
See you in Judgment 3! (it's gonna come out sooner or later by the way, Johnny's and Associates is out of commission, and Takuya Kimura has a YT channel, and there's also that big announcement Yokoyama was talking about https://twitter.com/Okami13_/status/1740800530056712454 so it's only a matter of when at this point)