8 Reviews liked by Bushmonkey

i really love Yagami leaving his office unlocked now due to being annoyed by having to find the key on your key ring to unlock it all the time in Judgment. you and me both bud. now hopefully the side case born as a result of this doesn't make him start doing it again in Judgment 3

Lost Judgment is a confusing game. It's all over the place quality-wise but might still be one of my favorite gaming experiences in recent times.
Yagami is a plain as bread character in this game and contrary to a Kiryu doesn't have the personality to carry an entire game's content on his back. While he's great to play and a joy to watch in cutscenes featuring his fighting choreography there's not much more to him than him just being a good guy. Takuya Kimura is a great actor but he's never more than just "cool" in the way Kiryu or Akiyama were.
On the other hand, the side content that is in this game is quite great and perhaps more consistent than most of RGG Studio's games. The school stories are particular standouts with the character tying them together, Amasawa, being one of the most likeable characters in the entire franchise.
Then there's the story that is, as always, competently told and once again continues the streak that has been going on since Yakuza 6: The way these games tie their plot together at the end is nothing short of astounding and managed to soothe many of my gripes with this game's storytelling within a two or three hour timeframe.
Lost Judgment got two of the most impressive villains in the franchise. One of them is more threatening than anyone who's come before and instilled me with a great fear of ice picks, while the other while not as tragically likeable as the game sets them up to be, is still interesting enough for me to shed a tear or two at the conclusion their character received.
They trimmed alot of the more repetitive aspects from the first Judgment down while adding a couple of others which makes the game much more streamlined to play and definitely is an improvement over the first game.
The thing Lost Judgment really lacks though is a gripping story. Interestingly enough, by the end I felt like I got more out of this narrative than I did from the first game's. The plot advances in such a roundabout way and is never complicated enough to really catch me off guard or make me think. I pretty much went through the entire game (which took me 50 hours and 13 minutes to beat, including all of the substories) without ever feeling the urgent desire to continue playing the story.
I don't think I've ever been this disassociated from a RGG story before, even though it is still a very good one. The problems stem from badly paced storytelling and Yagami not being particularly involved in the plot or being interesting by himself.
Yet, by the end, I loved my time with Lost Judgment and I'm definitely holding out for a sequel to this much more than I am for the next Yakuza game. Maybe let the next one be the conclusion to Yagami's story, let him investigate the murder of his parents or something. But if the Judgment series does continue for more than one game, please, try and make Yagami more fun.
Also: Please let Amasawa be an intern at Yagami's detective agency or something. I need her to come back.

This is a better game than Judgment. The story is incredibly nuanced with an amazing villain, the beat-em-up gameplay is the best I've ever experienced, and it has an incredible amount of varied side-content. The soundtrack is also phenomenal, and there are some quality-of-life inclusions for getting around Ijincho. My only issues with the game are some weaker moments in the last quarter of the narrative, but this is a damn-near perfect game for me.
Hours played: 106
Platinumed?: no, need to do a Legend playthrough
100%?: yes

Easily the most well written story I've seen RGG make from the games I've played so far. The pacing issues from the first game are non-existent in this game, as there's only like, 3-ish interruptions in the story, but those were to introduce mechanics and only lasted for around 5-ish minutes so it was fine. I adore how the Judgment series continues to tackle real life issues in their stories, and with the focus on bullying in this game, as it makes many characters sympathetic and you can understand why certain characters do the things they do. This is the perfect time to segue to the main antagonist of the game. This character has quickly become one of my favorite antagonists I've seen in any media. They do such a good job making the player understand where this character is coming from and sympathizing with them, there are moments where you might even go "hold up, let them cook" at certain points. And that final boss theme is so fucking rad
The combat has had a huge upgrade from 1, and it shows. Every style is now much more balanced and are more varied where each style has been given more utility in certain situations. The addition of the Snake style is also fantastic. One of my complaints with the previous game is that when doing combos, you're stuck during your combo animations with no way of canceling, leading to you getting hit. Games like Dark Souls I can let get away with this because your attacks as well as the enemies are slow but deliberate and you can pick and chose your battles most of the time, but with the Yakuza games, you are consistently forced into small areas with multiple enemies that have very fast attacks. Snake style extremely mitigates that (the other styles still have the same problem with the exception of being in certain states). Something this game does really well is the added incentives of trying out different styles. The addition of the little combat bonuses given at the end of battles is great at making the player wanting to try out different things and use a lot more of the mechanics, and I really hope this small feature will show up in more RGG games. Another way how the game wants you to keep switching styles which I adore are the 'Secret of the X', and the 'Hidden Arts' skills. I love how you can get certain buffs with your styles, and then transfer the buffs to the other styles, constantly making you switch styles to gain/keep the buffs.
One of the biggest things about Lost Judgment are the school stories. I'll be honest, I barely touched any of the side content in this game mainly because I was so engrossed with the story and I didn't want to kill the high I was having with the plot, so I can't really say much about the side content. I will say, from like the 10 sub-stories I have done, they already feel more memorable than the first Judgment. They were more entertaining humor wise, and the scenarios were a lot more out there. There wasn't a single 'oh no I think my spouse is cheating on me' side story I've encountered and I'm grateful.
This game is like a constant 8/10 or above, and is an improvement over the first game in basically every single way. I don't know how RGG has done it, but the Judgment series is 2 for 2 when it comes to the stories. It's a shame that the series is most likely gonna end here because I would love to see more of what they would do with how they depict the law in future games. Can't wait to start the Kaito DLC.



What I thought would be just a cat simulator with acceptable gameplay ended up being something far more impressive.
Stray is an adventure game akin to something like Journey, Abzu, or Gris. I make that comparison because Stray is a game that bases itself on very simple and basic platforming mechanics that are absolutely elevated due to the environmental storytelling and direction. It's less about platforming through challenging and complex level designs that evolve as you progress, but more so about placing you into an interactive experience.
Just the premise alone is so neat. You're in a world, long after the extinction of humanity, residing within a complex cybercity filled with colorful robotic citizens. However, the twist is that you are viewing this story all through the eyes of a feline companion. Something I never knew I needed to see until I had it in front of me.
I wouldn't say that the story and world itself is wholly original, but I think this game still has enough charm behind its direction that it still felt like it stood on its own. The robotic civilians are all very intriguing to observe and interact with, and the level designs are surprisingly dense, interconnected, and filled with character and environmental storytelling that really all just makes it feel less like sections of a game and more like an actual living, breathing world that you're getting to observe.
It's just a lovely, chill little experience and I was genuinely surprised by how much I ended up actually liking it. This will actually probably go down as one of my favorite games of 2022. Definitely a game everyone should check off their list of games to play this year. Also, the music is fantastic.
- Not really a negative, per se, but the game only took me 4-5 hours to beat. I didn't mind that. I think any more would have hurt the pacing. However, it's also a $30 game so just be aware that you probably won't get a lot of mileage out of it.
- I think the story and world-building is interesting, if cliche. There's a lot of things presented in the story, though, that I wish were delved a little more deeper upon.
- The second half of the game is a bit weaker than the first. The slow unraveling of the setting is much more rewarding there, and I think the first, big, dense map feels more interesting and has more neat stuff to do and interact with than in the second half.



Stray is one of those great short but sweet games. It doesn't even take 5 hours to beat (unless you focus on getting on all the collectibles, then you'll probably hit those 5 hours, maybe one more) but it managed to reel me in and invest me into this world and its inhabitants through the eyes of an adorable cat. Walking around this dystopian city would probably already fill me with wonder, but doing it through the eyes of a cat, jumping around on boxes and tubes just added to that wonderful feeling.
It's not really platforming in the sense that you can constantly fall down and lose your progress, but jumping around, as I said, is a pretty big part of the game. This makes it so that in the last hour or so it kind of lost some of the excitement for me, but it works and again, the atmosphere is simply top notch.
In terms of other obstacles you'll mostly be running from little meatblobs with glowing eyes, sneak past a bunch of drones or you will be looking around a large area for a specific item to give to a specific character so you can progress. These things as well are a lot of fun the first few times, but luckily as soon as it starts to get a little stale, the game is over.
The thing I come back to the most though is, again, world itself. It completely sucked me up from the moment that there weren't even any NPC's present. The levels and area's themselves just feel so well-realized and thought out, looking beautiful from any angle you look at it (which makes the lack of a photo-mode even more glaring). Once you do start to meet some characters though, they are also integrated into the world beautifully and really added to the kind of cute but somber vibe that is present all throughout Stray. I'd say it's absolutely worth your time.

This is the game you can blame for the dozens of "ever growing hole" clone games. But none of those will ever be half as charming and silly as the original.
You play as a raccoon with a remote control hole, and you go around swallowing up the town you live in to serve the raccoon king. Eventually you learn some kind of lesson about, like, valuing your human friends or whatever. But what's important is that you're a raccoon, and you're very cute.

I respect the hell out of this game. It's not perfect by a longshot. But the art style and overall presentation is top-notch for a simple browser game.

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