In the Ryu Ga Gotoku Yakuza games, players have been able get to know different characters. Kazuma Kiryu has been able to engage in activities that led to him dating hostesses or spending time with women. Judgment changes things up a little bit by, well, adding actual dating. Takayuki Yagami can actually find himself a girlfriend (or multiple partners) as you go through the game. It all comes down to your actions, if you enjoy spending time with the women, and how much effort you are willing to invest. That’s because it attempts to have a somewhat natural progression to love.
Dating doesn’t open up in Judgment until the game’s third chapter. Which feels like a good time, considering there are 13 chapters in the game. The first few give you a chance to get your feet wet, and it isn’t until you start spending time on Yagami’s Side Cases that you get the chance to begin getting to know each of these people. That’s because you come across them after completing Side Cases connected to them. Yagami might meet them or help them out throughout the course of the optional mission, which then basically acts as a meet cute for getting to know the characters.
Again, it fits well with Yagami and his lifestyle. He spends lots of time on the job in Judgment. (Well, pretending all of the side excursions people spend collecting Poppo records or stopping at every Club Sega are not canon.) For example, Sana is the first potential girlfriend. She wants to become a singer, but in her third chapter Side Case, “Admist a Dream,” she’s going to be scammed. Yagami is the one that figures things out and “frees” her. Nanami needs to be saved from a kidnapper in the seventh chapter’s “Smart Watching.”
The other two potential love interests, Amane and Tsukino, each have more extended quest-chains. The increased involvement makes it seem more like an actual investigation, as well as provides more reasons why, after working with him, these women might have an interest in Yagami. While you might kick off Tsukino’s questline, which begins with “The Twisted Trio” group of Side Cases involving perverts, early on, you can’t actually start dating her until you have defeated “The Pervert King” in the eighth chapter. Amane, the fortune teller, only is willing to go out with him if you complete “The Black Calamity” in chapter five, “The Black and White Calamity” in chapter seven, and “The Fire Calamity” in chapter nine.
As for the actual dating, well, that’s when Judgment can feel like a dating sim. Your girlfriends will text you and ask you questions. They’ll expect certain gifts or you to perform well during minigames when out on dates. Also, picking the minigame they like best helps a lot. Amane wants to play Shogi. Nanami enjoys racing drones most of all. Saya adores the arcade and will ask you to earn items from the grabbing machines. Tsukino will want to gamble. Getting presents helps. You could also invest SP in skills like Dating Whiz, Postmodern Poet, Smoother Talker, and Thoughtful Gifter to increase the boosts.
But, what can help most of all is paying attention to who they are and the situation they have recently been in. For Amane, focus on how she wants to help people. You can try and learn more about her, like asking about her real name. But, you should also always admit you’re her boyfriend or partner. You can ask about her current patron, and know that it is a Yakuza. Nanami has just been a victim of stalking, so don’t force a commitment on her. Be gentle. Follow her friend Yukko’s lead. Also, be simple. Sana is young and a musician who is very passionate. You want to share that enthusiasm, show your interest, let her know you prefer younger women, and show interest in her dreams. As for Tsukino, well, she’s still traumatized after dealing with all of the perverts. Reassure her that everything is fine, let her know you are there for her, make sure you notice her new earrings on the third date, and encourage her designs.
Basically, it all pulls together to make Judgment dating feel more natural than the encounters in Yakuza. Yagami builds a foundation with these women first. Then, there are multiple dates as you get to know each other, find out about them, deal with unexpected situations, and actually spend time together one-on-one. Only once its all over do you actually end up in a relationship.
Judgment is available for the PlayStation 4.