The Yakuza series has a reputation. Even though its installments are filled with drama and violence, to the point where they can be quite thrilling, they are also packed with Substories packed with lighter fare. These can be ridiculously silly. Fortunately, Judgment continues that tradition. While Takayuki Yagami has a totally different demeanor and alternate methods of dealing with Kamurocho’s issues in the main storyline, he is exactly like Kazuma Kiryu in that he totally gets pulled into everyone’s business. An American ninja came to Japan to find a girlfriend? Yagami’s getting involved. A superstar vampire is being stalked? Yagami will help him slink away. All of them are absolutely delightful.
One of the more memorable optional events involves Ryan Acosta, an American in Japan who can become Yagami’s friend. He shows up for the first time in the third chapter of Judgment, and will be near the KJ Art building Yagami had to break into in the first chapter. He’s enthusiastic about becoming a real ninja, to the point where he’s climbing the walls when you first spot him with your drone. If Yagami goes to play darts at Theater Square’s Club Sega, Acosta’s saga continues. He’ll see you as a challenge (due to your mad “shuriken” skills) and try to best you. His whole storyline has this sense of misguided passion and enthusiasm that the Yakuza NPCs are great at showing. Plus, since Yagami is a little less likely to humor these sorts of people than Kiryu was, it means banter between the two can be an absolute delight.
Sometimes, these cases bring back a familiar face. Ono Michio, the mascot from Yakuza 6, returns. In the eleventh chapter of Judgment, Yagami ends up being pulled into a case involving the character. Spoilers aside, it is a chance to see what happens when a struggling mascot comes into town, someone sees the outfit as an opportunity, and gets involved in acts that could sully the figure’s good name. Yagami gets to be the one to play hero and resolve everything.
Judgment even uses the disguise system to make some of these extra stories super appealing. At Bar Tender in chapter three, a job opens up called “Interview With a Detective.” A famous celebrity with a vampiric edge (not Gackt) needs Yagami’s help. The media are chasing after Bram Sylvania III, so it is up to Yagami to act as a decoy. You have to don a disguise, get their attention, participate in a delightfully in-character interview, then give them the slip to complete the case. The look and responses really sell the whole thing, giving us a chance to see Yagami really go all-in with a setting.
Sometimes, Judgment even gets touching with extra storylines that show a softer goofy side. Captain Cop is one of the better examples. This involves a little kid in trouble who basically decides Kaito is the best person ever. (We agree.) After a kidnapping attempt is thwarted, we get to watch him get to be the kid’s ideal hero. It even goes so far as to lean into the world of tokusatsu, with Kaito hamming it up to make the little guy feel better.
There are even just a sampling of what Judgment has to offer. There are so many segments with friends and Side Cases that can take players away from the more serious affairs going on in the game. Sometimes, we get to see our avatars become a little kid’s hero. Another one might involve a helping a foreigner adjust. You might even get a nifty costume out of an affair. There’s a lot to do and, thankfully, these additional moments are as flavorful and funny as ever.
Judgment is available for the PlayStation 4.