PlayStation 4

The Project Judge Demo Offers A Taste Of An Investigation


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When Project Judge comes out, it will take the sort of gameplay we expect from the Yakuza series and brings in more thoughtful adventure elements. After all, Takayuki Yagami is a private eye. He’s going to be looking into different sorts of cases. The Project Judge demo does its best to offer an example of the varied sorts of gameplay we can expect to see in Kamurocho with this new character.


The Project Judge demo starts off showing just how different life as Yagami will be. After seeing the case that turned him from a respected defense attorney to private eye, we see him on the streets. It seems like he is homeless, until we realize he has a Bluetooth earpiece in. Yagami is in disguise, working on a case following a corrupt detective. He and his partner, Shoji Kaitou, are tailing this guy who owes them money. While Kaitou is directly following him, Yagami is supposed to be offering support, however, Kaitou being spotted leads to the investigation’s progress falling solely in Yagami’s hands, which means players spend about 15-20 minutes nailing this detective.


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This gives us a chance to see multiple systems that force people to be a little more observant than usual. To start, Yagami has to find the detective Kaitou was following. We know the general area of Pink Street he is on, but do not know his precise position. Yagami had an artist’s rendering and knows the suspect was wearing a certain hat, had a mole on his face, and had other identifying details. When we reach the area, we have a checklist of details to investigate. Finding the correct person means zooming in and selecting the right person.


Once we pick the detective out of the crowd, Yagami has to follow him without being seen. This means walking through the streets of Kamurocho while being aware of how suspicious you may seem. If the suspect catches on to you, you will need to hide behind a hiding spot while still keeping eyes on him. If he gets out of your field of vision, you have about 30 seconds to find him again. You also have to be prepared to completely stop and wait while waiting for the suspect to become less aware of you. Hiding spots can include ducking behind signs, going behind fences, or event blending in with a crowd of people talking.


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Another investigation element that comes up is the chase. This is an extended quick-time event that has Yagami running down the detective after confronting him. I felt like Project Judge was channeling Shenmue when this came up, as Yagami automatically runs, and you have to occasionally make him move left or right to judge crowds or press buttons to have him deal with obstacles. It gives you the thrill of the chase, without requiring you to divide your attention by pressing too many buttons to keep up with the perpetrator.


Not every investigation element is on display in the Project Judge demo. We do not question anyone. We do not get to pop into Club Sega to play Fighting Vipers or Motor Raid. But we do get to try to identify a subject in a specific area, follow him without being caught or losing sight of him, and run him down when he attempts to get away. All three things are elements that were not prevalent or present in games like Yakuza, and seeing them in this trial lets us see and appreciate how different this new game is going to be.


Project Judge launches in Japan, Asia, and South Korea on December 13, 2018 for PlayStation 4. The game launches in the West in 2019.

Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.