So on December 28 I posted a blog naming my five favorite videogames of 2021. Well, guess what? I should have waited until January 1. Because now I have to make a correction.
Ahem. Here’s the story.
In December my 16-year-old son, knowing that his mom really liked Yakuza: Like a Dragon (which he did not play) and wanting to buy a Christmas present that would really be liked, researched games similar to Like a Dragon. And ta-da! On Christmas he presented me with Lost Judgment. What a kid!
Now, to be clear, I deeply appreciate the thoughtfulness that went into this, and I am very thankful to and for my child. As to the game… well, I didn’t expect to like it. Oh, it’s from the developers of the Yakuza games, that is true, and the setting is the same. But it’s not Like a Dragon. Lost Judgment is a different type of game, an action-combat detective crime-busting story. So maybe not my cup of tea?
Well, on the evening of December 27 I put the new disc into the PlayStation.
And bam! Just like that I am back in Ijincho, revisiting the neighborhoods where I used to hang out. Last summer, with my best buddies. But now, as in a dream, I am someone else. Gone are my awesome purple leisure suit and permed hair. Now I am a blue-jeaned skateboarding guy, with noise detection devices and a spy drone and a dog on call. My old apartment upstairs from the bar is closed off, and my old office building is locked. And Eri’s grandmother still works at Ichiban Confections near the bridge, but she doesn’t know me!
But wow, can I climb pipes! It’s all so weird! And so fun that I want to jump up and high-five myself!
Yes yes, I need to get out more, I know I know! But seriously, bravo, Ryu Ga Gotoku! This was cleverly done.
So in Lost Judgment you play as detective Takayuki Yagami, and your main job is to investigate a murder in which the only real suspect has an airtight alibi. It’s a mystery story that will propel you, the player, through the game from start to finish. But there are many side cases also, and a number of these are set in a high school, which is by the way a whole new area to explore. And a few of these side cases are long and involved, so if you like long and involved side cases… well, you are in luck!
Similar to Like a Dragon, Lost Judgment has tons of mini-games, including some new ones, such as dancing, skateboarding and motorcycle racing, which are all part of the high school stories. There are collectible skateboards (even though I couldn’t get them all). The kappas are back, and in this game you will also be hunting a UFO!
Oh, and the taxi will still take you to Kamurocho, where the law office is, and where the trial is to take place. So you can revisit those old stomping grounds too.
Yagami is not Iciban, that is true. But Lost Judgment needs to take its place on my list of favorite games of 2021. If you liked Yakuza: Like a Dragon, you will like Lost Judgment. And if you haven’t played either game, then I strongly, strongly recommend that you play them both!
Trailing Sleeves gives Lost Judgment 9.5 / 10 bowls of soup: