(Warning for content mentioning sexual assault)
Does revenge make sense? Can one take justice in his own hands and bear the burden of his own choice, or should he always leave it to a flawed judicial system that can and will betray the people it aims to protect? These are the core issues of Lost Judgment, the latest game from Yakuza developer Ryu Ga Gotoku and the sequel to its 2019 detective action fighter Judgment.
The story of Lost Judgment focuses on two main themes: justice and revenge. Yagami’s journey explores how these two concepts are intertwined. In dozens of hours, the game examined what people are willing to do to seek justice, the failure of the criminal justice system, and how society often disappoints victims of violence and abuse.
Lose judgment to deal with difficult topics such as bullying, murder, and suicide. Although it displays the usually cruel and tragic reality in painful details, it handles sensitive issues with caution and sympathy. Lost judgments highlight real-world problems, how they affect people, and provide potential solutions to these problems. The cast of the game is full of new and returning characters, and the story comes to life through carefully performed cutscenes. I especially like villains. Although they have done bad things, they are always portrayed sympathetically. I find myself sympathizing with them, even if I disagree with their behavior. The care and elegance of Lost Judgment’s handling of these topics is refreshing, and I like to play through a mature and cleverly treated story. With one major exception.
The treatment of sexual assault is a mess. After the #MeToo campaign, a plot point that doubted the authenticity of the victim’s story was frankly irresponsible and reinforced negative perceptions of women who presented abuse stories. In this case, using sexual assault as a plot line, feeling weak and shocked for shock. Once her usefulness as a plot device ends, the narrative throws the character aside and abandons any resolution of her character arc, which is especially shocking. I find this plot incredibly disappointing in a game that is cautious in sensitive storytelling. This casts a shadow over the rest of my gameplay and makes me bored with a story I would have liked. I really hate being involved in all these moments in the game.
If you have played other RGG games, such as the Yakuza series or Judgment, you should be familiar with this action. You spend a lot of time walking around in two open worlds (Kamimurocho and Ijincho), participating in brutal street fights and chasing storylines in towns. The investigation mechanism of the trial is the same as the previous game; you look around for clues, and then use these clues as evidence, just like the first game, it is a good way to break down the battle-focused parts.
“The Lost Trial” introduces two new mechanisms for the series: stealth and parkour. Both are poorly implemented and tedious. Stealth is basic and linear-go to this hiding place, throw a coin to lure the guard, rinse and repeat. Parkour is a bit appealing, but the game often forces you into investigation mode to find the handles needed to get around an area. This can kill the rhythm, especially during the climax of the game, I often stop to find a place to climb.
Combat is the highlight of the “Lost Trial” game. Yagami is smooth and fast, and contains three different battle types from the first game. You can switch between them on the fly, and it feels great. I like to encounter a room of enemies and use three combat methods to systematically destroy everyone-especially Snake, which can quickly knock down the enemy and disarm the enemy. RGG’s iconic warm-up moves are back, they are as cruel and exaggerated as ever. I like the battles in “Lost Trial” so much that I often find myself just walking around in the open world looking for trouble.
When the credits are rolled, it is difficult for me to sort out my feelings. On the one hand, the story of Lost Judgment is very touching, and I like to explore the emotions of the characters. There are also some parts that I just like to play, such as defeating bad guys. But in the final analysis, “The Lost Trial” committed some unforgivable crimes. Its handling of sexual assault is very irresponsible, and the new game mechanics hardly help it stand out from other RGG games. If you have already invested in the trial series or RGG games, then I would say go check it out. But don’t expect this journey into the Japanese underworld to have the impact of games like Yakuza 0 or Like A Dragon.