Judgment: Phoenix Wright, but Yakuza? (formerly Project JUDGE)


The folks who make Yakuza announced their next game and it’s a crime drama about a defense lawyer who seems to follow the Phoenix Wright playbook of running his own investigation but in a considerably grittier setting. I’m extremely on board with the concept.

While the story trailer looks good I was a little concerned that it wasn’t going to have much of the classic Yakuza absurdity, but the gameplay trailer cleared that up for me. The fights are super over the top and there seems to still be a ton of minigames and junk. My guy does a kickflip and then kicks a guy in a car in the face. There is a VR Kamehameha in there too.


Looks really cool. I’m curious if the regular gameplay will include the judicious beating up of aggro dudes on the street which fills the plurality of Yakuza’s runtime. I’m guessing not since you’re ostensibly not a criminal, but what lives in that space instead?

EDIT: Just kidding; I only saw the story trailer before and didn’t realize there’s also a gameplay trailer. Looks like it’s straight up Yakuza except you’re an ex-lawyer with a black belt, with all the attendant mini-games, ridiculous substories, and action movie sensibility. I wonder if it’ll be set in the Yakuza universe.


Haha yep. I also saw the story trailer first and my impression sure changed after watching the gameplay trailer.

I think Yakuza does a really good job of having a ton of fun / goofy junk while not letting it undercut the serious main story, so I think they can pull of the balance.

I heard it’s set in Kamurocho, so I think it is in the Yakuza universe. However when I say I heard that what I really mean is I saw someone on a forum say that and I have no idea if it’s true or not.


I played the demo and I’m more excited for this now than I am for SHIN Yakuza. It’s absolutely set in Kamurocho, once you have it in your hands you’ll recognize the streets right away if you played Kiwami 2 or Yakuza 6.

I’m curious if people will burn out on the new engine’s version of Kamurocho in the US now that we’re getting the games relatively rapidly. Even when Yakuza 5 hit the US folks were already acting tired of 4.

The combat in this game is soooooo good. You have a power stance and a brawler stance and both are really fluid feeling. Like just much as Kiwami 2 improves over 6 this is a solid improvement over Kiwami 2, there’s more heat moves too and they did a great job making him feel different from the other playable characters int eh series which is impressive.


Glad to hear that from someone who played it. I, personally, am looking forward to a Yakuza Ginematic Universe.


Judge Eyes: Real Eyes Realise Real Lies


Please let there be a Phoenix Wright side quest Please let there be a Phoenix Wright side quest Please let there be a Phoenix Wright side quest Please let there be a Phoenix Wright side quest Please let there be a Phoenix Wright side quest Please let there be a Phoenix Wright side quest Please let there be a Phoenix Wright side quest Please let there be a Phoenix Wright side quest Please let there be a Phoenix Wright side quest.


I wonder, since they’re done with Kazuma’s story, if the plan is going forward to move into this for a bit - making for a sort of “Stories from Kamurocho” franchise.


Full Reactive Judge Eyes Entertainment

The story trailer had me intrigued but the demo sold me on this game. I’ve never been able to fully get into Yakuza (I’ve tried a bunch of them, starting with the first one on PS2, but 0 is the only one I can say I really got into) so that team putting their talents towards a story I’ll probably be more interested in has me excited. Nice that the gap between the Japanese and Western releases will probably be pretty small too.


I’m hoping this is the case, that whenever SHIN Yakuza hits those games can come out every few years like the regular series did, but that they feel more confidant about doing stuff like this in between.


Like my runtime isn’t 90% running my own cabaret club, please

This game definitely catches my attention. What deeply strikes me about going into Yakuza Kiwami and Kiwami 2 from 0 is how much interest the series plays to the police force. Far more attention feels like it is given to Makoto Date in Kiwami than it is to Kiryu in terms of character development and plot focus, which is a marked shift from 0 (which has a single named police officer and focuses much more on the inner workings of the different yakuza groups). I find this somewhat frustrating and is part of the reason why I had some difficulty following the story from 0 to Kiwami.

With that said, Project Judge/Judge Eyes will also simply give the Yakuza team a clean slate to work with. Rather than having to try to wrestle with some of the Yakuza series’ early clunkers (the out-of-nowhere ‘colour gangs’ that appear and disappear within a chapter in Kiwami is maybe some of the most jarring PS2-era content in that game), a clean slate means that team can take the experience they have learned over 7+ games of Yakuza and start out with a well-practiced writing team who know how to hit the tone they want.

If Yakuza 0 is what they were able to do by giving Yakuza a new foundation, that fresh start might just be enough to deliver a real home run performance.

The Yakuza series, aka the making of the ultimate dad

I do wonder if having a “good guy” main characters instead of a gangster is part of their attempt to give it wider appeal since they plan on releasing the games in the US/Korea/China now too. The type of show it’s aping is a pretty easy sell. Like how in the early 90s John Woo was getting some flak for always doing flicks that glorified gangsters, so he blessed us with Hard Boiled.

It would also probably be a lot easier to localize to three additional countries when they don’t have the general baggage of how the Yakuza series treats its non-Japanese gangsters. You can see how that series has evolved though, with the more recent releases making no bones about how horribly Japan treats its immigrants and how much that helps organized crime flourish.

You can tell there’s going to be a ton of fighting in this game due to his move set even in the demo but hopefully it’s more of a Shenmue II thing where it’s all story reasons or like side stuff you enter instead of just random dudes accosting you all day.

They can fill in the extra space from less combat with doing all the legwork to process the massive legal shitstorms that must come to pass any time Kiryu or Majima come to town. :smiley:


This game will include two rad Sega arcade games, Fighting Vipers and Motor Raid. Fighting Vipers totally owns. Motor Raid is a dark horse but is a pretty fun Road Rash style game.


I am going to edit the topic name now, because we have an official English name – Judgement.

And for you dub fans, it is getting dubbed… in fact, it is dual audio & subtitle:


maybe I’m setting myself up for disappointment, but damn do I hope this has Pheonix Wright style investigation and courtroom scenes.


I’m increasingly excited about this, esp seeing it shares a universe with Yakuza. Interested to see how the investigation mechanics work out and how much of the game they’l make up - it would be very fun to get courtroom scenes/have to “play” the lawyer side of things, though knowing the Yakuza games I’d be happy to watch it play out in a slightly over the top 12 minute cutscene too.

Also hey, that dub sounds decent, glad to hear it’s dual audio/sub


The new demo shows off an area where you can look around a room and pick up/move around/reposition some objects which will definitely be used to search for stuff so I’m excited for that.


Maybe this will be the game to get interrogation of suspects right where L.A. Noire kinda fell flat.
Also I love Phoenix Wright, but if Judgement can pull off serious court drama without constant jokes and silliness that would be pretty rad.


So just to keep expectations here in check: probably best to keep in mind that while it has courtroom drama stuff in it, this is still a Yakuza game. Meaning that it’s not just a Phoenix Wright or LA Noire style adventure game, but also a pretty over the top brawler with a lot of silly side stuff. This video shows pretty well what the combat can be like (though this is on hard mode):

That’s not to say that any of this is bad, just don’t expect this to be that much more serious than something like Phoenix Wright. While it is often more serious in cutscenes, overall the game’s incredibly silly.


[SPOILER WARNING: First few hours of the game, if you want to know NOTHING then don’t read, though why are you even reading a thread at that point]

So, I’ve played about 4-5 hours of this thing these last few days.
I went in completely blind, not knowing anything after the initial E3 (?) trailer. Here are some impressions.

First and foremost, I was pretty surprised to see that this game takes place in Kamurocho. I haven’t played Yakuza 6 yet but compared to Kiwami 2 the map is extremely similar. You can see buildings that are still there that were part of the story in Yakuza games but aren’t accessible here. A little bit disappointing that this isn’t somewhere new, even a different part of Tokyo.

The gameplay is straight up just Kiwami 2. AFAIK it’s the same engine. Battles work the same way (seamless transitions in and out.)Yagami’s fighting style is pretty different to Kiryu’s, and the different styles make a return from 0/Kiwami 1 (though there are only two here), but it’s really more of the same if you’ve played any of the Yakuza games. Being able to run up a wall and hit someone is pretty cool tho.

The investigation aspect is pretty neat. Having to look around an area for a person that fits a description is pretty fun (especially when they throw in a bunch of really similar-looking people), and examining a photo for clues is also pretty fun. Unfortunately, I’ve only done these one time each. It feels like they’ve come up with a lot of different mechanics but haven’t really used them all that much yet. I hope there are other cases later so I can do more of this. I assume I will.

Tailing a suspect is a hassle, just like it is in any open world game. Having to stay far enough away but not too far has never really been enjoyable to me. No difference here. Taking cover behind stuff in goofy ways helps a little bit, though.

Unlike the Yakuza games, I’m about 5 hours in and haven’t seen a single sidequest. Generally the way I play those games is B-line through the opening until I can do some side stuff, and then complete everything before progressing in the main story. The short vingettes and mini games are what draws me to the series more than the overarching narrative. I really hope I get to that point soon, because this has felt super linear so far. The story is fine but I want something else to break it up. There is a new mechanic of building relationships with people (generally just shop workers), but they’re barely even objectives at all.

Anyway, I know most of this shit will likely get addressed when I play some more, but just wanted to get some thoughts out there somewhere. It seems like another good Yakuza game, but not really the ‘full 3D Phoenix Wright’ that some people were imagining.