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Judgment

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Judgment Game Poster Image
Engaging, mature action game has you searching for a killer.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

While you're in search of a serial killer, the heavy focus on violence and how you accomplish your goals isn't very positive.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You step into the role of a lawyer-turned-detective named Takayuki Yagami, who's looking for a serial killer on the streets of Kamurocho, Japan. While "Tak" is out for justice, he's a flawed character (he lives with the guilt of representing a killer in court and winning the case) and today, clearly enjoys combat as a martial arts expert. He can also use objects, like a trash can or fallen street sign, as a weapon to inflict pain on characters.

Ease of Play

Thanks to a thorough and mandatory tutorial, the controls are quite easy to pick up and master. You can also pause the game at any time and review different moves and combination attack sequences. The game also has a Simple mode option for easier enemies (along with Normal and Hard).

Violence

This action game centers heavily on fighting. You'll engage in many fistfights and martial arts battles with people. Players will punch and kick enemies, and use the environment to inflict damage (including the option to pick up items as weapons to use for extra damage). Blood splatter and slow-motion effects can be seen. Some cut-scene sequences also show someone severely beaten up, or murdered (shot in the head, stabbed, and more).

Sex

The game has partial nudity (man's buttocks shown), unsolicited touching (a man gropes another man's buttocks), and other sexual themes and references in dialog sequences. In one scene, a man in a store asks “Are you ready to witness the horniest hooter experience you've ever had?”

Language

The game has strong language including words like "f--k," s--t," and "a--hole."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There's a lot of alcohol consumption, including the main character drinking in a bar or restaurant. He can become drunk for having too much. In fact, the player has an alcohol-tolerance gauge, and if he has too much, it results in impaired movement. Some characters smoke cigarettes, too.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Judgment is an action game for the PlayStation 4. The game stars a detective out to find and catch a serial killer. Much of the gameplay involves martial arts combat against other characters, and items nearby (like a bicycle or street sign) can be used as a weapon. There's blood in battle and cutscenes, but no gore. Some cut-scene sequences show people killed, mostly by gun violence. The game also has sexual imagery, including partial nudity and references to sex in the dialog. It also has a character named Ass Catchem who gropes a scared young man's buttocks. The protagonist can drink excessively and there's smoking that frequently occurs. Finally, there's strong profanity, including words like "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole."

User Reviews

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What's it about?

JUDGMENT is a single-player action game that tells of a disgraced lawyer-turn-private eye, who seeks out a serial killer on the loose -- while also fighting back against the yakuza criminal underbelly of a fictitious Japanese city. As Takayuki "Tak" Yagami, you'll roam around the open-world red light district of Kamurocho -- often with your partner Kaito (a former yakuza) -- to interact with citizens, take on missions and side quests (including mini-games and racing challenges), investigate incidents that might be tied to your case (like tailing a suspicious person), and engage in fights. Players can use thier training to unleashe Tiger Style (for more one-on-one skirmishes, with powerful strikes and chained attacks) and Crane Style (think The Karate Kid) for taking down larger groups. Along with punches, kicks and acrobatic defense maneuvers, you can also grab items in the environment -- such as a fallen street sign in an alleyway -- and use it to pummel enemies. Most of the game is played from a cinematic third-person view, but there some instances when it shifts to a first-person perspective.

Is it any good?

Between its compelling story and memorable characters, engaging gameplay and high production values, this is an underrated 20+ hour PS4 game worthy of your collection. Judgment is an exceptionally fun (yet mature) urban adventure that fuses combat with detective work, racing, and other gameplay elements -- and presented with impressive visuals and audio. While some missions and side stories might not be as exciting as the combat, the game gets most things just right. Specifically, the real-time fights are so rewarding, especially as you learn to master Tak's moves and combos in both Crane and Tiger Style battles. To compliment your punches and kicks are the many props you can use -- ranging from chopsticks to concrete pillars to chairs -- as well as special chained moves and powerful attacks that result in supernatural color and motion effects, and dramatic camera and zoom angles. While triggered in the game, there are some break-dance like attacks, running up walls and other parkour moves, and "Quick Time Events." You really do feel like you're in a kung fu movie.

The detective work is mostly engaging, too, except some long or repetitive tailing side missions where you need to remain discrete while ducking out of the way to sneak behind a suspect or other person of interest. But as with games like the Grand Theft Auto series, you can select what missions to take (with a similar map you can open to see where you need to go). There are benefits for helping people, as they'll remember your assistance and reward you with help in fights, giving you extra items, and so on. There are many mini-games, too, ranging from casino diversions and a Mario Party-like board game to a light-gun shooter and simpler 2D arcade games. Judgment may not enjoy the same level of fanfare many other PS4 games in the west, but adult gamers looking for a virtual thrill in a seedy and glitzy Japanese world should enjoy their hands-on time with this game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Judgment affected by the realism of the hand to hand combat that results in blood being spilled? Would the impact be lessened if blood wasn't shown as a result of combat, or would that not seem realistic?

  • Does Judgment need to include the heightened focus on swearing, drinking, and sexual situations, or would excluding them be something that wouldn't be accurate for the story?

Game details

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