Review: Judgment makes a case for your free time

While there are many forms of critique, for many, the purpose of a game review is essentially binary: should you play the game? It’s something you have to decide for yourself, after absorbing all the information you can to make your decision the most accurate and fair one. So in a way, what you read should be presenting the best case for each outcome, letting you make the final…

Yeah. Judgment. You knew where I was going with this. Let’s get to it.

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Preview: Judgment, the Yakuza team’s latest, works to build a Kamurocho shared universe

Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, the team behind the franchise known in the West as Yakuza, attempted to walk a fine line when building Judgment. It’s an entirely new type of game, except for when it’s not. It’s got a brand-new cast of characters, except for when it has some existing characters. It’s meant to be a fresh start for the team, but it’s set in freaking Kamurocho, the place players know like the back of their hands. So it makes more sense to think of it not as a new series on its own, but instead part of a constantly collaborating shared-universe project.

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Review: Slash, spend, get a head in Lapis X Labyrinth

The latest release from the team behind the Disgaea series, Lapis X Labyrinth is a different sort of game for the studio, but one coated with similar trappings and aesthetics. It’s an action game in which you’ll make timed runs through areas to get loot and defeat enemies, but you’re still managing equipment with effects and maneuvering around a hub world taking the place of a more efficient (but perhaps less evocative) menu system. It’s got meters for special moves, reward-multiplying “fever time” and direction-based attack inputs, but you’re ultimately still equipping a small team of customized units and bringing them to a place to slash at gems and take out specifically-marked bosses.

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The unusual fun of Japanese golf games

For most fans of Japanese releases, there are two words as reviled as any others: “sports game.” They’re likely to make the most open-minded player tune out at a moment’s notice, simply because of how they don’t generally line up with their basic sensibilities.

That’s not true about all sports, though. There’s one sport that Japan gets very, very right: golf.

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