Judgment on the Steam Deck: A Deep Dive into Tokyo’s Dark Side

Judgment on the Steam Deck: A Deep Dive into Tokyo’s Dark Side



A Fresh Perspective in a Familiar World

When ‘Judgment‘ was unveiled, I found myself excited yet hesitant. As a spin-off from the revered Yakuza series, which has captivated players for over a decade, the expectation was high. Would it be an engaging detective noir, offering a substantial break from the original series? As it turns out, ‘Judgment’ does not stray too far from its Yakuza roots — but that isn’t a bad thing.

The Grit and Grace of Takayuki Yagami

You play as Takayuki Yagami, a defense attorney turned street-fighting detective. While I initially hoped for a game rich in detective work akin to LA Noire, the investigative elements are somewhat surface-level and repetitive. Nonetheless, Yagami’s character is compelling. Whether piloting a camera drone to spy on suspects or snapping photos of an unfaithful husband, these moments still hold a charm that makes you feel like a true detective — even when the mechanics occasionally feel shallow.

Combat That Puts You in Control

Yagami’s two fighting styles — Crane for crowd control and Tiger for one-on-one conflicts — allow for situational flexibility. It’s Yagami’s acrobatic prowess that impresses most, letting you smoothly chain together attacks while avoiding being pinned down. His agility allows for visually stunning combat, rarely seen in the Yakuza series.

Your Path, Your Pace

A strength of ‘Judgment’ is its streamlined progression. Experience points, whether earned from fights, side cases, or minigames, pool into a single currency that you can spend freely on health, combat abilities, or other skills. The streamlined progression means you’re rewarded and can upgrade Yagami no matter how you choose to spend your time in the game.

Judgment on the Steam Deck: A Deep Dive into Tokyo’s Dark Side

A Tokyo Playground

Outside of cracking cases and landing punches, ‘Judgment’ offers a delightful assortment of diversions, from pinball and drone racing to engaging with the locals and even participating in a VR board game. Despite some beloved side activities from Yakuza games missing, the variety keeps the streets of Kamurocho feeling alive and ensures there’s always something to capture your interest.

Steam Deck: A New Lens to Experience ‘Judgment’

On the Steam Deck, ‘Judgment’ surprised me with its performance. Running at a nearly consistent 40 FPS with impressive visual fidelity thanks to FSR 2.0 integration, the game feels fantastic. There are a few minor hiccups during city traversal, but it’s serviceable and doesn’t detract from the experience. With around 3 hours of battery life, it’s perfect for gaming on the move.

The Verdict

While ‘Judgment’ could have leaned more into its unique detective angle, the sum of its parts — intense combat, engaging diversions, and a suspenseful narrative — combine to craft a stellar experience. This spinoff stands strong as a distinct entity while paying homage to the Yakuza series. On the Steam Deck, it becomes even more accessible, inviting you to unravel Tokyo’s darkest secrets whether you’re curled up at home or out in the world.

Rating: 9/10

A lack of depth in its detective work is outshined by ‘Judgment‘ smooth combat, rich narrative, and sheer variety of activities, all of which are even more enjoyable on the Steam Deck.

Recommended Settings for Steam Deck:

Proton VersionProton GE 7-33
Texture Filtering4x
Shadow QualityLow
Geometry QualityMedium
Real Time ReflectionOn
Render Scale90%
Volumetric FogOff
Depth of FieldOn
AMD FSR 2.0Quality
AMD FSR 2.0 Sharpness1.0

This table reflects optimal settings for playing ‘Judgment’ on the Steam Deck, ensuring players get the best blend of performance and visual quality.

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