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Judgment beginner’s guide

Whether you’re a newcomer or a veteran, we’ll help you find your way through Kamurocho.

Ryu ga Gotoku Studio/Sega

Judgment plays a lot like the previous games from developer Ryu ga Gotoku Studio, but you don’t have to be familiar with the Yakuza series to enjoy this stand-alone spinoff.

Most of what you do in Judgment takes place in Kamurocho, a bustling city full of barkers, shops, NPCs, and street gangs that will constantly try to distract you. There’s also a serial killer and a sprawling series of other cases you have to solve. There’s always so much happening that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or lost.

Below, we’ve collected some tips to help you jump into Judgment and avoid feeling lost or confused about what to do next.

Don’t let Kamurocho distract you

The city of Judgment is big and chock full of things to do. There are arcades, casinos, restaurants, drone races, and so much more to find. But there’re also cases to solve. Kamurocho has distractions on every street, so it’s easy to fall into the trap of constantly getting distracted.

There’s an easy solution to this: When you’re on a case, work the case. Judgment allows for plenty of down time — sometimes reinforced by breaks in the main story — for you to make your own fun, so don’t feel you have to take part in every bit of pointless fun you see right now. Do your job — or whatever goal you currently have — first, then come back to play later.

Be patient as you explore

The entirety of Kamurocho is available to you as soon as you start playing, but not every character or location will be available from the beginning. Things will continue to unlock many hours into the game, like the locksmithing side job or the second, even more secret casino.

The game will send you all over the city over the course of its story, so let Kamurocho come to you as much as you seek out new things.

Stock up on food for mid-fight healing

Healing in Judgment comes from food. If you’re between fights or cases, you can duck into one of Kamurocho’s numerous restaurants for a bite. But if you’re in the middle of a fight and it’s not going your way, you need something on hand.

Judgment Items for sale in a Poppo
You can carry multiples of all of the food you buy in Poppos.
Ryu ga Gotoku Studio/Sega via Polygon

Med Kits are more efficient than food for healing and they heal mortal wounds, so they’re the best healing items in the game. But they’re hard to come by and expensive — you can only buy them from the (literally) underground Moroboshi Clinic for 20,000 yen (and up). Instead, the bulk of your healing is going to come from the snacks you pick up in Kamurocho’s Poppo shops.

Fill your inventory with every food item you can whenever you can. Whenever your health drops uncomfortably low, open your phone menu and select Items. Eat as much as you need to to refill your health, then return to the fight.

Finish fights quickly

You’re going to spend a lot of time in Judgment punching people. Sometimes it’ll be part of the main storyline, but far more often it’ll just be random thugs that jump you as you’re walking down the street. You always have the option to run away (and you can almost always escape before it turns into a fight), but fights earn you SP that you’ll need to unlock skills and cash that you’ll need at shops or for bribes. So, fights are always worth your time.

Judgment fighting with a bicycle
Use anything that’s not nailed down to pummel your enemies.
Ryu ga Gotoku Studio/Sega via Polygon

But they’re not worth too much of your time. That’s why you should always finish fights as fast as possible. Use your EX abilities to deal some extra damage. Grab every traffic cone and bicycle you see to pummel your enemies. Don’t fight fair. Deal your damage, collect your rewards, and move on. There are plenty of other things you could be doing instead.

Take on Side Cases to earn cash

You’ll earn some money — usually a few thousand yen — from random encounter street fights, but it’s not going to be enough to pay for everything you need. To make that kind of money, you’ll need to invest some time and effort into Side Cases. You can pick them up from the bulletin board in your office, the bartender at the bar Tender, and from Saori in the Genda Law Offices.

These side missions will take a little bit of time to finish (and often involve a frustratingly long target-tailing sequence), but they will earn you a lot of money for your effort. You’ll need the cash to buy food at shops, upgrade your drone for racing, or to pay the bribes required to progress the main story.

Unlock Special skills to make the game easier

As you earn SP, you’ll be able to unlock skills for Yagami under the Skills app on your phone. There are three categories of skills to unlock: Ability, Battle, and Special. Abilitiy skills raise Yagami’s base stats like health and how much alcohol he can drink. Battle skills unlock new moves for Yagami to use in fights. Special skills cover everything else from lockpicking to tailing.

Judgment Special skills
Special skills make the game easier.
Ryu ga Gotoku Studio/Sega via Polygon

While the fighting-based skills and improvements to your stats are always good to have, they shouldn’t be the first ones you focus on. Instead, look at the skills under Special first. As soon as you can, unlock the skills that make tailing someone easier: Silent Destroyer, Invisible Man, and Target Locked. These three skills will take a lot of the frustration away from a lengthy tailing investigation.

Also under Special, grab the Detective’s Hunch skill. This will add a vibration from your controller every time you hover over a clue while searching a crime scene.

It’s tempting to ignore these more minor skills when you spend so much of the game punching bad guys. Staying out of sight, picking locks, and scouring alleyways for clues are much less intuitive, so don’t pass over these.

Invest in Quickstarter projects

A ways into the game, you’ll bump into a man on a street corner who will tell you about his new crowdfunding app, Quickstarter. With it, you invest money in various projects. When the project is fully funded, you’ll get a reward. You can always fully fund the projects yourself if you have enough spare cash and want results immediately. Or you can wait as the funding slowly fills on its own.

Judgment Quickstarter projects
There are QR codes hidden all around the city. This project will help you find them.
Ryu ga Gotoku Studio/Sega via Polygon

As you read the project descriptions, you’ll find some that unlock new parts for your drone or new skills for Yagami. Specifically, you should fund and unlock the QR Code Compendium project. This adds an alert and marker to your phone’s map that shows nearby QR codes. Taking a picture of these codes unlocks even more skills and drone parts, so funding this project makes these further unlocks easier.

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