Lost Judgment The Kaito Files Review – Layered Collisions

    Title: Lost Judgment The Kaito Files
    Developer: RGG Studio
    Release Date: March 28, 2022
    Reviewed On: PS5
    Publisher: Sega
    Genre: Action-Adventure

Lost Judgment is an excellent sequel to the original Judgment, serving as a spinoff of the Yakuza franchise with a brand new cast. It was announced that DLC would be following the release to expand on the supporting cast. Enter, The Kaito Files. These extra chapters focus on Yagami’s partner, Kaito Eager, to jump back into this world, I found Kaito to be a decent protagonist for the adventure, but the price of entry is a tad steep.

Throughout Lost Judgment The Kaito Files, players control Yagami’s reliable brawn, Kaito, in a brand new story episode set after the events of the base game. Still, despite its chronological placement, this storyline somewhat works as a standalone venture due to its focus on Kaito’s backstory.

With Yagami out of town and working on a case with Genda, Kaito finds himself tackling jobs independently with some collaboration from familiar faces. He eventually finds himself confronted with a case concerning his ex-lover, her husband, and a young man revealing himself to be Kaito’s supposed son.

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The approach to Kaito’s characterization throughout this DLC was compelling as it showcased his vulnerabilities in ways the two main games didn’t. Further, multiple playable sequences occur in Kaito’s past revolving around his former lover, Mikiko. The flashback scenes affected the early pacing but seeing Kaito’s beginnings became one of the best inclusions by the end. An undeniable degree of care was poured into making his hesitation about the current case sensible and sympathetic. As a result, while Kaito was established to be a reliable, not solely muscle supporter, the greater focus he receives here makes him stand out.

Also of note is Jun, Kaito’s supposed son. To be completely honest, I was nervous that Jun would be a blatantly irritating, unlikeable teenager. Initially, he fits the bill due to his confrontational, aggressive attitude and tendency to enter bouts with savage ruffians. However, as it turns out, Jun became the personal highlight of this DLC. Similar to Kaito, his vulnerabilities are honed in on with enough engaging banter for it never to feel overbearing.

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Additionally, as expected, the narrative is well-written, with there being more than enough twists and realization to make Kaito’s story compelling. The team didn’t cut any corners; the character interactions were thought-provoking and emotionally driven at times. The supporting cast could have used more on-screen time, but the story is excellent.

The gameplay comprises plenty of action-packed goodness, with Kaito’s strength being displayed in full force. Given this DLC’s brevity, there are only two fighting styles to utilize, Bruiser and Tank. Assuming you aren’t playing on higher difficulties, you can easily stomp through encounters with little thought, especially if you upgrade Kaito’s abilities. Some might have preferred more in the action department, but it does feel damn fun to kick ass as Kaito. Outside of battle, there are many new collectibles to grab between family crests and cats holding them. At the very least, the DLC isn’t merely a straight shot from between story sequences unless you play it that way.

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I was pleasantly surprised by Kaito’s toolkit. He’s nowhere near as intricately equipped as Yagami, but he does have a few noteworthy tricks up his sleeve. For instance, Kaito somehow has an enhanced sense of smell that he can identify specific areas of interest, providing collectibles and healing items. Primal Hearing is another ability with similar benefits. Ultimately, all of Kaito’s investigative “tools” get the job done without needless functions that would otherwise bog down the experience.

Unfortunately, the sole major fault of this DLC doesn’t have to do with its contents but rather its price point. I received the Lost Judgment Season Pass from Sega, so I didn’t have to dish out the $35 for that or the $30 for this DLC episode alone. Still, I don’t believe this content is worth half the price of the main game. For as enjoyable as the 4 chapters are, it’s a steep asking price, and only diehard fans will want in. If you’re interested in playing this DLC, I highly advise purchasing at a discount.

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Lost Judgment The Kaito Files is a fantastic solo outing for Yagami’s sidekick, granting players a greater degree of endearing Kaito introspection alongside a mystery drama with thrilling action. While what’s offered here will likely not blow you away, this experience is one of substance and a reason to return to this series. The short runtime and high pricing may turn some away, but Kaito fans everywhere will leave satisfied when the credits roll.

Score:
8.5/10
A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Orpheus Joshua

Random gamer equally confused by the mainstream and the unusual. Fan of JRPGs, Action, Platformers, Rhythm, and Adventure titles.