(Content warning for sexual assault)
We recently had a chance to play through numerous different levels of Lost Judgment – including its opening. If you want to read the full article, which includes an interview with producer Kazuki Hosokawa, you can find that in the most recent issue of Game Informer. In the meantime, here’s what we had to say about the game’s opening moments:
Lost Judgment opens in Ijincho, Yokohama, the location from Like a Dragon and the latest open world in the overall series. Firefighters are racing to a scene; smoke billows out of an abandoned building, but there are no visible signs of fire, as one firefighter points out. It strikes him as a false alarm or a prank.
His assumption is not correct.
Once inside, they survey the floor with the smoke, discovering 14 flares arranged in the shape of an arrow pointing in the direction of a large mass covered by a tarp. Flies, hundreds of them, hover around. You can’t be sure until one of the firemen musters the courage to remove the tarp, but you have a pretty good idea what lies beneath. It’s bad.
Removing the tarp confirms your worst assumptions – a dead body. But not a fresh corpse. The skin is black with decay. The hands restrained behind the back, mangled and broken. The body has been here a while, maggots and larva making themselves at home in the decomposing hole that was once a nose. The camera slowly pans towards the corpse, and right before you can’t take it any longer, the screen cuts to black, and in pipes a familiar voice.
“In Japan, 99.9 percent of criminal trials end with a guilty verdict,” protagonist Takayuki Yagami says, a declaration of Lost Judgment’s themes.
“The reality is, the law is neither as perfect or as fair as it’s supposed to be,” he says a few moments later. “So I’ve made it my job to give those without a voice a chance to be heard.”
Set in December 2021, Akihiro Ehara is accused of groping a woman on a train. A bystander captures Ehara’s attempt to flee on video. It’s broadcast by the news, leading to a public outcry for a maximum sentence. However, Ehara brings up the corpse in Yokohama on trial, asking if the court has identified the person. His defense lawyer, Saori Shirosaki, a main character from the first game and one of Yagami’s coworkers, asks Yagami to investigate, believing police overlooked important case details. Did Ehara commit two crimes at the same time? If so, how? Was his sexual battery case a cover-up? Or has he gamed Japan’s justice system entirely? These are the central questions in Lost Judgment.