Judgment tips: 9 essential things you need to know before you play

So you fancy yourself as Kamurocho’s answer to Sherlock Holmes? Or are you eyeing up Judgment tips to help Takayuki Yagami stay one stefcp ahead of the Yakuza universe’s hive of scum and serial killers? There’s plenty you need to know before you even think about becoming a master detective in this Yakuyza spin off. From new combat tips, to earning a fair chunk of yen in the first few hours and even some help on finding some feline friends, here are nine Judgment tips you can’t do without in the game’s opening chapters.

1. Heal Mortal Wounds

Even Yakuza vets might be a little taken aback by the new Mortal Wounds feature. If Yagami gets shot, stabbed, or hit by a boss’ signature attack (which always comes during a boss’ second phase), he’ll have part of his health bar permanently reduced. The only way to get you back fighting fit is to find a doctor. However, it can be hard to track him down – at least at first.

Midway through Chapter 2, though, you’ll bump into a homeless man who is a little worse for wear. You’ll eventually be directed to the Children’s Park in the north of Kamurocho. Head there, enter the manhole, and you’ll eventually find the city’s doctor who can fully heal you for 20,000 yen. Crucially, you’ll now be able to buy some Medical Kits to help fix Mortal Wounds on the go.

Always stock up

Judgment has a nasty habit of throwing you into gauntlets of fights when you least expect it. To help ward off a brutal beatdown, you’re going to need to have several recovery items handy at all times. Early on, your best course of action is to head to any Poppo convenience store on your map.

Once there, be sure to grab as many Toughness and Stamina items as possible. Filling up on Sushi Sets is also a good idea as you can carry 10 of these as opposed to just three Toughness bottles.

Also, if a character asks you during a Story Mission if you’re ‘ready’ to go somewhere, that’s a surefire sign that a massive combat section, and possibly a hard-as-nails boss, is on its way. Go in prepared.

Make money fast

Unlike other games in the Yakuza series, it’s not always simple to get your hands on some much-needed cash early on. In fact, Yagami mentions how broke he is on several occasions during the game’s story.

But you don’t have to cheap out if you don’t want to. The easiest way to get money during the first couple of hours is to have a Yakuza save game on your PS4. If you’ve got one, go on over to the Yagami Detective Agency and check your mailbox outside. You’ll find a cool 50,000 yen to get started.

Elsewhere, a good money-making exercise involves Side Cases, which (eventually) open up to the player during Chapter 2. Keep checking the board in your office for more of these missions, which often involve six-figure rewards for very little effort.

Get the Wall Jump Finisher

With dozens of skills and abilities to spend your hard-earned XP on, it can be tricky to figure out which ones are essential and which can be consigned to Yagami’s mobile phone recycle bin forever. One must-have ability, though, is the Wall Jump Finisher. The game points you in its direction early on – and with good reason. 

If you buy the Finisher through the pause menu’s Skills page, you’ll not only be able to run up walls and come flying at enemies with a forearm – which makes you nigh-on impossible to hit – it also has the useful effect of sapping the morale of enemies. If you see a purple cloud around their faces, you’ll know you’re inside their heads. They’ll be stunned for a few seconds, allowing you to hit a crunching combo.

Hear a cat meowing? You’re not going crazy 

If you play Judgment for more than 10 minutes, the chances are you’ll hear a meowing sound during the game’s investigation sequences. Yes, it’s incredibly annoying – but you can make it stop. It even ties into one of the game’s more interesting Friend Events.

While there’s nothing you can do about it in the game’s first six or so hours, you’ll eventually have the chance to head to Nakamichi Alley. Once there, you will be able to spot a man in an orange tracksuit named Masakuza Nekomiya. He will get you started on a quest to hunt down cats.

So, back to the meowing sound. From this point onwards, every time you hear a cat cry out, it means there’s a stray cat in the area just waiting to be photographed. You’ll get a small amount of XP for it, the noise will stop, and, most importantly, it’ll stop you tearing your hair out.

Try out Drone Races

There are plenty of side activities to take part in away from the murky murder cases of Judgment. Among the most fun are the brand-new Drone Races. The game turns into a mini Wipeout clone of sorts, complete with its own set of tracks and opponents.

You can find material on the streets to help upgrade your drone. It makes walking round town a lot more fun and also helps turn Drone Races from a pretty interesting distraction into one of the all-time best Yakuza minigames, right up there with the life-consuming Cabaret activities from Yakuza 0. Well worth a try – even if it doesn’t seem that way at first.

Give a damn about your Reputation

The game doesn’t really explain its Reputation mechanic all that well, which can be annoying as it technically locks you out of certain side missions until you increase it.

To improve your Reputation, you need to take on Friend Events (marked by a greyed out smiley face on your map) as well as certain Side Cases. Once you’ve maxed out the Friend Meter by completing a given task, you’ll gain one reputation point, which will help Yagami unlock more and more content. That includes some of the tougher and more intriguing Side Cases that can be found by speaking to the bartender at… Bar Tender. Yes, that’s its real name.

The best combat moves: Flux Fissure and Rising Tornado 

Before you do anything else in Judgment, you need to increase Flux Fissure to the max, as well as picking up the Rising Tornado move on the combat tab in the Skills page. They’re among the best abilities in Judgment.

Flux Fissure, which can be pulled off in the Tiger fighting style after holding down Square during a combo, can deal large amounts of damage when fully upgraded. Even better, it can even break boss guards, knocking them off their feet, allowing you to get an extra combo or two in.

Rising Tornado, meanwhile, is the best recovery move in the game. Usually when you’re knocked down, you’ll have to mash X to (slowly) return to your feet. Rising Tornado does away with all that: One simple tap of Triangle sends you windmilling towards enemies, attacking them with lightning-fast speed.

Visit Poppos early in the game for easy XP 

We mentioned Reputation earlier, and there’s actually a super easy way to not only increase that, but also to get a large chunk of XP to help upgrade Yagami’s skills and abilities. Head to any and every Poppo shop you can find and talk to the employee behind the tills.

That’ll kick off a Friend Event. Then all you need to do is spend a few thousand yen on random items in-store to max out their Friend Meter. That’ll net you a Record, one Reputation level, and 500 XP – which is the equivalent of beating a late-game boss. A trip to two different Poppo stores, for example, should get you enough XP to increase your health within the first 20 minutes.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.