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Review

Review: Lost Judgment – The Kaito Files

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The Kaito Files adds one final case to the plate of Tokyo’s infamous Yagami Detective Agency. Find out if it’s worthwhile enough to return to Lost Judgment.

The Judgment saga has proven to be a success so far for Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, even though its success doesn’t seem certain at the moment, due to unexpected controversies with the talent agency Johnny & Associates of actor Takuya Kimura who plays the lead character Takayuki Yagami reported in December 2021 that prevented SEGA from publishing the games on Steam and therefore deemed it not viable to continue the franchise. In light of this uncertainty, the developers have decided that it was time to give more space to Masaharu Kaito, Yagami’s partner, with a new downloadable content (DLC) dedicated just to him. This could work as a both a way to potentially say farewell to the franchise, in case an agreement cannot be reached to keep Yagami for the next main episodes, or a way to see if fans would enjoy sequels or spin-offs with different characters.

Keeping all that in mind, The Kaito Files decided to offer us a new story that, despite being on the shorter side, is probably one of the best works that Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has ever done from a narrative point of view, offering us a much needed evolution of Kaito, one of the most interesting characters in the series. While Yagami is away on a business trip, Kaito takes on the odd request of a man trying to find his deceased wife who has been spotted around town lately. The Kaito Files, while clearly being set up after the base game’s story, can be played without the need to complete the aforementioned. It’s not extremely long as it will last about 6 hours with just 4 chapters, but keeping it short has probably allowed the developers to craft the experience with more care. The story of this DLC, while being sometimes predictable, is probably one of the best the team has ever created, giving Kaito all the time he needs to finally shine on his own. Especially the flashbacks into Kaito’s past flesh out the ex-Yakuza in a substantial way.

With regards to the gameplay itself, The Kaito Files plays very differently from Yagami’s fights in the base game and Kaito’s moveset is much closer to Yakuza’s long-time protagonist Kiryu’s Beast and Brawler fighting styles, giving fans of the series a sense of familiarity but with enough slight differences that are still able to feel a unique character to play. Kaito’s signature fighting styles Tank and Bruiser can be combined equally to Yagami’s styles in combat to unleash maximum damage on your enemies. Given that this DLC was only made to expand the story further and not to specifically add new content, we won’t be able to enjoy any new sidequests. Not only that, but Kaito stays for the most part only in Kamurocho unlike the base game in which Yagami gets to explore Ijincho. The Kaito Files offers no real replayability besides unlocking every skill or trying a higher difficulty, which is a shame compared to what the base game has to offer.

One of the most unique aspects of this DLC are definitely the investigation sessions in which Kaito’s Primal Focus comes into play. Unlike Yagami, Kaito has the ability to not only analyze the room in detail, but he can use his animal-like senses to sniff unusual smells and listen to sounds that most people wouldn’t be able to hear. This effectively replaces the ability to use gadgets, feeling similar but unique at the same time. Additionally it makes it much easier to spot the hidden cats this time around. As previously mentioned, the highlight of this experience is definitely the story that is really well crafted and that offers one of the most evil characters not only in Judgment, but in the Yakuza franchise as a whole, which we obviously won’t spoil for you. The boss fights in The Kaito Files are very enjoyable. While at certain points they can feel repurposed from characters available in the base game, the new soundtracks, the unique fighting styles and the backdrops are crafted well enough that you won’t even think about it and just enjoy the experience.

Conclusion

The full price of €29.99 may feel a bit high for what the DLC actually can offer, but if you’re a huge fan of the franchise, already enjoyed Lost Judgment and are curious to learn more about Kaito, it’s well worth going for it, but for newcomers it’s probably best to wait for a discount. If you already own the Season Pass or the Digital Deluxe Edition of Lost Judgment, you can play The Kaito Files for no extra charge. This expansion had a way more engaging story than Lost Judgment itself, which had some rather gaping plot holes. If you come for the story, then you should definitely check The Kaito Files out. We have no way of knowing for sure if the Judgment series will continue, but if this DLC means that in the future we’ll get to see Kaito take a more integral role in the story, then the series steers into a favorable direction. The Kaito Files has proven that he’s an incredibly charismatic protagonist and we want to see more of his adventures.

Francesco and Patrick reviewed The Kaito Files based upon the Xbox Series S and PS5 versions. SEGA provided these review copies.

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