Judgment (JUDGE EYES：死神の遺言 Judge Eyes: Shinigami no Yuigon, lit. "Judge Eyes: The Grim Reaper's Will"), previously known as Project JUDGE, is an action-adventure/beat-'em-up game released for the PlayStation 4 on December 13, 2018 in Japan and on June 25, 2019 worldwide. The game was developed and published by SEGA as a spin-off to the Yakuza series.
The game follows the story of Takayuki Yagami, a former lawyer who turned into a private investigator. In 2018, Kamurocho was shocked by a series of murders where three yakuza members from Kansai region were murdered in the span of three months, prompting Yagami to dig deep into the underworld to solve the case.
In 2015, lawyer Takayuki Yagami works at the Genda Law Office for his foster father, Ryuzo Genda. He has recently become a small-time celebrity in Tokyo after his successful defence of Shinpei Okubo at a criminal trial where he'd been accused of murdering senile hospital patient Koichi Waku. Unfortunately, a month after Okubo's acquittal, he is arrested once again, having apparently murdered his girlfriend, Emi Terasawa, and burnt down their apartment. Ashamed for having helped a murderer avoid prison, Yagami quits the legal profession.
Chapter I - Three Blind Mice
Three years later, in December of 2018, the Tokyo district of Kamurocho is terrorized by a serial killer who murders yakuza and gouges out their eyes, having already killed three men in said fashion. Yagami has started working as a private detective alongside his best friend; Masaharu Kaito, a former member of the Matsugane Family.
A week after the third victim is found, Kaito's former boss, Matsugane Family Captain Kyohei Hamura, is arrested for the murder; since the police found evidence that he had gotten into a fight with the victim (a member of the Matsugane Family's rivals, the Kyorei Clan) at a club only a couple of hours before his death and had been the last person to see him alive. The Matsugane Patriarch, Mitsugu Matsugane, hires Genda's law firm to represent Hamura in court since Genda is a longtime friend of his and Yagami had been like a son to him.
Yagami and Kaito investigate what occurred on the night of the murder, while Masamichi Shintani and Saori Shirosaki, Yagami's former colleagues at the Genda Law Firm, prepare Hamura's defence for the upcoming trial. Yagami and Kaito question the victim's boss; Kyorei Lieutenant Akira Murase, who had witnessed the fight between Hamura and the victim. Murase confirms to them that Hamura couldn't be the killer, since when Murase and his men returned to the club where the fight took place at around the victim's time of death, Hamura and the victim weren't there. After acquiring a corroborating testimony from a host who'd been assaulted on the street by a drunken Hamura at the time of the murder, the Genda Law Firm have all the evidence they need.
During the trial, Shintani and Shirosaki are pitted against Prosecutors Keigo Izumida and Mafuyu Fujii, Yagami's former rival and former girlfriend, respectively. Despite clever arguments from the prosecution and an attempt by Murase to threaten a key witness into not testifying, Hamura is ultimately acquitted. Nonetheless, due to Hamura's evasiveness, while answering questions and a few pieces of evidence that don't add up, Yagami is convinced that Hamura knows the identity of the real killer and decides to continue investigating.
Chapter II - Beneath the Surface
While investigating an alley where a body had been dumped by the serial killer (whom Yagami and Kaito have started referring to as "the Mole"), Yagami has a run-in with Jester, one of the leaders of a gang of masked burglars operating in Kamurocho. Yagami does not know Jester's identity but, somehow, Jester knows who he is.
After investigating all the crime scenes turns up no new leaders, Kaito seeks out Kazuya Ayabe, a corrupt Tokyo PD detective who sells information on the side and runs illegal casinos. Using the info supplied by Ayabe, Yagami and Kaito continue their research, but they are repeatedly hindered and threatened by Hamura and his two henchmen: his bodyguard, Kengo, and Matsugane Family Sergeant, Kojiro Ozaki
Undeterred, Yagami visits Patriarch Matsugane and asks him to keep Hamura from intervening in the investigation. However, Matsugane tells Yagami that, ever since Kaito was expelled a year prior, Hamura's been completely in control of the family. Since it's Hamura's businesses that bring in most of the Family's money, Matsugane has been reduced to a mere figurehead. In an attempt to keep things from escalating, Yagami meets Hamura a Café Alps to negotiate. Unfortunately, Hamura and his goons attack Yagami when he arrives and drags him into a back alley, where they try to kill him. Yagami is only saved due to the intervention of Jester, the mysterious burglary gang leader, who distracts Hamura and his men long enough for Yagami to escape.
Chapter III - The Stick-Up
Yagami returns to his office and finds it has been raided by thugs led by Toru Higashi, a Matsugane family member who had been close friends with Kaito before his expulsion but who is now one of Hamura's most loyal lackeys. After seeing what's become of his friend, Kaito asks Yagami to help him investigate the robbery that led to his expulsion from the Matsugane Family: One year prior, a sole gunman had broken into the Matsugane Family office while Kaito was the only one present, held him at gunpoint and stole 10 million yen from the family safe.
Using the information they got from Ayabe, Kaito and Yagami determine that the thief was a homeless man called Red Nose and that he must have had an informant within the family since there was no other way he could know when the office was so empty. Not only that, it turns out that Higashi had been looking for Red Nose soon after the incident since he'd also been at the office when the robbery took place and witnessed it all go down, but didn't intervene out of fear.
Kaito and Yagami confront Higashi at the arcade he manages, accusing him of having murdered Red Nose to recover the money and gain status with the family. After a fight with Higashi and his men, in which Kaito and Yagami are victorious, Higashi reveals the truth: He did find Red Nose, but it turns out that Red Nose had been working with Hamura the whole time. The Captain wanted to remove Kaito as a rival, so he set up the robbery to have Kaito expelled. When Higashi found the two of them meeting in the sewer to split the money, Hamura shot Red Nose and threatened Higashi at gunpoint to get him to finish the homeless man off. Ever since then, Higashi's been working for Hamura, since he has blackmail material that could get him imprisoned for Red Nose's murder. After coming clean, Higashi agrees to help Kaito and Yagami's investigation as an informant within Hamura's inner circle.
Chapter IV - Skeletons in the Closet
The following night, a Kyorei Clan assassin tries to murder Hamura outside the Matsugane Family office but accidentally ends up killing one of his goons who happened to be dressed similarly. Fearing further attacks, Hamura goes into hiding. Since Shintani had been Hamura' defence attorney, Yagami suspects he might also be a target, so he warns him to lie low while he continues his investigation. A frustrated Shintani tells Yagami to drop his search since the Mole's murders are "bigger than a yakuza squabble". After hearing this, Yagami realizes that Shintani knows something about the Mole that he doesn't, but Shintani refuses to say anything more.
Lacking any further leads, Yagami and Kaito decide to spy on the Kyorei Clan once more. However, this time they are caught while snooping by the Clan's Captain, Satoshi Shioya, who orders his men to kill them. The Detectives are saved by the sudden arrival of Jester, who had also been spying on the Kyorei and helps them beat back Shioya and his men. Jester takes off his mask and reveals his identity: He is Fumiya Sugiura, a former systems engineer for the Kajihira Group, the construction conglomerate that acts as a front for the Kyorei Clan. He'd been framed for embezzlement by his former bosses and has been investigating the Kyorei to find evidence to clear his name. Sugiura proposes that, since his investigation seems to be tied to Yagami's search for the Mole, they should join forces.
Yagami returns to his office and, at Shirosaki's request, calls Shintani again since he hasn't been answering his phone. When he calls, Yagami hears the ringing coming from his own office closet and, upon opening it, he is horrified to find a dead Shintani inside with his eyes gouged out.
Chapter V - Days Gone By
Yagami calls the police to report the body but, before they arrive, he reviews Shintani's call history. The police arrive at Yagami's office, led by Detective Mitsuru Kuroiwa; the man in charge of the investigation into the Mole murders and responsible for Hamura's previous arrest, who is still furious with Yagami since he helped procure Hamura's acquittal.
Yagami informs his former colleagues at the Genda Law Office about Shintani's murder. Genda tries to convince Yagami to go into hiding since he could also be a target, but Yagami is unswayed. He thinks it's strange that the Mole would kill Shintani since it was the Kyorei Clan who would have reason to take revenge on him. Determined to find justice for their dead colleague, Shirosaki and the new junior attorney at the firm, Issei Hoshino, agree to join Yagami's investigation.
The team looks into the last number Shintani called before his death and find that it's the number of the Advanced Drug Development Center: The ADDC is an elite research centre funded by the Japanese Health Ministry which does research into developing new drugs for the treatment of various fatal diseases. The Center recently came into the news because of AD-9, a drug which could possibly cure Alzheimer's disease, which is being developed by the centre's director, Dr Ryusuke Kido, and his head researcher, Dr Yoji Shono. The ADDC, however, is also the place where the Shinpei Okubo case that ended Yagami's legal career happened three years prior.
The next day, Yagami and Hoshino travel to the ADDC to inquire about Shintani's call. While he's there, Yagami reminisces about the events of the case three years prior: Shinpei Okubo, a laundry worker at the centre with a prior conviction for assault, had been accused of murdering Waku, one of the facility's patients who had accused him of stealing from him. Through some clever investigative work, Yagami managed to punch holes in the key testimony provided by Dr Shono, which had made it seem like Okubo had been the only one who could have killed Waku. The jury is finally swayed, however, by the testimony of Emi Terasawa, a nurse at the ADDC who had started dating Okubo a few months prior and provided character testimony that convinced the jury that Okubo was no longer a violent person. Okubo was ultimately acquitted but would be arrested only a month later for having apparently murdered Terasawa in a drunken rage.
Now at the ADDC once again, Yagami questions Director Kido, who tells them that Shintani had called the Center on the day of his death to speak with Dr Shono, but Shono had been unavailable. Kido is adamant that the centre is unconnected with Shintani's death but Yagami is unconvinced, so he and Hoshino sneak into the research labs to speak with Shono. A nervous Shono refuses to speak to them and they are ultimately removed from the lab by Kaoru Ichinose, the Vice-Minister of Health, who'd been visiting the centre at the time to check on AD-9's progress.
Chapter VI - Collusion
As Yagami and Hoshino are about to leave the ADDC, Detective Kuroiwa and a few police officers confront them, demanding that Yagami come into the station to be questioned about Shintani's murder. However, since Kuroiwa doesn't have a warrant, Yagami refuses.
At Yagami's request, Sugiura looks into the connection between the ADDC and the Kyorei Clan murders and discovers something substantial: The Kyorei's front company, the Kajihira Group, had originally bribed Health Minister Kazami into shutting down the ADDC and selling them the land it was on so they could redevelop it into a massive resort complex. However, after AD-9 was announced to the public, Minister Kazami broke the deal with Kajihira by cancelling the sale, since AD-9's successful development could be a huge boost for his career. Apparently, all of this had been previously uncovered by Ko Hattori, a freelance journalist whom Yagami has a bitter history with since he'd written many articles shaming him for his role in Okubo's acquittal. Nonetheless, due to the lack of evidence, the story never gained traction.
Soon after, Mafuyu visits Yagami to covertly warn him that Detective Kuroiwa and Prosecutor Izumida consider him the number one suspect in Shintani's murder, so he should probably start preparing his legal defence. After she leaves, Mafuyu is attacked on the street by Kyorei Clan thugs, who try to kidnap her. Fortunately for her, Yagami and Kaito intervene to save her after being warned by Sugiura. Fearing the Kyorei are now trying to attack their loved ones as retaliation for their role in Hamura's acquittal, Yagami, Kaito and Sugiura attack the Kyorei Clan's base at Cabaret Honmauren to threaten them into backing down. After defeating Captain Shioya in another fight, the trio is approached by the Kajihira Group's Chairman, Shigeru Kajihira, who apologizes for Mafuyu's attempted kidnapping, since he says he has an offer for them and he wanted to ensure they didn't turn him down.
Chapter VII - The Limelight
Chairman Kajihira informs the trio that the Kyorei Clan had a saboteur within the ADDC helping out to ensure the place would be shut down: its Vice-Director, Toru Hashiki. After the announcement of AD-9 saved the Center from the brink of being shut down, Hashiki thought the data was fabricated and started looking into ways to bring down the project so the redevelopment deal could go through. However, soon after he was suddenly beaten half to death in what appeared to be a drunken street brawl in Kamurocho and died a few weeks later. Kajihira wants Yagami and his team to look into Hashiki's death since he believes Hashiki may have been deliberately murdered because he'd discovered something about AD-9.
The following morning, in gratitude for saving her the previous night, Mafuyu gives Yagami a copy of the Hashiki murder case file which she took from the prosecutor's office. Using the file, the team find the hostess club where Hashiki had been drinking with Shono on the night of his murder. Shirosaki infiltrates the club by pretending to be a hostess and finds the hostess who'd been drinking with the two researchers on the night of the murder. After Shirosaki befriends her, the hostess reveals that Hashiki had drunkenly claimed he had proof that the data behind the AD-9 research had been fabricated. Given this, Yagami concludes that Hashiki's murder must have been a deliberate attempt to stop him from looking any further into the drug.
Later that day, Yagami is confronted once again by Detective Kuroiwa, who informs him that the prosecutor's office wants to question him about Shintani's murder and that if he doesn't go willingly the next day, he'll be arrested. Yagami complies and goes to the Tokyo Prosecutor's offices the next morning. There, he is questioned by Izumida, Mafuyu and their boss, Chief Prosecutor Kunihiko Morita. Yagami relays all his findings to the prosecutors and insists that both Hashiki and Shintani's murders are connected since both were killed when they started investigating the ADDC. However, Morita and Izumida don't believe him and inform Yagami that they've already obtained an arrest warrant for whom they believe to be the true culprit for Shintani's murder: Detective Ayabe.
Chapter VIII - A Broken Bond
In Kamurocho, Detective Kuroiwa arrests Ayabe, since his gun had been the weapon used to kill Shintani. As it turns out, Kuroiwa and Prosecutor Morita had made it appear as though Yagami was going to be charged to ensure that Ayabe wouldn't flee town if it looked like he was the main suspect. After his arrest, Ayabe hires the Genda Law Office and Yagami to take care of his defence. He tells Yagami that, on the night of the murder, he'd been drugged and knocked unconscious by an unknown assailant and woken up a couple of hours later in a public park. He figures the murderer must have taken his gun while he was unconscious.
Since they have no further leads, Yagami and Kaito decide to track down Hamura, since he's the only person they know for sure knows the Mole's true identity. With Higashi's assistance, they start looking for Hamura's hiding place. However, when Patriarch Matsugane hears the duo are seeking out Hamura, he calls them to a meeting at his home. There he begs them not to pursue Hamura and the Mole anymore, since he fears they will be killed for disrupting the plans of the powerful people backing the Mole's killings. When Yagami and Kaito refuse to back down, Matsugane orders the few men in the Family still loyal to him (including Higashi) to attack them, since he figures Kaito and Yagami are better off in the hospital for a couple of months rather than dead. Regardless, the duo manages to defeat the Matsugane thugs and depart.
Still seeking to pin down Hamura's location, Yagami and Sugiura bug the Matsugane family office. After listening to some of their calls, they determine that Hamura is hiding at a Cho-han gambling hall operated by the Family in the Champion District. Yagami and Kaito go there and find Hamura gambling with Sergeant Ozaki. After a fight with the two, the duo interrogates a battered Hamura. The Captain refuses to reveal the Mole's identity but, based on what he does admit, the detectives figure out that the real mastermind behind the Mole isn't Director Kido, but rather Shono, the researcher. Before they can get any more information out of him, Hamura is saved by the arrival of Kengo and some of his other thugs, who attack Yagami and Kaito with a makeshift flamethrower before rescuing the Captain.
Chapter IX - The Miracle Drug
Seeking to learn more about AD-9, Yagami and his team contact the journalist, Hattori, since he's done extensive reporting about AD-9's development and he's one of Chairman Kajihira's informants. Hattori tells the team that it's impossible for the drug's research data to have been fabricated, as Hashiski theorized. However, he does remark that, despite the drug's advanced development, the ADDC has inexplicably refused to move into the human trial stage. After learning about this and reflecting on the evidence, Yagami deduces that the drug actually has moved into human trials, but it has done so illegally: The Mole's victims have actually been human test subjects; kidnapped by the Mole so that Shono could use them as control subjects to test AD-9's toxicity on humans and later discarded when the experiments failed. Yagami also theorizes that it was Shono who actually killed Waku at the ADDC in 2015; having used him as the first test subject for an early version of AD-9 that also proved fatal.
However, Sugiura is sceptical about this theory due to the lack of evidence, and because it all seems too convenient, particularly with regards to Okubo being innocent. Seeking further clarity, Yagami travels to the Tokyo Metropolitan Prison to meet with Okubo for the first time in years. Despite all that he has endured behind bars while awaiting his execution, Okubo insists to Yagami that he is innocent of both Waku and Emi's murders.
After his intense talk with Okubo, Yagami goes out for a drink but is confronted by Detective Kuroiwa. The Detective tries to threaten Yagami into backing down from aiding Ayabe's defence, but Yagami refuses. The two are interrupted by an assassin sent by Captain Hamura, who attacks Yagami and unsuccessfully tries to kill him. Fearing further attacks, Yagami and his friends seek refuge at the Kyorei Clan's base, since the Matsugane goons are less likely to attack them there.
The next day, Yagami and Sugiura head to the ADDC to confront Shono about their theory, in the hopes that they might be able to extract some useful info from him. After they are prohibited entry by Vice Minister Ichinose, the duo sneak in through the parking lot and confront Shono while he does his morning rounds of the hospital wing. After locking Shono in Waku's old room, Yagami lays out what his team has found and, though a terrified Shono denies everything, he slips up and mentions things he couldn't have known about if some of Yagami's claims weren't true. During their conversation, Yagami determines that Shono was also behind Emi Terasawa's murder: After Okubo was acquitted, Shono feared that the investigation into Waku's case would continue, so he killed Okubo's girlfriend and framed him to make it look like Okubo actually was a murderer and had been falsely acquitted of Waku's killing. After departing from the ADDC, Yagami visits Okubo once more, tells him that he now believes in his innocence and swears that he will expose Shono's crimes and avenge Emi's death.
Chapter X - Chumming the Waters
Pressed for time, Yagami and Kaito decide to question Hamura once more. In order to lure him out of hiding, the duo cause trouble at various Matsugane Family businesses throughout Kamurocho, eventually resulting in Matsugane thugs attacking them in the Champion District. When one of the thugs flees the fight, the duo chases him to Little Asia but find that they've been led into a trap: Hamura and a few of his goons surround them and hold them at gunpoint.
However, Patriarch Matsugane, who followed Hamura's men after they left the family office, intervenes and demands that Hamura spare the two detectives. The Captain tells the Patriarch to stand down, insisting that Yagami and Kaito have to be killed if the family is to continue existing. After Kaito antagonizes Hamura for mistreating Matsugane for so long, Hamura angrily shoots him in the stomach, much to Matsugane's horror. Before Yagami is also shot, Sugiura arrives and attacks the thugs holding him at gunpoint, allowing them both to flee while Kaito is taken by Hamura and his men.
Fearing for Kaito's life, the two listen in on the bugs they'd placed in the Matsugane office and discover where Hamura has taken him. Yagami, Sugiura and Higashi rush to the abandoned building where Kaito is being held and fight their way through Hamura's mooks. Finally, Yagami confronts Captain Hamura on the building's top floor, where he is holding Kaito at gunpoint. After Kaito manages to knock Hamura's gun out of his hand, Yagami attacks him and the two fight, with Yagami ultimately ending up victorious. Knowing that it won't be long before Hamura's boys arrive with reinforcement, Yagami tells Higashi and Sugiura to take Kaito to the hospital, while he and a newly arrived Patriarch Matsugane take Hamura to a place where they can question him without being interrupted: The Kyorei Clan's base at Cabaret Honmauren.
Chapter XI - Curtain Call
Under Shioya and Murase's supervision, Yagami and Patriarch Matsugane interrogate Hamura about the Mole. Despite refusing to give up the killer's identity, Hamura explains how he came to be involved in the conspiracy: The Mole was an assassin whom Hamura had been working with for years prior to the plot, finding him work through his underworld connections and taking a cut of the pay. It was through this work with the Mole that he managed to save the Matsugane family from bankruptcy.
One of the clients he found for the Mole was Minister Ichinose, who hired them to kill Hashiki, the ADDC's Vice-Director, for trying to sabotage AD-9. The hit was so successful that Ichinose hired them again, this time to kidnap victims for Shono's experiments. Hamura and the Mole decided to use Kyorei yakuza as subjects since their deaths would seem like gang war casualties and draw less public attention. Hamura also admits that Shintani's murder was his fault: While he was in jail, he feared he would be convicted for the third victim's murder, so he told Shintani that Shono was connected to the murder. After Shintani started his own investigation into Shono's role in the murders, Ichinose ordered him killed.
The questioning is interrupted by the arrival of the Matsugane Family's forces, led by Kengo and Ozaki, who set fire to the Cabaret and attack the Kyorei Clan to rescue Hamura. Murase is killed with a bomb and Shioya is badly beaten, but Yagami manages to escort Matsugane and a captive Hamura to the exit. However, they are stopped by the arrival of the Mole, dressed in a dark raincoat that conceals his identity. The assassin tries to shoot Hamura to silence him, but the Captain is saved because Matsugane takes the bullets for him. The Mole is forced to flee due to the fire's expansion, leaving Hamura and Yagami behind as they mourn the dying Patriarch. Before dying, Matsugane forgives Hamura for his betrayal and says that it was his fault that Hamura had to resort to murder to save the family from ruin. Moved by the Patriarch's sacrifice, Hamura tells Yagami the truth before departing: The Mole is Detective Kuroiwa.
After the fire department and the police arrive at the scene, Yagami is taken to police headquarters for questioning by none other than Kuroiwa himself. Yagami tells Kuroiwa that he knows the truth and that he won't stop until he, Shono and Minister Ichinose pay for their crimes. Kuroiwa is unfazed and admits to everything, telling Yagami that, as soon as he gets his chance, he will kill him and his entire team.
The following morning, Captain Shioya's body is found dumped in the street with his eyes gouged out: After the fire, Kuroiwa had captured him and taken him to Shono for experimentation. Unfettered, Yagami tells his team about the Mole's true identity and vows that they will stop Shono and Minister Ichinose's conspiracy.
Chapter XII - Behind Closed Doors
Yagami and Kaito meet with Hattori and Chairman Kajihira. After they brief them on all their findings, Hattori suggests that they try getting information out of the least committed member of the conspiracy: Director Kido. He also lets them know that, in his research into AD-9's development, he found that Kido had a reputation for being a womanizer; something they could use to their advantage. In order to lure out Kido, Shirosaki pretends to be a journalist and goes to the ADDC to interview Kido with a hidden camera on her. There, she flirts with him and goads him into groping her. Afterwards, she and Yagami send the footage she captured of him molesting her and tell him to come to Kamurocho, lest they leak the video to the press.
After meeting Kido at the Yoshida Batting Center, Yagami, Sugiura, Kaito and Higashi kidnap him and take him to Higashi's arcade, where they question him. Under threat of having the video leaked, Kido tells the team everything about the conspiracy: Their theories about human experiments were correct and Shono was indeed behind the murders of both Waku and Emi, just as they'd hypothesized. He also lets them know how they can find Shono's secret lab in Kamurocho, where all the experiments took place.
Following Kido's instructions, Yagami and Sugiura tail one of Ichinose's lackeys to the lab, which was located in an abandoned love hotel. Once there, Yagami calls Mafuyu and tells her to bring the police and the chief prosecutor to the hotel. Yagami and Sugiura break into the lab and find Shono inside. Upon coming face to face with him, Sugiura pulls out a knife and reveals something to Yagami: He'd lied about his identity and his reason for joining their investigation. His real name is Fumiya Terasawa; Emi Terasawa's younger brother, and he joined him because he thought Yagami was trying to stage a comeback to the legal profession, which he wanted to sabotage. It's only after he learned the truth about Emi's murder that he decided to truly help Yagami and his team.
Sugiura tries to kill Shono, but he is interrupted by the arrival of the police and the prosecutors, Mafuyu, Morita and Izumida. Yagami tells the prosecutors about the lab's purpose and that, if they search the place, they'll find evidence of the experiments. However, much to Mafuyu and Izumida's surprise, Morita refuses to search the lab. As it turns out, he's been a part of the AD-9 conspiracy since right after Shintani's murder. Yagami and Sugiura are removed from the building and Minister Ichinose's men eliminate the evidence, while Kuroiwa attacks the arcade and rescues Kido. Though their attempts are frustrated yet again, Yagami gains valuable new allies: Disgusted and betrayed by Morita's corruption, Mafuyu and Izumida agree to help Yagami expose the conspiracy in the middle of Ayabe's murder trial.
Chapter XIII - Down Came the Rain
Yagami's team starts preparing for Ayabe's trial. Izumida and Mafuyu manage to convince Ichinose to testify, supposedly so that he can explain how AD-9 is unconnected to the case, but in truth so that Yagami can spring a trap for him. Hoshino convinces Dr Kido to testify against Shono, but only if he is allowed to pretend that he only learned about the murders recently, thus exculpating himself. Higashi convinces the Matsugane Family to not go after Kuroiwa themselves, since they'll likely be killed or jailed, but rather to protect Yagami and his allies so they're not killed before the trial. Mafuyu also discovers the reason for Morita's betrayal: His mother had suffered from a severe Alzheimer's and his brother had mercy killed her before hanging himself, so Morita decided to support AD-9 in the hopes that it'll put an end to Alzheimer's for good.
Yagami and Kaito get word that Prosecutor Morita is raiding one of Ayabe's illegal casinos and they go there to convince him to switch sides, but they are unable to persuade him. The duo are then confronted by Detective Kuroiwa, who tries to kill them but are saved by Morita, who talks Kuroiwa down by saying that he'd never be able to cover up their murders if he kills them in an active crime scene. After leaving the casino, Kaito and Yagami spot a mysterious figure dressed in the same raincoat that Kuroiwa had used during the Mole murders. They give chase and eventually catch up to the man, who reveals himself to be Captain Hamura. The Captain claims that he wants to help them out, to atone for indirectly causing Patriarch Matsugane's death.
The day of the trial arrives and Yagami returns to court for the first time since Okubo's trial, serving as Ayabe's defence attorney. Minister Ichinose is brought in to testify and Yagami springs his trap: He relays all his findings of the Mole murders and the human experiments to the court, accusing Shono and Ichinose of masterminding the entire conspiracy and framing Ayabe for Shintani's murder. He then brings in Captain Hamura, who testifies that Ichinose had hired him and Kuroiwa to procure the human test subjects and kill both Hashiki and Shintani. Hamura also provides a recording he secretly made of Ichinose ordering Shintani's assassination. Director Kido is brought in to testify afterwards, providing details and evidence about Shono's experiments.
When Ichinose realizes that Prosecutors Mafuyu and Izumida are in on the plan and won't put a stop to the testimonies, he covertly sends a message to one of his underlings to assassinate Kuroiwa, in order to eliminate him as a possible additional witness if he were to be questioned. Kaito and Yagami notice this, so they leave the court to try to prevent the killing, leaving Hoshino and Shirosaki to finish the proceedings. The duo rushes to Kamurocho, where they find that Ichinose's assassins failed to kill Kuroiwa. They learn from one of the wounded assassins that Kuroiwa is heading for the ADDC since he plans to murder Shono in revenge for being betrayed. Since the team still needs Shono to stand trial if they are to prove that Okubo is innocent of Waku and Emi's murders, they rush to stop Kuroiwa.
Yagami, Kaito, Sugiura, Higashi and the Matsugane Family rush to the ADDC, which is crawling with police officers, whom Kuroiwa brought along to prevent anyone from interrupting him. Kaito, Higashi and the Matsugane goons distract the police while Yagami and Sugiura chase after the Mole. The two manage to arrive in time to stop Kuroiwa from killing Shono but, in their battle, Sugiura is shot and heavily wounded. Yagami and Kuroiwa face off in an extended one on one battle, where Yagami ultimately ends up victorious. Kaito and Higashi arrive soon after with various police officers chasing them. Taking advantage of this distraction, Kuroiwa lunges for Shono and tries to stab him with a hidden knife, only for him to be shot multiple times and killed by the police officers.
Yagami tells Shono that his conspiracy is over since the truth about the experiments is being revealed in court. However, Shono claims that he has won regardless. He produces a syringe from his pocket and claims that he has finally perfected AD-9. Yagami angrily rebuffs Shono, claiming that even if he did finish his miracle drug, he's still going to be jailed for murdering Waku and Emi. The researcher claims that murdering them was worth it since his new drug will save the world. Shono injects himself with the sample of AD-9 to prove that he has succeeded but, unfortunately for him, the drug wasn't perfected. Immediately, Shono begins screaming in pain and collapses to the floor, after which he dies in agony and his eyes turn a pale blue. This was why Kuroiwa and Shono had gouged out all their victim's eyes since they were clear evidence of human experimentation.
Two weeks later, Yagami visits Okubo in prison. Emi's murder is being re-tried and Okubo is set to be released within a week since Sugiura had filmed Shono when he confessed to the murders Okubo had been condemned for. Before departing, Yagami tells Okubo that he has one more visitor: Sugiura, whom Okubo hadn't seen since Emi's murder trial. Emi's brother pleads for Okubo's forgiveness and Yagami leaves the two to reminisce about Emi.
After the trial, Ayabe was released from prison, cleared of all charges. Hamura willingly turned himself into the police, and Ichinose and Morita were fired from their positions and then arrested for conspiring with Shono and Kuroiwa. Though he will not be charged with aiding the conspirators, Kido resigned from his position and the ADDC will be shut down. However, since all of Ichinose's policies are under review due to the conspiracy, Chairman Kajihira and the Kyorei Clan will not be sold the land for redevelopment, so they have still lost the 10 billion yen they invested in the project.
Despite insistence from Mafuyu and his friends from the Genda Law Firm, Yagami decides that he won't return to the legal profession and will instead continue to work as a private detective with Kaito. The duo gets a call about a missing cat and head out to investigate.
There are a total of 13 chapters in the game:
- Chapter 1: Three Blind Mice
- Chapter 2: Beneath The Surface
- Chapter 3: The Stickup
- Chapter 4: Skeletons in the Closet
- Chapter 5: Days Gone By
- Chapter 6: Collusion
- Chapter 7: Limelight
- Chapter 8: A Broken Bond
- Chapter 9: The Miracle Drug
- Chapter 10: Chumming the Water
- Chapter 11: Curtain Call
- Chapter 12: Behind Closed Doors
- The Final Chapter: Down Came the Rain
The game employs a fighting system similar to the one from Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami where players can change into different styles. Additionally, it features an investigation mode where the player has to find traces of the criminal.
- Following the release of the Japanese version, controversy arose when actor Pierre Taki, who portrayed Kyohei Hamura in the game, was arrested for cocaine use. The localization of Judgement was still in progress at the time, and work was quickly done to recast Hamura's role with a different actor, who re-recorded all of the character's lines. Hamura's face was also altered to remove resemblance to Taki.
- Asahi replaces Suntory as the main beverage brand for the series, various Asahi brand drinks such as Nikka and Brown Forman subsidiary brands replace many popular brands from Suntory (see Product Placement).
- If the controller speaker is enabled, the phone sounds will come through both the main speakers and the controller. As there is a slight delay between the main audio and the controller audio, this results in an echoey sound.
Logo and Key art
| Main series||Yakuza • Yakuza 2 • Yakuza 3 • Yakuza 4 • Yakuza 5 • Yakuza 0 • Yakuza 6 • Yakuza: Like a Dragon|
| Remakes||Yakuza Kiwami • Yakuza Kiwami 2|
| Spin-offs||Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan! • Kurohyou: Ryu ga Gotoku Shinsho • Yakuza: Dead Souls • Kurohyou 2: Ryu ga Gotoku Ashura-hen • Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin! • Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise • Ryu ga Gotoku Online • Judgment|