Wednesday 18 September 2019

Judgment review: Detective story with a kick

(PS4) ★★★★ Age: 18+

Japanese superstar Takuya Kimura stars in Judgment
Japanese superstar Takuya Kimura stars in Judgment
My Friend Pedro
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

A high-kicking Japanese detective with boy-band good looks and an achingly cool wardrobe? Somebody should make a movie out of this guy. It's almost as if they already have because Judgment immerses you in a deep murder mystery where you spend as much time watching as playing.

Coming from the same stable as the venerable Yakuza series, Judgment inherits much of that Tokyo classic's genealogy and geography but injects a new cast of characters led by weary lawyer turned private eye Takayuki Yagami.

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Set as ever in the seedy entertainment district of Kamurocho (modelled on the real-world suburb of Kabukichō), Yagami is played by Takuya Kimura, a superstar in Japan for his singing and acting careers.

He's got the finely chiselled cheekbones all right but his delivery lacks a little oomph for someone who gets so much screen time. Fortunately, the story holds up as the body count rises and Yagami gets to exercise his fists and feet with frequent lively street brawls against local thugs.

So far, so Yakuza. That's no bad thing, the alternating of fisticuffs and talkie scenes a familiar trope broadened by diversions such as vintage arcade games and, um, whisky-drinking. Judgment tries to layer some detective duties atop this cake, but it amounts to fairly meaningless busywork.

Still, it's interesting to watch the densely plotted conspiracy unfold in close proximity and Kamurocho is always an engrossing fleshpot to while away several hours.



My Friend Pedro

(Switch/PC) ★★★★ Age: 16+

"Bullets, blood and bananas" goes the tagline for MFP, but really only the first two matter in this balletically violent but frequently hilarious shooter. The irrelevant escape-the-baddies storyline gets buried under a wave of slo-mo gunplay as you acrobatically shoot your way through 2D levels filled with henchmen.

Slide down a zipline headfirst while aiming in two directions, ricochet bullets off an airborne frying pan, drop a thug by kicking the skull of his pal at him, or smash though a window and headshot four baddies in four seconds. You can do all that and more.

The insanity of the ideas runs out of steam in later levels, but kudos to a violent videogame for satirising violent videogames.


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