A mix between Judge Dredd, Blade Runner’s neon-infused environments and their own game Neon Chrome, developer 10tons has released their latest game, JYDGE. We played the PS4 version, but the game can also be found on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.
JYDGE is essentially a top-down shooter in which you play through (often short) scenarios as a jystice-dealing JYDGE (yes, that’s justice and judge – but 10tons is pretty liberal with their y usage this time around). Missions range from bank robberies to hostage situations to missions where stealth is your best answer – and you can equip and modify your JYDGE to get ready for each upcoming task.
Modification and augmentation are major parts of this game, and there’s an impressive range of possible options and even more in the way of possible combinations. Stealth modifications make sneaking around easier, but you can also make your character larger than life and engage in melee combat. One neat little upgrade to use allows you to apply a kind of mind control to your enemies, which will see them join your side of the fight.
Your main weapon, appropriately called the Gavel, has a multitude of uses in both your primary and special firing modes. These of course range from stealthy options that knock your adversaries out without too much noise, all the way to fiery explosions that can knock down entire walls. Not exactly subtle, but it does the job pretty well!
Using the modification system extensively isn’t strictly needed to get through most scenarios, but you’ll want to become proficient with a multitude of combinations if you want to acquire all of the different medals the game has available. Medals are tied to specific objectives, and stealthy requirements just aren’t quite compatible with a grenade launcher.
JYDGE can be played in single player mode, but it’s especially fun when played cooperatively with other players. This is handled locally without a split screen, meaning that you’ll have to make sure to cooperate if you are to be effective. This becomes especially crucial when you’re trying for specific achievements, and shoddy teamwork can mean that you’ll have to start over multiple times before you finally get it – and getting a medal means unlocking more modifications and weapons, so it’s rewarding on multiple levels.
Not surprisingly considering the material which inspired the game, crime is rampant and the game often gets violent. While stealth is an option, very often your version of justice is quite a brutal one and the gameplay is generally most satisfying when this is the case. Stealth is fine enough as it is, but never feels like it can compete with games that are built around the mechanics – occasionally feeling hit and miss in its execution here.
JYDGE works best when it mimics the action movies it most closely resembles – the Judge Dredd-inspired ones. The augmentations are fun to play around with, but they don’t make this the next Deus Ex. It’s also not as multilayered as Blade Runner, but it doesn’t need to be. As with most 10tons titles, it’s designed to be fun – and it succeeds at this.