iGamer Reviews: Ace Attorney (Investigations)

By Capcom.

For Nintendo DS.

What can I say? I like Ace Attorney.

Investigations

Ace Attorney: Investigations is the fifth title in Ace Attorney series, which must suffer the burden of being a wildly popular franchise in Japan, while being only a cult-favorite in Europe and North America.

The Story

500x_aceattorney

Ace: Attorney Investigations is not only the second title to use a main protagonist beside Phoenix Wright, but also the first title to have you play as a Prosecutor. The Prosecutor is none other than the fan-favorite, Miles Edgeworth. Along with being an interesting change of pace, it also makes a lot more sense for the prosecutor to actually go after the murderer, since it’s, y’know, his job and all, instead of constantly having a defense attorney do it out of necessity.

In Ace Attorney: Investigations, Miles Edgeworth travels across the globe, constantly finding himself in various crime scenes which all happen to be loosely connected to each other, something which seems so fantastically unlikely, it’s a wonder Ace Attorney characters don’t also see unicorns and dragons in their day-to-day lives.

The GamePlay

ace-attorney-investigations-miles-edgeworth7-23-2009

Ace Attorney: Investigations (I keep saying the full name so I don’t confuse it with the American Assocation of Immunologists) brings a lot of new things to the table, with the most obvious being the introduction of an interactive game world. Unlike the previous games, you can physically see and control Miles Edgeworth, directly interacting with the Crime Scene, instead of treating it solely like a point-and-click adventure game. This can give the player a more direct connection to the game, as well as be more visually stimulating in the first place.

Also unlike the previous games, the Edgeworth’s arguments aren’t just in the courtroom (actually, somehow they’re almost NEVER in a courtroom). Instead of Cross-Examining a witness, Miles Edgeworth gives a “Rebuttal”, pointing out the logical fallacies that his accusers, captors, and rivals (yeah, he’s not good at making friends) all manage to have. The rebuttals are frequent and spread well throughout the game, which I find to be a fantastic design choice, since that is where the game shines the most. The number of people that you meet is huge, and the nature of the crimes are plenty varied. There were a few times where I genuinely did not know who the culprit was, or expect the crimes to be as complex as they were.

The Conclusion

aceattorneywebsite

 

Ace Attorney: Investigations is a fresh and new spin for the franchise. With actual sprites and a real world to interact with, this title has a more “tangible” feel than the other Ace Attorney titles had. This is a great entry point that helps highlight the best of what Ace Attorney has to offer, while offering new ideas without straying from its original purpose.

Advertisements

iGamer Reviews: Ace Attorney (Apollo Justice)

By Capcom.

For Nintendo DS.

AJustice

The Story

apollo-justice-ace-attorney-20071109114734344

Apollo Justice takes place seven years after the previous title, Trials and Tribulations, where the previous lead, Phoenix Wright, has been forced to give up being a lawyer, and instead is a pianist that also happens to play poker.

And, before you ask, no, you don’t play spend the game as Phoenix Wright playing the Piano. Rather, you play the new fledgling Defense Attorney, Apollo Justice. How does he have such a bizarre name? Well, apparently he was an orphan, so it’s entirely possible he picked his own name, or the Orphanage only had access to books about Greek mythology and modern philosophy. Nevertheless, he is the new protagonist and has his own share of conspiracies to investigate. In it, Apollo seeks to uncover the case that ruined Phoenix Wright, learn the identity of a panty stealing pervert, and go head to head with a German prosecutor that also happens to be a rockstar on the side.

Suffice to say, Ace Attorney has not forgotten its sense of humor.

The GamePlay

apollo-justice-ace-attorney-ds-1

For more details on the gameplay in the Ace Attorney series, check out this post.

As this is the first Ace Attorney title that was developed for the Nintendo DS, it makes sure to use all features of the device. The dual screens are clearly used to display different information, and both the touch screen and microphone are made part of the Investigation Phase in the game. Along with that, you too can shout “Objection!” and “Hold it!” into the microphone during the Court Phase to make Apollo shout those iconic phrases.

However, the main new feature in the title is in Perception. While we could easily tell in the early Ace Attorney titles when we had witnesses on the ropes, there was no way to actually call them on it. However, in Apollo Justice, you can do just that. Apollo is able to take note of nervous habits or tics that show if a witness is lying. While this is a very entertaining feature, its use is limited to only being in the Court Phase, when it could definitely be used during the Investigation Phase for interrogating others for information. Even then, there are a small number of situations where the nervous habit of the witness is so obscure, I  may never have made it through the sequence without looking up the answer.

Although, to be fair, this is a problem that has persisted throughout the series, and sometimes can be just as much the fault of the player as it is the developer.

Conclusion

170400-bigthumbnail

 

Apollo Justice brings several new concepts to the Ace Attorney table, which is sure to satisfy the fans. And, while I give it my personal recommendation, it lacks any groundbreaking features that would bring new players to the fold.

iGamer Reviews: Ace Attorney (HD Trilogy)

By Capcom.

For iPhone and iPad. Individual titles (non-HD) available for Nintendo DS.

phoenix_wright_ace_attorney_trilogy_hd_jpg_jpgcopy

This may actually be the most appropriate review to get started, considering the last post I made that wasn’t just composed of news and false-announcements. In a way, for this first post I will be reviewing both a mobile game title, but also providing a more in-depth look of the Visual Novel genre. That said, let’s get with the review.

What is it?

You might be wondering to yourself, “What could possibly be so interesting about something called, ‘Ace Attorney?’ How exciting can you make a game about lawyers?” These are fair questions. Actually, I even asked those same questions myself when I first heard of the series. Would it be fun to read over legal terms and papers? Could I extract some enjoyment from writing up a crookedly-designed contract with my client, so that after the trial is over, they will be permanently indebted to me so that every time they cry; I can bottle their tears so that I may drink them at my leisure? While the second example may create an amusing mental image of sorts, I believe that the correct answer for most of you is, “no”. Fortunately, neither of those examples reflect how the game actually plays.

Capcom seems to be acutely aware of the negative perception lawyers have in America, and goes well out of its way to make the job of “Defense Attorney” seem as glorious and heroic as possible. You see, to the people at Capcom, being a legal representative is just one part of the job as you also happen to be a private detective and forensic analyst. That’s not to say you actually play someone who is both a detective and forensics expert; instead, it is just entirely assumed that detective work and forensic analysis is part of what being a “lawyer” is, which is enough to make you wonder why all lawyers aren’t also police officers.

What’s the story?

phoenix-wright-ace-attorney-nds-cover-front-73662

In the Ace Attorney trilogy, you play the novice defense lawyer, Phoenix Wright, on a personal mission to protect all those who have been falsely accused of wrongdoing. Over the course of three games, Phoenix Wright meets a variety of different characters, both friends and foes, visits various locations, and uncovers several conspiracies, each more elaborate than the last one.

Each game in the HD trilogy is composed of a series of case files that Phoenix Wright takes on, and although each of them have their own respective story, most of them tie into one larger narrative, while some cases tie into the sequel after it. The final result is an elaborate web of expertly crafted mystery stories that seamlessly lead you from one game to the next.

How do you play it?

Ace_Attorney_objection

As I mentioned in a post, long, long ago, Ace Attorney plays very similarly to a Visual Novel. That is to say, while the narrative mostly takes place from the perspective of Phoenix Wright, you do not physically control him or move him around like a traditional video game. Rather, each case file has two different styles of gameplay: Investigations, and Trials.

Investigations are very reminiscent of a point-and-click adventure games, albeit with some more complexities. In each Investigation, Phoenix Wright must interrogate witnesses, search the crime scene, and collect evidence to help prove his client innocent, all the while determining the true perpetrator of the crime. However, the Trials are an almost entirely different beast.

ace_attorney_phoenix_wright3

After you have collected all the evidence you need, you will ultimately find yourself at the courtroom. From there, your reading skills and memory will be tested instead of your observational skills, as you are forced to go head to head with the prosecution and cross-examine the witnesses. It is through the testimony of the witnesses and claims of the prosecution that you must find the lies or contradictions made, and point them out with the evidence you gathered from the scene of the crime. These sequences  can be brutal if you can’t remember everything that happened, and the courtroom judge will penalize you for presenting the wrong evidence at the wrong time. With too many penalties accumulated, your defense will be overturned, and your client will be found guilty. While this can make picking the correct evidence all the more satisfying, sometimes the correct lines and pieces of evidence are so unintuitive the only logical way to handle the situation is to save your game, and guess wildly until you found the right piece of evidence (or just look up the correct answer online). That said, the logic-defying choices are most common in the first game, and are less common in the other two games.

What’s the final word?

Overall, I had a fantastic time playing through that game, and I’m willing to bet that anyone who is a fan of legal dramas and mystery stories is bound to enjoy it as well. Along with that, at only seventeen dollars for three games (although you can buy each title individually for roughly six dollars through in-app purchases) you will definitely get your money’s worth. And although there may be some frustrations along the way, the experience only gets better with each game you play.

That’s all for now,

Riknas, signing off!

49e01cb0c9fcdc560c3ed080d9331616