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

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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

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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

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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.

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iGamer Reviews: Ace Attorney (Apollo Justice)

By Capcom.

For Nintendo DS.

AJustice

The Story

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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

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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

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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.