Ace Attorney Series Post-Impressions
I had been avoiding the ace attorney series like a plague, cause the premise just doesn’t interest me. I mean, a game about.. lawyers? You gotta be kidding me. However, since I was running out of NDS games to play, I thought I should just give this series a chance. Turns out, it’s not as bad as I thought, in fact, it’s the best damn thing I had ever played. This started around last year and I only managed to catch up with all of the releases last few months.
There are two different modes you need to go through to proceed the storyline. The first is the investigation mode where you need to obviously, investigate the crime scene and find proofs, evidences and testimonies where you can use them as “weapon” during your court sessions. And the second part of the gameplay is the said court sessions themselves. You will be playing as a defense attorney (Phoenix Wright most of the time, with some slight alterations here and there) and your main aim is to defend your client against the prosecutor’s claim. One wrong move, and you will suffer penalties. You have something akin to a “HP bar” on the top of the screen and once you suffered too much penalties and the bar depleted, your client will automatically be counted as guilty, whether or not it’s the truth or not, which amounts to instant game over. In order to avoid this, you will have to examine the testimonies of witnesses, battle against the prosecutors, use the evidences you found as your weapon and of cause, lastly, pointing at your foes and shouting “objection!”.
Anyhow, I present you all my short impressions and opinions for each of the instalments I played:
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
First game in the series, and is the introduction to Ace Attorney’s settings, gameplay and characters. Being the first installment, the gameplay is a bit dull, if you do not include the bonus stage for the NDS at the end that is. The developers made that bonus stage as an experiment for a certain future Ace Attorney release, though it ended up getting pretty bad still, well.. more onto that later.
The game still played a big part in the Ace Attorney universe as it introduced players to one of the few most major characters in the series, the defense lawyer, Phoenix Wright, the prosecutor, Miles Edgeworth, and the two esper sisters, Maya Fey and Mia Fey. One of the plot’s central focus is the friendship between Wright, Edgeworth and Larry, and how they came to be as they are now.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice for All
This is the second installment and I consider this, to this date, the best Ace Attorney instalment ever. The game is unbelievably shorter too. Excluding the debut trail, there are only a total of 3 cases. It’s the last case which makes this instalment so damn epic.
A new prosecutor is in place now (Franziska) and obviously, Ace Attorney will be using this pattern from then on: each new installment to the series will feature a new prosecutor. That being said, Miles Edgeworth still had a lot of appearances though, as one of the main focal points of the plot is the highlight of Wright and Edgeworth’s rivalry.
Once again, I just had to praise the outstanding writing for this game, especially the last epic case, which features extreme deception, logic, suspense and desperation which will keep your eyes peeled.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations
After I finished the awesome Justice for All, I went ahead and played Trails and Tribulations, the third instalment of the series. However, since I had experienced the epicness of the previous installment, this one doesn’t strike me as fancy, if you compare them both that is. As standalone, Trials and Tribulations still delivers fantastically.
The game also features a new prosecutor who goes by the name Godot. Unlike Franziska, Godot ties to the main plot much more and his character made a great impact in the overall storytelling. I’m not going to spoil anything but to summarize stuffs, Godot is a new mysterious prosecutor with no accurate past records. He is somehow related to an incident happened long time ago, a case where it was run by Mia Fey when she was the defense attorney.
This time, the game shifts attention to Mia Fey, and also shows more detailed backstories about Phoenix Wright. It doesn’t feel as epic as Justice for All, but overall, it’s still a good game, and it’s kinda awesome how every lawyers at the end are “solving the truth” together.
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney
At this point, the ‘Phoenix Wright arc’ was practically over. The game features a new character, Apollo Justice, who ironically, don’t do much justice to the game anyway. He feels like a Phoenix Wright wannabee and the rest of the characters don’t even feel as much appealing as the previous cast. Wait, there’s that smexy forensic investigator who replaced scruffy’s role so this matter is forgiven..
Aforementioned, in the first instalment NDS’s bonus stage, the developers were trying out new things, just for this. You can now initiate and control forensic investigation; spraying fingerprints powders, checking for chemicals, etc.. It adds a lot of entertainment values to the game due to this addition though ironically, the other parts of the game doesn’t deliver just as good.
There are still a lot of loose ends left and the characters also doesn’t have as much depth as the old cast, but let’s see what happened after further releases. Truthfully, I think the very first Ace Attorney installment is good, but it’s only after playing Justice for All, the second installment, that got me so hooked into the series. Perhaps further developments for the new cast and plot will do the series some more.. justice.
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth
A spin-off of the main series. This series will focus on one of the major characters of the series: Miles Edgeworth. Seeing things in a different point of view, it’s pretty fun to see Edgeworth’s style of tackling cases, and also, his sarcastic remarks.
Being a spin-off, the gameplay is totally different. You now control your current main character (Miles Edgeworth) in third-person perspective. Like a RPG, you can walk around the place and talk to people during your investigation. There will also won’t be any “court battles”, which were the most epic part of the series. Most of the cases are “settled straightaway at the murder location”, and the court scenes are all cut off.
I like the new main heroine, Kay anyhow. Her oriental designs make her looks gorgeous, and I think she’s also a more fun character, compared to Maya or Trucy. And since I like technology, Kay’s “little thief” device is lovely. The device helps to create a virtual simulation of past actions, which is very helpful in creating a visions of past murder cases, an ability so much more useful then some skeptical esper abilities or magic.
The settings and style for this spin off is certainly weird, not horrible though. Most players used to the old style of playing Ace Attorney will feels awkward. It might take time getting used to, though ironically, I still hear no plans for an official translation of the second instalment for the spin-off. Drats, I would love to see more of my sarcastic prosecutor and virtual simulations.
If there’s one thing I learned from playing AA, is to have the guts and courage to defend your human rights and shout objection. These past few days, I learned to be more brave, and when my mom was ordering me to clean up my room, I pointed back at her and shouted “objection!”
Though she.. twisted my finger instead.
Anyway, I think the live-action movie is already released in Japan though there are still no sign of any English releases. I’m looking forward to it, I heard the English release will come out sometime around June? Not quite sure.. Watching the trailer, they look kinda funny, though it won’t stop me from watching it still anyhow.