reviewed on NDS
The Ace Attorney series has caught the world by storm, enamouring countless gamers with its clever narrative, edge-of-your-seat storylines, and deep characters. The first trilogy, simply known as Phoenix Wright by many, was originally released for GBA. The DS ports were, thus, fairly light-weight in terms of unique DS content. Sure, you could click the touch screen to get through the text, but that was the extent of it. Until now. Enter Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, the first Ace Attorney game designed with the DS’s unique functionalities in mind. Granted, not much has been changed at the core, but that’s not entirely a bad thing.
Old places, old faces
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney stars a fresh face as lawyer-in-training; titular protagonist Apollo Justice is well on his way to being in the same echelon as the famed Phoenix Wright. Speaking of the latter, the esteemed Mr. Wright has lost his attorney’s badge and has resigned to playing piano in a Russian restaurant. One of the game’s biggest mysteries is the reason why Phoenix lost his badge. I’ll keep this review spoiler free, but know this – you will be in disbelief, gasping all the way through each court case. In any case (slight pun intended), the game isn’t all plot twists and court processions. Phoenix Wright fans will be familiar with the two unique parts of the game; point and click – known as the “investigation portions” – and the previously mentioned court room drama.
This might remind you of point and click games of old; clicking and investigating various objects in a variety of locations, and speaking with a wide array of characters to scrounge up clues to make your case. After the linear escapade, the court proceedings begin. The Judge pounds his gavel, the prosecution make their opening statement, and everything starts. There aren’t many gameplay quirks introduced throughout the game, except for the new “Perceive” system, which allows you to spot suspicious body language of witnesses. So the main draw of the games isn’t necessarily the (though still engaging) gameplay, no, the main attraction is the storyline and characters. Though I will try not to spoil anything significant, be wary that I will be discussing a lot of the characters appearing in the game.
To start with, as it turns out, Phoenix Wright actually has an adopted daughter by the name of Trucy Wright. She is a magician by trade, and CEO of Wright Anything Corp., the replacement for Wright & Co. Law Offices. She follows Apollo around, a little like Maya did with Phoenix back in the day. Replacing Detective Gumshoe is Ema Skye, a familiar character to those that played the last case of the original game. She loves doing everything ‘scientifically’, and her forte is scientific investigation. She’ll frequently help the duo with forensics, and that’s where the unique DS functionality comes into play. For example, pouring plaster into foot prints to identify the prints. Or how about looking for fingerprints? Blood-stains? Ema Skye is of tremendous use to both Apollo and Trucy, that’s for sure.
Another hugely important character is Apollo’s mentor, Kristoph Gavin. He is a cheery fellow and apparently a good and long-time friend of Wright. He has also got a rock-guitar-playing brother, Klavier Gavin, who is the game’s main prosecutor. Compared to the past prosecutors in PW games, he is totally different; the others had a sort of calming cool, a special kind of presence... though Klavier certainly has his own distinct charm, he’s more of an in-your-face! type of guy. Surely a refreshing change from a character development standpoint. The main characters are rounded out with some case-specific ones, such as Olga Orly from the Borscht Belt case. All the characters feel quite deep, a testament to the game writers’ ability. And they are funny. This is one of the few genuinely funny games on the market today, poking fun at pop culture, throwing a few innuendo jokes here and there, and a ton of other stuff.
No Pros and Cons at this time