Miken: My anime watching schedule — if you can even call it that — has been thrown off this week. Though it’s mostly because I’ve been having a ton of fun playing the newest Ace Attorney game. Though the “attorney” part of the title kinda throws me for a loop since I link the word so much with “defense attorney”. Though Merriam Webster and his dictionary gives a definition that still makes the title apply. Non sequitur aside, this game follows Miles Edgeworth around as he gets stuck with dealing with his bunch of crazies and recurring side characters while trying to figure out the culprit of each crime as well as the overarching plot of all the cases. I will try my best not to spoil the game~ And here to help me is…~~~
Ric: …Ready and willing to shout “OBJECTION!” at any moment!
Gameplay – 7/10
Miken: Almost exactly the same as all the others. I do, however, miss the ability to personally spray luminol and dust for fingerprints from Apollo Justice and the additional case in the first game. Even though the title does say “Investigations”, I do suppose that it wouldn’t make sense for a prosecutor to do the forensics himself, but seeing as how Apollo and Phoenix both did so at one point… Anyways, I would’ve liked to try it at least once instead of someone going off to have it checked up on by the science team. Additionally, you get to walk Edgeworth through scenes, but that barely does anything, as it just allows the player to move him to the evidence he wants to see rather than relying fully on the point and click method. The new Logic system (which is sort of like Psyche Lock and Perceive) allows Edgeworth to piece together the clues he finds. It really isn’t amazing at all. As for a certain device introduced in the third case and reused again in the fifth, it was pretty nice seeing the hypothetical situations and deducing from there. Leaves much less room for me to misinterpret the mental image that the characters are trying to explain.
Gameplay – 8/10
Ric: Well, as usual for this series, we get a delightfully large job description tacked onto the title of “Prosecutor”, with Miles serving the purpose of both Detective, C.S.I (To a degree) and well, the usual task of a Prosecutor, only without the courtroom. Unsurprisingly, this works fantastically, even without all the forensics of Apollo Justice to fall back on.
In terms of new game mechanics, we have the Logic system, which is really just Edgeworth’s answer to Psyche-Locks. In theory, it’s very interesting, but to be honest in practice, it’s just not as well done as it could have been.
The only “real” problem I did have with the game though, was that it felt a little bit too easy compared to the earlier games. Although, in fairness, that may just be me getting too familiar with the series’ little tricks.
Visuals – 7/10
Miken: Same images and expressions plus a few characters and new walking-around sprites/animation. While it’s nice to get more of a handle on the layout of the area of the crime by walking around like that, the visuals are little out of the way of what we’ve seen for ages. They don’t look bad at all, but they are what they are. The full-screen images, however, do tend to be pretty damn nice, as usual. The series itself has pretty much solidified the fact that while it does try to make visuals quite pleasing to the eye, they don’t rely on technical stuff like fancy animation. Rather, they make the scenery and most characters look pleasing to the eye (Oldbag doesn’t count, she’s just a creeper).
Visuals – 7/10
Ric: Nothing much really new here, visuals are pretty much the same as in the other games as far as character portraits go. Only thing particularly new are the overworld sprites, which I must say are rather nice to look at. Come to think of it, they kinda remind me of the sprites from Megaman Battle Network. (Which I enjoyed, so that’s quite a plus.)
Story – 8/10
Miken: As usual, there are the weaker cases and the stronger cases. Overall, they remain interesting enough, but the stronger cases really don’t stand out as much as they should and the weaker cases are just what they are. Even though I did love Turnabout Reminisces for 13-year old Franziska, Edgeworth with more Manfred von Karma-like expressions and how it set up for the final case of the game, the cases before it, while interesting at the time, just don’t feel as if they tie in as well as they should even though the general idea was to get all of them to link together. Thus, the twists aren’t as good as you expect them to be. Some of the logic used in investigating is facepalm worthy as well, moreso than expected from a series that prides itself in making law over-the-top. The writers also tried to link all five cases together, which was commendable, but since I didn’t really get around caring much about the people involved in three of the five cases, it just didn’t feel like quite as much to me. Some lines are amusing, though without Phoenix around, humor just doesn’t feel the same.
Story – 9/10
Ric: Unlike the other games in the series, every case adds something important here, rather than having the first and third cases being inconsequential (Although we have no singing clowns. :’[) which of course, is nice change of pace. That's not to say that every case is equal, of course, but they all had that signature "Ace Attorney" style we've all grown to love.
I must admit, I do miss Phoenix's antics though, even if Kay and Lil' Franny were absolutely awesome.
So badass that he deserves a bigger image
Characters - 8/10
Miken: Old characters are nice, and Kay and Lang quickly became very very enjoyable. Even though Lang did come off as an asshole at first, he soon became my favorite character in the game despite only having a passing note explaining his reason for being an Interpol agent and being so strict and widespread in charging people. As for the supporting cast beyond them, Detective Badd and Shih-na, who were interesting in their own rights, most of it is comprised by the witnesses we're used to seeing and a handful of new characters. Of course, with all of Edgey's character development done in the original trilogy and Franziska pretty well explained herself, that leaves character development for the new major side characters, with Kay getting most of it. Additional development for characters like Detective Badd was very welcome too~ By the time I was done by the last case, I did enjoy Kay very much. Kay, Franziska and Gumshoe made a nice team around Edgeworth and I liked the dynamic a bit more than what Phoenix had with Maya and Pearl. Of course, you can't say no to a girl running around that she's a wonderful thief right next to two prosecutors and a detective and Franziska whipping the heck outta Edgeworth and Gumshoe.
Characters - 8/10
Ric: If there's one thing the Ace Attorney series is great at, it's giving us fun and entertaining characters, each one more delightfully quirky than the last, and this game is no exception, to say the very least. Returning from previous games, we have the ever-awesome Franziska (Miken with a whip.), Detective Gumshoe, and...Wendy Oldbag. The latter scares me, so that's enough for those.
Although, even with how much I adored the older characters; the breakout characters for this game are easily Detective Badd and Lang who are just well, magnificent to say the very least. It was fun to see Kay being adorable too.
Music - 8/10
Miken: Mostly the same music so I can't really give it another point because there's the problem of less room for originality, though I do like the introduction of some new songs, especially Kay's theme and Lang's awesome theme~. The new remix of Edgeworth's theme was nice too. Mmm -- I can't wait till a few of these tracks make it into the next Gyakuten Saiban Meets Orchestra. I do miss some of the songs from the original trilogy though, since a number of them really don't apply anymore [especially the Turnabout Sisters theme].
Music – 10/10
Ric: Loved the soundtrack to this one, absolutely adored it. This is one of the few games where I can listen to the soundtrack and honestly say there isn’t a single track that I dislike (Lang’s theme has been stuck in my head for days now) and very few that aren’t delightfully catchy.
So of course, go out and download/buy the soundtrack CD. I COMMAND YOU TO DO SO!
Miken: I like the game for its entertainment value in the few days that it took me to finish it. Though it probably is down near the bottom on my rankings for the series, it does not mean I didn’t like it a lot. It was nice to follow Edgeworth around [and see him talk to the clouds], but it just didin’t feel as fulfilling as the other installments. Sure, I might have like the major side characters more, but the overall feel felt somewhere in the middle. The main plot was definitely nice enough, but it just doesn’t hold together from case to case compared to a good few of its predecessors. I’d sort of liken it to Justice for All — awesome rival, nice music, nice ending, meh-ish beginning and middle.
Miken’s Final Score:7.8/10
Ric: In summary, I found this game to be very, very fun, and a brilliant addition to the Ace Attorney series. It’s nice to see that Capcom are still able to keep the series at this level after so long, giving us a delightful change of pace with a well written plot (Especially by Capcom standards.), plenty of humour and sickeningly addictive gameplay, while still making it accessible for those who may not have played the previous titles in the series.
While not without flaws, to me, the Ace Attorney series is something that everyone should try at least once, so whether you’ve played before, or you’re just jumping on now, you can’t go wrong with Ace Attorney Investigations.
Ric’s Final Score: 9/10
PS – A Gift for All of You