By Laura . February 22, 2010 . 2:09pm
Welcome to the Amazon Curve. We’ve probably all seen many reviews from professional critics, so in this feature, we focus, instead, on “the word off the street,” so to speak — specifically, the opinions of everyday Japanese gamers. We’ll be looking at reviews from Amazon.jp and giving you a rough idea what common users who bought games with their own money have to say about them in the "Overview." For readers that like a little more depth, we’ll translate select reviews that stood out. Hopefully, our readers will find the cultural differences interesting.
The Ace Attorney series is at its fifth game with Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, and it is still going strong. Famitsu gave the Japanese version of Ace Attorney Investigations a 9/9/8/8, which is slightly better than the average rating mid-to-low 80s that the Western reviewers have been giving it. Going for the game is its sheer Ace Attorney-ness, with its ridiculous characters and sometimes impossible scenarios (a three-story plane, complete with elevator? What?)/ Capcom revamped the system creating something different from anything the previous games had. After four games, most felt that the old formula was getting tiresome, so the change was welcome.
On the other hand, alongside the new 3D running on the bottom screen came the control troubles, which were clumsy at best with the touchpad (although, luckily, the d-pad controls work just fine). Meanwhile, the Logic system, Edgeworth’s own “Psycho-Lock-esque" ability, has its problems. While this was more realistic than either Phoenix’s or Apollo’s, some felt that it was also a bit too easy, since at times Edgeworth himself tells you what to do, and at other times the connections are extremely obvious. The connection that is inherent in the Logic system makes understanding the case easier, yet the pieces are put together in baby steps.
Alas, one complaint in almost all the reviews was a problem from previous games in the Ace Attorney series as well. While understanding what needs to be done is easy, presenting the evidence and choosing the right options in the correct order can be a hassle, giving the game an artificial difficulty. This has been a source of frustration for reviewers in the West for the past games, and it is still present in this game.
On Amazon.jp, the average star rating was approximately 3.5.
Most of the players felt that the game lacked something characteristic of the Ace Attorney series – some say it’s the “kick in the face” when you get hit with an unexpected revelation, while others say it’s the different rhythm of the game because there’s no regular courtroom visits that had so marked the previous games. Some felt that the Logic system was too easy, which led to there being no surprises and consequently losing the trademark of the series.
There were also a few complaints about white flashes that appear sometimes during the game, as the Japanese are rather sensitive to sudden bright bursts of light. (Anyone remember "Electric Soldier Porygon"?)
Several reviewers liked the fact that it was possible to play the entire game without using the DS touchpad, and even more just loved the returning cast and the way they were tied into the story. However much this pleases fans, though, this also results in an alienation of players new to the series, so most of the reviewers suggest playing the original series first.
This is it? (3 stars)
I have played the entire Ace Attorney series. I thought people would want to read a review from people with such an experience.
Honestly, “This is it?” are words that can’t be denied. From before the game was out, I had been worried about it, the biggest reason being that Takumi Shuu-san wasn’t working on this game. I like Edgeworth and Gumshoe (actually, I like all the Ace Attorney characters), but the crude parts still stand out in the end.
Perhaps because there was no court part, but I couldn’t feel that tempo special to the Ace Attorney series. The deductions were long, and though the negotiation parts were few, they were lacking in tension. Even though they talk about “definitive evidence,” there were many holes and I could help but feel doubt at the flow of the deduction.
Also, I was a bit put-off, since I felt somewhat cheated about Nusumi-chan. There were unexpectedly many new characters that were very interesting, so I was very satisfied with that. Since moving around scene doesn’t have the same choices are before, the game made it so that it was recognizable, for which I was very happy (although I personally preferred the previous choices).
The music is a collection of great songs, as usual, so I find myself playing the game wearing headphones.
I think the reason I felt more disappointed than refreshed after playing the game was because I had too big of an expectation before the game was released. Even so, it’s true there were many times the game made me grin with all the connections to the old game hidden in the story. I was also happy to learn about the dark past of Edgeworth that the previous works hadn’t shown.
On the whole, it was a bit of a disappointment as part of the Ace Attorney series. However, I think it was a pretty good game if you think of it from as a Detective Adventure game.
The game is stably interesting, but… (4 stars)
I have played Ace Attorney 1-3, but not 4.
In this game, you collect information and then use Logic and deductions to lead the criminal on and then corner him. However, the series also loses the feeling of getting a flying kick from out of nowhere (that feeling of unexpectedness) that was there before, so in most of the chapters you could tell who the criminal was or what the trick was. Even though it’s called “Gyakuten”1 it’s not really a “Turnabout” anymore…
Also, there weren’t really any of those portrait arts of the criminals getting caught in a corner that was common to the series, so I was a bit sad.
The characters were solid, so after playing it as a continuation to the series, I found myself laughing here and there while playing, but if you’re playing this game as the first game to the series, you may only feel a sense of tediousness. If you haven’t played the original series, I suggest you first play starting from Ace Attorney 1. (If this game had been the first game in the series, I would’ve taken off 2 stars.)
Lastly, I think it would be difficult for them to make a game unpredictable with the current theme (the main character as Prosecutor Edgeworth), but I hope that next time, they can have a case unfold with Logic, deductions and evidence and end with “That’s impossible, but … it really was him?!”
…Also, there’s the flashing. After playing it for a long time, my head started hurting. People easily influenced by this should be careful.
As Expected of the Gyakuten Series (5-stars)
– Characters from before appear often. On top of that, they’re tied in very well with the story. I’m glad that, to a fan of the series, there were many places where I could laugh.
– The difficulty level is just right. The penalties are mild, so that may cut from the tension, but if you limit yourself (such as trying to get through without decreasing the gauge at all), the pressure’s still there.
– All the episodes are interconnected and uphold the standard, so you get drawn into the story. I wonder if the parts that aren’t able to be understood going to be the premise for the next game.
– Improvement of controls. The ability to investigate the evidence without the use of the touchpen was great.
– The Logic system was too monotonous. The discovery is good, but you soon get tired of it.
– The other reviews mention this too, but the white flashes are disconcerting.
– I’m a bit unsatisfied with the way the characters were handled. Why did Emma appear…? The only reason is that she’s popular, so they just stuck her in. The existence of a rival character is also weird. It feels like he was just a wild character with a personality contrasting Edgeworth’s and he wasn’t linked deeply with the story at all. The last boss, too, wasn’t very “fresh.”
I wrote a lot of points that weren’t so good, but as a whole I still think it’s a strong game. I think it’s a game worthy of being in the Ace Attorney series. However, there’s a lot of involvement with the old characters, so it might be a little (?) too much for players new to the series. At the very least, I suggest you play the first game (and if possible, the second game).
Has Content that Makes it Not Just an Ace Attorney series Side Story (5 stars)
After playing the game completely, I feel that it’s like an Ace Attorney game where there wasn’t a clear line between the Court Part and the Detective Part.
The basic contents of the game are investigate and collect evidence; listen to the witnesses’ words and gather information; find the contradictions and tear it apart; just like in a Ace Attorney game. The only thing different is that the stage is not in court, but at the scene of the crime.
Another difference would be that up until now in Ace Attorney you investigated things using a cursor in the Detective Part, but now you move Edgeworth himself to investigate things (the visual screen is different, but in the end you’re doing the same thing). This time, during investigations, someone’s already following you around as a partner, so you discuss with your partner and find key points that will lead to finding the truth.
Also, in place of Phoenix-kun’s “Psycho” Logic and Apollo-kun’s Perceive System, you have Edgeworth’s special ability (laughs), Connect the Logic. There, you link together information gathered from many different places to find the truth. I felt it was simple, yet interesting.
Volume-wise, I think there’s about as much content as there are in 1 and 2. It took more time than I’d thought to clear it. As for the story, there weren’t mountain-loads of parallel story points left hanging, and I was glad that it didn’t end up being an unfinished ending.
Character-wise, just as in the previous games in the series, they were all unique characters. As always, the reaction of the witness being cornered was interesting. It was refreshing. However, close to half of the characters were from previous games, so there may be a few details new players to the series may not understand. Contrarily, a fan of the series would be glad for it.
At any rate, there shouldn’t be any problems for series fans who haven’t played it. I feel that there wasn’t much different in the charm of the game from the previous works. For newcomers, there isn’t any big problem. I suggest this game to people who like deduction games and Character Games.2