Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies – In Justice We Trust… Not

By Laura . October 30, 2013 . 12:59pm

A year has passed since the events in Apollo Justice, and Phoenix Wright has regained his attorney’s badge. Apollo himself is still employed at the Wright Anything Agency, and is now joined by fellow greenhorn attorney Athena Cykes. However, the world of Ace Attorney is in the midst of the Dark Age of the Law, where few are willing to place their trust in a court system where it seems neither prosecutor nor defense attorney—supposed pillars of the court system—are afraid to disregard it.

 

Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies follows the same formula as the other main Ace Attorney games where the story is divided between investigation and court portions. Despite my initial expectations (thanks to the demo), you play mostly as Apollo and Athena for most of the game, with Phoenix standing back as support. The story primarily centers around Athena and new prosecutor Simon Blackquill’s respective histories.

 

Phoenix is back in form as an attorney and feeling more alive than he was during the entirety of Apollo Justice, as he returns to doing something he loves. Despite his familiar animations and his now-legendary talent at bluffing, he retains some of the laidback, blasé aura to him from his hobo phase. Instead of recycling his character from Apollo Justice or, worse, pretending the installment never happened, his character reflects both what we’ve come to know and love and the change in his personality after the seven years prior to the events of Apollo Justice.

 

Apollo, on the other hand, has changed little since the previous installment, since only one year has passed. He’s more hot-headed than Phoenix, and his defense always teeters on just this side of successful. He actually serves as a pretty lively partner to Athena, although in my opinion, the two are a bit too similar to work off each other. Athena is also impulsive and prone to spouting reckless declarations that come back to bite her in the rear later. Her inexperience shows in her defense, setting all three characters apart in personality and style. I really liked this attention to detail.

 

There’s also the new prosecutor, Simon Blackquill—a resident convicted felon—with his partner hawk Taka in tow. Simon carves out his niche nicely among the existing colorful cast of antagonists in the game. While previous prosecutors have often been ruthless about hiding evidence from the defense (or plain forging it), Simon is often just as in the dark as the defense is, and the lack of preparation shows. However, he is still skilled enough to hold his own. He also refuses to resort to outright cheating due to his samurai-like honor and instead, most of his technique comes from the power of suggestion and witness manipulation.

 

I particularly like how most of the characters are animated with the 3D models. While some like Miles Edgeworth (who returns in full form for a single case) appear stiff, others like Athena have snappy, lively motions that imply action and cheer. There are also some unique poses difficult to convey in 2D art, such as the literal and figurative weight that you can see in Simon’s turn as he practically heaves himself around.

 

I also enjoyed how the 3D models are implemented in the investigation portions, where the stereoscopic view is beautifully implemented and you can move around to see the room from a completely different angle. For example, during the third case you have to investigate a stage, and in addition to rotating around the stage to see the area from a different angle, you can also zoom in on certain areas for closer investigation. I also like how you don’t have to hunt for pixels—the pointer changes whenever you move over something that can be investigated, and it will change again to show that you’ve already investigated something before.

 

In fact, a lot of the game is streamlined this way. You can use the B button to fast-forward the dialogue, and you can use the backlog to view text that has already appeared—a helpful feature new to Dual Destinies for when you accidentally zipped past an essential clue. You can save the game easily at any time without having to restart the game, making redoing certain sections easy, and finally you can travel from area to area without limitation (where in previous games, you had to travel to a certain area first to access other areas).

 

And then, there are larger additions, such as the Mood Matrix and the Logic system. Some testimonies have choices, making players think about which point to press on and introducing more to puzzle about. Apollo’s Perceive ability and Phoenix’s Magatama return as well, although both are only usable outside of court. Finally, the Mood Matrix is surprisingly intricate. Rather than just pointing out emotions that seem out of place, you also have to point out emotions that are unexpectedly absent or grow too strong given the intensity or the context. Unfortunately, the Mood Matrix is used in a slightly different way in each case, which makes it feel more like a gimmick than something that actually requires strategy and reasoning to use.

 

Like this, many of the improvements in Dual Destinies are a double-edged blade. When one aspect is strengthened, it also has other effects on the game, for better or for worse. For example, while we are now more used to fast text delivery, the B button bypasses the cadence of beep-boops that show us how the words are said in the absence of voice acting. The save feature makes the game incredibly easy to retry sections, enabling players to forego logic and just opt for easy trial-and-error. This is especially true for the Mood Matrix, where you don’t lose “health” for mistakes.

 

The large cast of main characters means that your time is split between all three—Phoenix, Apollo and Athena. While this isn’t a bad thing in itself, with only five cases, the focus is spread between each character and the game feels like it’s stretched itself a bit thin. I also feel like there are fewer side characters in each case this time around, making “whodunit” answerable simply through process of elimination.

 

Perhaps this is one of the reasons that I felt that this game had less content. Objectively, it appears that I spent about the same number of hours on this game as in previous ones. However, because the time is spread between three characters, none of which you spend significant time with, I feel like I didn’t spend enough time with any one protagonist. Dual Destinies focuses more on telling the story than stopping to smell the roses.

 

In addition, there is less exploration to be done. In previous games, you had the ability to examine your surroundings outside of Investigation Mode and you could read your main characters comment on their surroundings. In my opinion, this contributed greatly to world building and character voice on top of giving the writers the opportunity to create references to previous games or nods to character back story.

 

With this, a lack of side characters in each case, and the new streamlined system making enabling everything to move faster and smoother, the game’s five chapters feel like bare-bone structures. Dual Destinies, unfortunately, failed to do something all of the previous games before it had managed to do rather well—bringing me into the world and refusing to let go.

 

Oddly enough, despite the lack of characters to serve as potential suspects, the cases themselves manage to grow increasingly contrived, and not in a good way. Pinpoint timing and a highly unlikely number of coincidences would be needed to carry out any of the murders in Dual Destinies, which makes nearly every mystery in the game seem like an outrageous happenstance rather than a carefully planned scheme. Rather than feeling like the perpetrator was some genius mastermind, I was always conscious that this is something a writer came up with to try and pull the rug out from under you. It brought me out of the experience and sometimes frustrated me as yet another unbelievable detail was thrown my way.

 

Not only that, but so focused was the game on telling me its story that the characters often became mouthpieces for its ideals. Even if they were well-rounded, it was much more difficult to get to know them because of a lack of buildup to the cases and of “unnecessary” optional dialogue from exploration segments. Without a sense that the characters are their own people rather than just the story’s instruments to make a point, I found myself bogged down by a healthy amount of apathy.

 

And, finally, even if I did somehow occasionally submerge me in its world, the Ace Attorney world of Dual Destinies is uncharacteristically humorless, save for a few shining moments (usually in the Phoenix segments). In addition, some of the dialogue comes off as a bit stilted rather than smoothly flowing. Perhaps there was little need to be so creative with limited screen space, now that the 3DS allows for a wider text box, or perhaps it’s an attempt to accommodate the “darker” theme in Dual Destinies. Either way, this game lacks much of the charm that—while hopefully not the sole factor driving you through the series—practically defines the wacky world of Ace Attorney.

 

Adding all of these factors together resulted in a significant lack of personal investment on my part. I went into the game blind, and yet, whenever a twist in the cases in Dual Destinies came up, I didn’t feel shock or surprise as the game unfolded. Unlike previous games, I didn’t think, “I have to defend my clie— No! Why would you do that?! Don’t throw in a wrench like that!” Instead, I thought, “Sigh, here comes another problem. As usual.” Even during the climax, the game tries very hard to get your blood pounding with the Logic sections and tossing seemingly inescapable imbroglios, but when this happens every single case, you start expecting it.

 

Ultimately, if I knew the conclusion, I didn’t care about how the crime took place or why the events happened in the first place. This means there was little driving me to finish the game. Additionally, I would grow interested in the characters only to be brought out of the experience every time they act as the author’s mouthpiece. Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies is like a roller coaster ride, where I’d find myself jumping right into the game and enjoying it, and then finding myself dragged out by the collar, kicking and screaming.

 

To be fair, I feel like the game is solid. I would never have gotten so submerged in the game in the first place if this weren’t the case. However, there was so much promise in its concept, especially with the theme of a “darker age of law” that when its execution just barely misses the mark, it is all the more frustrating. I will say, though that Dual Destinies sets up the stage for the next Ace Attorney game very well, introducing new principles and techniques and answering questions that open up new ones for future installments.

 

Food for thought:

 

1. I had some problem with the backlog in the game. During the middle of the game (around case 3), I would have entire stretches where the backlog would register incorrectly. The dialogue just wouldn’t appear. As such, I suggest using the backlog as a last resort and hoping, on the rare occasion you do miss a line, that that line does make it into the backlog screen.

 

2. While Dual Destinies handles character growth well in terms of returning characters, it isn’t as successful in unveiling new facts about new recurring characters to the player. One example of this is how the judge never once comments on a certain character that is accused of murder not once, but twice, during this game.  Seeing as how he’s made such comments in the past, you would expect him mention it at least once.  However, instead the game simply pretends the first time didn’t exist.


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  • Arrei

    Apollo and Athena for most of the game? You play as Phoenix for cases 1, most of 4, and 5, Apollo gets case 2 and the start of 4, and Athena gets case 3. You play as Phoenix more often than both of them combined…

    Furthermore, I am completely mystified by the claim that this game lacks the characteristic charm and wackiness of the series, with characters like Means, Newman, Mayor Tenma, Fool Bright…

    • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

      I won’t deny that the game has good characters when looked at independently. However, I was more referring to the writing style when I said that humor was lacking. I remember playing the beginning seents and thinking, “…This isn’t as funny or smooth-flowing as the previous games…”

      As for the first part, The second and third cases were long. The fourth and first are much shorter. I will acknowledge that the fifth case makes up in length, but the fact that I had been expecting to play Phoenix for the majority of the time because of pre-release information made the contrast more present to me. Not that I don’t like Apollo or Athena, but the difference of expectations…

      • Yvonne Tsang

        Really nice analysis, and pretty much nails what I felt about the game. I disliked having three attorneys to work with, because there simply wasn’t enough time to get intimate with them. The writing feels average for an AA game, and investigations suck hard.

        I never noticed the lack of dynamic between Athena and Apollo, but you’re right. Whereas Maya and Phoenix were completely different, I felt like the former pair was too green and lacked any contrast.

  • Lord Búho

    For the backlog bug mentioned in point 1, you just have to save, quit and reload, the backlog should show correctly, this happened to me once on case 3 too.

    • neocatzon

      Apparently this bug also affecting court records, lost text on several evidence. Since the fix is easy, I tried to replicate the bug (leaving the game in sleeping mode for a long time seems worked) and it can happen in another cases.

  • Ethan_Twain

    I would add to the list of complaints that I’m pretty sure Ace Attorney never had so many typos before – it’s a legitimate issue. These games absolutely live or die based on the localization effort since text is the whole point of the game… the spelling and grammar issues just can’t be happening.

    On the other hand, I really appreciate how having three characters works. Each character brings his or her own theme music to the court room, they have their own investigation tricks, and I thought each one of them ended up being written fairly distinctly. I actually thought the Apollo/Athena combination was really great because it gave Apollo a chance to be the experienced one. When he’s backing you up in court he’s there to help you sometimes… but sometimes he’s smug and makes fun of you too. I ended up laughing a lot at Apollo waving off the most damning of evidence explaining “Eh, you’ll get used to it”.

    The second case in particular was WAY too ticky tacky about it’s coincidences and minor timing inconsistencies the way Laura described. That’s a fine line Ace Attorney has always walked, needing to be convoluted enough to surprise and “turnabout” but still be semi-plausible and simple enough to understand. I didn’t have as many issues as Laura in this one, but the game definitely goes too far towards complexity on a few occasions.

    But ending on a second positive note: Is this the best use of 3D on the hardware? I feel like this might be the best use of 3D on the hardware. The bubble text Objections were obvious 3D fodder, but the character animations, regular text boxes, and investigation rooms all use the effect REALLY well. Everything here is so good it just makes me wish they were more ambitious with their camera zooms and pans to take more advantage.

    • Arrei

      Ace Attorney actually has always had plenty of typos, including the narmtastic “The miracle never happen”.

    • Lynx

      I dunno.

      I feel like FE:A did 3D better in terms of dialogue and certain sequences better.

      However; in terms of effects and cutscenes?
      Yes, yes, it is.

      • Ethan_Twain

        Fire Emblem wasn’t even on my list really – the only other two games that I play with 3D on and only with 3D on are Mario 3D Land and Luigi’s Mansion. Fire Emblem definitely looked cool but I ended up finding it distracting and flipping it off after 10 minutes or so whenever I tried it.

    • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

      I do love the 3D in this game :) The investigations were pure eye candy.

      I will admit that I was really sensitive to the issue of nitpicky contrived timing thanks to finishing Ace Attorney Investigations 2 (which is a great game btw) right before this. In that game the majority of the cases walked a tightrope – if something was minutes off the whole scheme would’ve collapsed and the murderer would’ve failed. Once or twice is suspension of disbelief. More is getting into the realms of ridiculousness. Ace Attorney 5 was actually better about this than AAI2, thankfully.

      • Ethan_Twain

        Color me jealous! Not only that you’ve played Ace Attorney Investigations 2, but also that you’ve played any Ace Attorney at all recently. I would definitely believe that I’m being way too nice to this game just because I’m happy to have the series back – I’m glad to get your more measured perspective.

    • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

      AA2 and 3 had looooaaaaads of typos.

  • http://vanilladice.deviantart.com/ Dice

    I love how “perjury” doesn’t exist in the Phoenix Wright world. ;P

    • VenerableSage

      Or how presenting forged evidence in court only really counts against you if you’re a defense attorney.

    • SBKJAZZ

      They mention it several times, but it never really gets enforced.

  • mirumu

    I just can’t bring myself to play the game with that broken dialog font.The right edge of every character is just chopped off. I really hope Capcom will patch that along with the other localization problems people have been finding.

    • ChiffonCake

      It’s sad to see this comment being downvoted so much.

      • mirumu

        Probably fans thinking I’m being overly negative, but it’s not like I don’t own the game (and all the others). The font used in the Japanese version looks great so it’s a problem with the localisation. Maybe it’s a small thing to many, but I genuinely find it distracting, and I think the fact it passed QA like that tells us a lot about how much effort Capcom is willing to put into this series outside Japan these days. It’s sad to see.

  • Zeik56

    I feel like splitting the cases up with different main characters was probably the best decision this game made. It made every case feel important in one way or another, unlike every other AA that had at least one case that was total filler.

    I was also really happy that they gave Apollo decent screen time. When they announced that they were bringing back Wright I was pretty disappointed, because I figured they would just throw him to the sidelines. But despite not being the focus of the whole game he probably got more real characterization in this game than he did in the entirety of Apollo Justice.

    I’m actually quite impressed at how well they seem to have balanced all three characters. Apollo Justice actually got overshadowed by Wright in his own game, despite only barely being playable in a flashback, but this time they managed to have three characters that all feel like they matter. That’s impressive.

    • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

      I agree that it was fun playing as all three. However, the tradeoff is that there is less time spent with each. This was what I didn’t like because it made the game feel like it had less depth, which makes me sad because Ace Attorney is always a series I’ve felt had a lot of depth.

      I also like playing as Apollo. I was actually the same – a bit worried that they’d completely disregard Apollo Justice and Apollo. He was one of the factors AA5 did right (even if I wanted to slap him silly sometimes).

      • Zeik56

        I can’t say I really agree. You spend less time with them, but I feel like they all get pretty adequate screen time. Perhaps the only one I could see an argument for getting the short end of the stick is Athena, but that’s assuming you see her as a new main character, while I see her more as the new sidekick, and from that perspective she has more going on than Maya or Trucy did. (I honestly really enjoyed how she played an active role in trials, even when she was on the sidelines. Maya and Trucy always seemed so out of place.)

        Like I said, there’s no real filler in this game, so even if it was split between several characters I feel like they used the time they had well. If you look back at something like Trials and Tribulations, which is my personal favorite, you’ve got the first case that’s really important, and then you basically have two filler cases that don’t really matter that much, and then the last two are really important again. The filler cases still had good moments, and did allow the characters a bit more screen time to be fleshed out, but if you cut out those cases from AA3 I think the game wouldn’t suffer that much. On the hand, if you cut out any case from AA5 it would noticeably diminish the quality of the experience.

        • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

          I see what you’re saying. Using three characters is only possible because you already know two of them and don’t have to focus on getting to know them, while you can focus on the new sidekick (I also saw her as a Maya / Trucy, lol) like we have in previous games.

          It wasn’t so much lack of immersion of the character (because we already know them) so much as… How to put this. It had a certain predictability and formula in terms of what happens when that is much more obvious here than in previous games.

          When you combine that with the previous paragraph, the game ends up focusing more on telling its story rather than expanding the world or characters. Whether this is your cup of tea is up to each player, but it isn’t something AA has done in the past (and it isn’t my cup, sadly).

  • Yan Zhao

    Im in the middle of case 4 right now, but I really dont see the problem. The humor is still there. Especially Blackquill, I love that guy. He’s like the biggest troll the prosecution side have ever received. Characters like Solomon Starbuck and Mayor Tenma were hysterical and had me laughing out loud at their animations and antics.

    As far as case predictability, well, case 1 was kind of obvious. Case 2 practically spoiled everything in the intro video, case 3 had me going good though, and its my favorite case so far (didnt finish 4 and 5 yet).

    All in all, its still a phoenix wright game with all the stuff I love about it. In this age of DLC, if they were to keep releasing full DLC cases (which they wont, but would be nice), I’d probably buy them all. The game’s all about the case scenario’s and plot twists after all.

    • Zeik56

      Figuring out the killer isn’t necessarily the point of Ace Attorney imo. There have been plenty of cases where you see the killer up front. It’s all about putting the pieces together.

      • Crystal N

        It definitely has a Columbo-like quality that way. It isn’t the who, it is the how.

  • bloogeyz

    Gee that third image is in no way spoilerous

    • foopy

      Spoiler: That never happens.

      Capcom likes to send out screenshots that look like they’re spoiling something, but don’t actually spoil anything. It’s double secret reverse spoilering.

      • kuma483

        It’s a screenshot from an investigation demo in a different version of the Case 2 crime scene. Apparently they were investigating to see if Phoenix really was eaten by a giant monster bird (Tenma Taro). Obviously he comes out unscathed at the end of the demo.

  • Kavyn

    This game was an insta-buy for me, and it was easily one of the most fun PW experiences I have ever had. The characters were full of life and the animations were beautiful. The cases were fun and the writing was funny despite serious situations. The prosecutor had a unique way of handling his trials and it tied into the overall story. Athena was also a great addition to the team and I hope to see more of her in the future.

    I also think the villains were great, and I’m going to have to disagree with the reviewer about the predictability of the cases – it’s always been that way. You can’t tell me you played through 1-3, 1-5, 3-2, 3-3, 4-2 and didn’t immediately know who the villain was when you saw them (this is ignoring cases where the villain is revealed in the intro).

    [Ambiguous spoilers:] The only villain in DD you could say this applies to is the one for case 3, but that’s mostly due to the few number of characters in the case (and I’m sure anyone new to the series wouldn’t expect it). I would compare this villain to the villain of 1-5 in terms of difficulty (which may also explain why they were so easy to spot). [/end ambiguous spoiler]

    What I think would have been great though was allowing us to select who to play as per trial (maybe giving us two of the three options), where depending on who we chose, we would get to use their special abilities both inside and outside of court to go through testimony. It would have made the game more dynamic, and given us a different experience when replaying a case.

    Just a few clarifications from the review – Phoenix Wright is a playable character in cases 1, 4 and 5. It’s not just a single case, and they make it quite clear that cases 2 and 3 are flashbacks. I don’t see why there’s such an issue with this, as I loved playing as both Apollo and Athena – it made them feel relevant and fully capable of defending their clients as opposed to just being a partner like past partners have been.

    Second, the mood matrix has actually been used quite effectively. It’s not always easy to pinpoint the issue, and even when it is the mood matrix provides I really nice visual of the witness’ testimony. So in that sense I really liked the mood matrix. Also with respect to the perceive ability, there are instances where it is used in court.

  • MrTyrant

    I disagree with this review so much. I enjoyed the characters and the story so much that it deserve better praise.

  • Kumiko Akimoto

    I stopped trusting justice in the first game

  • foopy

    This game is overly hand-holdy. The Ace Attorney games have never exactly been difficult, but they used to be careful about smacking the player in the face with the specific evidence that needed to be presented at the specific time.

    I do enjoy the 3D models and backgrounds, but I really miss the ability to examine anything everywhere. It results in a loss of character dialogue as compared to the other games.

    Furthermore, although their appearance in the game was long ago spoiled for me by Siliconera (thanks for that, by the way), the return of certain characters from the older trilogy of games was done as fan service and not as any real contribution to the story of the game. It’s like they were shoehorned in because people complained about the lack of classic characters in AA4.

    All in all, it’s still a decent game. But it’s not as good as other games in the series. I hope Takumi returns for the sixth if there is one.

    • Zeik56

      I do kind of miss the ability to examine all environments for extra dialogue, but I absolutely don’t miss the pixel hunting of the old games. Having that hand that checks off the things you’ve examined in the environment is probably the best new feature in the game.

      Hasn’t Takumi been gone from the franchise since Trials and Tribulations? That was practically 10 years ago. I don’t think he’s going to have anything to do with this series anymore. I think this game honestly rivals Trials and Tribulations though, so I’m okay with that if they keep this up.

      • foopy

        Takumi directed every previous game in the series except for GS4, which he did help co-write. His absence from the fifth game is really apparent.

        • Zeik56

          I felt it much more in AJ than this game. This game feels much more like a return to form to me. And I didn’t even dislike AJ like some people.

          • foopy

            I liked Apollo Justice. It looked like it was setting up a second series of games like how GS1-3 could be considered its own trilogy. This game moved away from the storyline of AJ in a direction that I wasn’t expecting. Which is OK; I did like the story in Dual Destinies.

            For me, this game is a bigger move away from 1-3 than 4 was, just because of the way the game really blatantly spells everything out for the player. I don’t miss pixel hunting, but I do miss having to put the case together in my head to figure out where to look or go next, or really knowing all of the evidence of a case in order to counter arguments. The reason I mention Takumi specifically is because he seems pretty good at creating those types of stories with the right amount intricacy and ambiguity to make players think about the situation instead of just giving the evidence that the game is suggesting should be given.

            I would like the old style of examination back but with the guided cursor. And less hand holding in the courtroom. Everything else is pretty good.

          • Zeik56

            Apollo Justice had some good ideas in there, but I think it kind of fell apart at the end. That last case was easily the weakest final case in the franchise, and ironically Phoenix Wright was a big reason for that. (Frankly that whole justification for why he lost his badge was just…bad.)

            I can kind of understand why they kept the investigation purely to the crime scene, as I think implementing full 3D environments for every location is asking a bit much, but I do hope the next game at least lets you examine the 2D environments for extra dialogue, even if you don’t necessarily find lots of clues that way.

        • linkenski

          Takumi wrote the script and story in AJ. He wasn’t the guy in charge though and the writer of this game had the role of being a “planner” at the writing team at the time, (whatever that means)

  • Göran Isacson

    Huh. I wonder if the old writer, Shu Takumi, isn’t working on this game. If that is the case I can kinda see where this is coming from, a new creator getting his feet wet with a beloved old franchise. If not, then it’s just strange.

    Over all, it feels from this review like the game may have gotten some less content since greater emphasis may have been put on just getting a product out in the first place. Or maybe the new 3D graphics meant more time had to go there, less time could be spent on adding funny lines here and there. Over all, maybe they want this to just be the “set-up” for a new trilogy, and as such it may feel a bit barebones. Hopefully future sequels can fill the shoes better.

    Though I gotta admit, I do not see the big deal with the trial and error part. If there is a larger instance of trials where trial and error become important parts, that’s bad. But man, I savescummed in the original game like you wouldn’t believe on some trls, it is nothing new to me.

    • Guest

      He hasn’t been with the series for like 10 years.

    • GH56734

      His last Ace Attorney game was Apollo Justice. He wrote a lot about Apollo’s backstory, only for most of his work being thrown out of the window to make place for PostTimeSkip!Phoenix.
      Kind of like how Namco forced Tales of Phantasia staff to nix Dhaos’s story.

      He then made Ghost Trick and Layton VS Ace Attorney, but that’s it.

      • Aoshi00

        I would definitely hope Takumi to be back in 6, it’s a pity he directed Layton x AA instead of the fifth entry (like letting Uematsu do FF11 & 14 music instead of a main FF).. yeah, the AA series has always been about convoluted cases, but the twists here seem a bit forced and contrived..

        I only beat the Jpn ver, d/led the US ver but don’t feel that eager to play again other than seeing how Blackquill’s dialogue is translated.. My main qualm w/ the game is one can’t examine anything anywhere, that’s the main criticism of most Jpn fans as well. One could say it’s more streamlined and less “pixel hunting”, but now the game just feels like a chore since it tells you where to go and what to do next every step of the way, any fun to be had during the exploration had been robbed.. and that should be the time to get more familiar w/ the chars through their quirky comments and observation (Professor Layton is like that too).

        I felt the writing is good but not as good as Takumi’s.. and I was mainly disappointed by the very few areas one could examine other than designated ones. I think Laura’s review is quite fair here.. My favorite are still 1, 3, and Investigations 2.. I was hoping 5 would be on the same level…

        still, people should wait till to play the Orca case to reserve final judgment, it really should be included in the game instead of DLC so everyone could play it at once..

        • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

          Yeah. I believe the lack of examination was one change that bothered me a lot. I kept looking for that Examine button, hoping it would pop up somewhere =(

          I heard the Orca case was really long and really interesting ;D It sounds like a fun reward for playing this game.

          • Aoshi00

            yeah, to me AA is about half courtroom and half exploration, examining and gathering clues was supposed to be a rewarding adventure, here they tell you to examine this area to find x or y, too restricted and too many hints, so rather than exploring, you’re just doing what needs to be done to move forward instead of exploring at your leisure.. double-edged sword like you said.

            Orca case was quite long and again convoluted :), and there’s some more humorous moments w/ Blackquill too and a couple of fun characters :) I don’t mind paying extra to play it, but I think it would’ve been better to be in the main game so everyone could experience it in one go, instead of waiting.. frankly they just cut it out being Capcom lol..

          • Zeik56

            Unless I’m wrong, that Orca case is pretty blatantly a filler case, is it not? Plus the game already has 5 cases. That seems like a clear bonus case to me.

            And while it’s not like I love paying extra money, I do actually really like the idea of there being another case to play later that doesn’t require me to wait until a sequel. If a game like AA is going to have DLC that’s exactly what I would want it to be.

          • Aoshi00

            It’s a self contained case, but it could easily have been any case in the middle, like case 2 or 3. There are 5 cases, but 4 & 5 are kinda like 1 big case that got separated into 2 halves? The thing is it has some nice characters and funny moments that I don’t think people should miss.. I think that’s one reason Laura feels like there weren’t as many interesting characters.. cause the ones in this one are quirky and interesting. in the main 5 cases, it feels like a lot of the same characters keep being reused..

            I actually finished this extra case first before moving to 4 and 5 because I wanted to go out in a bang w/ the real ending.. but don’t expect too much bridging btwn AJ & DD because it’s really just another case.. I guess the Orca case is more fun than case 2 or 3.. and my feeling toward this is after I’ve played 6 cases.. w/o the Orca one, my score might be lower.

          • Zeik56

            I guess I could see that as an argument for the downside of not having any filler cases, as those are usually the most wacky by far. But I also feel like this game flows a little better by not having that jammed in the middle.

            Having that kind self-contained wacky case be a separate entity that I can get to whenever I feel like is kind of cool. I have a feeling I would appreciate it more, because it wouldn’t be immediately be followed up by an ending case that is almost always far surpasses it.

          • GH56734

            What about the quiz Case? It strikes me as odd that they would dedicate a whole “case” for this.
            Now I’m afraid about this game :(. My most liked moments from the Ace Attorney series are without a doubt those during the Examination phases, with their whacky dialogue (especially Franziska during her “Maya” moments of stupidity in 3-5);

          • Zeik56

            The quizzes aren’t a case, they’re just a little trivia game that doesn’t really have anything to do with the plot. Frankly I’m kind of baffled why it even exists, but whatever, I’m pretty sure we’re not even getting it.

          • Aoshi00

            yeah, the quizzes are merely Layton-like puzzles, have barely anything to do w/ the story, so understandable they didn’t localize those.. I got the intro quiz w/ 5 questions for free but didn’t buy the rest except the real Orca case.. but in Jpn you get Phoenix’s college costume w/ the last set of quizzes and I heard they made a reference of Gumshoe and Old Bag somewhere, that’s about it. I think we would get that costume later as DLC?

            I know.. many fans in Jpn didn’t like this game doing away w/ thorough Investigation either, it was a staple for AA1-4.. it’s a bit ironic because the Edgeworth games were all about investigating, while 5 had eliminated a lot of it.. I like a lot about this game, but was put off by limited exploration.. that investigation part didn’t feel fun and more of a chore that you just need to finish.. sure it goes by faster but where’s the fun in that… I mean AA games were never overly difficult, but this one seems like the player does not need to think at all (here every time a psyche lock appears, you already have all the evidence to break it at that point, instead of gathering evidence)..

    • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

      Takumi isn’t working on this game. He worked on Layton x AA instead. On the other hand, the current writer has worked on this series before. I think he worked on AJ, AAI, and AAI2.

      I personally feel like this is the “Justice for All” of the second trilogy, with AJ being the first game. It’s setting up a lot of things that will probably be used in the next game to solve a big question posed in the first.

      • oorum

        If that were the case, I’d be super hyped (ie. to see the third and final installation of this ‘series.’)
        I don’t recall how I felt about Apollo in AJ when I first played it now (only that I felt like I missed Phoenix and Maya too much to be unbiased) but in Dual Destinies I felt I definitely connected to Apollo a lot more (in comparison to previously.) In fact, I might say he was my favourite character (out of the three?)

        Actually, on a side note, I liked the characters in DD, but I definitely feel ambivalent to what I also feel to be lacking in the 9gag-ish humour department. That being said, I rather like rooting for/playing as a cooler protagonist that didn’t seem to always be bullied by everyone in court… as much.
        … Or was it because the cases seem a little easier this time around? (I can’t tell, since obviously I’ve grown a bit older since the last games and maybe that helped with me ‘seeing’ the logic– or my logic actually ‘works’ with the game better.)

  • http://people.ign.com/princerevolver Surgeon Of Death

    I was on the Eshop last night and I forgot that this game already came out.. too bad I don’t get paid until next week…

  • Jonathan Tse

    (i’m on the first part of chapter 4)

    i agree about examining. i was surprised about no penalty for Mood Matrix. save/reload is a staple tactic in the PW series though. you could always save mid-trial. i don’t particularly feel the way you do about character development and humor though, i’m enjoying all of the characters.

    the “Logic” sequence at the end of the chapter is kinda cool. though i much prefer Edgeworth’s version.

    about the defendant that was accused twice, i suppose i agree. there’s no indication or awareness of that fact on the Judge’s part. i’m sure it’s because the writers didn’t want to spoiler alert the player that early on. however, i find it weird that the lawyer who defends the defendant twice is more nervous the second time around.

    the backlog was malfunctioning during chapter 3 for me as well.

    i think Trucy’s model seems weird. it might be that her outfit was given a shimmer to add to her magician motif, but it looks a bit bright to me.

    i sort of dislike the new animation art. doesn’t feel as smooth as the 3d models, which were designed to look like the older sprite art. but whatever, it’s not super important. 3d models look fantastic.

    i really like the music, especially Athena’s objection theme (i avoided pretty much any trailers for the game before i started playing).

    • Zeik56

      I think the penalty system is kind of inherently flawed. I understand why they want some kind of consequence for mistakes, but getting a gameover and having to redo everything you just did (with zero change in how it plays out) is neither fun nor feels like a reasonable punishment, because ultimately all you do is speed back through the dialogue to get back where you were and then try something else.

      I only got one gameover so far while playing this, and it seemed to just plop me back where I made my mistake when I chose to retry. While that kind of negates any real consequence, I also think it doesn’t hurt the game in the least.

      • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

        They’re trying to find a balance between having the old penalty system and making the game more streamlined / easier to restart. In the end they negated some of the tension that comes with playing the game when it comes to trying not to lose. I’ll admit – half the reason I really didn’t want to lose in the past was because I didn’t want to play so much over again, haha.

        I suppose the only way to change this would’ve been to come up with another system altogether. But yes, this was a minor point in the grand scheme of things.

        • s07195

          So I’m guessing you didn’t save at every other testimony like I did in all 5 localized games? (Yeah, I know I’m cheap. :P)

          • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

            Oh god, I would’ve driven myself mad. Isn’t it in the other games, whenever you saved you had to start over from the title screen because it was originally intended as a Quick Save option? XD

          • s07195

            True, but other than that extra step, then reloading it, it’s the same. (It works more like a save than a quicksave, since you don’t lose the save after loading once.) AA5 actually makes it easier for us players using the almighty Save/Load trick. XD

          • Jonathan Tse

            penalties are the same as in previous games, the only thing that’s changed is B-skip is available from the start. one thing that’s pushed to the side specifically because of this is the fact that the developers give you A-skip if you’ve read the line before, regardless of where your save file started from.

            in older games iirc, you can’t save specifically on the line when Judge/prosecutor asks you to choose something, but you can just save before/after. true story, whenever i hear the Tension theme, i instinctively save.

            as for the penalty system, they’ve always had the interests of both fans and newcomers in mind. being able to save anywhere improves the experience for a new player, but lessens the difficulty even more for veterans.

            the meter serves as an indication of chances or “respect” in the courtroom, and once it runs out, it’s over. which makes sense, because if a lawyer was spouting random theories, there’s no way they would be seen as qualified to defend or argue a case. the case also can’t proceed unless the player/lawyer gets it right, so the meter fulfills a gatekeeper role too.

            tl;dr: penalty system isn’t perfect, but it makes enough sense in-game, though we as players think little of it.

    • MrTyrant

      The music is amazing, one of my favourites of the whole series. The new “pressing – persuit” and “telling the truth” were great tracks. The arrange of Pheonix and Apollo’s objection were also good.

  • http://keiserone.tumblr.com/ KeiserOne

    A very truthful review. I noticed this game was over the top with dramatic moments and characters posing and yelling OBJECTION! or SILENCE! randomly; just kills off iconic moments and sentences in favor of cheap comic relief. Some parts of cases (DNA-testing for case 2) could have been omitted as they add nothing to the investigation; on the contrary they crumble the whole case down just because writers wanted a last minute shock. I was so hyped for this game and wanted it to be the best in the series just so more people get into it and revive the faith in it. I will play it till the end but it ranks among the worst in the series

    • Zeik56

      …What? You’ve played the other games, right? The whole constantly posing and yelling Objection is kind of a staple of the series. If you really want to boil it down, that IS the Ace Attorney series.

      • http://keiserone.tumblr.com/ KeiserOne

        I said they were overused here.

        • Zeik56

          I don’t see how they are any more overused than any other AA game. It happens practically all the time in every trial of every AA game. Do you not remember how often you’d have a whole sequence of back and forth objections between Wright and Edgeworth? Like I said, that IS Ace Attorney.

        • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

          I’m sorry, I have to agree with Zeik here. The AA series have had quite a few Objection tennis matches in the past. It being used here was basically a throwback to old times and almost a staple of the series at this time.

          What did kill dramatic moments for me was their … penchant for overdramatizing some things (specifically in case 3).

    • linkenski

      I agree with most of what you’re saying and that the interjections were used too much for cheap comic relief (out of court)
      but it was in no way one of the worst games. It’s only at the bottom of my top 4 I admit, (sorry AJ, you had great writing but you were too tedious) but the AAI games take the prize here. This was pretty good all around but incredibly dissapointing due to lack of good characterization and consistently good humor.

  • http://gamgambit.tumblr.com/ Thespian Treasure Hunter ♢

    Haven’t tried the game yet but Im glad to know Phoenix retains his laidback attitude and display experience like AJ, I was getting scared he would once again become a rookie since he recovered his cheery spirit so all in all Im glad he’s got a bit of both.

    • neocatzon

      It’s Phoenix Wright alright, what kills him only make him stronger.

  • darkbartz

    Having just finished the game, I would say that it sticks to the essence of Ace Attorney very well. While the utter lack of casual examination is gone is a major disappoint and is probably why the game feels so “humorless”.

    One thing I do really enjoy though, is the clear different in lawyering “style” each protagonist has. While Phoenix is still similar, with the bluff first, fill in the puzzle later, Apollo is very evidence-based, forming his arguments with what he has and already knows. Athena’s is focused on her newbie qualities, being kind of like the intermediate between the two of them, resorting to (pretty weak) bluffing when she gets cornered.

    • linkenski

      The game is definitely not “humorless” but the humor is dumbed down in favor of more intertextuality and more self-referential meta-humor like “I’m fine” and “Phoenix wright and his famous bluffing”

      The true problem is as stated in this review, that too often the writer forgot to characterize the dialogue and the characters ended up being his “mouthpiece”.

      I hope in the future he focuses more on making good stories rather than creating elaborate and convoluted crimes.

  • http://amc9988.deviantart.com/ amc99

    The game is not bad but definitely not as good as phoenix trilogy, but at least the case is not as bad as the spin off games (where I think the rival detective is so stupid for making accusation based on something like “he found the body, so he’s a killer!”). And I agree about the lack of side character in this game make it more easy to guess who the killer is. There is less WTH moment lol

    But I think out of all Ace attorney games, the first game is the best… you can present the character profile to others and see their comment about that person, you can investigate each evidence in 3d mode, and that last case… is really awesome too.

    • s07195

      The character profile thing was from the second game, iirc.

    • MrTyrant

      My honest opinion, not all about the trilogy is great. I didn’t really liked much the second one for example (although the last case was amazing) and now everyone seems to bash this new entry a lot. It’s a pity because I want it to sell.

      I agree that the investigation part was lacking and thus the game itself could have been longer but still this game have a great story, great characters and a great potential for the future of the series.

      • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

        My opinion of the trilogy is that Takumi had a story to tell that spanned the three games, but to flesh it out into three games, more cases were added. This is why some cases seem more important / great than others. I think JFA just ended up being that middle transition phase where new things were introduced but not used until T&T, which was why it ended up weaker. And I think that DD is actually the same way, which could open up a lot for a future entry.

        Also, I’m pretty sure most people love the game. I like the game, too, but I would be lying if I gave it a 10/10.

        • MrTyrant

          But the review talk about a looooot of flaws that good points, make you really think that this a s*** game when it isn’t.

  • Hound

    I’m just waiting to see if Capcom announces the game as a “failure.”

    • foopy

      The thing I’m worried about is the game being a financial success, but Capcom interpreting that news to mean that everybody wants downloadable games instead of retail.

      • Zeik56

        I’d vastly prefer that to not getting any games ever again, but yeah, hopefully they don’t misinterpret the sales in any way that would make things worse for the franchise.

        But really, I just want to be able to keep playing these games. At the end of the day that’s all I truly care about.

  • ReidHershel

    Playing the game, it’s good, but it feels lacking.

    The new characters don’t get developed well due to limited options and the old characters are shoehorned for fan-service. The game itself also feels short, most cases took me 4 to 5 hrs to complete in older games and it feels watered down to 2 to 3 hrs.

    This game is a solid 8 and I’m glad people bought it, hopefully the next one makes development a bit better and it gets brought over.

    • MrTyrant

      Thinking about having multiple main characters I think that was clever and add a lot of the game narrative itself. Would love to play the prosecution part as well but maybe thats just for a “Miles investigation” spin-off.

      But they should extend the cases for at least one hour and add more chapters so we have more development. Never missing the clever writing and humorish part of it.

  • Sperium3000

    Wow. I don’t know if you already had low expectations for the game or maybe your expectations were too high or something, because our opinions couldn’t be more divergent. I love this game to pieces. The last case in particular I am ready to claim that is the best case in the entire series. If there’s one thing I felt it didn’t quite measure up to the others is in the soundtrack. It has plenty of great tracks, but not as many memorable tunes and character themes as the other games in the series.

  • ShadowDivz

    Wait, Apollo Justice is actual canon to the series? I thought it was a spin off like Edgeworth’s game.

    DAMN IT! Now i have to hunt it down.(recently got into phoenix wright)

    • MrTyrant

      How would be an spin-off? it’s the fourth game of the series.

    • Hours

      The Edgeworth games are also canon FYI.

      The only non-canon game is the obvious PW vs. Prof. Layton.

      • ShadowDivz

        Oh.
        Like i said, i recently got into the series so i didn’t know.

      • linkenski

        Even PLvPWAA is canon. Besides I regard the Edgeworth games to be non-canon because 1) they’re spinoffs and 2) because the new writer was a rookie at the time and was too much in awe of Takumi’s work to make the games feel more than half-baked.

  • Anon-non

    “In addition, there is less exploration to be done. In previous games, you had the ability to examine your surroundings outside of Investigation Mode and you could read your main characters comment on their surroundings.”

    Is this true? I really like the banter on meaningless things. “Stepladder?” Also, is it true that there’s not much exploration anymore? As confusing as it were, I really enjoyed going from location to location pinpointing random things and talking to random side characters. Maybe Shu Takumi should come back. :(

    • http://keiserone.tumblr.com/ KeiserOne

      There are some locations you can examine. But it’s been so streamlined that once you examine all the required spots in a certain place, you’re taken directly to the next scene. So, for example, if you miss the spot of the ladder/stepladder joke you can’t catch it again.

  • Jibun Rest@rt

    Is no one going to talk about how Trucy was reduced to a near meaningless side role? She only gets to investigate once and hardly has ANY lines. It’s a real shame, because I felt like Apollo and Trucy had a really strong dynamic that was different than Phoenix and Maya.

  • JohnNiles

    “Despite his familiar animations and his now-legendary talent at bluffing, he retains some of the laidback, blasé aura to him from his hobo phase.”

    That hobo bit was one of the most demoralizing and traumatic moments in gaming I’ve ever experienced. I can feel my excitement ebbing away even now…

    • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

      Haha, I didn’t mean that he acts exactly like he did in AJ. He’s much more lively now and acts more like a mentor … but with a bit of the troll still inside him. I actually found it interesting to be playing as Phoenix when he’s thinking those trollish thoughts rather than being on the receiving end (poor Apollo).

  • Scissors

    I consider the first 4 games amongst my favorite of all time, and this isn’t quite up there. The character models are gorgeous, and everything seems refined, but this is Shu Takumi’s series and it’s just not the same without him being the lead writer. I hope for AA6 that the series is given back to the creator, for now we still have PW VS PL which is his project.

    • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

      I think Shu left of his own accord, I vaguely remember him saying he wanted to pass the baton on after AA4.

    • linkenski

      And I bet PLvPWAA is gonna be amazing. Gameplay wise this game probably has an edge, but Shu Takumi is probably the best japanese writer I know of. I know his story-coherence is often flawed but he is an expert in comedic writing and characterization, and Ghost Trick for example was PERFECT in story IMO.

      • Scissors

        Love Ghost Trick, super excited for Ace Attorney vs Professor big fan of both those series, especially since Shu Takumi is involved in it.

  • 07thCrow

    Unfortunately, these are my thoughts exactly. I was surprisingly disappointed with AA5 as well; and I was really looking forward to this game (bought it as soon as I got the announcement). I really liked the concept of the “dark age of the law”, but everything just felt sort of… rushed?

    Even the characters; they were interesting, but there didn’t seem to be enough time to watch them develop or even get to know them. I barely felt anything for them save for an eye roll when “oh, no, something went wrong… again”. Especially in cases 4 & 5, where I know I was probably supposed to feel sympathy (maybe even have a tear jerker moment) but I felt bored.

    Plus, the game felt a little too easy, like I was having my hand held the entire time (I even yelled at my poor 3DS for it…). I loved the challenge to the previous AA games where I really had to think about my actions every step of the way. Some cases even seemed like re-hashes to those in past AA games, and I was surprised that the full game was nothing at all like the demos and trailers implied; and I don’t mean that in a good way.

    I’m actually glad I used the $30 I got from SMTIV and Fire Emblem for this, otherwise I wouldn’t think AA5 worth it (I’m already wishing I used it on DLC instead). And this is coming from a long-time fan of the series. :(

  • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

    Good review. I too was disappointed in the distinct lack of flavor text and the inability to investigate any object in any environment. Also was sad to see half of the game is devoted to Apollo. But hey, I got it for free, and I’m enjoying it anyway.

    By the way, the folks over at Kotaku say the back-log bug is resolved by saving and reloading your game. Did you try that?

  • ZetaSiren

    I feel cheated because this game is riddled with spelling and grammar errors and it seems like Capcom just doesn’t care anymore like they did in the old days. I still love the game, but my hate for Capcom is growing even more.

  • linkenski

    Wow, try giving these critisisms around on boards and people would freak out saying you’re wrong and have nostalgia glasses. This review is spot on with everything Dual Destinies does right and wrong, but some people just won’t accept the game has these glaring flaws that ultimately makes it below the top-3, writing-wise.

  • linkenski

    As soon as I heard Dual Destinies was handled by the new team my anticipation decreased by a whole lot. AAI is terrible. The writing was pretentious, forced and too much in awe of Takumi’s work and it just seemed like a pale imitation or even “fan-fic” if you will.

    This game is a good deal better but it’s still not as good as a true Takumi game and unfortunately it sticks too much to his tropes to feel truly memorable, plot-wise. The characters seem pretty original though but they’re arguably less funny in a lot of cases.

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