October 31, 2008

REVIEW: Apollo Justice Ace Attorney

Who would've guessed that Phoenix Wright would have his attorney's badge revoked, eh?

Literally and figuratively in this game is he relegated into the supporting actor position (to a fault) and personally, I don't see any reason to actually change the protagonist. Perhaps it's Capcom's way of saying, "This is not a port; it was made from the ground up specifically for the DS." by introducing Apollo Justice into the Ace Attorney franchise. And although he has his qualities, Phoenix Wright, IMO, still comes out as a more endearing, more complete character.

That also applies to the other characters the game introduces. If you set them side by side with the existing characters in the Phoenix Wright universe, yeah, they (the existing ones) come off as better structured.

But enough about the characters, how about the much ballyhooed new gameplay mechanics first introduced in the (pretty hard) last case of the original game? To be honest, they're still cool, but they just aren't employed extensively, meaning that the game kind of still reeks of microwave-heated remains of Trials and Tribulations- its predecessor- in terms of gameplay. And this also means that the bad eggs about Trials and Tribulations' gameplay mechanics- or the entire line of Phoenix Wright games for the matter- still remain.

You can save anywhere, thus making the Penalty system useless. The game still follows a linear path, meaning that you really have to do something before trigerring the action required to make the story progress, making me once again suffer some situations where I feel stuck. So word to the newbies: if you're stuck, go to the most unlikely, most unrelated location or present the most unlikely piece of evidence when stuck in court.

Don't understand? Well the game basically has two stages: the investigation and the court stages. You have several options when in the investigation stage which are to Talk to a person, Present evidence to a person so he or she can talk about it, Examine the whole crime scene and Move to another location if you haven't anything to do in a specific place anymore. In court, you will primarily cross-examine witnesses, and with their testimonies, you can Press to squeeze more information out of that statement or Present evidence that contradicts with the statement made.

It's simple for most anyone to jump into the game because of its huge level of accessibility, but it's not exactly for anyone. If you've got like, a short attention span, chances are you'll hate the text-based gameplay. You'll seriously be doing a whole lot of reading here whether you like it or not.

This leads me to the quality of the writing which is still top-notch. Why bother reading a text-based game with a bad script right? Once again, the audio-visual elements all colaborate to give each moment some much-needed personality, the drawing and the animation are all superb as well as the sound effects.

For fans of the series, the facelift is noticeable, with everything acquiring more detail and quality. Still, the game recycles a few of the art in the latter part so the new drawings stand out a bit.

But overall, it's just same old same old with a twisted Parent-Trap-but-children surprise. You'll get me when you get to finish the last case of this game which made my jaw drop 3 times.

RATING: 7.5/10

Posted with LifeCast

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