|Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (DS)|
|Publisher: Capcom||Developer: Capcom|
|Genre: Adventure||Release Date: 02/19/2008|
|ESRB: Teen|| More Info on this Game
By Sterling McGarvey |
Feb. 25, 2008
Our new horn-haired hero's debut in the Ace Attorney franchise passes the bar with flying colors.
|New touch-screen features and video enriches the experience; great storyline.||In some ways, feels too much like the other games, but with a new cast.|
The Ace Attorney games have top-notch storytelling, and AJ:AA is no exception. It also begins a new direction for the series' narrative. If you're a diehard fan, there's plenty of fan service in store here, from the now-perennial first case against the Glass Joe of prosecutors, Winston Payne, to your first case, which involves getting ex-Ace-Attorney-turned-poker-hustler Phoenix Wright off a murder rap. Trust us, it's not a spoiler. As you attempt to unravel the mystery of how Phoenix came to stop practicing law, it's easy to get sucked into the storyline.
The familiar core gameplay, which feels like a one-man "Law & Order," is intact here. Ace Attorney cases are broken up into two sections: investigation and trials. As you play a detective of sorts, you can talk to witnesses, collect evidence, and gather information to prove that your client is innocent. Eventually you'll have to trudge all of that information into a courtroom to present to a perpetually bumbling judge. You'll also have to fight a prosecutor who wouldn't make it past a real-life court's metal detectors. Through the text-based adventure, you'll have to slog through lying witnesses, vicious prosecutors, and the idiocy of the judge to get your client off the hook. The first rule for suspending disbelief? Your client is always innocent.
The big twist to Apollo Justice is the implementation of touch controls. You've always been able to use the touch screen for different functions in the previous games, but the Phoenix Wright trilogy was a series of Game Boy Advance ports, so there's not much DS-specific gameplay. The shining exception came in the fifth case of the original Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, which introduced forensic mini-games into the mix. Those touch-screen elements, from fingerprint dusting to closely examining your evidence, are now fully implemented into AJ:AA. It's great to have all of these mechanics at your disposal at all times, and it vastly improves the experience.
The Magatama, which Phoenix used for the Psyche-Lock mini-games, has been jettisoned in favor of a bracelet that gives Apollo the ability to detect when someone is lying on the witness stand. He can activate it on certain cues, and as the action slows down, you can look for nervous ticks and behaviors and call those people out on their fibs. The controls wouldn't have been possible on the GBA, and it's a lot more fun than the Psyche-Lock games. In addition, there's a great crime reenactment video sequence that turns forensic diagrams into animated sequences. The biggest problem is that this sequence is all too brief.
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