Video Game Reviews

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney

Nintendo DS

Summary:

The fourth in the series of the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series (which is also the first in the series not to be ported from the GBA games which were only released in Japan), contains four interactive story-driven cases where you play the role of a young attorney named Apollo Justice who has to defend people who have been accused of crimes they didn’t commit in order to ensure that the real criminals are proven guilty and justice is served.

The series is heavily focussed on its story and develops further as the cases progress, often with many twists along the way and unexplainable issues (at first) to be investigated to keep you immersed in the story throughout.

In each case your aim is to prove your defendant ‘Not Guilty’ in court which can be done by finding contradictions in the prosecution’s witness testimonies and by presenting evidence at the right time to prove your point… however making incorrect accusations or objections will result in you being penalised, and if you make too many mistakes your case will be thrown out of court and your defendant found guilty.

A new feature in the series is where Apollo has to also analyse the witnesses’ habits to determine if they’re bluffing or hiding something during one of their testimonies, and then present relevant evidence to prove his point and to have them tell the truth, which more often than not ends up being critical to the success of your case. (For those of you who have played the older games in the series this has ultimately replaced the Psyche Locks and works in a similar fashion)

However, before you get into court you will need to first do some investigation and build up your case by investigating the crime scene, exploring for clues and evidence, talking to witnesses, and at some stages using the DS stylus and microphone perform simple scientific tests such as fingerprint testing and evidence examinations in order to find vital clues.

Pros:

- The stories for each case are detailed and flow smoothly, with most things clicking together as each story progresses as well as the overall story behind the cases, meaning any frustration from plot holes and such is minimal

- The characters are varied and vibrant, with clear personality traits and actions, which along with their pun-like names adds to the general enjoyment of the stories greatly

- Being able to shout dramatically into the microphone phrases such as “OBJECTION!”,“HOLD IT” and such during the court stages is still fun to do, although you might get some funny looks if you do it while travelling on the bus or train… (Don’t worry there’s an option to use the buttons to do this instead if you’re shy...)

- The music suits the game very well and provides the right atmosphere for each scene, going from sad slow tunes for the more emotional or expressive scenes all the way to fast pumping music during those moments of near victory and such

- While the first three cases are relatively short compared to other cases in the Phoenix Wright series; the last case is considerably longer to balance things out a little

- The overall game is refreshing as a concept; also being able to save and continue at any point makes things a lot more practical given the length of the cases

Cons:

- The investigation stages can be tedious, especially if at any point you lose track of what you need to do next, where you would then have to check every area for new evidence lying around, talking to every witness again, presenting each one of them with every piece of evidence you have in your record in the hope that this will trigger an event in order for the story to start progressing again

- The court stages can also have similar issues; however these are more frustrating when they occur as you can only try things out a few times before you will lose the case from the penalties incurred, which can be especially frustrating when you think you’ve worked out what you need to do but the game specifically requires you to do something about it at a later stage in the case

- If you’ve played the previous three games in the series, you will probably be able to work out most of what you need to do before you get to actually doing it, making the game feel a lot easier than previous games in the series. As a good example of this while playing the game I only had to check twice how to complete a certain action to progress on GameFAQs, mainly due to the critique points I addressed above

- The penalties in court for making a mistake are fairly light compared to previous games, especially in the later cases where things should have been made harder in order to pressure you more into making the right decisions first time around

- Fans of the series might be a little disappointed that the main character you play as isn’t Phoenix Wright this time around

- Once you’ve beaten the game, unless you’re *really* into the storyline you will never play it again. This is because as with the other games in the series there are no changes to the cases once you beat them (as it’s a fixed story), the only thing that happens is that you can skip through the text more quickly this time around to save time on details that you already know from the last time you went through the case…

Similar Games:

- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney [Nintendo DS]

- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All [Nintendo DS]

- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations [Nintendo DS]

- Hotel Dusk: Room 215 [Nintendo DS]

Overall:

Generally the game itself is just as accessible to new gamers as it is to existing fans of the series; while the storyline of the first three games plays a part, anyone who hasn’t followed the series shouldn’t be too perturbed by past references and such from those games as the storyline for Apollo Justice in itself is a whole new chapter...

However for those of you who have played all three games previously you may feel that things are getting a little stale now given the game structure and mechanics haven’t been altered that much as the series has progressed… considering the possibility that the series will continue further you’d have to hope Capcom have something more up their sleeves next time to keep the series fresh and avoid the same scenario such as we’ve seen with the Megaman series…

In short, a good game that you will enjoy immensely, but once you’ve finished it feel free to pass it onto someone else to avoid it gathering dust in your cupboard…

Final Score: 7/10

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________


BACK