Saturday, 19 February 2011

Ace Attorney Investigations - Back to the future, case very much open

This case was a marked improvement on the previous three despite once again being confined in scope to one area. Less smoke and mirrors and more straight-up investigation - even a courtroom battle although it seemed to end a little abruptly for me. Intriguing new characters were introduced and it sets up nicely for the final case, which has been epic in every game so I'm looking forward to it - my faith in the project has been restored! The references were toned down, even with the return to the courtroom and the lore and feel of a Miles Edgeworth investigation were allowed to flourish in their own right. I'll have to reserve final judgment on the story until the final case is solved though. Although interesting, it's somewhat confusing and likely not as emotional as any in the Phoenix Wright trilogy.

"Turnabout Reminiscence" spoilers after the jump.

With the case being set 7 years in the past, we were all set for Edgeworth's prosecutorial debut but that's interrupted by the murder of both the prosecutor he was replacing and the defendant, so he ends up having to wait another few months until 3-4 Turnabout Beginnings to face Mia where he would have lost if not for the incident. The idea as presented at the end of the last installment was that Gumshoe and Edgeworth had both forgotten meeting Kay before, which following this is hard to swallow. Some might point towards Phoenix not recognizing Marvin Grossberg despite hiring him as his lawyer in the previous games, but that storyline was separated by two games when the writers had not fleshed out all the back story. The encounter with Kay and the murder of her father was a major incident in both the lives of these men, particularly Gumshoe. This is nitpicking though, so we'll let it rest. Lang makes a cameo but it's only for a few seconds so it's understandable how Edgeworth would have forgotten that.There's also a reference to Phoenix getting clobbered with a fire extinguisher in 2-1 The Lost Turnabout and some subtle references to Edgeworth's stint as defendant in 1-4 Turnabout Goodbyes.


Manfred von Karma
Edgeworth's mentor who I never realized walked with a cane (much like House). This case is set before his villainy is revealed but he is no less menacing even as Edgeworth reveres and imitates him.

Franziska von Karma
This being the thirteen-year-old loli version, her hair is longer and she carries a riding crop instead of a whip, but her personality is essentially the same. Thirteen is the age she became a prosecutor in Germany, so it's very possible that she did indeed beat Edgeworth to the bench with his debut delayed.

Dick Gumshoe
Gumshoe is only a week into his promotion to Detective and skint, but at least his coat is still clean! He's fingered as the killer in this case, but Edgeworth's hard work clears him and this is where the loyalty is borne from. It was cool to see that develop!

Byrne Faraday
Kay's father, a prosecutor and the true Yatagarasu? I'm not sure how the last part works yet. He's murdered shortly after the beginning of the case supposedly for knowing the true nature of the murderer. I love the promises he has Kay make - to immediately introduce him to any boyfriends she has and to remember that he will always love her more than any boyfriend. I think I'll steal those rules for my own future daughter.

Mack Rell
A hired thug who is killed at the same time as Byrne. The defendant in the initial trial, he's drawn dumb and is indeed not too smart.

Deid Mann
Deid Mann?? Come on, I know the names are supposed to be punny but that's just silly. I've never heard of anyone called Deid before. He's killed by Mack Rell before the start of the case and probably was interfering with the smuggling ring.

Is the Yatagarasu a force for good or evil? Their supposed intervention derailed the original KG-8 trial.

Tyrell Badd
As the name suggests, this guy is a badass, apart from the sucking on a lollipop thing (which some might argue makes him more of a badass) Hard-boiled and taciturn, it's difficult to discern his true character but it seems he is deeply affected by the murder of his prosecutor counterpart Faraday and although adversarial towards Edgeworth at first, comes through at the end. He kind of looks like he should be in Trigun with that bullet riddled coat. Gumshoe seems to idolize him.

Calisto Yew
Bearing the most gigantic forehead ever to appear behind the defense bench in the history of the series, even bigger than Apollo or Pearls, she's essentially Moe with freckles what with all the doubling over in laughter. Except that Moe was trying to be funny and didn't realize how annoying he was being, whereas Calisto knows full well. She's the big bad but she seems to cave in rather easily in my opinion at the end of the investigation before making her escape. I have a feeling she'd look familiar without make-up. Is Calisto even her real name? It's all very strange...

Kay Faraday
The ten-year-old version is as friendly and feisty as her older self. Edgeworth feels empathy with her, what with his own father having been killed in the same courthouse. She is remarkably strong and in the present day reveals that Byrne was the real Yatagarasu. What does it all mean? I'm confused!

Manny Coachen
The suspect in the original KG-8 case who Faraday and Badd failed to convict. Not much is known about him but he's probably a very bad man.

The Judge
Poor Udgey, his tendency to jump to conclusions is on full display with his accusations that lead to Gumshoe being indicted as the killer. Edgeworth gets the better of him, the first of many occasions.

If the final case is as good as I expect, this game will vault itself above Apollo Justice and Justice For All in the pantheon but I don't think it's going to outdo Ace Attorney or Trial & Tribulations. I had a good time with this one, it had more of an old-school feel while sticking within the confines of its own story. With Edgeworth dueling Calisto, we even had a few "OBJECTION!"s thrown around although Calisto's OBJECTION! voice is a bit flat.

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