Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Ace Attorney Investigations - initial impressions

Having finished my replaying of the original Phoenix Wright trilogy for Nintendo DS over the weekend, I turned my attention over to the latest game in the series, Ace Attorney Investigations starring the crimson-clad prince (as Bikini describes him) Miles Edgeworth. I've only played through the first case so far ("Turnabout Visitor") but all signs are leading to fun.

At first I was thrown off by the gameplay - familiar, yet somehow very different. It seems as though there are no courtroom scenes in this game which sadly means no Judge and no slamming of hands on desks. The Testimony and Cross-Examination sections have been renamed "Argument" and "Rebuttal" and have been smooshed together with the Investigation scenes so, unlike previous Ace Attorney games, it appears there will no clear division between chapters. That way there's a lot more to think about (or get confused by) and the path through the game could be less logical, more intuitive. Well, that remains to be seen and is probably untrue but it allows me to make a joke about that being ironic considering the new Logic system, which together with Deduction replaces the Psyche-locks of the Phoenix Wright era. By combining relevant notes like an alchemist, new trains of thought are opened, and by combining compiled evidence with investigation scenes, breakthroughs are made at which point Edgeworth will shout "EUREKA!"

"Turnabout Visitor" spoilers after the jump.

The first case of the game, entitled "Turnabout Visitor" appears to be set shortly after the conclusion of Trials and Tribulations. Ace Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth has returned from a month overseas to discover a murder in his office. Welcome home, pal! The killer has already been revealed in the opening scene, so it's no surprise when he later shows up but a lot of work still has to be done to finally nail him down.


Miles Edgeworth
The eponymous character of the game, Edgeworth is always cool and collected. Having the chance to play as him in the final case of Trial and Tribulations got me excited about playing this game, but it is sad to leave Phoenix Wright behind. Wright was a great leading man with a very firm personality yet also with the flexibility to play any role. Edgeworth is far stiffer and I imagine chances to break away from the role of straight man will be few and far between. Yes, fangirls, I used that phrase for a reason.

Detective Dick Gumshoe
Still the same lovable lug! With the advent of... well I suppose they're still 2d graphics, but you can see the whole body now... With the advent of seeing his whole body moving about, it's a lot easier to understand how he's able to consistently terrify the various mafia and yakuza members that are bullying Wright & co. It's also impressive he's able to maintain such a muscular physique considering his diet seems to consist solely of instant noodles.

Buddy Faith
The victim in this case, a detective whose role in life seems not dissimilar to Gumshoe's. Shot in the abdomen by his Prosecutor counterpart.

Jacques Portman
I didn't get it at first, but his name means Jock Sportsman. I know, I know explaining the joke and all. I'm not sure why but he really annoyed me. Perhaps because he killed someone who is supposed to be his best buddy? Or maybe because he looks like the bastard love child of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, the real life versions of Engarde and Corrida.

Maggey Byrde
It never gets better for her, does it? Now with a third new job, she's accused of fingered as the kill yet again though thankfully she manages to avoid arrest this time. I have a horrible feeling she'll end up as the victim one of these days.

Prosecutor ?
Another guy who never gets a break. Since his defeat at the hands of Mia, it's been one professional setback after another, and his own colleagues can't even tell him apart from the Janitor...

Well all in all, it was an enjoyable first case. I was a little confused with how all the functions worked but I imagine that will get easier as I progress. The story has set itself up nicely for the road ahead and with the recent announcement of an Ace Attorney Investigations 2, I imagine not every loose end will be resolved by the end of the game...

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