Saturday, November 2, 2013

After five long years, the dark age of no Phoenix Wright games comes to an end.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney- Dual Destinies is a game rather similar to those before it. However, the great part about it is that despite the similarities, the game manages to still feel fresh, and the changes to it are all for the better. The game follows a similar style to the past Ace Attorney games: you play as a defense lawyer, go to trial to defend your client, investigate crime scenes and talk to people related to the crime, and eventually the case you’re in culminates into you finding the real culprit and proving your client innocent. While the game may sound rather simple or potentially not even that interesting, this is definitely not the case for Dual Destinies; the adventure game bits have turned from pixel hunts into being much more manageable to find the evidence you need, the dialogue is sharp, witty, and even enough to make you laugh out loud every so often, and the logic and deduction of the courtroom cases is definitely enough to keep one entertained. The music too, is absolutely phenomenal; the character themes are all great, and the Objection themes between the three main characters also sound great. The switch from more MIDI-ish GBA sounds to a more realistic sounding OST absolutely works in this game, and has some of the best tracks I’ve heard in a Phoenix Wright game.

Unlike past Ace Attorney games, instead of just keeping to Phoenix Wright or Apollo Justice only, throughout the course of the game, you end up playing three different characters a number of times: Phoenix Wright, Apollo Justice, and Ace Attorney newcomer Athena Cykes. While Phoenix Wright is the experienced boss, and Apollo Justice considered more experience now than compared to his debut game, Athena Cykes is new to the lawyering world, and like her companions, she too has a special ability that is frequently used to help seize the truth: analytical psychology. Paired with her tiny gadget necklace Widget, Athena is able to hear the voices of people’s hearts and discern through emotions to help the pursuit of the truth. The main characters all get their time to shine throughout the game, and plenty of characters, from characters already introduced like Trucy Wright, to completely new characters; also get their moments in the spotlight as well. And just about every character is great and memorable in their own ways. Each has their quirks, each has their ticks, each has those little bits of personality that really make them shine, attributed to some great writing as well.

The game’s transition from 2D sprites to 3D models worked surprisingly well. While a lot of games in recent times haven’t had a great transition from 2D to 3D; Capcom really knocked it out of the park with giving the 3D models the sheer character and quirk in their actions and the game overall looks great graphically. Although I, and I’m sure plenty of others, will miss the way that the sprites looked, Capcom already shows that they know what they’re doing with 3D models, and even show a fun use of the 3DS’s 3D effects in the trial sequences, such as Phoenix pointing to the camera with his finger after an Objection. It’s a small touch that, like every other use of 3D thus far, doesn’t affect gameplay, but it’s still such a nice addition to have after the first four games.

The game has five cases, with a sixth one coming along the way via DLC, and while, by the end of the game it feels like it’s been a long time (I ended up clocking in around 27 hours by the time I finished the game) the game doesn’t feel that long in the slightest. As noted, the pacing is very well done for each case, even the amount of time to complete each case feels right as you finish it up. One of the most egregious errors that Dual Destinies has is a bit of a messy translation job. While the localization is great, there are many, many spelling mistakes that are really bothersome. In reality, they aren’t too bad, but a bit of a pet peeve of mine, as well as showing a bit of a lack of care and a potential rush job in the localization.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies is a really similar take on past Ace Attorney games, but also a really fresh take on it. It does a lot right with the games, and is, overall, an incredibly enjoyable game, and without a doubt not only one of my favorite 3DS games I’ve played this year, but one of the best 3DS games I’ve played this year, and overall, one of the best games I’ve played this year as well.




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