It is time to dig a little deeper into the The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, a game I had a chance to preview late last month on the PlayStation. Some of the things I focused on in my preview (which you can find here) were the following elements: initial impressions, the nostalgia factor pertaining to reminiscing about past Ace Attorney games, the quirky characters, and my love for solving mysteries.
Something I have always appreciated about the Ace Attorney games is the writing: it’s full of quirky puns, witty comebacks, and overly emotive facial expressions. This game is no different. As you play, you see Ryunosuke Naruhodo become a more and more competent contender in the court room; that is, if the player deems it to be that way. Without you actively exhausting all avenues of information and evidence, you will likely make Ryunosuke appear a daft fool in the courtroom, as his competition mocks him for making mistakes. Behave poorly enough in your legal duties and you may see innocent people being convicted. That’s not what you want? Is it?!
I suppose the one thing about the Ace Attorney series to keep in mind, especially for those new to the series, is that if you do not like reading lengthy boxes of text—if all you want is crazy fast-paced action—then this is not the game for you. The title plays slowly and is one that takes a while to get through. The variation within the gameplay is not so different to the point where it feels like a different game in every case. It is very much a story-orientated game for people who care and connect with the characters. I think what would solidify the care that the player has for the characters under threat (as an example, Ryunosuke who is under the threat of prosecution if not successfully exonerated) would be to provide the player more time to connect with them outside of the courtroom. The game does give you brief context as to who these characters are, and connection is built up throughout the courtroom as well, as we see them emotively express their concern and stress. In games like these, I suppose the player is motivated via morals and ensuring that the right person gets locked away—at least that was my motivation.
The game generally follows the formula set by all its predecessors, and there is nothing wrong with that. The series is solid in what it’s trying to provide to those invested in it: so why reinvent the wheel? Just to comment on the graphics, I do enjoy that they get better with every iteration and this is no exception. The package is hard to fault, especially as it offers up ten separate cases/episodes, and this will provide you gavel-slammin’ entertainment for 50+ hours—which is nothing to shake a wooden gavel at. For those who are not adept with the legal system, the game luckily provides an option to play in “Story Mode” which essentially solves the puzzles for you in each case and makes all choices for the player automatically. While I think it’s more fun to actively participate in those things, it’s a nice inclusion for those who are there just for the narrative to play out.
The game reintroduces Juries—something, if I recall correctly, was not actively in the series until Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright. This is a welcome reintroduction, as the jury contributes with their unique viewpoints based off the evidence and argument you have presented. This adds another layer to consider and will have you questioning and cross-examining these jury members as well, to pit them against each other in your quest to achieve exoneration.
Since previewing the game, my opinion has not changed. The game has only solidified—further with its mechanics and the strength within its story telling aspects—that it is another strong iteration for fans of the series. Don’t be afraid to dive into this iteration if you are new to the series! The game will hand-hold you through how it all works, and you’ll sink into it just like the rest of us. If that is not enough to convince you: the great Herlock Sholmes makes an appearance. You know, Herlock. Ahhh, I love appropriation…