I’m a self-proclaimed aficionado of solving mysteries of any type. There is a great draw in finding out the who, what, where, and why. I simply can’t keep away from documentaries and games revolving around mysteries and the journey to obtaining justice. Which is why when Capcom offered me early hands-on access to The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles on PlayStation 5, I jumped at the chance.
While the collection seems to be huge in terms of many cases being available to play, all of varying lengths, even in my preview of the first case was I taken aback by the nostalgia of these series of games. Back when I owned a Nintendo DS, which seems so long ago now, the Ace Attorney games were a staple for me. Playing this, the memories flooded back. The game is set in Victorian-era Japan and Britain, with a clash of these cultures presenting itself strongly in the first case. I found myself back in the courtroom, playing as young Ryunosuke Naruhodo—a university student caught up in an unfortunate scandal—standing on trial accused of murder. It was my job to defend myself, a rookie in the system; luckily with Kazuma Asogi, defence attorney at my side to show me the ropes.
It had been years since I played a game of this nature; luckily for me, the game held my hand along the way, teaching me the concept of courtroom battle once again. Within every case, you will encounter such quirky witnesses, and will need to cross-examine each one of them in order to uncover the falsehoods within their statements. To do this successfully, you’ll also need to examine pieces of evidence brought forward within court and present these at the right time to support your claim to innocence. Throughout even just the first case, there were many points of climax where I had thought, “Here we go, I’ll finally be able to prove Ryunosuke’s innocence! They can’t possibly refute this evidence!” but boy oh boy, was I wrong. The game threw many a curveball my way, and just when you think you have hit the final nail in the coffin, something new transpires and poor Ryunosuke is left distraught at the thought of having to dig deeper within witness testimonies to prove his innocence once again. The pacing of the case is excellent with dips and crescendos in its narrative, leaving the player wondering if Ryunosuke is actually going to make it out the other side as an innocent man.
The game is similar to its predecessors: full of quirky characters, puzzling evidence to decipher, witness testimonies to breakdown and refute, over-the-top but delightful emotive animations delivered by the characters, the changing and increasing tempo of the background music when the intensity of the accusations in the courtroom grow, and—who could forget—the resounding “OBJECTION!” which the series is so well known for. The game is full of humour and witty character remarks, and I totally appreciated this amongst all of the resounding tension. This preview is but a mere scratch into the surface, but I have already experienced the series’ most beloved attributes have returned to engage us yet again. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles releases on July 27, 2021 (in Australia) on Steam (PC), Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4 (compatible with PS5 too!).