Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney
By Zach Patterson Tuesday, 28 Apr 2009

The fourth Ace Attorney game finally hit America last year, promising some much needed changes from the first 3 games, which without a doubt suffered diminished returns with each release. Surprisingly, much of the original trilogy’s cast has been dumped, and they have been replaced by a new defense attorney, Apollo Justice, his new assistant, Trucy, and a new prosecutor, Klavier Gavin. While some rather familiar faces end up turning up before long, the fresh start seems to be exactly what the series needed, as it finally shed its glorified GBA port stylings of the first three games and now has fully embraced changes that cell phone spy software without target phone were hinted at in the bonus case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. The result is the best game since the original. While the basic game mechanics remain the same, there have been a dozen needed tweaks added to the now-standard formula. You still have the trial segments that are offset with investigation parts, but now every item you acquire can be looked at in complete 3D and often reveals clues to help the case. There’s also limited, but welcome, 3D scenes that help tell parts of the story, and the touch screen is implemented in many more instances that actually require you to make use of the touch screen. There’s several instances of dusting for prints, taking footprint molds, playing with a soundboard, and searching for poisonous residue at a crime scene that require you to use the touch screen. It’s a nice addition to the rest of the standard stuff and breaks up cases well. Additionally, each trial has a few segments where you need to “perceive” the witness’ lying on the stand by going into a mode that challenges you to find nervous ticks when a witness says things that are not true. This is a great new feature that i prefer much more than the use of the magatama from the previous few games (though for those who liked those scenes, it does make a cameo in the last case). Finally, without spoiling the last case, it really shakes things up by taking you into some bizarre computery simulation write assignment for you database, which is just an excuse to investigate 8 different areas and 8 different people buy custom written essays in 2 different time periods. You find out information in the past of the case, and you can use the evidence and info in the future to unravel the entire mystery. While I normally dread the final cases in these games, as they tend to become way overwrought and bloated and take forever, this one was perfectly paced and not so long that it overstayed its welcome. In general, the game itself just worked a lot better than the third game, and adjusted the neverending cases from the past few

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games. This game was the shortest one yet, and yet i didn’t feel shortchanged at all. It told a good story, and it didn’t unnecessarily pad it out with an extremely long, dramatic final trial. I think they also did a great job implementing characters from the series’ past without bringing back everyone, and wisely left the entire Fey family out of the game. Their story essentially ended in the third game, and I was in no hurry to see them again. As far as new characters, I found Apollo to be just as likable as Phoenix Wright, and Trucy to be tolerable for the most part. Klavier, the rock star prosecutor, didn’t quite stick with me as much as previous prosecutors like Edgeworth and Godot, but he certainly had his own personality, and wasn’t simply Edgeworth with blond hair. The new victims, suspects, and witnesses are a mixed bag for sure, but overall are much better than the last game. While the client in the second case is downright unlikable and awful (Wocky), the rest of the cast held my interest and really got me interested in the cases. The last case in particular, in which the game juggles a lot of characters through two time periods, is done very well, and you feel very sympathetic to some of the “bad guys”. The game tied all four of its cases together rather tightly, and each one uses some story parts from the previous case to build up to a satisfying climax in the final case. The story is a definite high point here.

The investigation phase is very similar to the previous games

The investigation phase is very similar to the previous games

The graphics have also been improved this time around. As I mentioned, there’s actually limited cinemas, 3D objects, and each character is either new or has been redrawn entirely in higher definition portraits with many more frames of animations, addressing one of my biggest complaints from every single game to date. Some of the new animations are simply awesome, including Klavier’s air guitar, Trucy’s Mr Hat, and the suspect’s “busted” animations where they bug out after being contradicted. Also, the music is without a doubt the best since the original. While the first game’s soundtrack remains a classic, this one is chock full of catchy tunes with a lot of upbeat guitar driven tunes. I found this a great comfort after the past two games had mostly disappointed in the music department. There wasn’t a whole lot I didn’t like here. ez cell phone spy If I had to pick at a few things, one would be the ultimate bad guy in the game didn’t have great motives to do the terrible stuff he did, which was disappointing considering how well fleshed out the rest of the story was. Additionally, while there were some small movie scenes using animation, I feel like they could have used a lot more, and that the 3D models could have been a lot better, or they could have just used anime scenes to show certain parts. There were also certain parts where the game kinda left me hanging in the investigation phase because what I needed to do to advance the plot was very unclear, and the solution required me to do something that didn’t make a ton of sense. Finally, I’d like to see a little better presentation in these games after 4 of them now. The game still opens to a static screen with no music, no flashy title screen, no intro movie or anything, and the menus are still entirely the same from the original game. It could look a hell of a lot better at this point, but I was just glad to see some of the changes I listed earlier, so I can’t complain too much. Baby steps with this series. I have to say this was definitely my second favorite game in the series. It had a very good plot, entertaining new characters, new gameplay features, better graphics, and improved music. If you liked the first Phoenix Wright game but have felt a little burned by the “expansion pack”-type sequels, give this one a go.


2 Responses to “Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney”

  1. Brian Hohman Says:

    Definately want to pick this one up, after this review. Am I going to miss out on much at all having not played the two “expansions”, I never really cared much about the Fey storyline besides her being hot.

  2. Zach Patterson Says:

    nah, this story is rather self-contained, so you don’t need to know what happened in 2 and 3. playing the first game should have more than prepped you for the references here.

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