Ace Attorney: Apollo Justice Review

I’m testing a new scoring method with this review. The diamonds are in the place of stars because I can’t find any that work with WordPress. Also, the editor’s choice thing is here to stay, even if the rating system isn’t. Have fun…

The 4th installment in the Ace Attorney series sees a change that not many looked forward too, or enjoyed once they got the game. Phoenix Wright, the former protagonist, has left the spotlight, and Apollo Justice has entered it.

Non-fans will probably ask why this is such a big deal. Well, save four characters, the entire cast has retired, which means the designers now have a new universe to work with and develop. This is not a bad thing, it’s the gameplay features the developers went with that are the games flaw.

Now, the game plays almost exactly like the other three. It’s a point-and-click text adventure game, a visual novel. The big change, which isn’t exactly big per se, is the new investigation features.

The weakest point in the games is the investigation segments. They get tedious quite fast, and can last upward of an hour. To remedy this complaint, Capcom added Psyche-Locks to the second and third game. They were like mini-cross examinations that did liven the investigations quite a bit.

In Apollo Justice, Psyche-Locks have been removed in favor of minigame-esque investigations that make use of the DS features. Such as dusting for fingerprints (tap the screen to apply a powder, which you blow off to reveal prints). In the first game, there was a special case which used these features as well. The differences between that case and Apollo Justice, is that the special case used them like they grew on trees, and AJ uses them like they’re polar bears.

In case you didn’t get that little joke, I’ll recap. AJ uses its selling point less in the whole game, than the special case in the first game. It’s quite disappointing and I hope to see AJ2 use them a lot more.

Another new feature is the ‘Perceive’ system. With Apollo’s special bracelet, he is able to perceive the nervous habits of witnesses. Similar to the special investigations, this features isn’t used a whole lot either, but unlike them, I don’t want to see the ‘Perceive’ system whored out. It is generally used to overturn cases, thus, when it comes up you know it’s a special moment. As such it’s infrequency doesn’t bother me.

Good news, though. The game stays true to everything that AA is, so if you hate the games, you’ll hate this one, and vice-versa. But it’s also a good starting point for someone who has never played the games. Plot-wise it has no ties to the previous games, and they’ve simplified the game by taking out a couple gameplay features.

The game’s difficulty has been lowered also, not to the point of ‘casual’ but it’s definitely not as tough as the other games. The characters are much cleaner and the backgrounds are smoother and look nicer, showing that the graphics have improved.

It’s definitely not a revolution, but its good old AA. Fans will like it and it’s a healthy place for a newcomer to start.

♦♦♦♦

Editor’s Choice
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