Monday, 4 November 2013

Ace Attorney Dual Destinies

Holy crap, a new Ace Attorney game that stars Phoenix Wright! What could possibly ruin this?

Possibly the fact that it's only an eShop download...Seriously Capcom, wtf? I would have loved to buy this on a cartridge even if it cost 20usd more. The sheer amount of trouble Asian countries have to go through to get cool stuff on the Nintendo eShop is going to kill Asian sales for this. 

But enough with that. So this is the first new game starring Phoenix Wright as the main character since 2004. That's NINE frigging years since Phoenix Wright has starred in his own game series. And even more importantly, that's NINE frigging years since Maya has appeared in any sort of significant role. Yes, remember her? Phoenix's best assistant and long-time friend as well potential OTP? Where has she been? The sheer amount of fans asking after her probably should have been a clue to Capcom that she's hugely popular and really, it doesn't make sense that she would be absent from Phoenix's life for so long. Especially after all the shit he went through in the past 7 years. 

Anyway, she's still not in the latest game which is one of the biggest gripes I have about the new game. A Phoenix Wright game without Maya Fey is like Mortal Kombat without the fatalities, MvC3 without the fireball spam, Prince of Tennis without the yaoi. However, they do introduce quite a few new characters into the mix. Such as Wright's new assistant; who's not Apollo. Instead, she's a pretty feisty, clumsy as well humorous genki girl who's always up for a challenge. As far as assistants go, she's interesting and humorous but she's no Maya Fey. Yes, that's who I'm always going to be comparing Wright's assistants to. I bet Holmes did the same thing to his assistants...

Which isn't to say I disliked her. I did like her character a fair bit and she even has her own case backstory-arc in the game. Like most assistants will. The new ability she brings to the table; psychoanalysis, is pretty interesting too but in reality it seems a lot like magatama unlocking that was used in the first few games. When you combine this with Apollo's bracelet unlocking etc and Wright's magatama, there's suddenly a lot of abilities on board. I hope that they don't feel the need to keep adding to the list with every new game because it'd just start to feel very gimmicky. Which it kinda already does...

But anyway, onto the new cases in the game. The cases are fairly interesting though I still think they lack a bit of the quirky humor of the original 3 games. They're funny but they're not as funny as the originals were. Which isn't to say they're horrible because they're not. Another gripe I would have is the fact that you only get to play as Wright for the first introductory scenario in the game and then you have to play as Athena and Apollo for the next few cases. Seriously? Apollo had one game dedicated to himself and it didn't sell well. Let Phoenix have his title and game back.

On the other hand, I do love the new 3D models they're using for the game. Pretty smooth and they've gone to great lengths to make the animation and poses fairly faithful to the originals. 

But what I feel the game lacks is the presence of old/familiar characters. The first 3 games were great in this regard because you got to see a lot of recurring faces like Wendy Oldbags, Larry Butz, Gumshoe, Von Karma, Maggey Byrde. So in the end, you sort of feel an attachment to the characters after a while, even the really annoying ones like Oldbags. You had tons of in-game self-references like the Steel Samurai and his various incarnations and so on. But this game has almost none of that. Sure, it has some returning characters like the Judge and Miles Edgeworth; who apparently now wears glasses... But it's like going to a very familiar restaurant/cafe that you always frequented in college, after a long while and discovering they've changed most of the menu and the staff have almost all left. The food's still good but it's not quite the same anymore. 

Granted, things have to change because you can't keep rehashing the same thing over and over again (even though it worked so well for the first 3 games...)but it feels like they're throwing too much out while trying to jam in too many new things at the same time. 

Overall, I'd say the game is good and is still worth a buy. There's nothing quite like staying up late while you're playing the game in bed because you JUST HAVE to get to the end of the case and see how those crazy twists and turns end. Even though I felt this wasn't as good as the first 3 games, it still managed to make me do that so that's an accomplishment. However, I'm also dusting off my old copies of Ace Attorney 1-3 and I'm probably going to be replaying them as well. And on that note..