I’ll be honest, I didn’t know a thing about the Ace Attorney series and Phoenix Wright until just a few days ago. I’m not sure what piqued my interest in the series. Maybe it was the music, maybe it was the various Youtube poops made using the game’s sprites. Whatever it was, it attracted me enough that I ended up buying the Ace Attorney Trilogy for 3DS. I’ve heard plenty of good things about the series, and with my love for story-based games, I just had to check it out. Fortunately, I do not regret my decision to buy the first three games in the series.
You’d think that I would be put off Ace Attorney right from the get-go. In a way, Ace Attorney is half point-and-click, and I’ve expressed my dislike for the genre before. Between trials, you wander between various locations searching for clues and evidence as to what happened. You talk to people and examine the scenery to progress. Indeed, I was intimidated by the investigation part of the game at first, however it proved to be nowhere near as jarring or as boring as I thought. The areas you search aren’t too massive and it’s usually made quite clear where you should go next. Failing that, returning to your office and talking to your partner, Maya, gives you some clues as to what to do next. In the three cases of the first game that I’ve completed, I only really had the slightest trouble with the third case. Even then, it didn’t take me long to figure out what to do, and the vibrant characters and humour urged me onward.
Nevertheless, I did have a few problems with the game, my biggest one being what happens when you get a game over. I’m not too smart, so I got a game over once in the second case, and once in the third case. When you get one, you’re sent right back to the main menu, and have to load your last save, which is right before the trial starts. This means that you can get right to the end of the trial, and then have to start all over again from the beginning. This wouldn’t be so frustrating if only there was some way to skip past all the text to the next cross-examination. However, in the first game at least, you can’t do this meaning you have to hold B down constantly to fast forward the text and get to where you were. I suppose it dissuades players from just trying to present every piece of evidence to progress, but that alone is a chore, and is already a good deterrent to pure guesswork.
Once I got past this however, I loved the trials. I’m a big fan of story-based games, and Ace Attorney is about as well-written as you can get. All of the dialogue in this game is pure gold, and it has some unique visual and written comedy that had me in tears at some points. Finding the right piece of evidence to present never felt too difficult or completely out-of-reach either. I’m not the most intelligent thinker, but Ace Attorney leaves enough breadcrumbs for even potatoes like me to figure things out eventually. And when you do piece everything together, it makes for some seriously epic, memorable moments.
One of the things I like the most about the game while playing it is its endless pool of charm. I love the game’s spritework; it just oozes so much character. Every character has a large amount of expressions that change depending on what’s going on. It certainly makes reading text box after text box much more interesting and much less tedious. The final thing I’ve loved about the game so far is its music. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I love games with good music, and Ace Attorney’s music was so good that it made me buy the game. I wasn’t disappointed by the game’s beautiful MIDI music at all. Every track perfectly reflects the situation, making hopeless scenes feel even more depressing and victorious scenes all the more triumphant.
In conclusion, Ace Attorney has more than caught my attention. At the time of writing, I’ve just started the fourth case and the story just keeps getting better and better. The game has a few problems, but I can more than look past them because the game is just so damn fun to play. Some of the investigation sections could be better, but they are by no means boring to play through. This game has me hooked, with the music, with the characters, with the visuals and with the story, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.