It’s been five years since Phoenix Wright took on the role as a defense attorney, and while not much has changed since then as far as gameplay goes, the latest entry in the Ace Attorney series is as enjoyable as ever… for those who are into the series.
What Is It?
The Ace Attorney games are point-and-click adventures featuring defense attorneys as they go through court case after court case, both insane and realistic. Since its debut on the original Nintendo DS, Ace Attorney games have featured at least four cases. In each case, there are two main phases: the investigation and the actual court case. As players progress in the game, the investigations and hearings start to become longer and more plentiful, with each game’s final case sometimes requiring three hearings to complete.
Dual Destinies features five cases and takes place a year after the events of Apollo Justice, Ace Attorney. In the Apollo Justice game, players had to become acquainted with Apollo Justice, a new defense lawyer whose bracelet allowed him to notice different patterns in the body language of those he talked to, making it easier for him to know when people are lying.
In Dual Destinies, longtime fans of the series should be pleased to find out that Phoenix Wright has regained his attorney badge and is back defending cases, along with Apollo and one other person. The game also stars Athena Cykes, a yellow blazer-wearing 18-year old, who quickly became a lawyer because of something that happened in her past, which the game delves upon as players get further and further into it.
The story takes place during the “dark era of the law” where court cases are decided based through on unnecessary means like the fabrication of evidence and the lack of acknowledgement of purjury. It’s definitely a much a darker game, but new characters such as the aforementioned Cykes and the justice-loving Detective Fulbright really shed some light on the story, making it as funny as ever.
Why Should I Care?
So what makes this different from the other games? Whether it’s a spoiler to players or not, the game’s narrative gives you control of the three defense attorneys — Phoenix Wright, Apollo Justice, and the very energetic Athena Cykes. As fans of the series will remember, Phoenix has always been about believing in his clients and probing falsities in testimonies the old fashioned way, and Apollo has the bracelet around his wrist that’ll tighten when the body language of people he talks to changes. Athena is a good listener, and with this, she can point out different feelings in people, which she uses to see whether people she talks to are lying.
Are these big changes? Hardly. In fact, when it comes to Athena’s special abilities, when you point out the “wrong” things in a witnesses’ testimony, the game won’t punish you as it would when you present the wrong evidence. In addition to that, when you do get enough penalties for a “guilty” verdict in court, you can continue from where you messed up with a full bar, as if you were never penalized.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
The thing about the Ace Attorney series is that it gets its intrigue from its particularly interesting narrative and strong cast of characters. The games have always been 90% text-based, so if you’re the type of gamer who likes to play more than read, there won’t be a lot to like in this game.
In fact, while gameplay in Dual Destinies does have the most features in the entire series, that also means it’s probably not the best place to start. Again, it’s the story that keeps the game charming, and the people that will appreciate Dual Destinies the most are the people who’ve been playing the game since Phoenix Wright first dawned his attorney badge.
The five cases in the game are all quite difficult and will sometimes feel like they drag, but the darker tone really makes the experience a lot different than in past games. The content is also a little bit more racy, which is probably why the game garnered a Mature rating from the ESRB.
Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies is only available through the Nintendo eShop for $29.99. It’s worth every penny for fans who want more Ace Attorney action, and a sixth case was also just made available via paid DLC. The game is about as fun as its gets for fan of the series, but if you’re a newcomer, I’d advise you to just start with the original DS trilogy which you can also find on iOS and the Wii Shop Channel.