Since I reviewed Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney last time, it’s only right if I reviewed each of their newest games.
So Phoenix is up first.
Phoenix Wright is back in this Ace Attorney installment! Not only do we get to see him in court as a lawyer, we also get to see him mentor Apollo Justice and Athena Cykes, a new member to the team. Now with a new and mysterious prosecutor to deal with named Blackquill, Wright deals with the dark days of the court and Athena’s equally dark past, to unravel his mistakes and to bring strict but fair justice once more.
As usual, Dual Destinies is developed by Capcom as the first Ace Attorney installment (barring the crossover) to be released on the 3DS. With enhanced graphics and 3D rendering upgraded from Apollo Justice, the game is able to give further perspectives into cases than its predecessors have.
- The plot is great and, even better, holds continuity from the last game. Considering that the previous games don’t have a general plot thread that strings them together, to see Dual Destinies continue from where Wright left off on Apollo Justice is refreshing, though at the same time, people who hadn’t played Apollo Justice can easily make a guess as to what happened. This continuity also allows a darker look at the legal system to seep into the game, especially with forging evidence and blackmail, however it still holds the light tone it carries from its predecessors.
Not only is there continuity in-between games, but there is also a continuity in the game as well. Most of the cases (4/5) reference back to the dark days of the court; whether it be regarding said false evidence, bribery, cases that ushered in the dark days, or a court bombing. So it doesn’t feel like that it’s an afterthought, but it’s actually integrated into the game’s plot as a whole too.
- The new major characters are well thought out, especially regarding Athena and Blackquill. A lot regarding their personality has been revealed, and although they both have a sort-of cliche and tragic backstory, the way that both characters approach this is refreshing other than the usual emo-esque kid (Athena being cheery, Blackquill being Blackquill). Rather than just being new additions, they stand out pretty quickly and by the last couple of cases, they do feel as if they’re truly an equal team member next to Wright’s side.
Also, no matter how hard you try to push it, game, Fulbright will never be as good as Gumshoe. I don’t care where he is right now or if his coat has gotten dirtier, bring back Gumshoe.
- The trials are also up to standard as always, and just as difficult as the game’s predecessors (at least to me). You still have to stare at the evidence as your eyes bore through the 3DS’ screen until you get the correct answer. They’re also as interesting as the previous trials, and you won’t get bored of them until you memorize each and every step of the trials.
- It also has 3D rendering now! It’s a bit awkward to transition from seeing 2D Wright to 3D, but it does grow on you once you’ve started out (I hated it at first). Although you may dislike it at first, this 3D rendering also allows you to inspect crime scenes (and evidence, as carried over from Apollo Justice) in different perspectives too. They also have animated cutscenes ala Professor Layton now! What’s not to hate?
Athena’s Widget is good but could have been potential for more. This isn’t really a con, but it’s not a pro either. Widget is used as Athena’s equipment for a bastardization of ‘therapy’, and it is useful in a way that it is meant to be: picking up emotions that don’t fit in the witness’ testimony. It is a nice touch, but at the same time, it feels like the developers could have done more with it.
- Wright’s magatama could have used more screen time, considering that it was Wright’s special equipment during the latter half of his trilogy. While I understand that Apollo’s bracelet and Athena’s Widget holds precedence because they’re modified/a new implementation to the game (and that we’re lucky enough to even see the magatama), he could have used the magatama in so many cases. Nonetheless, it is still good to see the magatama’s usage in this game than none at all.
I would also like to see Maya soon, since she’s also arguably one of the strongest sidekicks in the series so far with her abilities as a medium (something that will hopefully return too). Yes, we do get to see Pearl (though she doesn’t use her spiritual abilities) and I just have to question what the developers were thinking when they retained her hairstyle. I mean yes, it was cute when she was a kid, but as a teenager? Still, good to see Pearl coming back.
This game has definitely been upgraded several ways ever since Apollo Justice, and many in good ways too. You get back Wright, you get Athena as a bonus, and you get to meet Blackquill and such other characters too. They did everything right with the inclusion of the 3D rendering and the plot as well as its trials. A must-have for everyone interested in puzzles and for every fan of the series.
P.S. I haven’t bought the DLC yet ’cause I’m just 10 cents short, and it’s be a waste if I topped it up with $5. Stupid DLC price ):