Pros: Good characters, Challenging gameplay, Great soundtrack, Interesting story, Beautiful art style.
Cons: Some sections are ridiculously difficult.
You all know Miles Edgeworth, right? Well, Phoenix Wright's cravat-wearing rival is finally in his own game!
The game kicks off with Miles returning home from vacation to find that a murder has occured in his office, and he takes it upon himself to investigate the crime scene to find the culprit. As the story progresses, all of the cases are linked together in a massive web of lies revolving around an international smuggling ring. Oh, and did I mention that the entire story takes place within one week? Dang, Phoenix never had that kind of schedule!
The core gameplay lies in investigating crime scenes to find clues. Unlike the older Ace Attorney games, in this game you control Miles as he walks around the scene, rather than just pointing and clicking. As you search, you will also find objects that Edgeworth will find interesting, and will keep in mind. You can use the new Logic feature to find connections between these things and come up with new evidence! Screw up however, and you lose health. Lose all your health and the game ends.
You can also interrogate witnesses, which works similarly to the testimonies from the past games. You find the flaws in their arguments (with logic!) and use evidence to rip their story apart. Present the wrong evidence at the wrong time, and your life bar takes a hit. You can press them to get more information, but sometimes even that doesn't help (I swear there's one argument in Case 3 that I can never shoot down without an FAQ...).
A lot of the charm of the Ace Attorney games is in the characters, and that still holds true here. Edgeworth is still his snarky, sarcastic self, and many other old favorites make appearances as well, such as goofy detective Dick Gumshoe, whip-wielding Franziska von Karma, and annoying old lady Wendy Oldbag. The game also introduces some new characters, such as energetic young thief Kay Faraday and abrasive Interpol agent Shi-Long Lang. Every character is a unique personality that adds to the game's appeal.
The entire game is drawn in an anime style, which looks posititively amazing. The crime scenes are well-designed and you can clearly tell what things are. The character models are nothing short of fantastic. They look beautiful in the conversations and arguments, and on the crime scene the sprites are very well detailed and easy to recognize.
The entire game is written very well. The story is engaging and suspenseful, with some surprises thrown in to send cases in new, unexpected directions. The dialogue between characters is smart and cleverly written, matching each individual personality to the letter.
The soundtrack is very good, from Lang's bluesy hard-rock theme to Kay's energetic tune, it sounds great. The voice acting for sound clips (such as the famous "OBJECTION!") is nice, with the only problem being Calisto Yew's objection, which may be the most phoned-in line I've ever heard. Still, nothing beats the fast-paced music in the background when you know you have the culprit backed into a corner, while Ol' Edgey is using his superior logic powers to rip their alibi to shreds and expose their crime.
But be forewarned, this game can be TOUGH. Some of the cases get incredibly difficult at times. Be prepared to give your brain a serious workout with this one.
The game, despite only having 5 cases, is actually a pretty decent length. The first case will probably take a little over an hour, while cases 2 through 4 will probably take around at least 2-3 hours, maybe more. The fifth case, however, is a whole different animal entirely. Let me put this into perspective...I got up one morning and decided to devote my day to beating Case 5. 8 hours later, the case was only just nearing the big climax (which, by the way, did surprise me the first time around). The thing is HUGE, and actually took a couple trips to an FAQ to beat (I only had a little bit of health left, don't judge me). I did figure out the final answer to nail the big bad in the end on my own, though, so at least give me credit for that.
All in all, if you are a fan of the Ace Attorney series, or if you want a game to give you a real mental challenge, then by all means get this game. You will not regret it.
This is Aura Master Fox signing off, telling you that this game has a sequel...but only in Japan.