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Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (DS) artwork

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (DS) review


"Within the last year I’ve been catching on with various nerdy catchphrases such as Naruto’s “Believe it!” and Link’s “Well excuuuuuuse me, princess!” from the animated cartoon series. After recently getting into the Ace Attorney games, pointing my arm out and shouting “Objection!” has become my new mannerism. There have been three Ace Attorney games released in the U.S. known as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. After the third game in the series, Trials and Tribulations, Phoenix Wright’s story c..."



Within the last year I’ve been catching on with various nerdy catchphrases such as Naruto’s “Believe it!” and Link’s “Well excuuuuuuse me, princess!” from the animated cartoon series. After recently getting into the Ace Attorney games, pointing my arm out and shouting “Objection!” has become my new mannerism. There have been three Ace Attorney games released in the U.S. known as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. After the third game in the series, Trials and Tribulations, Phoenix Wright’s story concluded. Seven years later in the game, a brand new defense attorney shows up in the latest game in the series, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney for the Nintendo DS.

In this entry, you play as the aforementioned new defense attorney, Apollo Justice. He’s a little nervous at first, being that his first trial involves him defending the series’ previous protagonist, Phoenix Wright. With all of the evidence and witness testimonies leaning towards a guilty verdict, it’s up to you to examine everything and turn the case around. This is what you’ll be doing in all four cases of the game that span to around 10 hours of playtime.

The goal of the game is to defend your client and achieve a not guilty verdict. Doing so requires the player to find contradictions in the witnesses’ testimonies according to the evidence by shouting “Objection!” into the DS’s microphone. You can also press for more information from the testimonies by yelling “Hold It!” Of course there are more prude methods of doing so by simply touching the appropriate command on the touch screen.

When you’re not yelling exclamations in court, you’ll be investigating crime scenes between trials. Here, you’re forced to examine every detail of the scene and discover evidence that you can use in court later on. Everything in the game utilizes the touch screen or microphone. A fun part in investigating is detecting fingerprints, which requires you to rub powder on the object and then blow off the residue and match the fingerprints with one that matches a suspect’s. The game is very linear and you won’t be able to advance until you either discover something or talk about a certain topic to a character in the game. In general, the investigation parts of the game are a bit of a drag and they more or less make you more anxious to get back into court.

However, the whole game is full of thought-provoking and entertaining dialogue that often occurs between and Apollo and his assistant Trucy, who is also the adopted daughter of Phoenix Wright. Trucy uses her magician abilities to provide clues to Apollo throughout the game much like how Maya uses her medium powers to aid Phoenix in the previous games. But if you didn’t know who she was it’s okay because this is mainly a new cast of characters and different storyline which makes it perfect for newcomers to get into the series. There are references and cameos from the previous games and you’ll appreciate the game a lot more if you have played the other games before.

In addition to those two characters, the diverse cast of characters you’ll meet all help make the game much more enjoyable. Your opponent, Prosecutor Gavin is also the lead guitarist of a rock band and often presents evidence whilst wailing on an air guitar. The bickering between Apollo and Gavin keeps the action going but is often interrupted by the somewhat senile judge. Witnesses often prove to be untrustworthy and defendants are often too frightened or incompetent to make court proceedings easy for anyone. Whenever this happens, Apollo’s bracelet reacts and touching it will allow Apollo to hone in on the witness when they’re testifying. This allows him to better identify minute mannerisms such as a finger twitching or constantly blinking eyes ala Nancy Pelosi, despite you wouldn’t need a special bracelet to know that. Using this device as well as identifying highlighted words in the dialogue are your basic tools for finding contradictions in testimonies.

Apollo Justice is very text-driven and feels almost like a novel, which originates from the visual novel genre that mainly exists in Japan. In general, it’s like a book that asks the reader to make decisions or figure things out in order for it to progress. As a result, the games aren’t very graphic heavy. Apollo Justice uses anime-based cartoon visuals for the characters in the game with very few 3D elements used for examining evidence. The giant exclamation bubbles that say “Objection!” and “Hold It” are still present and have more or less been the symbols of the series.

These symbols are not only seen but are also heard and make up the only voice acting in the game. Everything else in the game consists of the archaic “bebebe” language. If that sound effect annoys you, you may be better off turning the sound down. There is, however, some decent music that accompanies the court proceedings. Call me crazy, but the testimony music sounds similar to the Dr. Light music from Mega Man X, which isn’t surprising since both games are made by Capcom. The music slows down when Apollo is reading people and gets faster when things start to get hectic. However, I find the triumphant objection music to be my favorite tune from the game.

All in all, Apollo Justice is a great game for adventure fans but it probably won’t be for everyone. If being a lawyer and finding loopholes in testimonies is something that you may enjoy then this game is for you. If there’s one thing the Ace Attorney series has shown me is not all lawyers are complete assholes.

Rating: 8/10

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Community review by Ness (April 09, 2008)

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