Author: Lydia Sung
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/ace_attorney_edgeworth/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
Whatever happened to Phoenix Wright, defender of the undefendable? Well, if you were wondering that, then go play some Apollo Justice. Now if you’re interested in Miles Edgeworth, you’re eyeing the right game.
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth may have the lengthiest title in the Ace Attorney series, but as one of the most enigmatic characters to grace the fictional courtroom, Prosecutor Edgeworth deserves it. For the first time, we get to see the action from a totally different perspective, as Capcom places players in the shoes of Wright’s polar opposite.
Aside from that ingrained fear of elevators and earthquakes, Miles Edgeworth is a composed gentleman, and his steely disposition makes him the perfect foil (and friend) to Phoenix Wright. After a somewhat rocky start, Miles has proven himself an invaluable ally throughout previous Ace Attorney adventures.
So what’s it like controlling the infamous prosecutorial prodigy? Not too different from playing as Pheonix. All the basics remain intact, with the addition of a Logic system. Oh, and you’ll be doing that crime-solving business at the actual crime scenes now, rather than in the ol’ courtroom with Judge Santa Claus.
Armed with superior intellect, an indomitable sense of pride, and allies both new and old, our hero braves a whole new series of ridiculous situations, slapping the ignorant with irrefutable evidence. Luckily, he’s not prone to hyperventilation or any other form of flipping out, unlike his favorite defense attorney.
The game picks up when Miles returns from extended leave overseas, only to find his first unofficial case in his own office. As Ace Attorney tradition dictates, he must act as both lawyer and detective, despite Gumshoe being right there.
Taking the cases out of court actually gives Investigations a different feel. It isn’t anything drastic or a huge leap into open-world exploration, though a variety in locale certainly makes the entire game more compelling. After all, this alters exploration and changes how Miles interacts with other characters. Oh, don’t worry – the “Objection!” speech bubbles are still around.
In terms of gameplay, Investigations follows the same formula as all its predecessors. The settings may be different, but you’re still interrogating, picking apart rebuttals, and searching for clues to present later. Only difference here is you’ll have no audience, no banging gavel, and the opposing counsel is replaced by belligerent witnesses. As before, you will read through testimonies and press for more details before tearing the other person apart with facts and evidence. After the opposing party freaks out, they’ll present rebuttals – not realizing Miles is always one step ahead. When the right moment pops up in dialogue, you can present evidence to refute erroneous claims. An irrelevant or mistimed piece of evidence will take your health down a notch.
In any situation, there will be multiple scenes to examine. As you guide Miles around the environment, certain objects or inconsistencies will trigger the “Examine” tab to appear, and whatever information you glean is stored for later use, usually to trip up a phony testimony or alibi. When exploring any location, the new “Deduce” tab appears whenever Miles is studying something up close – such as a door or image of the original crime scene. This new option makes investigations a tad more interactive by awarding the player more freedom in the search of clues. Of course, wrong deductions also take their toll on your health meter.
Also new to the series is "Logic," a major part of the investigative gameplay in Ace Attorney Investigations. When gathering evidence, Miles will remember key bits as thought fragments, accessible via the Logic tab on the lower screen. Later, he may indicate when he has enough information to form a logical conclusion, like a killer’s motives or some explanation to a peculiar piece of evidence. It becomes a simplistic matching mini-game, in which the player needs to connect corresponding thoughts. Again, match the wrong fragments and the health meter goes down a smidgen.
Miles Edgeworth is, of course, always on top of things, so dimmer individuals like Detective Gumshoe counter him perfectly, resulting in an entertaining dynamic that lights up every case. And the amusing interactions feel necessary during those moments when you may find yourself wondering why a case has dragged on so long. The text, not surprisingly, can test your patience, specifically the way it slows down to place emphasis on a particular line of speech.
As such, dialogue and events tend to move slower than the player's own logic, meaning you can often predict the outcome before the characters have reached one. Granted, this is a common appeal in mysteries; the only issue with Investigations is that the twists rarely throw you for a loop. Yes, the overall story is interesting, but the cases themselves are often too simplistic, especially when you consider the “T for Teen” rating (yet wine is now “grape juice”). The game has a habit of forcing the player to lag behind, both in pace and the actions it requires you to take before progressing further; that is to say, some details may be overlooked because they’re simply too obvious.
Still, the game manages to keep things dramatic, mostly thanks its excellent use of audio effects and lively dialogue. The series' trademark sound effects pump so much life into the whole experience from start to finish, along with surprisingly epic background music at every climactic point. Add in the larger-than-life characters we've come to expect and love, and hilarity ensues amidst the otherwise grim situations. Really, who knew solving murders could be so much fun, even with such a serious hero?
To most Ace Attorney fans, the abundance of text and lack of voiceovers won’t be an issue, but it’s worth noting that the amount of reading could put some gamers off. In fact, progression can feel downright slow here and there, and the plot doesn’t immediately pick up. Once you’ve gotten a few hours in, however, you’ll have trouble putting the DS back down.
As a whole, this is an absolute must-play for anyone who digs the franchise, from Phoenix to Apollo. Edgeworth has always been an integral part of the series, and his legion of fans is no doubt already writing FAQs, complete with loving commentaries. Honestly, Ace Attorney Investigations may be my new favorite since Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Even with all the whacky new characters, Miles Edgeworth is undoubtedly the star of this show – as he should be.
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