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  • Writer's pictureNoah Yard

No Objections: The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles Review.

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is a law based adventure videogame/Visual novel, where you take control of a lawyer named Ryonosuke, the ancestor of the familiar game legend, Phoenix Wright, the ace attorney. TGAAC offers a new twist on the franchise, with a new world to explore, new cases to solve, and many more chances to yell OBJECTION.

A case-by-Case Basis.

The game I set in the late 19th century in the Victorian Era in both Japan and England, as Ryonosuke Naruhodo solves five cases in each game. It’s a time of great importance for both nations as they just signed a treaty of some form, bringing the two countries together. Naruhodo and his judicial assistant Soseki Natsume navigate both this time of strange new worlds, and cases that will shock and excite. Following some tragic events Naruhodo finds himself as an unwitting lawyer and begins to trial cases. He mostly defends, and what he mostly defends is murder.

The cases are where all the story happens, as Naruhodo defends his clients he and his friend’s background stories unfold, their dreams uncovered, and their secrets brought to light. The characters are all rich and diverse.

However, if you are expecting the pizazz and cartoonish buffoonery of the original Phoenix Wright, the character names like Wendy Oldbag and the cases like murder at a circus, this isn’t that.

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is a far more muted affair. Yes there is still signature humour there, and it’s by no means boring, but things are far more based in reality. The Japanese characters have Japanese names. The English character’s names are quite plain. But their behaviour is just as erratic, dubious, and outlandish as those in the previous games. It’s still a really fun time.

And of course, you still get to yell, “OBJECTION!”

One story type issue I have is the length of each case. With ten cases you can amass up to fifty hours playing the game, each case taking hours within itself. Some might find this great value.

However, there is an option on the main menu that lets you select which case you want to play, you needn’t play them in chronological order or finish them, perhaps something the developers thought of when they realised the game was so long.

The Game is Afoot!

The gameplay in TGAAC is in most ways very similar to that of previous Ace Attorney or Phoenix Wright games. It’s split into two parts, the investigation stages of the case, and then the court case. The investigations involve probing into crime scenes, uncovering evidence, and talking to witnesses, presenting them with said evidence, and coming up with a decent defence for your current client. The evidence collects in your always accessible Case File, and you can peruse and examine it as you wish which can lead to further discoveries.

The court cases involve presenting said evidence at the correct times while pressing witnesses on what they saw. There are questions that need to be answered, and if you are wrong, you get penalised, as you do when you present evidence wrong or interrupt at the wrong time. You must outsmart Barok Van Zieks, the reaper of the Old Bailey courthouse, and the classic prosecutor in this version of the Ace Attorney games. He is diabolical and will do anything to discredit your case.

A new addition for those who haven’t played the DS version before is the system, and the Examination Summation mechanic. At certain points at every trial, the jury will inevitably swing in favour of the prosecution, and you must use your wits to undermine their reasonings for thinking your client is guilty. By pressing them, and then pitting them against one another, you can get the trial to continue. This mechanic is fun, and breaks up the trials even more which is needed because of their considerable length.

It’s Elementary

A new character in the Ace Attorney Chronicles, one who deserves his own paragraph, is the delightfully inept but exceedingly endearing Herlock Sholmes. A direct reference to the original detective we all know. This version however is different, starting with his name, Herlock Sholmes. He is also, unlike usual depictions of his namesake, totally useless at solving cases. He makes large leaps and deductions that make no sense and are often very, very wrong.

This leads us to the second new mechanic in TGAAC, which is Herlock Sholme’s Logic and Reasoning Spectacular, where Sholmes will make a few deductions and speculations about the case, particularly if a witness is hiding secrets. He goes on longwinded rants and it’s you’re job to fix his discoveries so they make sense and continue you through the game. Say Herlock believes a lion escaped in a second-story apartment, it’s you’re job to prove what really caused the damage through visual clues and examination of evidence. It’s jolly good fun to dance around Sholmes as you piece together mysteries.

Cold Cases and their Solutions.

There may come a time when you are expected to present certain evidence at the exact time of a trial or are supposed to be investigating but just don’t know where to look! This was an issue I had with the Phoenix Wright trilogy, sometimes the answers were extremely difficult, and they brought the gameplay to a screeching halt. You’d either have to guess blindly or search for walkthroughs online which, hey, no judgments here we’ve all done it. TGAAC adds in a new feature that can help you jump over those hurdles, and even speed along with those cases that go on forever and you just want to end. This is called ‘Story Mode’. By switching on Story mode in settings, every time you press the minus button on your switch, the game takes the reigns, and automatically plays through all the answers and the dialogue, like you’re watching a great movie.

Now you may choose to only use this to answer the really hard questions, and then turn it straight off, and that’s great. But I also found it nice sometimes, and especially during case 5 where things tend to drag, to just watch the story play out. Any way you want to use it, the story mode option makes the game a little more accessible for casual players or dumb-dumbs like me.

Closing Statement.

Overall The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is a charming reimagining of the classic Phoenix Wright/Ace Attorney franchise. The lengthy and fulfilling trials, fanciful cases and whimsical characters take you away, and before you know it you’ve been playing a case for four hours. It does lack some of the pizzazz and strangeness of the original games, but it makes up for it with its interesting interpretation of the Victorian Era, and is still plenty funny. Well worth the price this one, no objections.

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