Being an attorney never sounded like an exciting career choice. That is, not until Capcom released the first Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney game in 2001. It follows the cases of up-and-coming attorney Phoenix Wright. Four titles later in the series Capcom introduced Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, a continuation in the series featuring a new main character. Almost 10 years after its release, Apollo Justice has made its way onto iOS and Android. Because the game was originally for the Nintendo DS, the touchscreen features transfer well onto current mobile devices and all the controls feel very natural. The game itself does not play differently from the previous titles in the series, and while the picture does feel more vivid on current devices it still seems a bit lackluster for a rerelease almost a decade later. The story and characters are easily some of the best written in the series, but it would have been nice to see some changes to the gameplay so it felt fresh.
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, like the games before it feature a two-part gameplay segment for each case, the investigative phase and the trial phase. Each is very distinct from the other. The investigative phase features Apollo going back to crime scenes to interview suspects or witness or to gather evidence that the player can later utilize in the trial phase.
The game tests the player’s memory and attention to detail as it moves into the trial. The player takes the mantle of Apollo Justice to cross-examine at the stand. Players must keep their eyes open for contradictory statements in testimony, or pull evidence at the right time to press the right information.
The gameplay itself is enjoyable and can even be challenging at times, but the real detail in the game is in the characters. Not just their personality but the design as well. Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney was the first title in the series to use motion-capture technology for some of the video segments, and the detail that was put into the character design and scenes is shown off much better with enhanced visuals.
The best part is not just witnessing Apollo grow into his role of Ace Attorney, but being able to do so right alongside him. At the beginning of the game he is a nervous and jittery character, uncertain of his actions. It is just like being the player at the start of the game, not knowing where to press the right information, overly-cautious of being wrong about their suspicions. As the player goes through the game though, they grow more confident with Apollo. They start to catch on to certain details on the evidence, pay more attention to what someone is saying on the stand. It makes the character much more relatable that he gets excited at the same time as the player.
The purchase itself isn’t bad, you initially get half of the first chapter for $0.99 and can get the second half for only $1.99. For those who want to take their time or aren’t sure of how much they will enjoy it each chapter is $4.99 individually or players can save those couple of extra dollars and get the whole episode set for $14.99. Overall that’s a great a price for a game that still retails at almost a $30 value on the DS.
It is no surprise that the game was well-received when it was initially released, sporting mostly 9/10 ratings. It is great to see such a well-crafted game ported from the DS to iOS and Android so a whole new generation of players can experience what is still one of the most original and enjoyable Visual Novel experiences.
The high definition visuals pop on devices now and even if someone has played the title before, it is worth the small investment to go back and not just relive the memory but refresh it so it looks even better in their than before. Because it was on a dual screen before, the interface has changed a bit, but nothing that changes the game. It would have been nice if the developers had taken a bit more effort and put in something new, whether it be a feature or a chapter just to make it feel more like an enhancement to the game and less like a simple rerelease. This does not detract from the strongly written characters and stories as Apollo, and the player, follow the path to becoming and Ace Attorney.
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