Ninjas, evil spirits and Latino doppelgangers; all were characters in the brilliantly mad Capcom courtroom series, Ace Attorney. However, by entry three, Trials and Tribulations, the proceedings had become bloated until the games amounted to one big fan in-joke, and so Capcom have decided to start anew with the series, replacing fingerwaving hair-lover Phoenix with braceletstroking… um, hair-lover Apollo Justice.
However, don’t let them fool you into thinking that this is entirely a new game; what we have here is essentially more of the same, albeit with a (mostly) new cast. Once again you find yourself playing through a number of cases as a rookie lawyer; nicking evidence from crime scenes, quizzing demented NPCs and behaving erratically in court are still the order of the day.
The graphics, now actually designed for the DS for a change, are slightly spruced-up, and this comes with some passable use of the touch-screen. You can dust for fingerprints, search through CCTV records and even mix music using the stylus, even if it is all predetermined and you are essentially playing an interactive graphic novel. Like Snatcher or Hotel Dusk? You’ll love this.
And it’s all very engaging; the characters may not quite be as good as the old cast, but they’re still entertaining (particularly the game’s antagonist), and the plot is on the whole pretty strong and filled with some brilliant drama – why, by my count the last mission alone contains 4 jaw-dropping plot twists. At least.
So, if you’re a fan of the series this is just the fix you’ve been looking for. If, however, you’ve an Ace Attorney newcomer, whilst this may be a good place to start, I urge you to pick up the older titles beforehand as you’ll get more out of Apollo Justice. It may be more of the same, but when it’s this good who cares?
And, yes – you do still yell “objection.”