Review: The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles

hold it! The evidence states that Ace Attorney is back after a few years with a completely different cast of characters. Objection! But that is not possible! Phoenix Wright is the well-known protagonist of the long-running franchise. Take That! I conclude that the success of the series does not depend on Phoenix Wright, and it does with this review!

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is a collection of two games within the franchise that the west has never seen. Originally, the two parts only appeared in Japan on the Nintendo 3DS and smartphone. It is a branch of the popular Ace Attorney franchise set many years before the events of Phoenix Wright's stories. You play one of Phoenix Wright's distant Japanese ancestors! It's up to you, as a learning lawyer, Ryunosuke Naruhodo, to uncover the truth. You do this spread over 10 cases, five per game, following one overarching story that spans the two games.

Your Good Right

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is set in the Victorian era during the 19th century. Ryunosuke's story is set in both Japan and England where you take on the roles of both a lawyer and a detective. The 10 cases are either cases that take place in a courtroom or on a crime scene. Each case eats away about 5 to 6 hours of your time during which you sit on the edge of your seat to unravel the truth. The game does this with a cast of incredibly charming characters including Kazuma Asogi, Susato Mikotoba, English detective Herlock Sholmes and Baroque van Zieks to name a few.

Since you spend the necessary hours with these people in the courtroom or on the crime scene, you become somewhat connected with these characters. In the wild ride where each case brings new elements, introduces new characters and puts your critical eye to the test, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles never has a dull moment. It's constant full action, twists, beautiful interaction and unravelings.

Since the game takes place over 100 years ago, the world is in a slightly different state. England is a great power and has done well. Japan is seen as a primitive island and the English characters are not afraid to draw your attention to this. Stereotyping is a big part of these titles and this gives you a bit of a glimpse into the past, although of course it's greatly exaggerated. Yet it somewhat recreates the views of the time and clearly shows the flaws of the legal system of the time.

Dance of Deduction

I think the gameplay in The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles can best be compared to a visual novel and a point-and-click adventure game. Where you carefully search crime scenes for hints and references in a point-and-click-like manner, the courtroom turns into a visual novel where you have to question testimonials by disproving them with hard evidence and reasoning.

If you think you've cracked the case and the euphoric feeling shoots through your body when you make a significant turn on the case, there's almost always a surprise waiting for you. Another twist that makes the accused appear guilty again and brings the judge closer to his verdict. Ryunosuke is a defense attorney and the fact is that the accused is always guilty unless there is hard evidence that this is not the case. So you always start with a backlog.

Don't be put off by this. Although the game can be quite challenging at times, it is not a lawyer simulator or hardcore detective game where you can accuse the wrong person. You can make mistakes in your process, but the outcome is actually already set in stone. You play a game with a really very closely put together story with very cool characters both as ally and opposition. This is the driving force of the game and you can even choose to play the game automatically in the options. So you don't have to press any buttons here. Enjoy the ride! Handy if you really, really don't get any further, but you probably don't or hardly need it.

Present evidence

The Great Ace Attorney looks colorful and finished. The 3D environments and characters are nicely designed and contain enough animation and expressions to keep things interesting throughout the ride. To think that the original release was on the 3DS is amazing. To this day, this graphic style has held up well, although the resolution is of course higher to present it nice and sharp on the Playstation 4, among others.

The soundtrack in the game is also very good. The right tones in the different soundtracks that start playing exactly on time at certain key moments completes the whole vibe. For example, you hear certain soundtracks just when you turn things on its back, or when an unexpected turn takes place. It enhances the feeling that the game wants to give you at that moment and you hum the simple but catchy melodies for a long time.

There is little to comment on, but personally the presentation would be complete for me with full voice acting. Since you have a thick book of reading after playing this game, this is unlikely, but the short cutscenes with voices enrich the experience. This would be the Christmas on the cake for me to give this game a big 10. And that finally brings me to the next point.


Since you as a reader in this review are not given the opportunity to cross-examine as in the game, you have to make do with my verdict. And my verdict is, I blame this game for providing a brilliant spectacle that I couldn't get enough of. The characters, the story, the twists, unravelings and the general presentation to eye and ear were pure delight. Yes, it may not be for everyone, but I also assumed this franchise would not be for me. With that I also conclude that The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles can be a perfect start for your Ace Attorney journey. It is also a prequel.

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