One of the great things about the Nintendo DS was the horde of great text-based adventure games that came to the platform. Arguably the most successful and popular amongst the fans was the Ace Attorney series, which saw 4 titles and a spin off series grace the console over the years. Phoenix Wright, the main protagonist of the series, proved so popular that Capcom decided to make him a playable character in the most recent Marvel vs. Capcom game as well as investing in a Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright title. It’s 2013 however, and fans of the franchise want a true sequel to Ace Attorney 4, which released on the DS back in 2009, and Capcom have finally delivered it. Does Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies live up to the hype? Absolutely.
Unlike previous games, players will have the opportunity to play as various defence attorneys, including previous protagonists Phoenix Wright and Apollo Justice. Dual Destinies goes one step further and introduces us to a new character by the name of Athena Cykes, the first female defence attorney in the series and one full of character, as expected for the series. Switching between the three of them, players will have the opportunity to solve five different cases, with a superb overarching storyline and narrative bringing together the characters. Prosecutor Blackquill, the player’s main rival throughout the story, is also a fantastic addition to the series although ultimately falls short of greatness when compared to some of the franchise’s previous characters.
Players will have the opportunity to solve five different cases, with a superb overarching storyline and narrative bringing together the characters.
Regular gameplay is similar to how it’s always been but there have been improvements all around the board. For those that aren’t series veterans, gameplay is split between ‘Investigation’ segments and ‘Court’ battles, the latter involving some nail biting moments that will have you scratching your head and screaming in disbelief on a number of occasions. The pacing of the cases has greatly improved too and this is largely due to the fact that you’ll find yourself using one of three defence attorneys, with Athena in particular providing a welcome change. Athena has a unique ability, one which ‘allows her to hear the hearts’ of her clients, which completely changes the experience you’ll have during court battles. This unique ability comes in handy when you’re staring at a witness who refuses to admit the truth and it allows Athena to understand how the witness felt during certain parts of her testimony, often revealing huge contractions. I really do feel as though this adds to the experience and it provides a welcome break to simply cross-examining witnesses in the same manner again and again.
In terms of presentation, Dual Destinies is absolutely stunning, with an incredible soundtrack and fantastic animations for all characters. Characters come to life thanks to their unique animations which make the previous DS games look boring (which is saying a lot) and it completely changes the way you look at certain characters. Apollo Justice in particular, who received a mixed reception in Ace Attorney 4, proves himself as one of the game’s best characters and a particular witness in the game’s second case is arguably the franchise’s best one-off character to date. Music is, in most cases, fully orchestrated and features a mixture of old and new tracks. As always, the soundtrack builds a great sense of atmosphere, whether it’s when discovering the identity of a murderer or to compliment the hilarious dialogue (which is better than ever). Coupled with the 3D effect, Capcom have done a fantastic job at bringing the Ace Attorney world to life and I can only hope that future visual novels on the 3DS match what this game achieves.
Dual Destinies is absolutely stunning, with an incredible soundtrack and fantastic animations for all characters.
Should you buy this game? Well, if you’re a fan of visual novels/adventure games, then absolutely. Whilst it’s not exactly full of traditional gameplay and whilst you’ll spend 80% of your time reading through often hilarious text and talking to new characters, the game is sure to keep you hooked because the stories, cases and characters are absolutely brilliant. The titles have always been incredibly popular due to the wacky cases, insane plot twists and great characters and Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies retains that reputation. Do yourself a favour and download this fantastic title off of the eShop and I guarantee you’ll be spending late nights under the duvet finding contradictions and yelling ‘Objection!’ for weeks.