Miles Edgeworth Ace Attorney Investigations
Adventure - Nintendo DS
I admit it. I'm a sucker for this game series. Ever since I first heard about it (a courtroom drama video game? really?!), I've been intrigued. Oh sure, the games have had their ups and downs. But through it all, it generally maintained a certain charm. Miles Edgeworth marks a departure from the previous entries, and even has a different title than the other games (Gyakuten Kenji, instead of Gyakuten Saiban). But if this Miles Edgeworth Ace Attorney Investigations is anything to go by, the original Ace Attorney series is officially irrelevant.
Miles Edgeworth somehow kept everything I ever loved about the series, but ditched everything I hated.
- Mysticism (psychic powers, channeling spirits and the like, magatama)
- Gimmicky touch screen garbage (having to simulate forensic work is NOT gameplay)
- Perceive system in Ace Attorney 4 which has no logic whatsover
Still contained within are...
- Distinct (and sometimes outrageous) character personalities
- Using logic to connect evidence to refute / confirm testimonies
- Plot continuity not only between cases, but entire games
Unlike the regular Ace Attorney games, Miles Edgeworth does not take place in a courtroom at all. Instead, the scenarios in this game focus on detective-work and apprehending criminals, but the techniques you use are very similar to what Phoenix Wright uses in court. You still talk to people, convince them into telling you their alibis, and point out problems in their arguments with evidence. So it's still very thought-based. The investigative parts resemble those in Phoenix Wright, but they're much more streamlined. First of all, movement is now done in third-person. You can see your character visually on-screen and move him around. It doesn't make for a huge change, but some might appreciate the increase in interactivity. To alleviate some of the irritations of previous games, Capcom got rid of the clunky navigation between areas by keeping investigations focused. If you're in a room, the game generally won't let you leave until you've gathered everything you need. Phoenix Wright would allow you to wander through 8 different locations, until you trigger an event that lets you get back to court. In Miles Edgeworth, though, the investigations are contained.
If it stopped here, it would already have the best gameplay in the series, but Ace Attorney Investigations adds a couple of new systems that reinforce the concept of making logical connections. The first is aptly named, "Logic". "Evidence" is the physical clues gathered and documented that you use to point out flaws in testimonies, etc. But new to this game are ideas and thoughts. As you find interesting tidbits or things that don't quite make sense, you keep track of your thoughts. At any time, you can connect two thoughts if there's a link, and it can reveal a new truth. It is may be an extension of what's already in place, but it makes for a great addition. Similarly, the second new addition isn't a completely new game system, but rather a twist on what you already do in the game. In a select few situations, you're able to evaluate simulations of past events and point out inconsistencies. The overall end result is a very focused experience of piecing together logic.
The only slight letdown to it all is that it seemed easier to me than the previous games. Part of it is because the main character is so much more competent than either Phoenix or Apollo, and as such, points out hints, whenever you need to present something. But even without those hints, I generally thought that connections between evidence and testimonies were much more obvious than the older games. I suppose it could just mean I've played too many of these games, so that the formula has become predictable.
Still, I hope Miles Edgeworth Ace Attorney Investigations is the future of the brand. It takes all the stuff I liked from the Ace Attorney games, expands on it, and dumps the junk I wasn't crazy about. The eclectic character personalities are still there, with a mix of old faces and several new ones. And the gameplay is by far the most sophisticated of the series. Even though the overall story wasn't as satisfying as some of the previous entries, it was nevertheless a complete joy to play. I want more.