Review | The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles
The Ace Attorney franchise has been a series I’ve observed from a distance. While the games have several elements that appeal to me, such as its investigative gameplay, unique premises, and an attractive art style, it had still always been an overwhelming series to get into. However, after the western release of its spin-off series The Great Ace Attorney was announced, I decided it was finally time for me to dive into the beloved franchise. It’s worth noting that The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is a bundle consisting of the two Great Ace Attorney games: The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures and The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve. Each consists of a variety of cases centered on various characters.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles starts in a decisive and interesting manner. It follows young Ryunosuke Naruhodo, a student of Yumei University. He finds himself in a rather compromising position after he’s involved in a recent murder case. As such, the game starts with him standing on trial, and it’s up to the player to prove his innocence. I was admittedly surprised upon starting the game to find myself defending the main character on trial for murder. However, I quickly found that the game’s first episode was both a highly entertaining and educating way of introducing players to the game. As The Great Ace Attorney is set in 19th-century Japan, things are noticeably different from earlier entries in the series. Character mannerisms and especially investigative methods and tools being the most notable differences due to the time period.
Players will receive new cases and see the events leading up to them in each episode. They’ll have to repeatedly mull over and tear it apart piece by piece in order to figure out the whole truth and timeline of the events. To do this, the player will have to examine the evidence, listen to witness testimonies, and seek out inconsistencies in their statements. Upon doing so, more about the case progressively reveals itself, leading to its climactic and often dramatic conclusion. Having played through the many trials in the game, I can honestly say that the process of unearthing the truth is highly gratifying. Nothing is irrelevant in the game, and every scene and evidence will prove crucial. Additionally, your skills as a lawyer improves along with Naruhodo even when each case proves very different from the last.
After the first trial and a string of events, Naruhodo will eventually make his way to Great Britain and will involve himself in several other cases. This part of the game uses the new setting to introduce a new element called Summation Examinations. During Summation Examinations, each juror of the court has the liberty to choose whether the defendant is guilty or not. If the guilty verdict is unanimous, the player will contest each juror’s statement to uncover contradictions in their arguments. This element offers something fresh to gameplay as it forces the player to pay close attention and to think rationally. Listening to each statement and proving the fallacy in their arguments always felt great.
As players progress further in the game, they’ll meet Herlock Sholmes, the copyright-friendly version of the famous detective. Sholmes introduces the Dance of Deduction element of gameplay. Players will partake in investigations outside the courtroom, spotting clues, examine objects, and talking to/ interrogating suspects with evidence. Sholmes will also make deductions about several witnesses. It’s up to the player to spot holes in his logic and examine the witnesses themselves to learn the truth. These sections aren’t too challenging to play through, as it mostly involves spotting items that are blatantly vital to the case.
Another aspect of the game I found interesting is its wacky characters. Each character has a gimmick or trait that stands out, especially in court, where their outlandish hijinks come out and successfully break the monotony of the courtroom. The game’s art design is also really impressive. Mainly because it fits well with the 19th-century British setting, and the excellent soundtrack goes hand in hand with it. The only issue I have with the game is with some of its unnecessarily complex plot points and long, sometimes tedious courtroom sessions. Thankfully, the game presents itself so well that it doesn’t impact it that much.
All in all, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is a delightful bundle of two great games. The plot succeeds in entertaining the player, while the gameplay challenges them resulting in an overall satisfying experience. Thanks to this being a prequel in the franchise, it’s a great point to jump into the series. Even for series veterans, there’s a lot to love here, and even a few familiar references.
Final Score: 8 out of 10