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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies
Published by Tanis
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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies

Phoenix Wright rises up to the challenge once more! In the latest installment of Capcom's Ace Attorney series, everyone's favorite defense attorney once again finds himself up against insurmountable odds. This game presents a somewhat darker tone than other entries in the series - characters in the game will often reference the "dark age of the law", a period of time where the general public has lost faith in the judicial system. Crooked prosecutors and attorneys, false convictions and evidence, and much more run amok in this dark age. After a few years sitting on the sidelines, can Phoenix make a comeback hold his own once more?

Not without a little help it seems. While it isn't new to the series, Dual Destinies allows the player to control multiple characters over the course of the game. Apollo Justice, Phoenix Wright, and a spunky newcomer to his law firm, Athena Cykes fill out the playable roster. Older games typically had you clearing cases with the main character (as it should be), but Dual Destinies' story focuses on multiple characters at the same time. One thing I feel that they got right this time is that each character had their fifteen minutes of fame, each of them were important in their own right and had their time to shine during the course of the game.

Gameplay remains largely the same from previous entries in the series. Investigation sections are broken up into finding clues at the crime scene and talking to witnesses and people connected to the crime, while the cross examinations have you pressing witnesses' testimonies for information and presenting evidence when you find a contradiction. Dual Destinies adds the option to consult one of your fellow defense attorneys during a cross examination if you're having trouble figuring out a problem. While it is an optional function, I found that it made the game a little too easy at some points. Cases are supposed to be challenging, and having someone telling you where the contradiction lies or where to present evidence kind of defeats that purpose.

Like previous games before it, Dual Destinies adds a new element that spices up the gameplay a little. Similar to Phoenix's Magatama and Apollo's Bracelet, Athena can use her gadget, Widget, on tight-lipped witnesses to read their inner emotions. This adds a new, interesting dynamic that was not present before in the game's universe, and fills in the gap when Phoenix's or Apollo's expertise just aren't enough to pull information out of someone.

If there's one thing I have to commend Capcom on for this game, it's the flawless transition that the series has made from using animated sprites for the characters to 3D models. When this game was first announced, a lot of fans were skeptical at first due to how it would look and behave in 3D. I found that Capcom did an impeccable job with the models who look and act just as, if not more so, lively as their 2D counterparts. Another thing of note is the game's musical score. I didn't find it as impressive as some previous games in the series, but it did manage to capture the overall dramatic tone that the game presented. There were also a few animated cutscenes sprinkled throughout the game. While they were nothing spectacular, and hilariously cheesy at points, it was nice to see the characters in animated form for the first time.

Dual Destinies' main game is composed of 5 cases and has an extra case available for DLC. All of the cases are pretty lengthy this time around, so there's no shortage of story. The story is centered around the dark age of the law which has the legal system under the scrutiny of the public eye. Several events culminating with a prosecutor being charged for murder led to this dark age taking over, and the game has the protagonists dealing with and eventually fighting back against it to get things back to the way they were before. I found Dual Destinies' story to be one of the better ones in the series. Even the weaker cases managed to be good in the grand scheme of things. The final case in particular has a lot of interesting twists, and in my opinion, is among the series' best.

An observation I made with the story as a whole is that it's very self contained. The writers strike a good balance - they were flexible enough to allow a newcomer to the Ace Attorney series to jump right into Dual Destinies and enjoy it while still throwing references at fans who've played the older games without going overboard, which is a plus in my book.

Overall, I found Dual Destinies to be a very enjoyable entry in the series. It is probably the easiest game so far, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, as I'd rank it as the 2nd or 3rd best Ace Attorney game overall. The gameplay and dialogue is still just as fun and engaging as it's always been. Fans of the series will enjoy Phoenix's triumphant return to the courtroom in this latest entry, and newcomers to the series have a good place to start, though that isn't really recommended. Seriously. Play them all in order if you can.

Anywho, thanks for reading.
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By Nintenduendo on 01-31-2014, 11:50 PM
Awesome review, Tanis.
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By Mable on 02-13-2014, 07:32 AM
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By Pokeman on 02-14-2014, 02:19 AM
I'm really glad they announced that the 6th game is in development already, this game was really great. The DLC case was also great too
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