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Review: Apollo Justice : Ace Attorney - Nintendo DS

by Steven Williamson on 30 May 2008, 14:15

Tags: Apollo Justice Ace Attorney for Nintendo DS, Capcom (TYO:9697), Action/Adventure

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qanho

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Innocent or Guilty?

The court cases have been cleverly written with twisting plot-lines and an injection of humour that prevents the trials from feeling too lifeless. Although the tempo of the game is undeniably slow, each case is suitably well-paced ensuring that it’s difficult to guess an outcome of a trial before it ends, which reassuringly means that you’re always kept hooked into the plot right until the final ‘Innocent’ or ‘Guilty’ decision has been made.

The main bulk of the game-play requires you to listen out for inconsistencies from the testimonies that are played out in the courtroom. During each testimony you can press the witness for more information or you can produce a piece of evidence from the court records that will hopefully prove an inconsistency in their statement. If you present the wrong piece of evidence or press your witness too hard you can find yourself penalised by the judge, which can see the case come to a premature end.

Through examining the court records you get the opportunity to zoom in on pictures, study murder weapons, rotate and examine objects that were present at the murder scene, as well as check the autopsy report for clues and review information on the witnesseses. As a trial intensifies you get more evidence to sift through and the more difficult it becomes to find that one piece of evidence that will bring the trial to a close.

Though solving each trial is a logical process that requires reading intensely and scrupulously sifting through and re-examining evidence, it’s still a very challenging game. I found the trials difficult to complete due to the patient approach that’s required to listen to the story and try and really get into the mind of a detective as you repeatedly re-read and re-examine the court records looking for a smidgen of evidence..

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is a marathon and not a sprint; you can't rush through trials and solve a crime without having to think very, very carefully indeed. If you’re willing to invest time into it though, you’re rewarded for your hard work by the satisfaction of completing and winning these tricky trials. And indeed when that happens you get a buzz from knowing that you had to work that brain damn hard to get through it.

One of the new features this year is the ‘Perceive’ system, with which you can analyse courtroom behaviour and work out when witnesses are nervous or hiding something. It’s not really an addition to the game-play as such, it’s more like a hint system that simply helps you to progress through the storyline, but nevertheless it’s a welcome feature that adds something new to the long-running series.

In terms of innovation though, that’s about it. If you’re already a fan of the courtroom drama series, you’ll still enjoy the complicated court-cases and the mental challenge that they offer. But, if I'm being totally honest, I couldn't help but feel a little bored.

I’d hoped for something a little different from Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, but disappointingly even the humour in the script doesn’t quite prevent the game and its regurgitated ideas from feeling a little stale in this four episode. Still, it's a decent game that will appeal to those who prefer their logic to be tested rather than their reflexes and button-bashing skills.

Interesting court-cases
Mentally challenging
Intelligently written with plenty of twists

Been there, done that
It can drag sometimes.

Just as good as any of the previous Ace Attorney titles, but nothing new.

HEXUS Awards

HEXUS.gaming Recommended
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (7/10)

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