As the press and gaming community were quickly shuffled into the broken down court room at TGS, I couldn't help but be a little bit nervous. It's been four years since Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney hit American shores. Would Ace Attorney 5 manage to live up to the series name?
If the first fifteen minutes are an indication, the answer is a resounding yes.
Before I delve into the story details, know that this is an Ace Attorney game, through and through. That of course means that you'll be tapping the screen furiously, questioning witnesses and throwing out evidence. Ace Attorney 5 is a welcome return to the form that made the series popular in the first place. While not much seems to have changed, there is one huge difference compared to the previous games: the visuals.
Ace Attorney 5 forgoes the traditional 2D sprite work, instead utilizing 3D models that look and move beautifully. I was admittedly worried that some of the charm of the characters would be lost. What I found instead, was that characters animated with a fluidity like never before. Expressions were more clear, subtle gestures more detailed and the whole package simply more involving. As Phoenix walks into the court, the 3D doors open to reveal a giant courtroom. The camera pans from one side of the room to the next in dramatic fashion. As the suspect steps up for questioning, the in-game camera slowly zooms forward toward her, dramatically staging the next chunk of the trial. This is the Ace Attorney you know and love, only improved and polished to a shine.
The new gameplay mechanic introduced this time around revolves around the new character, young defense attorney Kokone Kizuki. A fresh upstart who recently joined Phoenix's law firm, she has the ability to read people's hearts, allowing her and our spikey haired lawyer to see into suspect's emotions during certain memories. Choosing the correct suspicious emotion during a portion of the testimony will create opportunities to glean more information.
As has been reported elsewhere, the story kicks off with a bombing of the court house, leading Phoenix to defend Kokone's close friend against Winston Payne's younger brother in court. The dialogue is every bit as snappy as before and I found myself surprised by how happy I was to return to this world. As a pure fan of the franchise, this might be my favorite game of the show so far.
I'll be honest. The moment that Phoenix's theme from Trials and Tribulations started playing, a huge smile formed on my face.
Capcom unfortunately didn't allow members of the press to shoot video of the game, but in the meantime check out the awesome courtroom booth they created for TGS. Photo Gallery: (5 images)
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