"Phoenix is rusty, having been disbarred for over seven years and only recently gotten his attorney status reinstated."
The Ace Attorney series holds a special place in my heart as the one that rekindled my interest in the graphic adventure genre, largely due to its witty humor, interesting characters, and well-written dialogue. However, it's been over four years since the release of the last entry in North America, Ace Attorney Investigations, and while fans were disappointed by the lack of news regarding the localization of Ace Attorney Investigations 2
and Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney
, they can rejoice now that the fifth entry in the Ace Attorney series proper is slated for a stateside release.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Dual Destinies
is the first mainline title to be released for the 3DS, and it starts off with a literal bang when a bomb explodes in a courtroom, injuring Phoenix's stalwart protégé, Apollo Justice, and leaving Phoenix to defend the suspect behind the bombing, Juniper Woods. Phoenix is rusty, having been disbarred for over seven years and only recently gotten his attorney status reinstated. Flanking him is Athena Cykes, another defense attorney from his firm specializing in psychology.
In the demo I played, the trial portion of the first case is available. It doesn't stray far from the base gameplay of the series, allowing the player to cross-examine witnesses to discover any statements in their testimonies that contradict the evidence, though with a few extra features. The demo showcases one of these new features, the new "Mood Matrix," where Athena detects the emotions of the witness during their testimony. Phoenix can then press the witness when he discovers an emotion that is incompatible with their testimony. This process can extract a more accurate testimony from the witness, giving Phoenix valuable information to aid his defense.
The major aesthetic change to the game is that characters are now 3D models instead of 2D sprites. The characters are well represented by their models, and animate quite well. The 3D effects are disorienting at first for anyone more used to the 2D artwork of previous entries, but are quite well implemented. Small enhancements such as being able to instantly display text instead of just watching it scroll or fast forwarding through it make the game much more user friendly as well.
Unfortunately, the demo ended halfway into the trial, leaving the case on a cliffhanger. The wait for Phoenix Wright's return as a defense attorney has been a long time coming, and despite not having a concrete release date, Capcom has committed to releasing the game before September. There is a lot to look forward to in Dual Destinies, and Capcom has just made the wait much more difficult for fans.