The Ace Attorney series is no stranger to peculiar, and sometimes downright bizarre, happenings in the courtroom. Sometimes it’s trying to get a brain damaged witness to recall things in greater detail and sometimes it’s cross examining a bird, and that’s only in one game. It should come as no surprise, then, that Mr. Wright’s legendary defense skills would be requested to defend an equally unorthodox defendant at some point; the newest DLC for Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies sees Phoenix Wright taking on his first case as a defense lawyer since regaining his attorney’s badge, and this time he has a whale of a defendant. That’s not an ungainly euphemism — Phoenix’s client is actually a whale. A killer whale charged with murder, to be precise.
Turnabout Reclaimed, having nothing to do with the main plot of Dual Destinies, is a standalone story with its own characters and situations, though Prosecutor Blackquill and Detective Fulbright return to act as the opposition to Phoenix for the case. Chronologically, the story takes place between the second and third cases of the main game, and this puts the DLC in something of a precarious position. On one hand, its story is completely self-sufficient and can be played by anyone without spoiling the main game’s plot. On the other, it has no real impact on each character’s story arc and doesn’t continue or contribute in any way to the overall narrative. It all boils down to what you look for in an Ace Attorney game.
The story is serviceable enough, with some twists at the very end that keep players guessing, but the character pool is small, so it’s easy enough to guess the real perpetrator of the incident. It’s likely a result of the limitations of DLC, but more characters to widen the pool of suspects would have been welcome and might have made the case less predictable. Still, the writing hits all the right notes, with some wrinkles and digs at popular culture that will elicit chuckles out of even the most jaded of players. The final verdict and result also give a satisfying conclusion to the case, and longtime fans will enjoy some of the bizarre — and at one point, downright surreal — situations the case puts Phoenix in. Unfortunately, Apollo is benched for the entire case, so those hoping for more appearances by Mr. Chords of Steel (Esq.) will be sorely disappointed.
Taking place over two days, the case sees the return of some previous gameplay elements such as luminol spraying for blood samples in addition to Athena’s Mood Matrix and Phoenix’s Psyche Lock sections. Luminol spraying is an infinitesimal part of the three to four hour case though, and it’ll be over before players know it. A cameo of a beloved veteran character of the series, as well as an unlockable costume for Phoenix that puts him in his hideous but hilarious college garb rounds out the DLC.
It’s somewhat difficult to say if this DLC is a must buy. As I said, it all depends on what the player enjoys from the Ace Attorney series. There’s nothing in this case that substantially contributes to the overall story, but it never claims to do that in the first place. It’s more Ace Attorney, for better or worse, so adjust your expectations accordingly. Overall, I came away satisfied and would gladly put down money for future DLC as long as they keep the same measure of quality.