Apollo Justice: Ace Review

Apollo Justice is the fourth game in the Phoenix Wright series. A series of games where you become an Ace Attorney and it’s up to you to prove your defendants NOT GUILTY at any cost. Truly there is no greater experience than posing dramatically, pointing with your left hand, while yelling into the DS in your right hand, “OBJECTION!”

If you have never experienced the joy that is yelling out an objection while in public, you have yet to experience what the DS offers.

This fourth installment sees a new Ace Attorney take center stage, well…. try to take center stage, he easily falls behind the real star of the show Phoenix Wright. Too bad Phoenix Wright lost his badge 7 years ago (2 months after the end of the third game) and is now a piano player stuck with raising a 15 year old daughter.  What happened 7 years ago that he lost his badge, how did he get a daughter in those 7 years while at the same time somehow having a time paradox that caused her to age twice as fast as a normal human, WHAT HAPPENED TO MAYA?!?!??  Well, you’ll learn most of those things(not anything Fey related) before the game is over.

In fact the story itself is both a strong point and a low point in my opinion. The third game was pretty epic when all the previous cases suddenly had little pieces here and there that added together to create a pretty strong last story. This fourth game tries to do much the same thing…. but just doesn’t pull it off in the same way. Yes everything that happens is connected, FAR more than it ever should be. But I left feeling like even though I was playing as Apollo the story was more about Phoenix. And the last case could almost be considered a let down.

The game does provide more use of the DS than the previous games(which were just ports of GBA games really). The puzzles here and there requiring the touch pad are a nice touch and were different enough for each case that you didn’t feel like it was the same thing over and over again. Everything is animated nicely, though scenes like the poker match are reused and then replayed far too many times. And one case which began and centered around a concert ended up replaying the footage every time you had to prove something.

Talking about animated nicely, I could watch Trucy “bounce” for hours.

As a fan of the series this new game was a nice new adventure. But at the same time Phoenix Wright still steals the show. And after these seven years I’m still left wondering whatever happened to everyone else. Maya, Pearl, Edgeworth. While Ema Skye did finally return after her one shot in the first game, she probably would have been more fun to interact with as Phoenix than Apollo.

The actual gameplay hasn’t changed much. You still go to court, experience witty dialog, and then call out the witness on their testimonies by showing evidence that proves them wrong. What has changed though is while Phoenix had a magic magatama that activated when someone had a secret, allowing him to gather more evidence/information. Apollo has a magic bracelet that activates when a witness is lying to you in court. Sadly unlike Phoenix’s magatama that introduces a minigame of proving that the person knows something, Apollo must watch the entire testimony, figure out what exactly they are lying about, and then figure out what their “nervous tick” is and call them out on it. And while some of these ticks are easy to find, others can feel downright impossible.

It still has the great writing that makes the Ace Attorney games so enjoyable to play/read. Interesting and unique characters, places and situations. The new cast add a different flavor to the events and plenty of new jokes. And while I am disappointed with Apollo himself, Trucy and Klavier have more than enough personality to compensate for him. And while the game does have a couple throwbacks to the earlier games, there isn’t anything stopping new fans from starting here and going back to the first three games.

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