Phoenx Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies ReviewJustin Ling
Phoenix Wright is back and this time he's not alone in taking up the badge of defense attorney in the latest installment of the Ace Attorney series, joined by Apollo Justice from Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney and newcomer Athena Cykes. Dual Destinies is the first of the main games to appear on the Nintendo 3DS and makes great use of the 3DS's capabilities to breathe new life into its world of wacky characters while still maintaining the good balance between comedy and drama that has made the series beloved amongst its fans.
Having made the leap to Nintendo 3DS, players will immediately notice that one of the game's greatest strengths is the graphics. The characters are now animated 3D sprites and move in a very fluid manner that are very appropriate for the Ace Attorney world and make them very fun to watch, especially with the wackier characters and the more dramatic gestures. The character designs are once again very unique, ensuring that every major character has as very distinct look which, when combined with their various quirks, make the cast a very colorful one indeed. The new animation also breathes new life into the courtroom scenes, which says quite a bit considering how animated such scenes were when the games were on the Nintendo DS.
Most of the cases are solid enough stories, though one should be aware that this is the very first Ace Attorney game that has received the Mature' rating due to the depiction of blood being a bit more graphic and certain implications later on in the game. The game does a fairly good job being funny and dramatic whenever appropriate and one can definitely say that a good amount of the cases will certainly leave an emotional impact on the audience. The voice acting in animated cutscenes is decent for the most part, though there are certain places where the voice acting is a little less than stellar; however, it does not detract too much from the game and the places where it shines definitely radiates enough to forgive the more subpar areas.
The game also introduces the new Mood Matrix mechanic where Athena can try pinpointing emotional discrepancies in witnesses to either clear up their testimonies or spot lies that regular cross-examination might not uncover. This mechanic is quite simple to understand and use, providing players with a new toy to play around with while in the courtroom. The game also sees the return of several other unique' forms of investigation such as the Psychelocks and Apollo's bracelet, though these are not used as often and seem to be in the game only as a nod to the previous installments. It would certainly be interesting to see if it's possible to include the above too mechanics more often in future DLC cases.
Overall, the fifth game in this franchise does not disappoint; while it has its rough edges, fans should have no objections in purchasing this. It does a good job in making the transition to the 3DS, making the world of Phoenix Wright much more animated and colorful, and has enough nods to the previous games to make older fans happy. The storytelling is solid, the cases are intriguing and fun to see play out, and there is a good balance of new and old mechanics. This game is a good sign of what future Ace Attorney games may look like.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.