Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies

Putting The Pieces Together In Investigation Mode
by Jeff Cork on Jul 18, 2013 at 08:28 PM
Platform 3DS
Publisher Capcom
Developer Capcom
Rating Mature

A frantic telephone call. A bloody crime scene. Feathers! It looks as though Phoenix Wright has been murdered in his very own series. We investigated an early portion from the new game to see if, indeed, Wright has met his end.

Phoenix Wright and company are making the transition to 3D in the new installment of the criminal-investigation series. The change doesn’t only affect the way Wright and his crew of intrepid helpers looks, either. The game’s investigation mode features revamped visuals that do a better job of communicating a sense of location than in past versions.

We start off as Apollo Justice meets Athena Cykes in a remote village in Japan. The place has cashed in on reports that it’s inhabited by Yokoi, or Japanese monsters. Apollo is understandably skekptical, but his colleague Athena Cykes is convinced that not only are these creatures real, but that their boss is in mortal danger. 

When they arrive in the inn’s waiting room, it looks grim. The table is covered in a sheet of blood, a chair is overturned, and creepy footprints and feathers surround the crime scene. The most obvious answer is that Wright was taken (or eaten) by a birdlike monster, but the team has to investigate further before making any firm conclusions.

It’s there that I begin my investigation in earnest. Functionally, this portion of gameplay is identical to past versions of the game. I can use either my stylus or an analog stick to move a cursor around, clicking on potential clues or other items of interest. I look under the table, and the camera swings beneath it in a smooth animation – a noticeable improvement over past games, which featured hand-drawn environments. As good as they looked, I much prefer seeing the dramatic pans and other cinematic effects Capcom is able to do with the 3D engine. 

There’s a note from Wright underneath that reads a lot like he knew he was dying, and that he was sorry he left us in this mess. I find his phone underneath a chair, and I get to see his final call. It’s a fragmented mess that sure sounds as though he was in the middle of being attacked by a bird. Even though past Phoenix Wright games have dabbled in silliness, this seems a little too much. But then I find his lawyer’s badge in the shards of a shattered statue and I don’t know what to think.

After clicking on a few more clues, the situation comes into focus. I won’t spoil the resolution, but I will say Phoenix Wright is on the game’s box (and in its title), and Athena Cykes may have a tendency to overreact to things. She’s certainly great at reading other people’s emotions, but not as good at keeping her own in check.

I’ve always enjoyed the investigation phase of the Phoenix Wright games, and the mode works particularly well in 3D. I like how the transitions between various perspectives are smooth, allowing players to get a feel for how various objects – like furniture, in this case – are positioned in a room. It made finding a few of the smaller clues easier, since I could see that something was off by switching from side to side.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies will be available this fall on the Nintendo 3DS as a digital download. 

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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies

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