The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles Review: No Objections
Ace Attorney fans in North America have had a very long wait, but it's finally at an end thanks to The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, a new title from Capcom. The compilation includes The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures and The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve in one package for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. The first of these games was released in Japan more than 6 years ago, so some could be forgiven for thinking that a translation simply wasn't going to happen. Fortunately, the wait has absolutely been worth it.
Fans that have played previous games in the Ace Attorney series should have a good idea of what to expect from The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles. As in previous installments, players attempt to solve mysteries inside and outside of a courtroom setting. Players listen to testimonies from different characters, review evidence, and try to figure out the discrepancies that obscure the truth. There's immense satisfaction to be had when finding these discrepancies. As twists and turns are untangled and resolved, you can't help but feel accomplished. There really isn't anything like it in gaming, and The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles delivers those moments in spades. At times, I'd even find myself yelling at the game or its characters.
The writing really is the greatest strength of the Ace Attorney games, and that's on full display in The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles. At this point in the series, it's amazing that Capcom can continue to create such clever and interesting characters. This time around, the focus is on new protagonist Ryunosuke Naruhodo, a Japanese student accused of murdering a British professor. Naruhodo ends up defending himself in the courtroom, kicking off the events that tie these cases together. When I started the game, I really wished I was playing as Phoenix Wright, but it didn't take long for Naruhodo to win me over. The game does a great job of making you invested in his growth. I found myself equally interested in characters like Kazuma Asogi, Susato Mikotoba, and more. The banter between all of these characters remains whip-smart, and that will make players want to keep playing through all of the cases on offer.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles' time period gives it a unique flavor, while also allowing it to bring in one of the greatest fictional characters of all time: Sherlock Holmes. Well, kind of. Capcom renamed the character "Herlock Sholmes" outside of Japan, presumably because of rights issues. This could have been distracting, but it actually feels like it fits this world better. Sholmes is a ridiculous character, but a welcome one, and he brings in a new mechanic. When Sholmes jumps to conclusions that don't quite make sense, players must follow his reasoning and find out where he went wrong.
My biggest qualm with The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is the fact that cases can go on for long amounts of time. That's always been true of the series, and it's not any different here. There's also the fact that these games can be stubborn about how you showcase what evidence and when; if you don't present things exactly as the game wants you to, it will assume that you're wrong.
Thankfully, most of these problems have been mitigated by Capcom. You can save at any point and pick up exactly where you left off, making longer cases less problematic. This is also helped by a history button that shows recent dialogue in case you forgot what happened. And if you get stuck, or if you just want to watch the story play out, you can toggle on and off the autoplay option with the click of a button. These features don't actually eliminate any of the game's problems, but they make for an experience that's extremely user-friendly.
Presentation-wise, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is a good-looking game. The character animations contribute to the game's humor, and the brief anime scenes are excellent. The music is also memorable and catchy. The PS4 DualShock controller's rumble feature is distractingly strong, but it can be toggled off in the game's options.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles isn't going to win over anyone that hasn't enjoyed the series in the past. The gameplay won't be for everyone, and the problems that have been there since Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney are as present as ever. That said, Capcom has done a great job making this the most accessible game in the series and a perfect starting point for newcomers. The characters are wonderful, the story is compelling, and there's an incredible satisfaction when the truth is uncovered. For fans of the series, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is simply a must-own package.
Rating: 4 out of 5
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is set to release July 27th on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. The game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review, and it was reviewed on a base model PlayStation 4.