There may be minor spoilers, but nothing that will give away the plot.
Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice came out on the Nintendo 3DS on September 8, 2016. I had this game penned into my calendar since E3 as I chomped at the bit to play it.
What I loved about the previous games and what I hoped for in the new one:
- A prosecutor who starts as a bad guy, but unveils him/herself with redeeming qualities. The prosecutors always end up being a favorite character of mine.
- A complex story that takes the full gamut of cases to unfold and ends with a ground-shaking bang. Usually, it involves the prosecutor.
The morning it came out, I read a few reviews that made the game sound less than stellar. As someone who adored the last 3 games (Trials & Tribulations, Apollo Justice, and Dual Destinies), I closed the reviews and refused to believe them.
I have not finished the game yet, but I am about a quarter through the last case. So far, it appears both of these criteria will be met.
The religious pressuring undertones and bashing the heathen lawyers struck an uncomfortable chord in me. At some point after the first two cases, it didn’t bug me anymore. I’m not sure if it’s because it really settled into the plot, or I just got used to it.
I did not initially like prosecutor Nahyuta, but as the story unfolded, I found him less annoying. I really wish they didn’t over-use the “let it go and move on” phrase. With Rayfa, I had the same sentiments. She’s annoying at first, but eventually her place in the story irons that out as well.
Simon Blackquill comes back during a case. All of my “Hell Yeah!” Pardon the fan-girling, but Simon is my favorite character in the series.
I enjoy playing forensic investigator, but I agree with the other reviews I read. Dusting for fingerprints is time-consuming, clunky, and sometimes impossible to complete. The first item, a magician’s coffin, had black smudge marks to indicate spots to dust. Later, Ema asked us to dust the suitcase, and it was incredibly frustrating. After dusting the handle and finding prints, the prints aren’t usable. She says to check another high-use spot: the suitcase has to be opened and closed. I dusted all around the seam, the locks, and the side handle with no luck. After looking it up, it turns out the needed prints are on the green sticker on top of the suitcase. Seriously. And sorry, I’m not sorry for that spoiler. You’ll thank me.
Unlike the last games, since there was no major focus on a new character, not a single lawyer mechanic felt overused. Apollo’s bracelet, Athena’s mood matrix, and Phoenix’s magatama were equally balanced in this game, making the lawyer mechanics quite enjoyable. Rayfa’s seances are also a welcome addition to the Ace Attorney franchise.
Other reviewers I read said they lost interest in the story and felt the ending was predictable. I did not have the same experience. The cases are just as intriguing, convoluted, and clever as they’ve always been. The witness characters are still bizarre and entertaining. Trucy really comes into her own in this one, and it’s also a breath of fresh air to have Pearl and Maya back. And if you’re a huge fan of the franchise, you’ll enjoy the easter eggs in the room where the last murder victim was found. That’s all I’ll say about that.
As for guessing the ending, I don’t find that to be a detriment. As of now, I have hunches, and if I’m right, then that means I was able to string the clues together faster than Apollo Justice himself. Isn’t that one of the thrills of mystery games?
I know Pokemon used the phrase “it all comes together” in their first Sun & Moon trailer, but I feel like this game is living that phrase. Granted, every Ace Attorney game seems to tie every case to the last, even if they appear disparate in nature. Perhaps that’s one of my favorite things about the Ace Attorney games, the magical way they tie together weird loose strings in bizarre, yet fitting, ways.
It can be played on its own, but it will be so much more enjoyable if played in order. I’m looking forward to playing to the end here in the next couple of days, but overall, Spirit of Justice is a solid entry in this series.
-Fifi the Ninja