|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Capcom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 16, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Tony Capri
Friends have come, and friends have gone, but the Ace Attorney series keeps on keepin' on. For some, it's an ongoing saga that feels like family wrapped inside a mystery. For others, these adventures are merely a passing curiosity. Capcom brings its latest installment of the franchise to DS with one of its supporting characters now taking the lead. Will this be the game to draw in a crowd, or is it just another decent showing for the fans?
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth is probably best considered a spin-off of the franchise in terms of story, but it's actually the most full-featured game in the series. Most of the franchise staples are accounted for, and the collection of characters is as quirky and comical as ever. However, third-person gameplay, along with Logic and Deduction mechanics, makes Ace Attorney Investigations feel more like an actual game than an interactive novel. The developers have extrapolated the best parts of the series, added some classic gumshoeing to the mix, and then combined the components into one tight, meaty package Phoenix Wright fans and adventure buffs alike should truly appreciate.
If you've been with the series for a while, don't fret - this isn't an action game. Ace Attorney Investigations simply gives you more to do and demands more of your participation and wits. It is, however, still all about finding evidence and using it at the right time to turn an argument in your favor.
The adventure gets underway when a crime is committed within the protagonist's own office upon his return home from travel overseas. You'll move Edgeworth from a third-person perspective when investigating - stopping to examine elements of crime scenes, talking to witnesses, etc. All of the characters and environments during this phase are 2D, though certain objects are polygonal during close-up examination. The graphics aren't going to "wow" you, but the visuals work well in terms of allowing the player to pick out specific areas for scrutiny.
Generally speaking, once you've completed your investigation, the game moves into its other main phase: argument. Miles will go toe-to-toe with one of the principals of the crime scene, and it's then you'll have to use the evidence you've collected to contradict their statements. Though the series has oft been accused of being more esoteric than logical when it comes to cracking a case, Ace Attorney Investigations cleverly buries its clues, forcing players to take pause and carefully consider their options before presenting evidence.
Like past games in the series, you can opt to control almost everything in the game with either the touch screen or buttons. There are occasions, however, when the stylus is absolutely necessary, such as when closely examining a piece of evidence from your organizer. The interface hasn't changed much over the years, but it still looks and feels slick. The gameplay mechanics all function well, and controlling Miles in the third-person works just fine.
Logic and Deduce are probably the two most important new features in Ace Attorney Investigations, and they're additions that make perfect sense for the series. When nosing around a crime scene or sifting through evidence, significant issues will pop up in Miles' head and be kept for later consideration. Matching Logic bits that correctly relate to one another will steer Miles toward his goal. Like evidence, the signs aren't always obvious, so you'll want to take your time and weigh your options before attempting to piece things together.