|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. 19, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Along with being more difficult (in a good way) than past games in the series, Apollo Justice is also significantly longer. It offers six cases, and while the first one is a joke (it will be beaten easily by anybody who knows what they're doing -- but then again, it clearly caters to those who have never played an Ace Attorney game before), the rest of them offer significant play time. You'll often have to work through several cycles of investigation and defense in the court before you finally get your client a not guilty verdict.
Unfortunately, but as expected, there's a lot in Apollo Justice that's recycled from past Phoenix Wright games. Because while the first part of the name may have changed, it's essentially the same game. As a result, the graphics are pretty much identical to those of the past three games -- even more disappointing when you consider that this series was born on the GBA. Still, it's clearly not a game revolving around polygon count, and the music is still awesome despite the fact that significant portions of it are recycled. And naturally, the general gameplay cycle is pretty much the same, despite the fact that the cases in which you're implementing it are vastly different from ones that you've already experienced (and, might I add, they're really, really awesome).
On the flipside, though, there are a number of smaller changes that Apollo Justice employs to keep things fresh and ensure that those of you who have played the last three Phoenix Wright games aren't going to pass this one up solely because it's a "rehash." For example, you've got several new tools to play around with, thanks to a certain someone who's taken Gumshoe's place (I won't say who for fear of spoiling it -- think back, though you can probably figure it out). Apollo also has an ability similar to the Psyche-Lock system of the second and third games, though there is a substantial difference between the two. Essentially, it allows him to figure out who's lying and exactly what they're lying about.
All told, while it isn't the same groundbreaking game that we experienced with the original Phoenix Wright, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney has a lot to bring to the table. It's a great place to jump into an awesome series but also doesn't fail to satisfy diehard fans of the Phoenix Wright series. If you're into adventure games in general or are searching for a title that departs from today's mainstream perception of "videogame," then Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney really is a must-have.
CCC Freelance Writer