The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles Review
It’s been 5 long years since the last original Ace Attorney title was released. That title was Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit Of Justice, and it was the 10th release in the investigative visual novel series that has been going on since 2001. The Ace Attorney series has not had a very consistent release schedule in North America. Even though the original game came out for the GameBoy Advance in Japan in 2001, North America didn’t see a release until four years later, when it was remade for the Nintendo DS. The next four games in the series all saw DS releases, but the sixth game, Ace Attorney Investigations 2, was never localized.
The crossover Professor Layton Vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney was released in North America for the 3DS, but the following two releases, Dual Destinies and Spirit Of Justice, saw digital-only releases. So it is a huge treat for fans of the series that, six years and four years after their releases, the two Great Ace Attorney games are getting a physical release in North America.
That’s right, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is actually a compilation of the 9th and 11th games in the Ace Attorney franchise, both of which were originally released for the 3DS. And what’s even more exciting, for long-time fans of the series, is that Shu Takumi, the director/scenario writer/game designer of the first four Ace Attorney games, has returned for these two. This is even more astounding considering that The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles’ stories are prequels steeped in 19th century Japanese culture.
The first game, The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures, is about Ryunosuke Naruhodo, an ancestor of original series protagonist Phoenix Wright. He is put on trial for the murder of a University Professor, and the first trial is about proving his innocence. It’s best not to share story details, as experiencing it as it unfolds is one of the joys of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles. It’s an excellent story that definitely drove my interest all the way through. My only complaint is that some twists are way too obvious, and I would have appreciated some more subtle villainy.
The second game in The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve, is also about Ryunosuke and is a direct continuation of the events in The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures. Play them in order to experience the story fully unfold, and see the characters develop.
For better or worse, the gameplay is more of the same players have come to expect from the Ace Attorney games. For those new to the series, the game is split into story sections and trial sections. Story sections feature lots of text and responses to dialogue and sequences of serpentining environments for evidence. Trial sections involve finding faults in witness testimony and presenting evidence gathered to prove it. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles features multiple witness cross-examination, similar to Professor Layton Vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, as well as presenting before a jury, instead of a judge, similar to Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, both of which were directed by Shu Takumi.
The graphics in The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles are gorgeous. There are beautiful anime cutscenes found within, and because the original Ace Attorney games featured a 2D anime art style, I hoped The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles would as well. At first, I was sad to discover that the game used 3D models, but they became no less attractive. The game’s music did an excellent job of highlighting the eventually Victorian settings. Although the English voice acting is quite good, I was pleased with the option to change to the original Japanese.
Interesting Mini-Story Videos
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles features several options/extras. An interesting one is that there is an option to watch the game unfold without having to play. There are built-in trophies for Switch players who want portability and PlayStation-style reinforcement, an extensive art gallery, and an Auditorium, which features music and voicework. Special costumes can be unlocked for certain characters in The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve that change their appearance throughout the story. The art gallery contains a section called Moving Pictures, which features fun mini-story videos. And finally, and most interestingly, there is a section called Escapades that features 8 mini-episodes to play through.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is a fantastic value. It contains two Ace Attorney games, each with five stories. Considering the most recent great visual novel compilation, Famicom Detective Club, was a full-priced collection, containing two games less than half the length of the two found in The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, this collection at 2/3 the cost is a steal for visual novel fans. If you’re a fan of the original Ace Attorney games, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is an excellent return to form.
***PS4 game code provided by the publisher ***
Original series director returns
Some twists are way too obvious
More of the same
Won’t convert visual novel haters