Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth (Nintendo DS) Review

By Joshua Callum Jeffery 19.04.2010

Review for Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth on Nintendo DS

It's been a while since we've seen any new titles in Capcom's law 'em up series, Ace Attorney; not since 2008, when DS saw the release of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth has been a long time coming. As a spin-off focused on the investigatory side of the games, does it live up to the standards set by the four games in the main series?

Is it comparable? Yes, it is. If you approach Investigations as a complete spin-off, you're bound to be surprised by the similarities, though. The first thing you'll notice is how much it plays like the other titles. There's an Organizer to look through, which holds all of your evidence and character profiles, much like the Court Record of old. As usual you use this to present and object to your heart's content - within the limits of reason, of course - so fans will feel instantly right at home. Incorrect Objections during testimonies will result in penalties, and too many of those will result in a Game Over. The main difference is that all gameplay now takes place outside of court cases, so the penalties are not to your court favour; Edgeworth's own pride is what takes most of the damage. Poor Edgey.

The gameplay is more comparable to the trilogy of Phoenix Wright games, because while you can examine objects in 3D like in Apollo Justice, it hardly makes good use of the DS hardware. There are no luminol tests, no fingerprints, and no 3D scenes to arrange to reconstruct crime scenes or video tapes like those seen in Apollo Justice. Really, the only other differences to gameplay are the new Deduction and Logic systems. The Deduction system is simple enough: you basically cross-examine an area or object of interest, and when you find a little spot that looks odd, you present some evidence to suggest why this may be, resulting in some nifty leads. Then, the Logic system allows you to put two bits of information together in Edgeworth's head, and shout "Eureka!" as the mysteries fall into place. It's a very smart system, but a little underused and doesn't come without its logic jumps or 'Captain Obvious' moments.

Screenshot for Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth on Nintendo DS

Players are also given the ability - no, the honour - to run around as Edgeworth himself with the D-pad or the touch screen. He runs very graciously, followed by his various assistants: the equally gracious rival in prosecution, Franziska von Karma, the clumsier Detective Dick Gumshoe or peppy new girl Kay Faraday. Your partner will change depending on your point in the game, and they'll chat with you about what to do next whenever you please, but there's no gameplay difference between them, only plot-related matters.

Which is why we're playing Ace Attorney in the first place, isn't it? Ace Attorney is all about the plot, the beautifully crafted cases that unravel themselves to the protagonists and the player as you progress deeper into the game. As with a wonderful book, joining halfway through will do little good; though Ace Attorney Investigations' story stands alone, you will get more out of it if you do yourselves a favour and start with the first game in the series, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Investigations is stuffed with little references to every other title in the series (with even a little foreshadowing to Apollo Justice), but other than those and, of course, the cast of returning characters, the game does little to connect its plot to the other titles. It feels very detached at times, even to the point where you would not have a problem questioning the canonicity of it. Incredibly important flashbacks that are somehow never mentioned, even in passing, in previous titles? It is things like this that make certain cases seem more unrealistic than ever before.

Screenshot for Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth on Nintendo DS

This isn't about the fantasy element that runs throughout the main series. This is about deus ex machina, the fact that an important story element can pop almost out of nowhere having never been mentioned or hinted at before, and this happens more than a couple of times. One example of this is the entire character of Kay, and those of you who play Cases 3 and 4 will understand why. Investigations is also prone to 'borrowing' plot elements from other titles of the series, and because of this some cases will become very predictable at times. On that note, the usual 'edge of your seat excitement' found in the final cases of Ace Attorney games is also negated a little by the excessive, almost parody-like, use of the dead-end moments that the Ace Attorney series is well known for, and this really drags on to a point that the final case can even be a little dull and slow at times. These re-uses aren't bad or even particularly unenjoyable - in fact, they're really very good - but they give off a strong feeling of having done it all before.

Screenshot for Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth on Nintendo DS

Most of the new characters aren't as interesting as those from other Ace Attorney games, with too many seeming like cheap knock-offs, and the ones you do like are unlikely to pop up again, for various reasons. Some of the newbies, however, are well written and are sure to become some of the most memorable portions of the game for you: particularly Badd, Yew, and of course Kay. Kay claims to be a legendary thief known as the Yatagarasu, and she carries around an incredibly nifty gadget called Little Thief, adding a sci-fi element to Ace Attorney's genius mix of reality and fantasy. Using Little Thief, Kay can create realistic simulations of crime scenes and possibilities at the touch of a button, engulfing the area and the people around her with a virtual space. Annoyingly, Little Thief's simulations are often taken as fact rather than mere theory and, coupled with the logical jumps sometimes found in the Logic system, make the supposed 'perfect prosecutor' Edgeworth guilty of Phoenix Wright's speciality bluff-tactics on a number of occasions. It is completely removed from the character that we have come to know who relies on perfect, decisive evidence.

However, aside from the few flaws in the pacing and storytelling, the plot is generally as solid and brilliant as we are used to. It is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and for the first time the story fully encompasses all five cases, leaving no room for filler. Investigations is a worthy and loveable addition to the series that simply must not be ignored.

Screenshot for Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

With a different writer and a different experience aimed for, Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth is still brilliant, though it is slightly inferior to the rest of the series. While Ace Attorney fans will love it from the moment they put it in their DS, the pacing and plot isn't quite up to standard and players may be left wanting the true Ace Attorney 5 even more. Perhaps an Ace Attorney Investigations 2 could make better use of what the series, and its characters, has to offer…









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (4 Votes)

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