Capcom’s Ace Attorney franchise is certainly one of the most refreshingly original video games series in recent memory, skillfully combining the traditional adventure genre with tense and action-packed courtroom segments.
However, latest entry in the series Ace Attorney Investigations takes a rather different approach, with the focus being more on collating evidence in order to get the guilty party in the dock rather then the actual events of the trial itself.
It’s not just the format of the gameplay which has changed, though. Former series star Phoenix Wright is conspicuous by his absence and instead we have his former nemesis Miles Edgeworth assuming the role of lead protagonist.
However, rather than having a detrimental effect on the game, a huge part of its appeal is down to this change of character. While Edgeworth is a less slimy customer than he was in previous instalment, his haughty attitude and quick-witted retorts result in several stand-out moments.
Unlike other Ace Attorney games, this outing adopts a viewpoint that is similar to that seen in traditional point-and-click adventures (remember Monkey Island, Broken Sword or Beneath a Steel Sky?). Edgeworth appears on-screen and is able to saunter around each location looking for clues.
However, for all the aesthetic alterations the core gameplay will remain reassuringly recognizable to dedicated Ace Attorney fans: you collect evidence, cross-examine witnesses and then confront the probable suspect with your watertight theory.
While Ace Attorney Investigations isn’t quite as innovative as it might have you believe, one thing that isn’t in doubt is the high quality of the dialogue and the brain-busting complexity of some of the cases.
It’s not a game that you’re likely to return to after the credits roll and there are occasional moments where you can spot the correct line of logic immediately but are unable to present your case because the scripting of the game is so rigid, but mercifully these instances don’t crop up too often.
Changing the lead character of an established and much-loved series is always risky but in the case of Ace Attorney Investigations, passing the mantle over to the charismatic Miles Edgeworth is a masterstroke and fans of the franchise should snap it up at the earliest possible opportunity.