Bottom line: The presentation, humor, and beginner-friendly gameplay makes this game an absolute joy to play. However, some of the scenarios in the court cases were sometimes hard to follow.
Strike system gives more leeway for errors
Interesting historical environments
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The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is a much-needed localization of two previously Japanese-only visual novels: The Great Ace Attorney Adventures and The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve. The collection follows Ryunosuke Naruhodo, an ancestor of the series' more well-known character, Phoenix Wright. Like most of us, Ryunosuke has no training as a lawyer, so he must heed the advice of his advisors and learn the rules of the lawyer game as he fights for justice.
Courtroom sessions and their structure vary depending on where they're held. Witnesses to the crime will give a testimony, which is subject to a cross-examination. During cross-examinations, Ryunosuke must press witnesses to find inconsistencies in the witness' statements, confronting them with evidence to weed out lies. Seeing them splutter when you've caught them in a lie and using that information to grant credibility to your client was probably the most satisfying part of the game.
Some cases are overseen by several jurors, who cast votes based on whether they believe the defendant is innocent or guilty. You can also examine the jurors' statements, pointing out fallacies to change their minds. Paying attention to specific phrases and examining the evidence closely is what determines your client's fate. I definitely felt the pressure weighing on me during various cases, but in a very good way.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles: What's good
Accessible difficulty Not too punishing
|Category||The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles|
|Title||The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles|
|Genre||Adventure, Visual novel|
|Play Time||60+ hours|
This game was my first venture into the Ace Attorney series, so I could definitely relate to Ryunosuke's anxiety surrounding being a first-time lawyer. At first, I was quite afraid of making mistakes. I thought that presenting the wrong evidence or drawing the wrong conclusion would spell "Game Over" for that chapter and that I'd be directly responsible for my clients' doom.
Thankfully, Capcom implemented a strike system within the game, where I'd be allowed to make up to five mistakes within a court session. While this seems like a lot of leeway, sessions can go on for hours, so it was still a little bit intimidating. However, I was appreciative of the forgiving nature of this game, and if I was really stumped, I found comfort in knowing that I'd be able to try again. Although I hate to admit it, some cases were so puzzling for me that I used the "save anywhere" feature quite liberally before making a concrete decision. For persons new to the franchise, it's a welcome safety net. And hey, if you're a veteran, you can fly through these cases while making all the right choices!
Memorable settings Showing so much with so little
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles takes place in Meiji-period Japan and Victorian England. While this game is by no means an explorative adventure game, every inch of the set pieces is crafted with care. Even as the main characters scour crime scenes and various rooms for clues and hints, you feel as if you've been transported to an entirely new world. I greatly appreciate when care has been taken in creating backdrops, and I can't help but feel like it's only through the meticulous detail that makes this game feel as though I've got a portal to a whole new world at my fingertips.
This is not limited to the settings I investigated throughout the game. The characters and their costumes are inviting, and while I can't speak to the historical accuracy of the garments worn by the cast, I appreciated the craftsmanship. The distinct look given to each character and how some of the more exaggerated costumes gently poked fun at stereotypes assigned to different nationalities and types of people without being terribly offensive. Above all, the 3D models pop on the screen. It's struck the perfect balance between improving the visuals without ruining the classic look of Ace Attorney.
Charismatic humor Puns out the door
I'll preface this section by drawing attention to the fact that one of the main characters in this game is named "Herlock Sholmes". This should tell you everything you need to know about the humor The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles has to offer. Every court case features wacky, unforgettable characters who each have traits that ensure that no two characters seem too similar. You've got a strict, but insecure soldier, an old and aloof art collector, among many others.
Even the main companions, like Susato, Kazuma, and Herlock each interact with Ryunosuke in different ways that had me thinking about them even when I wasn't playing. Kazuma is brooding and confident, Susato is fierce and always ready to help, and Herlock means well but sometimes misses the mark in his "great deductions". The writing is impeccable, an important asset for any visual novel.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles: What's not good
Convoluted storylines Overwhelming information
These court cases, although quite interesting, admittedly became a bit overwhelming at some point. Trying to think ahead and follow the logic of the story ended up being in vain sometimes as new information was introduced spontaneously, changing everything. I was sometimes hesitant about what choices to make or what evidence to present, as I didn't know whether my reasoning even applied to the situation anymore. Of course, this didn't happen with every case I solved, but sometimes I found myself going through the script history to re-read what was said in order to make my decision. If anything, I'm incredibly grateful that the script history is available to look through at any time, and that important words were highlighted for me whenever I was confused.
Slooooow text Bogs down exciting scenes
I'll admit that this shortcoming may have more to do with my eagerness to solve a mystery than with the game itself. The text felt a bit slow. Unless you've already heard a particular part of dialog already, mashing the A button doesn't fill the text box. I had to wait for the text to finish scrolling, then press A to advance. Of course, this game is so text-heavy that pressing the A button every time would give me carpal tunnel. Thankfully, there's the "Auto" mode, which advances to the next section of dialogue without stopping, until you have to make a decision.
You can choose how quickly you want the game to move to the next dialog box, but the quickest time was 0.5 seconds. Visual novels are best suited for avid readers, and avid readers read, well, quickly. I wish I could speed up the text some more to suit my reading style, with the option to scroll through the history if I missed something while being distracted.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles: Should you play it?
I've really enjoyed my time with these games. The cases were interesting, the characters memorable, and the humor was just the right amount of funny without being cheesy. For my first foray into the Ace Attorney universe, I'm impressed! I'll definitely look into sinking my teeth into some more lawyer shenanigans in the other Ace Attorney games on the Nintendo Switch.
Nadine is a freelance writer for iMore with a specialty in all things Nintendo, often working on news, guides, reviews, and editorials. She's been a huge Nintendo fan ever since she got to pet her very own Nintendog, and enjoys looking at Nintendo's place in the video game industry. Writing is her passion, but she mostly does it so that she can pay off her ever-growing debt to Tom Nook. Her favorite genres are simulation games, rhythm games, visual novels, and platformers. You can find her at @stopthenadness on Twitter, where she'll more than likely be reposting cute Animal Crossing content.