The Ace Attorney franchise, while a pretty niche one in the West, is one that’s been attributed to the rise of popularity of visual novels worldwide. Capcom’s iconic Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney has seen multiple titles over the years and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Capcom has also released a compilation of the first 3 games in the form of the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy on consoles, PC and mobile devices in 2019 which further entrenched their commitment to the franchise in the West. Now this year, we get even more Ace Attorney goodness with The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, which is a compilation of The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures and The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve. These two games were previously released only on 3DS and mobile devices in Japan.
Some more history is required here before we get into why The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is well worth picking up. The original The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures and its sequel, The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve, never made it to the rest of the world. Both titles were not localised for release outside of Japan until now and it’s a shame that it took so long for this to happen. The world definitely could use some more great Ace Attorney goodness and thankfully these games have finally been localised. This localisation was a gargantuan effort to say the least given the game’s historical setting and deeply Japanese themes.
The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures kicks off with our protagonist Ryunosuke Naruhodo being put on trial for murder. Multiple tutorial-esque events occur during the first episode of the game but this sets the tone for what’s to come. It also sets players up for an adventure in Great Britain, the heart of the colonial empire. The story of The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures takes place during the Meiji period of Japanese history while the British influenced judicial law system was being implemented across the empire. The second title in the package follows directly after the events of the first game and delves deeper into the game’s historical setting while still dealing with multiple judicial cases that need investigating and solving. The second game is a lot grander in its story with a lot going on that will keep you enthralled for hours.
The gameplay in The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is about reading text, piecing together clues, interrogating witnesses and more. To get to the bottom of a case, players will however have a helpful assistance feature at their disposal which will push them in the right direction and give them some leeway to fail. Piecing together clues and pressing witnesses via cross-examination is key to winning a case. If you aren’t a fan of games with a lot of reading or text, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles will most likely annoy you. You need to pay attention to the story of this game in order to solve the cases contained within each episode on offer. Gamers who prefer story-driven titles, however, will love this compilation as there is easily over 60 hours of content on offer here and possibly even more if you spend time listening to the music in the game and checking out the early-purchase bonus content.
The characters in The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles are what makes it such a great title. The judicial cases, while interesting on their own, excel thanks to the game’s stellar cast. Familiar characters from the Ace Attorney franchise are represented in this title via ancestral counterparts and the game still feels like an Ace Attorney game while bringing its own flavour of Meiji and Victorian-era judiciary to the proverbial dock. Shouting “Objection”, a staple of the Ace Attorney franchise also makes its appearance here so fans will definitely be pleased that they can do this in the game and follow up with some hardcore deductive reasoning. Facts, evidence and mystery solving is the order of the day in this title. Herlock Sholmes is great too!
The writing of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is fantastic and will keep you entertained from start to finish. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is the perfect kind of game to play on the go and while we played the Steam version, if you picked this up on Nintendo Switch, the game would be great for bite-sized chunks of episodic visual-novel gameplay. That’s not to say that you can’t do the same with the Steam version though. The Nintendo Switch version would just be better suited for playing on the go.
Given the game’s setting being the Meiji/Victorian period, Capcom boldly opted to include the term “Nipponese” in the game. The British prosecutor Barok van Zieks refers to Ryunosuke as “Nipponese” and there are multiple instances of political commentary involving the two major nations that are featured in this game. This might not sit well with some gamers given how casually it’s conveyed during conversations.
With that said, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles story does tend to feel as if the game is intended for younger audiences. There’s a lot of explaining that goes on and there’s also a literal onslaught of jokes and character interactions which bring a whimsical nature to the game despite the serious undertones.
Capcom has decided to include multiple save slots, as well as the ability to save whenever you want, to the game and this is great. Players can save right before key revelations and try different responses to see what the outcomes will be thanks to this. Capcom also included the ability to enable “Story Mode” which effectively turns the whole game into an anime of sorts since it’ll play out the entire tale without you having to do anything. There’s a couple of other quality improvements too such as being able to change up the text speed as well its display size.
Graphically, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles looks fantastic with the anime aesthetic being nailed perfectly. The 2D and 3D animations along with the character’s body language, facial expressions and gorgeous environments are extremely visually pleasing. While the entire game isn’t voice acted, the few segments that are, are well done. The music of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles however is the real star of the show. The orchestral soundtrack which features some exceptionally good arrangements will have you hooked as you play through the game. The story text along with the animations and music blend seamlessly together to create the perfect combination. Capcom’s sound team have really done a great job with this title with each character’s theme, especially Ryunosuke’s, being top-notch.
Overall, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is a great addition to the Ace Attorney franchise and we’re glad that it finally made its way to the rest of the world. The localisation is well done and despite there being some gripes with the game’s redundant storytelling explaining things a bit too much at times, the core game and overall story are still enjoyable. If you’re a fan of visual novels or games that engage you with lots of text and mystery-solving, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is for you.
This game was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch and can be purchased here for £32.99.
Developer and Publisher : Capcom
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows
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