darkstar614's Gyakuten Kenji (Nintendo DS) review

Dramatic Finger-Pointing Returns!

 Miles Edgeworth, Prosecutor.
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth is the next in the series of Ace Attorney games which started as GBA titles in Japan before making the jump the DS for a US release. Not much has changed in this one either; you'll find yourself collecting evidence and questioning witnesses to solve a murder mystery in a nearly identical format to the previous games. The gameplay involves you stumbling into a murder case and subsequently solving it in each episode with a different murder occurring in each one. You're given information about the victim, possible witnesses, and sometimes an autopsy report right off the bat. Then you find more evidence along the way, talking to witnesses as you go until you figure out how the murder went down and nailing the suspect with enough evidence to convict them.
Unlike the previous titles though, you won't be in court for most of the game. The focus of this one is to be more about the investigations. That seems like a wild change, but in practice it actually doesn't change much at all. You still question characters in the same fashion as you would in the courtrooms of the other Ace Attorney games. In fact you sometimes wonder why your suspects cooperate so much with their testimonies outside of a courtroom. There are no "Psyche-Locks" in this one, as there were in Phoenix Wright: Justice For All and Trials and Tribulations, and no "Perceiving" like in Apollo Justice. The last minor change is you do not have to Present character profiles to people as evidence, effectively lowering the difficulty of the Cross-Examinations as there is less evidence to deal with.
 Logic at work.
But that doesn't mean there isn't a new gameplay mechanic like the tradition has been in the series. The new mechanic here is "Logic". Sometimes instead of collecting an evidence piece, you take down a mental note of the crime scene which then gets filed in the "Logic" tab of your screen. When you have enough Logic pieces, you can connect them to form theories about how the murder actually went down. Once you do this, you may get one of your evidence pieces modified to reflect how you think the murder occurred. Or it might further the game onto the next investigation site. It compliment's Miles Edgeworth's character quite well as he is all about calculations before hand to perfect his prosecutions as opposed to the reckless style of Phoenix Wright, and is fun to use as well.
Agent Lang, rank 10 Badass
As with most Ace Attorney games, the dialogue is what you're going to spend the most time looking at. There is boatloads of text in this game, and you'll need to be paying attention to it almost constantly as there will be important clues and such in the dialogue. The writing holds up pretty well through the translation and even has renamed characters from the Japanese version. All of which are supposed to make the characters more relatable, and it does a pretty good job of doing that. The returning characters and handful of new characters are all well designed and enjoyable. My favorite being Agent Lang who likes to quote proverbs from a fictional "Lang Zi" relating to "the pack" and make sounds like a wolf.
It has a potentially frustrating factor though, that limits it from being a 5 out of 5. And that is the way some of the the testimonies play out. For example, you might know how a murder went down from looking at all the evidence you collected, but the game requires you to present it in a very specific way that may not seem obvious to you right away. Which can be frustrating when you know what is going on, but can't explain it the way you want to. But it doesn't ever seem totally unreasonable. It just isn't going to be as clear to some players as to what evidence you're supposed to present when. And you can "fail" in this game. You have a life bar that depletes if you choose to present the wrong evidence, although you can save the game at anytime as long as you "Save and Quit" assuming you want to boot the game back up.
All in all it's a fun experience for those craving that CSI style adventure game with tons of anime-style dialogue. The characters are a lot of fun and play their roles well. And the gameplay, while not being really any different from the previous games, is still fun even if you never set foot in a courtroom. If you are a fan of Ace Attorney, you can't go wrong with this one. But new players might be turned away by its slow pace and occasionally awkward logic with the evidence.
6 Comments Refresh
Posted by Chaser324

I just started getting into the Ace Attorney series (I know...it's long overdue), and I'm loving it so far. I can't wait until I work my way up to this game.

Posted by TheMathlete

Great review and lovin' Miles Edgeworth so far.
Posted by Undeadpool

That one flaw that you bring up has driven me up a wall at least once in every Ace Attorney game. Has never stopped me from enjoying them, however.

Posted by Cadmus

man they are really milking this series. 
Good Review.
Posted by Korne
@Cadmus said:
"man they are really milking this series.  Good Review. "

I wouldn't call it milking... they are releasing these games with improvements and brand new stories... which is hard to do in a game like this.  
Though I have to say, This game seems like a step in the wrong direction for the series. The characters are possibly the best, but the absence of Courtroom awesomeness is very disappointing.
Posted by Darkstar614

Thanks for the recommendations guys.
And yeah the absence of courtroom stuff is kind of a bummer.. Kind of loses its "courtroom simulator" vibe, and isn't as dramatic most of the time. Hopefully the next game gets back into court.

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