Ace Attorney (known as Gyakuten Saiban, or Turnabout Courtroom, in Japan) is a puzzle adventure franchise known for its over-the-top courtroom battles and animated characters. It was created by Capcom designer Shu Takumi and first appeared on the Game Boy Advance. However, it did not appear outside of Japan until the Nintendo DS release in 2005. The first 3 games of the franchise were also released with touched up artwork as an HD Collection on both iTunes and Google Play, which later saw a port to the 3DS.
An Ace Attorney game typically consists of a number of different episodes where the player must investigate and defend their client in court, striving to achieve the "Not Guilty" verdict. There are 7 games in the franchise, 5 in the main series (Ace Attorney), and 2 with a slightly different style of gameplay (Ace Attorney Investigations). Additionally, Level-5 teamed up with Capcom to make the crossover game Professor Layton VS Ace Attorney, which released in late 2012 in Japan and 2014 in other territories.
Work is currently under way on the next game in the franchise, Dai Gyakuten Saiban.
In the Ace Attorney games, each chapter is split into two sections: Investigation and Trial. A chapter typically rotates between the two phases within the span of 2 to 3 days, and culminates with the verdict given by the judge.
In the investigation phase, players travel to various areas related to the case and gather evidence by examining areas for clues and talking to other characters for information. When talking to the characters, players can present evidence they have acquired to try to get information out of them. Justice For All added an additional layer to the investigation with Maya's Magatama, which allows players to see Psyche Locks on characters. Psyche Locks are locks that appear on some characters after the player asks them a certain question, and it means that he or she is hiding something. The only way to break someone’s Lock(s) is by using the Magatama and presenting evidence that proves the character is lying.
In the trial phase, players go to court to defend their client, cross-examining witnesses to find the truth. In cross-examination, players can either press the witness for information or present evidence that the witness is lying (or just confused). In Justice For All and Trials and Tribulations, players can also present profiles of other characters as part of the cross-examination, but this feature did not return in the sequel Apollo Justice. Apollo Justice, however, introduced a new game mechanic, Apollo’s Bracelet. This lets the players detect any unusual body language from the witness and press them on it. This mechanic has only appeared in Apollo Justice thus far.
The DS games also allowed players to use the DS microphone to issue certain commands. The player will often be given the option to say "Objection!" and other key words which cause the in game character to relay this, but it is not mandatory.
Ace Attorney Investigations
Ace Attorney Investigations features slightly different game play from the other games in the series. Unlike the previous games, the player has direct control over Edgeworth, moving him with either the D-pad or the stylus. All characters now have walking sprites and animation, as opposed to simply having portraits of their upper body. The trial portions of the game are removed entirely, replaced with a similar Argument/Rebuttal phase outside of the courtroom. The investigations themselves play out similar to in previous games, but there are new features added. One of these is the "Logic System", in which players receive a number of bits of information over the course of the case, and have to connect pieces together to gain new insight.
The series started as Gyakuten Saiban on the Game Boy Advance in Japan and was later ported to the DS and released worldwide. It was created at Capcom Production Studio 4 by game designer and writer Shu Takumi. Takumi was responsible for the story in the main franchise up Apollo Justice, but wass not involved in the Ace Attorney Investigations games or Dual Destinies. He, however, will be involved in Professor Layton VS Ace Attorney.
During development of the American release, other names were considered instead of "Ace Attorney". Some of the staff members thought the "Ace" sounded too childish, and some wanted "Action Attorney". In the end, they all settled upon the use of "Ace Attorney". The earlier games are also known for their spelling/grammar errors, which was unusual for high-profile games by that time. The localization also features voices from Capcom's own localization team, including Ben Judd as Phoenix himself.
The series is distinct for having different composers for every game in the franchise. The first game is composed by then new composer Masakazu Sugimori, the second by Naoto Tanaka, the third by veteran Noriyuki Iwadare, and Apollo Justice by Toshiko Horiyama. The Ace Attorney Investigations games, however, breaks the mold by using Iwadare for both games, who later returned once again for Dual Destinies.
Capcom has released several arrange albums for the franchise.
Gyakuten Saiban Meets Orchestra is an synthesized orchestrated album with songs from the main series of games. It was released September 30, 2006.
- Naruhodou Ryuuichi - Objection!
- Ayasato Mayoi - Theme of Gyakuten Sisters
- Mitsurugi Reiji - Great Revival
- Investigation - Labyrinth Suite
- Ace Attorney Court Suite
- Warrior of Great Edo, Tonosaman
- Ace Attorney 2 Court Suite
- Godot - Fragrance of Dark Coffee
- Ace Attorney 3 Court Suite
- Kurain Genealogy
- Ace Attorney 3 Epilogue
- Odoroki Hosuke - Start of a New Trial!
Total Time: 57:11
Gyakuten Saiban Meets Jazz Soul is a jazz-inspired album released March 31, 2007.
- Gyakuten Saiban - Blue Notes and Scales in the Trial
- Ryuuichi Naruhodou - Objection!
- Oo-edo Soldier Tonosaman
- Gyakuten Saiban 2 - Blue Notes and Scales in the Trial
- Reiji Mitsurugi - Great Revival
- Toranosuke Shibakuzou ~ Swingin' Zenitora
- Gyakuten Saiban 3 - Blue Notes and Scales in the Trial
- Godot - Fragrance of Dark Coffee
- Yomigaeru Gyakuten Ending
- Minuki's Theme - Child of Sorcery
Total Time: 53:14
Gyakuten Saiban Special Courtroom Orchestra Concert 2008 an album with songs from the live concert held by Capcom in Spring 2008. It was performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and was released October 30, 2008.
- Hosuke Odoroki - A New Trial is in Session!
- Gyakuten Saiban 1-3 Courtroom Suite
- Toranosuke Shibakuzou - Swingin' Zenitora
- Godot ~ The Fragrance of Dark-Colored Coffee
- Great Revival ~ Reiji Mitsurugi
- Gyakuten Saiban 4 Courtoom Suite
- Villian Suite
- Loving Guitar's Serenade
- Mayoi Ayasato ~ Gyakuten Sisters' Theme
- Gyakuten Saiban 3 End
- Oo-edo Soldier Tonosaman's Song
- Ryuuichi Naruhodou ~ Objection!
Total Time: 63:04