How time flies! It feels like it wasn’t so long ago that I played Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies, and now here I am, two days after having finished its predecessor! I think I really need to replay the first four games, too. Now THAT’s something I haven’t done in ages. It was in 2006, I believe, that I played the third game. That’s ten years! How’s that even possible? It’s not like I got old or anything. It’s a mystery.
Spoilers. Seriously. Also warning for rambling incoherence …
Ace Attorney has really changed over time Not fundamentally so – you’re still a lawyer bullshitting your way through a trial – but it’s grown into something a lot more complex: The cast is so large now! And with every new character or sidekick comes a new gimmick – the psych-locks, Apollo’s “perceive” ability, Athena’s mood matrix and now the devination seances. Oh, and Ema is back, so you get to dust for finger print and hunt blood stains with luminol! All of these are fun things to do, but it should be turning into a logistical nightmare to keep all the main characters and their supertools in the same game.
Honestly, though, I think the Ace Attorney team is handling this well. While I love Athena, I think it was a good decision to keep her on the backburner and focus on Apollo and Phoenix instead. It fit with the game’s theme: succession. I like that modern Ace Attorney games have such distinct themes. Dual Destinies used masks or secret identities as a recurring theme, and Spirit of Justice is all about people following in someone’s footsteps, proving their worth, carrying on a legacy etc.
While Apollo’s backstory is obviously a retcon, I still welcome it. It was high time we learned who his father was (I kept going “Are you Apollo’s dad?” at every older male character) – and there’s even the suggestion at the end that he and Trucy will finally be told about being siblings! *sigh of intense relief*
And to be honest, if Apollo isn’t in the next game (having left to run his own law office), I’d be more than OK with that. Not because I don’t like Apollo, but because this is a good opportunity to focus on other characters for a while. Apollo can return at a later time and other characters can be put on hold instead.
Favourite new character? It’s a three-way tie between Dhurke, Rayfa and Datz. They all have their amazing qualities: I could giggle all day about the pun in Datz Are’bal’s name. Rayfa has satisfying character growth and is a good egg. Dhurke is hot. Wait, that sounds superficial. But it’s not wrong.
In fact, I’m having a bit of a fangirl crisis here because I haven’t been able to muster much enthusiasm about Nahyuta, this game’s prosecutor. Maybe that’s what it means to get old: bishonen do nothing for you; you start finding their dads hot, though.
All superficiality aside, I honestly think Nahyuta wasn’t written very well. I understand that the story required him to be cold and distant throughout the game – but he ended up feeling boring and stagnant. He came across like an arrogant asshole for most of the game, and that is all. Even after all the twists and revelations, I don’t feel like I know his actual personality. And to get there, he was consistently boring and dull. For 45 hours. So … I wish he could have been written with a bit more nuance and with early hints in his behaviour that there’s more to him than being an aloof prick.
Now let’s talk about more entertaining things than Nahyuta.
Like watching paint dry. Like spirit channelling! It is good to have Maya back, and I like that Spitit of Justice uses spirit channelling in new and interesting ways! But dude, that was SAD. I am still sad. .-. But it was such a great twist, I loved it: My client didn’t kill the victim, the victim killed my client! That’s pure Ace Attorney.