When Phoenix Wright dramatically enters the courtroom with his finger of justice pointed skyward, you know a motion is about to get filed in someone’s keister.
If only real courtroom battles could be like this. In the Phoenix Wright series, every objection -- shouted as “OBJECTION!!!” in a flashy comic-book style burst -- is like a body slam launched against the opposing attorney, complete with a fighting game punch sound effect. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies is no different, this time debuting the master lawyer in 3D on the Nintendo 3DS.
What sets Dual Destinies apart is the addition of psychoanalysis. Not the real kind marked by interpreting subtle facial and behavioral cues, but a video game-y type that utilizes the special emotion-reading ability of Phoenix’s new Assistant Attorney Athena Sykes. “Her power will be our greatest weapon,” Phoenix opines in the lengthy opening cinematic that introduces us to the cast, and also sets up the story that will tie together Dual Destiny’s docket of court cases.
The narrative literally starts off with a bang, as a supposedly disarmed bomb being used as evidence explodes while court is in session. Phoenix’s associate Apollo Justice is injured in the blast, leaving it up to newby Athena to defend her childhood friend Juniper Woods in Dual Destinies’ first case.
As in prior Phoenix Wright adventures, gameplay hinges on listening to evidence, pressing for more information when warranted, and then presenting evidence when testimony is contradictory. It takes a while to get into the case itself; I think I spent about 20 minutes pressing through cutscenes and dialogue before getting to the first witness. But when Athena finds herself without a defense, and Phoenix Wright dramatically enters the courtroom with his finger of justice pointed skyward, you know a motion is about to get filed in someone’s keister.
Athena’s emotion-reading abilities come into play during testimony. She uses a “mood matrix” to find “discord in the heart” of witnesses by uncovering feelings of anger, sadness, surprise, and happiness that don’t match up to their testimony. So, as Juniper recalls the explosion and seems a little uncharacteristically happy that she was about to be crushed by flaming debris, Athena is able to analyze why she felt that odd emotion. It’s a simple mechanic that at least adds to the game’s whimsy.
Dual Destinies continues Phoenix Wright’s brand of overly dramatic legal brawls with the kind of overwrought comic dialogue we’ve come to expect from the series. “With me as an adversary, who wouldn’t want to feign illness in order to escape?” asks egotistical prosecutor Gaspen Payne when he learns that Apollo isn’t up to defending Juniper. It’s almost cathartic when he gets repeatedly body-slammed by Phoenix’s questioning.
And definitely don’t expect subtlety. When the first police witness -- a bomb disposal specialist who supposedly disarmed the explosive personally -- was introduced as Ted Tonate, it took all my willpower not to yell “Guilty!” at my 3DS.
Definitely don’t expect subtlety.
Dual Destinies looks fantastic on the 3DS, and while certainly not necessary, the 3D effect is well done here and unobtrusive. Characters really pop out from the backgrounds as they deliver testimony, accompanied by anime-quality animations. A new feature also allows you to review your conversation history, which is great for remembering plot points. Excitement SUSTAINED.
Chuck Osborn is IGN's Managing Editor. He likes superheroes and plays Dungeon Raid on his iPhone waaaay too much. Follow his demented ravings on Twitter @ChuckOnGames.
Source : ign[dot]com