If you’ve missed your TV screen screaming the word “Objection!” at you over and over, have I got news for you.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles contains two games: The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures and The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve, originally released for 3DS in Japan in 2015 and 2017 respectively. This is the first time the games have had a western release, putting them together in one collection. Altogether, that’s 10 cases to be cracked – and around 50 hours of enjoyable gameplay to sink your teeth into.
If you’ve played an Ace Attorney game before, you’ll know exactly what to expect. Make your case in court; present the right evidence at the right time; cross-examine witnesses; explore crime scenes and gather pertinent information. However, this time around Phoenix Wright is nowhere to be seen – in fact, you’ll start off playing as Ryunosuke Naruhodo, an ancestor of Phoenix Wright. You see, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is set in the late 19th century, and so while the gameplay may be familiar, the historical and cultural backdrop is very, very different.
Although Chronicles is technically two separate games, they flow together as one; many of the cases overlap with one another, with consistent characters and storylines running through them. You’ll get a kick out of seeing the same larger-than-life characters pop up time and time again; in true Ace Attorney fashion, characters are filled with personality – often to the point of annoyance. Herlock Sholmes – yes, really – plays a major role in both games, and his exuberance borders on tedium. Clicking through reams of his self-indulgent monologue grows tiresome – but that’s not to say there aren’t plenty of chuckles to be had along the way.
Practically every character in the game is purposefully over-the-top; some of them you’ll love, and others are designed to be loathed. Though even the ones you’re supposed to like may occasionally grate on you thanks to their wild characterisation. It makes for a game that’s packed full of fun, however. While you can hardly call an Ace Attorney game ‘action packed’ – after all, much of your time with the game will simply be spent reading – the characters, their stories and the overall high quality of writing ensures that you’ll quickly become invested.
Part visual novel, part detective adventure, you’ll have a lot of text to sit through before you reach any sort of interaction. There’s no voiced dialogue here, aside from in some scenes wedged between cases, which is a shame; had characters been fully voiced, the game would be a much more immersive experience. It’s understandable why there isn’t full voice acting, however – The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles has a lot of text. Across ten cases, that’s dozens of hours of dialogue to record. Still, I can’t help but imagine what a condensed, but fully voiced, version of the game would feel like.
But as it is, there’s still a lot to love here. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles looks fantastic, for one. It’s hard to imagine that this started out life as a 3DS game; characters are beautifully drawn and backgrounds are filled with detail. When it comes to the investigation scenes, clicking around environments and hunting for clues is a joy thanks to how well designed they are. There’s attention to detail in every corner of the game, and it really shows.
Of course, the real highlight of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is getting to flex your investigative and lawyer muscles on a case. Whether you’re in the courtroom, pointing the finger at a witness, or on a crime scene, poring over the most tenuous scrap of evidence, it really is a thrill when something clicks, giving you solid proof of the case you’re trying to crack. It doesn’t always come easy, however. You’ll need to carefully inspect every item that ends up in the court file, or else you could miss something important. And when it comes to cross-examining the witnesses in court, it’s not always obvious what piece of evidence is the one that’s going to shatter their whole testimony. When you do get it right, though, that feeling of success is sweet.
However you feel about Herlock Sholmes, there’s a lot to love in The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles. With 10 cases to work your way through, this duo of games packs in a lot of content – and for its asking price, it offers excellent value. The stories that run through each case, despite being cumbersome at times, are strong enough to keep you invested, but it’s the joy of piecing together the evidence that will keep you coming back. Whether you’re a newcomer to the Ace Attorney series or a long-time fan, you’ll find something to enjoy here.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles Review: GameSpew’s Score