Game Review

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Katy Ellis

Say hello to Justice

It's time to warm up those CHORDS OF STEEL, locate your magic panties and don the blue suit — Ace Attorney is back and it's as wacky as ever. Introducing a new cast of zany characters, as well as your old favourites, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies is a welcome return to the franchise, complete with a fresh, updated art-style and wonderful 3D effects. The court is officially back in session.

Dual Destinies' storyline takes the form of five separate cases, each one introducing new characters, bringing to light new information from previous battles in the courtroom and bringing you one step closer to that wonderful 'eureka!' moment at the end of the last chapter for which the series is famous. Set roughly a year after the events of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Dual Destinies brings together the two main series protagonists Apollo and Phoenix, and introduces legal protégé and psychology fanatic Athena Cykes to solve more bizarre crimes. Discovering more about Athena's background underlines each case, as we slowly learn more and more about this fresh-faced law graduate, but that never overshadows the core focus of the investigations. It would be a crime in itself to reveal the events of each Turnabout — as every legal trainee knows, Ace Attorney is all about the gripping plot twists — but know that it includes psychotic bombers, Japanese mythical monsters and love triangles.

To any series veteran the gameplay will all look rather familiar, and can be split into two sections; investigating and witness questioning and then legal battles and cross-examinations in court. After witnessing a spectacular anime cut-scene of a murder taking place you will be put in the shoes of one of the series protagonists, transported to the scene of the crime and asked to search for clues ready for the trial the next day. Thus begins the real challenge, using the evidence you have collected to slowly tease out the lies and secrets of the witnesses in the courtroom, and trust us when we say: everyone in this game has something to hide. It's a simple system, but great fun, especially when you have bluffed your way through a whole cross-examination, only to suddenly remember a vital piece of information, take a second to gasp and then hammer your stylus on the 'present' icon wailing "TAKE THAT!" at the top of your voice as you completely destroy the prosecutor's argument.

Dual Destinies introduces a few new, minor features to the gameplay such as new camera perspectives to give a complete 360 degree view of a room when investigating crime-scenes, a 'notes' tab in the Court Records to keep track of what you should be doing and Athena Cykes' power of psychology. As in previous games, each main playable character has their own special power, such as Apollo Justice's golden bracelet which spots nervous ticks in witnesses to tell if they're lying. Athena, armed with her cute little robot Widget, uses her knowledge of psychology to read the emotions of witnesses to spot contradictions in their testimonies. While the testimony is being read the top screen of the 3DS becomes the 'Mood Matrix' and shows four different emotion panels — happiness, sadness, anger and surprise. These emoticons will flash when the witness discusses something particularly emotive, yet at points these emotions do not reflect what the witness is saying; for example if there is a hint of happiness when someone has been shot, or sadness if they have been rescued, at which point Athena can step in and try and tease out the secret. Athena's power is a little simple compared to Phoenix Wright's Psyche Locks or the magical Magatama (given to him by assistant Mia Fey in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice For All), however this does not detract from the overall enjoyment of the court scenes.

The only big issue still plaguing the series is the problem that at some points in the story you will have already figured out a key twist in the case long before the rest of the cast. It can get a little frustrating when you have to sit back and scroll through lines and lines of text waiting for the game to catch up with your wisdom, and even once the defence have caught up there comes the daunting task of slowly explaining everything to the rather dimwitted judge, but rest assured this is a rarity, with many shocking mysteries lurking at the end of each case to cool any frustration.

Being a visual novel with interactive elements Dual Destinies is, of course, very text heavy. Many players will shy away from the seemingly 'dull' experience of button-mashing A to get through reams of text to occasionally tap the screen to change topic, or present a rather obscure piece of evidence, however the story really is what Ace Attorney games are all about. As with previous games, Dual Destinies is excellently localised, brimming with wit, humour, shameful puns and plenty of charm. It may not be laugh out loud material, but will definitely keep a smile glued to your face from beginning to end.

There are also a number of quirky new characters to meet your acquaintance, including a new prosecutor nemesis, the moody Simon Blackquill, a convicted murderer whose powers of suggestion allow him time out of his cell to take on defence attorneys, threaten witnesses and feed his pet hawk. Other additions to the cast include Bobby Fulbright, a hopelessly heroic detective who works alongside Blackquill, Jinxie Tenma is a superstitious maid working at Nine-Tales Vale Manor, and Juniper Woods a country girl with a bit of a crush on Apollo. Every character has their own quirks, catch-phrases and wonderfully unique traits, making each completely unforgettable and a asset to the story.

Visually Dual Destinies is a real treat. Character models are wonderfully detailed and have each been spruced up for the series' first venture onto the 3DS, now sporting bold out-linings which really make them pop out from the background when the 3D slider is pushed to the max. Characters no longer sit statically while they wait, often fidgeting and winking every so often, and animation and transitions are a great deal smoother. Locations and background are absolutely beautiful, particularly one scene which shows a traditional Japanese garden with lovely lanterns swaying in the breeze, softly popping out from the background. It's obvious that Dual Destinies has been designed with 3D in mind, incorporating awesome 3D effects, such as wisps of flames and smoke spewing out of the screen, and pieces of debris fluttering in front of the courtroom drama as a bomb devastates the scene. It's great to see a game really facilitate the 3DS' potential, so make sure you have your 3D slider pushed up when you're playing this one.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that Dual Destinies also includes a smattering of voice acting during cut-scenes, really helping to bring out the personalities of each character. It's a shame there wasn't more English dub to break up the particularly text-heavy sequences, however considering the sheer volume of script packed in each Ace Attorney title, it would be a substantial localisation job to translate audio into so many regional languages.

Conclusion

Wonderfully witty as ever, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies is another excellent entry into the Ace Attorney series. Bursting with humour and new extravagant personalities, Phoenix Wright fans will find much to enjoy, thanks largely to the excellent skills of the localisation and script-writing team at Capcom. The few minor gameplay additions do somewhat polish the investigation and courtroom experience, but — as with any visual novel — it's the story, character developments and gob-smacking plot twists that you really play for, and this one will keep you screaming 'OBJECTION' until the gavel drops.

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User Comments (96)

belmont

#2

belmont said:

OK it is a pain to buy stuff from the e-shop. For some strange reason my debit card does not work. For some stupid reason Nintendo does not release prepaid cards here.

The only possible solution I can think to buy this game is order a prepaid card from the UK and change my 3DS region to UK. It does not justify the cost to order a card and pay the shipping fee... Does anyone know of a UK shop that sends the Nintendo prepaid cards codes via e-mail? Can someone think of another way? Expect from Ace Attorney there are more games I want and I can't buy...

Yasume

#3

Yasume said:

Finished the first case yesterday and it's classic AA as always. Will definitely play at least 2 more cases this weekend.

unrandomsam

#4

unrandomsam said:

The average review score by this reviewer is 9/10.

Animal Crossing
Pokemon
This

All 9/10. (Seems very odd).

Superconsole

#7

Superconsole said:

@unrandomsam I'm a very suspicious lady indeed..

But in all seriousness, Animal Crossing NL, Pokemon X&Y, and AA:DD are all smashing games and I believe wholeheartedly they deserve the scores I gave them. It just so happens I've been pretty fortunate lately and have reviewed some awesome games, but trust me I've had to play through my fair share of duds too.

unrandomsam

#9

unrandomsam said:

So did they localise it properly for the rest of the EU in the end or not ? (At least the text).

(Anything that can be said against that could equally be said about people who only speak English being too lazy to learn Japanese).

gurtifus

#12

gurtifus said:

@unrandomsam No, unfortunately, this will be in english for all country in EU which is a shame because the first four AA had some multi translation!
I'm french and I have to deal with this bad job from Capcom :-(

DualWielding

#13

DualWielding said:

Greatly enjoying the game so far, still on the first case but so far seems on par with the original trilogy and better than AA4

Spoony_Tech

#15

Spoony_Tech said:

Just a suggestion but you might want to mention the free dlc outfits for a limited time.

Great review and yes this is really nice to look at in 3d. One of the first things I noticed! Can't wait to really jump into this but I don't want to get trough it too fast. I wish I would've played more of this series but at least I can get the other games cheaper now!

Morph

#17

Morph said:

I never played apollo Justice, do the events from that one impact on this game or not, trying to figure out if i should play it first

Hunter-D

#18

Hunter-D said:

Bit busy now so hopefully I'll get some time to replay the series before starting this.

I love me some Phoenix.

Superconsole

#21

Superconsole said:

@Morph There are a few references to Apollo Justice, but your understanding of the story shouldn't be hindered at all - Dual Destinies does a pretty good job of re-introducing most of the characters. You should definitely pick up Apollo Justice though! One of my favourites :D

@Spoony_Tech Yes! The Orca DLC looks hilarious!

Doma

#22

Doma said:

Good series and the price is decent, so i'll look forward to buying this once that fabled account system gets implemented.

Wait.. there's free dlc outfits for a limited period?!!............................. big deal, lol.

Gioku

#23

Gioku said:

From playing the demo, I expected no less than 9/10 from this! I'll definitely be downloading this sometime! :)

unrandomsam

#24

unrandomsam said:

@cfgk24 For somebody who liked previous entries maybe. They are all solid entries from what I can gather but not revolutionary.

Tasuki

#25

Tasuki said:

Great reveiw. :)

I would get it but apparently Capcom doesn't like the color of my money or something cause they wont give us a physical version.

Morph

#26

Morph said:

@Superconsole thanks, apollo was one of those i never got round to, didnt like that they dropped phoenix but now i know he's back i might just pick it up anyway

unrandomsam

#27

unrandomsam said:

@Tasuki Presumably they have calculated that people who won't buy unless it is physical will be more than offset by stopping people who trade it as soon as they have finished.

XyVoX

#30

XyVoX said:

Im gonna give this a 10 based on the Fact that its price conversion for ONCE actually makes sense $30-£19.99 well done Capcom for not Shafting us.

Ren

#31

Ren said:

God I am so excited for this, but no time to play it yet. I also missed apollo justice, things got rocky between consoles there for a while.

unrandomsam

#32

unrandomsam said:

@PinkSpider Still the same as they always were in that series. (Other stuff gets lower scores that is a perfect example of a game of its type.) - 9/10 should be reserved for stuff that everybody will like. (Regardless of anything else.) I don't think Nano Assault EX should have had a 9 either. (Regardless of whether I personally really like it. A large proportion of people won't).

Ralizah

#35

Ralizah said:

Will be a little while before I can get this, unfortunately. I still need to play the rest of the games in the series first, and I don't have the money for it now that Christmas is nearing.

Hopefully I'll be caught up enough to play it by the time I have the money for it.

Einherjar

#37

Einherjar said:

Question to those who already played this game (and maybe even fnished it O.o) Is it required / recommended to have finished Apollo Justice first ?
I pretty much know the PW series in and out but never had the time to properly finish apollo :/

Ash_Anne

#40

Ash_Anne said:

Not to nit pick the article but it was Maya's Magatama that was powered up by Pearl and given to Phoenix by Pearl not Mia. Mia was also Phoenix's mentor.

SpookyMeths

#41

SpookyMeths said:

Deal for Capcom: If you provide this game to me in physical format, I will provide for you forty (40) of my dubiously earned dollars!

Take it or leave it.

Prof_Elvin_Gadd

#44

Prof_Elvin_Gadd said:

@Superconsole I would agree with those recent scores, though I'm not a fan of people basing so much off one number when there are hundreds of words explaining what the reviewer thought about the game right above it. The three games you've reviewed recently are all great, having played them all. You must be one of the luckiest game reviewers on Earth! ;)

RevolverLink

#45

RevolverLink said:

This game could've gotten review scores in the 5 or 6 range from most outlets and I still would've bought it.

It's good to have you back, Nick.

@Einherjar - Finishing all four of the previous games would be the ideal way to go into Dual Destinies, but you should be fine.

You might not be as familiar with the returning characters from Apollo Justice, but when looking at the Ace Attorney series' overall story, 4's definitely feels the most like a standalone entry.

Sheikah_stone1

#46

Sheikah_stone1 said:

Why are the other Ace Attorney entries so bad rated on Nintendo Life?

Justice for All 5? Trials and Tribulations 6?

:(

RaymanFan2

#49

RaymanFan2 said:

@Sheikah_stone1 That's the WiiWare versions. They're still perfectly playable, but the DS versions are far superior as the games look horrid blown up on a TV screen.
Still worth getting if you can't find the DS versions for cheaper than the cost of 1000 points.

WitchSugoi

#51

WitchSugoi said:

OBJECTION!

I do not have any monies to buy this right now digital or otherwise... ;_____;

blinkpunk02

#52

blinkpunk02 said:

I'm unfamiliar with the series (just never got around to these games) but I downloaded the demo and was surprised it was rated M. Nothing about the demo indicated this was a Mature title? Is that rating correct?

Spoony_Tech

#53

Spoony_Tech said:

@Tasuki Oh they like your money they just don't want to lose anymore then they already have. The combined sales of all their 3ds games in the west are barely over a million. I'm just glad to even have the game at all!

Crimson_Ridley

#54

Crimson_Ridley said:

@unrandomsam you rate a game on how good it is, not how much it will appeal to people. If a game is made for a niche market (Beyond: Two Souls, for instance), but it still amazing, it deserves a justified review score. If the game is similar to previous entries, but is still a fantastic game it should be rated as high as well.

Sheikah_stone1

#56

Sheikah_stone1 said:

My mistake, I knew something was a little odd about it... Didn't know the WiiWare ports were that much worse, though

shonenjump86

#57

shonenjump86 said:

Nice review, but I can't get this just yet :(. Pokemon and GTA5 for right now till my next paycheck.

MagicEmperor

#59

MagicEmperor said:

I am LOVING this game so far. The wait was definitely worth it, and I defy anyone who refuses to buy it because it's online only. They're really missing out.

D3athBr1ng3r187

#60

D3athBr1ng3r187 said:

Now people are stating that the amazing Phoenix Wright series doesn't deserve it's good scores and Crapcom's Monster Hunter that overrated pile of crap deserve it's "amazing" scores sigh...........why do people even have a 3DS?

fishman100

#61

fishman100 said:

This is my favorite game in the series so far; even the "filler" cases are a lot of fun to play and it's a lot more fun (and easier!) to replay certain cases.

ToxieDogg

#62

ToxieDogg said:

Excellent game, downloaded it last night. I've played (and loved) every other Ace Attorney game asides from the unlocalised Miles Edgeworth 2, and so far this is as good as any of them. The script is as entertaining as ever and the new gameplay mechanics during the trials keep you on your toes. Would still prefer a physical copy though. If this sells well in the West, I hope Capcom reconsider their stance on Miles Edgeworth 2 and at least port it to us on DSiWare, if nothing else.

cookiex

#63

cookiex said:

@unrandomsam

That makes no sense. The idea of a review is for the reviewer to give out a personal opinion. If the person who reviews the product thinks it's a 9/10 game regardless of what kind of game it is then they should be allowed to give it a 9/10. You shouldn't change the score because the type of game it is doesn't appeal to everyone, or because the majority would disagree. If one were to disagree with the opinion or think the game won't appeal to them, it's their problem.

Dexter2015

#65

Dexter2015 said:

@belmont you can buy prepay cards online! pcgamesupply is the place I get my! Never had a problem! Make sure you buy the EU ones if your 3ds is EU or US ones if your 3ds us US ;)

KnightRider666

#66

KnightRider666 said:

@CaviarMeths: Agreed. So not happy about a digital only release. I'd totally pay $40 for a physical release. Maybe it will happen in the future, as we can only hope. Ducktales Remastered is getting a physical release AFTER if was only released digital, and for the same price for that matter of $20.

ChessboardMan

#69

ChessboardMan said:

I brought this right away, and can attest that they've done a splendid job on it.
The most amazing thing is that this game has the best use of 3D I have seen to date.
I especially love when Jinxie slaps a warding charm on your face, and how it flaps when the player character is speaking.
A lot of love went into this game.

DualWielding

#70

DualWielding said:

for people who are complaining about the score, i would find it far more suspicious if only Nintendo first party games were getting 9/10, a third party title deservedly getting one, shows me the reviewers are fair

Yasume

#72

Yasume said:

There are quite a few of guys out there from what I've read who purchase the game multiple times to make up for the people who still refuse to buy it because it's a digital game. I've got 3 3DS's in my household and I'm actually very tempted to do it myself as well. :) It just deserves praise, it's so freaking good.

mullen

#73

mullen said:

This game does a good job on almost every aspects except the story. I mean, you may only feel that this game may have one of the worst stories in the whole series after you complete the whole game, but most players haven't beat it yet. I know most players will praise this game and don't agree with me at this time point, but disappointment will eventually come after more and more players finished this game.

BulbasaurusRex

#74

BulbasaurusRex said:

You know, if these psychos really wanted to get away with pinning a murder on someone, they should just target Phoenix as their murder victim.

andreoni79

#75

andreoni79 said:

only in english?!? then I pass. some games need to be translated otherwise they lose all their atmosphere. lazy capcom won't get my money.

Smitherenez

#76

Smitherenez said:

@mullen I hope that is not the case... I am making my way trough the second episode and so far it is still good. I'll let you know what I think as soon as I finish it.

FishieFish

#78

FishieFish said:

Damn, looks good.
But the'll probably make a physical copy later on, or reduce the price, so I won't get it yet..

mullen

#79

mullen said:

@Smitherenez I can understand. I thought it's great before I played the very last chapter.
Really want to give more comments, but that will be spoiler.

Blizzia

#83

Blizzia said:

Made an account just to highlight this extreme issue with Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies.

Now don't get me wrong, I love this game to pieces, but I harbor an insane hatred towards Capcom at the moment because of the way they've butchered the game completely. The review mentions nothing of how awful the localization is with incredibly large quantities of spelling/grammar errors. I swear they've been slacking off insanely much. I am on the 3rd case atm (Turnabout Academy or smth), and I've seen so much bullpoopydoodliedingdongpoopingly obvious bad grammar, missing words and sentences that make no sense that it is utterly destroying the visual novel part of the game that is made around the WALLS OF TEXT.

Finally: I love Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies and all the other entries in the series, played them all, but honestly, if Crapcom doesn't release a patch fixing the abundance of grammar and spelling errors in the game, I will have to consider going into their HQ with guns blazing and simply stop them from ever doing poor jobs like this again. Goodness, feels good to get it out. Now, if you are annoyed by a poopydingledoodooton of bad grammar, don't buy the game unless you really love the series. It really drops the momentum and atmosphere.
Watch the profanity please — TBD

Blizzia

#85

Blizzia said:

@Ash_Anne Wrong, the other games actually had great grammar and punctuation with only minor faults. This one is a disgrace in that department.

Justaguest

#87

Justaguest said:

I am going physical only now. They could get rid of those grammar errors in box version..

jpxdude

#88

jpxdude said:

@Blizzia You are being as dramatic as the characters in the game! While there are some weird errors here and there, personally I do not find that it detracts from the charm and character that the game exudes.

I'm on Case 4 already, and I've not counted more than 10 glaring errors yet, which is minor compared to how the HD remake on IOS was.

Blizzia

#90

Blizzia said:

@jpxdude drama ftw :P I've counted a dozen more glaring ones and im only on case 3, but I do agree that the game is still extremely enjoyable :) I love the game!

jgibson75

#92

jgibson75 said:

It's been a while since I played a Phoenix Wright game... but the demo for this one really hooked me. I will probably pick this one up after Christmas. I do wish they would make a Wii U Phoenix Wright game though. The game would work well on that system, especially with the Control Pad.

Andy3004

#93

Andy3004 said:

@andreoni79

I made the mistake and purchased the German translation version (my mother tongue, btw.) of one of the former Phoenix Wright games and it was complete and utter crap. On the other hand, the English versions were always top-notch (apart from the fact that they might have done more spell-checking. I have no doubt that the other European translations were similar disastrous.
I also compared the English version of Dual Destinies with the demo of the Japanese one that I downloaded on my Japanese 3DS. This one covers only the first day, but judging from that I can acknowledge that they've done an excellent job with the English translation.
I was pondering of playing this one in Japanese - however I got an European 3DS XL and only a normal (small) Japanese one, and I'm really glad that I waited for the English one to appear round here.
So please, do yourself a favor and get the English version and do not miss this excellent game.

Jorzha

#94

Jorzha said:

Judge: Do you have any objection about the score Mr.Wright? Phoenix: No objections here you're Honor.

Mytoemytoe

#95

Mytoemytoe said:

This game was incredible. But I disagree with this: "It's a shame there wasn't more English dub to break up the particularly text-heavy sequences." The anime cut scenes have terrible voice acting. It's not even worth it.

Bobby Fulbright is the greatest character in this game. His justice is the most just, and he actually manages to be even better than Gumshoe.

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