Review – Ace Attorney 6 Spirit of Justice

Ace Attorney 6

After two years getting nothing because Capcom’s unwillingness to localize Great Ace Attorney, justice is served for western Ace Attorney fans who can at last come back to court. And they didn’t wait all this time for nothing…

Kurain

The adventures of the remote ancestor Ryûnosoke are a thing of past (literally, by the way). Phoenix Wright, the unrivaled hero of the series, comes back in his famous blue suit for some exotic story, since it happens abroad for most part. Arrived in the kingdom of Kurain to see his old friend Maya Fey (who was his assistant in the first 3 games), the lawyer now in his thirties will soon get itself into trouble in a judiciary system a bit… original.

Reifa

Much to his surprise, the very job of defense attorney doesn’t even exist in Kurain. The judiciary system is considered perfect and the defense of the defendant totally pointless. Phoenix becomes therefore the one and only brave enough lawyer to face the prosecution in this weird country which deliver sentences based… on divination! (Very) young princess Leifa is indeed capable of summoning the memory of the victim and showing his/her last moments of life. Which directly brings us to the big innovation of Ace Attorney 6.

takusen

At the start of each trial, Leifa will “display” what the deceased has seen just before dying, and you surely guessed that it will be right against your case! That said, the dead don’t lie : what you’ll see is completely true and you can’t accuse Leifa of “lying”. However, her interpretation of the fact is not perfect and she will overlook some small details that are key to explain the course of events. That’s were you must strike : the five senses of the victim are displayed and you must find the one (sight, smell, touch, etc) that doesn’t fit with the prosecution’s theory. When interpretation is busted, Leifa leaves and the trial continues in a normal way, that is to say testimonies to examine and evidence to show at the right time.

Mimi

As in Ace Attorney Dual Destinies, Pheonix is not alone. Apollo and Athena will take the spotlight in regular trials taking place in the usual regional courtroom. While the Apollo/Trucy duo will sound familiar because being thrown in a case revolving around the young magician’s performance, it’s clear that Capcom doesn’t really know what to do with Athena, her only trial not having the slightest investigation part!

Yugami

To make up for this, we’re happy to welcome back Simon Blackquill : the prosecutor of Ace Attorney Dual Destines will have a bigger role than his counterparts in the previous episode. Pheonix’s colleagues will face a international prosecutor called Nayuta Samahdi. Monk himself, the character seems almost to far-fetched (even for the series) : his interventions feel repetitive, and he lacks the charisma to live up to Blackquill or even Barok Von Zieks.

monita

Lawyer specialized in psychology, Athena comes back with her famous mood matrix, interface capable of analyzing the witness’s feelings. Used quite a few times in this sixth episode, this system will ask you to find contradictions between the testimony and the displayed mood of the person telling it. The intensity of emotions and the context of the crime are also to be taken into account. This time, you’ll also have to point out and interpret visual elements present in the witness’s subconscious.

Mimi ring

Other gameplay mechanics are still there but more discreet. Apollo will use again its bracelet of truth to detect nervous gestures of people hiding something, and getting them to talk. Pheonix will have a few psy-locks to break : some interlocutors need to be shown a few pieces of evidence to remember stuff or lower their guard. The gameplay variety is thus actually more satisfying than in Great Ace Attorney.

soba

Capcom said they wanted to make Ace Attorney 6 harder so that it wouldn’t look like a mere visual novel. Mission accomplished? Maybe yes, maybe not. The game is very inconsistent in the hints it provides to the player : sometimes you won’t get any help at all, sometimes some allusions may lead you directly to the answer when comes the time to show some proof. Still, this newest episode is back with complex intrigues, countless hypothesis and numerous mysteries. The player’s brainstorming never stops here. Some puzzles were actually nicely tricky, like this one that will hella difficult to localize because based on the Japanese alphabet hiragana.

Akane c

Every time you makes two mistakes in a row, a small “help” command will pop, allowing you to ask the partner’s opinion, who will give more or less directly the solution. Capcom should have found better balance in this, because relying on this option can be felt as a personal defeat by the player, which wouldn’t be the case with the usual hints. Besides, Ace Attorney keeps the “logic path” at the end of each trial. That was far from needed, this system being unnecessary guidance in thinking instead of the player. Another surprising thing is that when you actually lose in a trial, the game doesn’t throw you back at the beginning of the chapter but… exactly where you lost! Saving and game over are just for show : there is no more challenge or pressure.

Yamashino

Ace Attorney 6 does live up to the series’ reputation for its narrative. It then again contain eccentric and amazing characters : among lots of others, the schizophrenic comedian having four personalities, the amnesiac resistance member and… a toy helicopter! All this set of course in a story full of amazing twists and surprises. The intensity of the narrative never goes down in the 50 hours of play or so. The suspense is incredible, the humor is juicy, the emotion will bring you to tears. Impossible to stay unimpressed when the culprits are unmasked or unexpected witness come to court, all the more true that timing coincides with the best music. Reveal the Truth is as good as ever, but Menyo’s theme will rival it this year. Better still, Capcom’s game goes into uncommon topics like Rakugo, traditional Japanese comedy, making its content fresh and original. Interesting also to point out that the last chapter starts on a civil case, a first that makes for an unforgettable confrontation.

Edgeworth

Cherry on the cake, the publisher had some free content ready just after the release of the game in Japan. It’s composed a full additional chapter and two mini-trials. While the latter are mainly fun stuff and parody, the chapter toki o koeru gyakuten adds 20% of content free of charge! It’s as cleverly written as the main chapters, and reunites Phoenix, Maya, Edgeworth and Larry Butz for a trial like “the good old times”. Series veterans, you will be thrilled.

Years go by but Ace Attorney never lowers the experience. Innovating, fascinanting by its well directed narrative, Ace Attorney 6 is a gem for lovers of puzzles and good stories. We’d have wanted Capcom to be more cautious with the gameplay, but it’s nevertheless a huge hit.

Advertisements

Enough of E3! Let’s talk about other games #2016

Atelier Firis (PSVita/PS4)

Ilmeria a

After a rather average Atelier Sophie, Gust had to react and strengthen the series. Looks like they’re doing so, by the looks of the enhanced graphics, evolving and more convincing character design and the innovating game system. The adventure is no longer centered around one town and Firis’s base camp will be mobile. Moreover, choices you make on the world map will cause slight changes on the flow of events. NOCO and Yûgen seem to have sharpened their skills on those first characters, NOCO in particular taking a more mature/sexy orientation. Yûgen has this curious character called Ilmeria, who makes me think she can be a Meruru successor in some way. I must admit that the improvements are stunning so far.

Kangokutô Mary Skelter (PSVita)

Mary c

A Compile’s Dungeon-RPG that I am eager to play, partly because the devilish art direction is conducted by Kai Nanameda, already behind Trillion, God of Destruction. This DRPG takes a survival approach by its ghostly Nightmares who will hunt you down so fiercly you’ll have to run away. Several jobs have been unveiled, as well as a Genocide mode in which the girls gain immense power when in contact with ennemies’ blood. On the contrary, licking the blood will heal them, but remove the Genocide state. A gameplay balance in which risk-assessment will be key.

Sengoku Otome (PSVita)

SO

Weird background for this game since taking its origin from a anime itself coming from a pachinko! Sengoku Otome is kind of the Oda Nabuna game we never got : this fighting game which seems to play like Senran Kagura features girls representing general from feudal Japan. The ambitious Tokugawa Ieyasu becomes a shy pink-haired girl while Toyotomi Hideyoshi turns into a blonde loli. As much as I feel sorry for those great men, the paradox looks rather fun.

Root Letter (PS4/PSVita)

RL ca1

A visual novel of fascinating concept. The player has had a pen friend called Aya, with whom he has exchanged 10 letters. In the very last one that he finds and reads years later, she admits committing murder. From there the game start as an investigation thriller, in which you have to find Aya’s former classmates to uncover the truth.

Black Rose Valkyrie (PS4)

Ai a

Compile Heart is going into something a bit different for this game, because one of the girls of Black Rose Valkyrie is a traitor. So while fighting against a fierce virus and monsters called Chimeras, the main character will also have to regularly question his allies, very much like in Lost Dimension. Reminding Galapagos’s works in a lot of ways, it also features costume break as it was in Omega Quintet.

Idolmaster Platinum Stars (PS4)

Imas PS b

Stunning by its sharp anime style, Idolmaster Platinum Stars will be my first step in that famous IP. Sure had to go into it one day. The player once more takes the role of a star manager and will have to lead his girls to the top of the entertainment business. You really start from scratch this time, because you pick the girls at the very beginning of their career.

Tokiden 2 (PS4/PS3/PSVita)

T2 ca1

Not much to say more about Tokiden 2 since I wrote a lot about the demo last time. It’s just matter to check how large the world really is and the improvements made to combat.

Caligula (PSVita)

Caligula

An RPG to have on your radar for its original base story : the students in Caligula are trapped in a fictitious ideal world created by a vocaloid called μ. Although the digital singer actually protects them from the wicked real world, those young men and women decide to stop living a lie ad will seek to destroy μ. Centered on the subject of digital worlds, Caligula benefits from genuine vocaloid songs.

Those are the TGS 2014 games you need to see

FFXV waifu

God Eater 2 Rage Burst (PSVita/PS4)

Probably the trailer that stands out the most (although the level is pretty high this year). Is it the epic music, the dramatic turn of events or the new loli and her scythe? I can’t decide, maybe a combination of the three… Rage Burst is theorically an extension of God Eater 2, but this trailer looks more like a sequel. Julius (the main character of GE2) has gone missing and the party goes looking for him in some sort of cursed Yggdrasil. In terms of gameplay, the finish moves of GE2 seem to have been considerably reinforced to turn them into extreme limit breaks, with a flurry of choices impossible to make given the pace of the battles. Hard to say if the added content compared to GE2 will be significant, but that new character convinced my to reopen wallet already.

Bloodborne (PS4)

No doubt that Bloodborne will be the exclusive of next year. Its Victorian universe just reinvents Baroque and survival-horror altogether. When I saw the various trailers, I immediately thought about a M-rated Medievil. The density of the environments is incredible, the hellish design outdates everything that’s been done so far, the eerie atmosphere and sounds give the shivers, combat looks gore and exhilarating. All this with, so far, no sign of dialog or scenario. Could Bloodborne end up without those? It would be a surprising choice, but maybe not a bad one.

Great Ace Attorney (3DS)

My 3DS has been collecting dust since January, but Great Ace Attorney will surely be the occasion to clean it up. Phoenix Wright leaves the court and enters Naruhodo Ryunosuke (maybe his grandfather since they share the Japanese last name), lawyer… in Meiji era! The Ace Attorney series makes a jump into the past in 1880, perfect occasion to welcome Britain’s most famous investigator, Sherlock Holmes. Meiji’s Japan looks very faithfully rendered (the title is written in pre-1945 Japanese) and will be a plus for the series, and a pleasure for History lovers like me. Little mistake though : Ryunosuke has a Japanese sword, but wielding swords had been forbidden by the Meiji government.

Omega Quintet (PS4)

Omega Quintet is two weeks away from release and tells us a lot about the game system. This trailer shows that you can customize your characters as you wish, and that the girls are not limited to only one type of weapon. Battle seem to have been enriched since FFF, which should induce more strategy. Leveling up should become easier with a training facility directly in the base camp. Best of all, broken costumes can’t be repaired until you’re back to the base camp.

Senran Kagura Estival Versus (PSVita/PS4)

After the Senran Kagura 2 disaster on 3DS, the series is back to its legitimate fans with summer as general theme. It will shed some sunlight on Japanese Vita and PS4 in March 2015. Very little more is known, but Famitsu showed that 4 new characters have been added already, including a granny (!?). Ryôbi should have more importance in the story.

Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax (PSVita/PS3)

Fighting Climax is a fighting game that gathers the most famous novel characters of the Japanese publisher Dengeki. You will be able to play as Kirito/Asuna from SAO, Satomi from Black Bullet or Miyuki from Mahôka (sorry, no Onii-sama). I’m introducing this game today because it marks the return of Valkyria Chronicles in video games, as Selveria is confirmed as playable character! This game is even more a must-have. Note that the “bad guy” and not VC heroine ended up main character, Alicia being only support.

Final Fantasy Agito + (PSVita)

Not so big nor an impressive trailer, but FF Type-0 fans will soon be able to prolong the pleasure with the arrival of free to play Agito (only available on iOS so far).

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD (PS4/X1)

The big thing is of course the first gameplay trailer of Type-0, on PS4 and Xbox One. Square Enix had warned people to lower expectation compared to FFXV, but I was astonished of the quality they could achieve from a PSP game. It’s pretty neat, zero aliasing. Sure the animations looks rough but particles, light effects, textures clearly benefit from the power of the new systems. Save March 20th, I guarantee you (because I played it on PSP) a great gameplay and a fun universe.

Final Fantasy XV (PS4/X1)

The surprise showing of FFXV in the very first minutes of the TGS provoked manifestations of joy on Neogaf, proportional to the despair of its non-showing at E3. The trailer in itself is not spectacular, but gives a clear message about the scale of the game : it looks gigantic, and the choice of a huge Adamantoise is a symbol of that. Your luxury car will transport you on what seems to be kilometers and kilometers of ruins, caves, plains with an ecosystem of their own. You wanna play it? Your wish comes true : a demo of FFXV will be included in every copy of FF Type-0 HD.

Preview – Lost Dimension

tower

No one’s really cared about Lost Dimension… yet. Seen with indifference in gaming press and getting low preorders at home, Furyu’s new game, with its design full of 70’s flavor, didn’t really have my attention. But yeah, it’s summer, I have some free time, so I thought I could as well give it a try with the heavy (848MB) demo provided during the week-end.

The demo throws you into the action without any prior briefing. Shô is part an elite squad, the SEALED, set up in a hurry to stop some dangerous folk called The End from launching 13 nuclear missiles all over Earth. Thirteen is bad luck, right? Therefore, Shô and its unit rush on his trail, and enter a weird giant tower.

Himeno b

The gameplay parts remind a lot of Valkyria Chronicles : turn-based combat between units that have each their own moving area. You can also trigger support fire if other characters are closed to the enemy you’re targeting. This particular thing is extremely important in Lost Dimension for one simple reason : your opponents can do exactly the same! Consequently, you’ll have to advance with your characters not too far from each others so as to constantly have sufficient support. Otherwise, enemies will be quick to corner your teammates one by one. Furthermore, every SEALED member has some supernatural power (like the Fantastic 4, except that they’re 12) : Himeko can cast fire spell, Nagi can Levitate, Yoko can cast buffs/debuffs… They also have the ability to make another character play again when their turn’s finished (it’s like the Dancer in Fire Emblem, save that here everybody does it). Note that there is a shield gauge that you have to take into account when taking on stronger enemies. From what I have seen, the battle system should be deep and varied enough to entertain the player in the long run.

Nagi c

The is no currency in Lost Dimension. In the base camp, you will change energy into weapons and objects. You might as well do a little chat with your companions to know them better. That’s where Lost Dimension’s questionable design kinda leaves you uneasy : the small talk is uninteresting and not even dubbed. It’s therefore pretty difficult to appreciate the characters, especially given the dated design. The girls are still pretty nice, but without that Furyu’s new RPG would lack incentive to play. Please bear in mind that this is just design issues : on the field, graphics and animation are quite neat.

vision

Last but no least, Lost Dimension’s genius stroke is this : The End has sent a spy in your team! One of the 12 «official» characters is a traitor, and you have to find him. Fortunately Shô has some psychic powers and he will identify «suspects» after each mission. Of course, you won’t know who it is right away : in a group of five, you have 0, 1, 2 or 3 potential traitors. Up to you to switch members from time to time in order to pin the traitor by elimination process. This very unusual setting gives Lost Dimension some unique and oppressing atmosphere. SEALED members have just met and don’t know each other, let alone trust each other. The music, with very slow and eerie tones, helps you dive into the suspense (it’s a little too funky in battle though).

But you’re not even done yet. The clock is ticking, and at each floor the game will ask you to bring the traitor for him to be judged. But there’s a snag : you’re not the ony one deciding on that! Each character is voting to expel one of them. Regularly, they’ll come and ask your opinion, moment when you can influence their choice towards the traitor… if you’ve discovered him! Otherwise, a real ally will be erased and turned into a materia which, ironically, you can equip later.

I don’t how good Lost Dimension will be in the end. But what’s sure is that that was an excellent demo : it changed my indifference into a purchase intend. In any case, I’m really excited about the final product.

Those are the E3 2013 games you need to see

Leviathan

Lightning Returns (PS3/X360)

This newest trailer of the latest episode of the Lightning series had me particularly excited. The game seems darker than ever with Lightning being chased by Noël while engaging a deadly duel with Snow. She’s also sexier than before in outfit no Final Fantasy fan would have imagined possible a few years ago. Let’s also point out that you can now target and cut off parts of the monsters’ body (like it is the case in the Shining series for example)

Battlefield 4 (PS4/X1)

While it is unknown whether sniping will be a bit more enjoyable than in BF3, it’s difficult not to be impressed by this trailer. The way small particles and fumes are rendered by ultra-powerful engine Frostbite 3 shows how much of a gap there is between this gen and the upcoming one.

Mirror’s Edge (PS4/X1)

A big hip hip hip hurrah for Mirror’s Edge 2! Despite the not so good sales of the first one, Faith is back, in great shape and more determined than ever in this short but exhalirating trailer. The broken glass and the light effects prove once more that Frostbite 3 means business.

Metal Gear Solid 5 (PS4/X1)

Lot of delightful new elements in this latest video of MGS5. It gives a first glimpse of the open world promised by Kojima and it’s awesome. The playground seems limitless and already revolutionizes infiltration as well as story-telling. It’s pleasant to see really Kojimaesque characters : freaky and shady, they completely inherit for the Metal Gear DNA. Between Skull Face the merciless gangster, a megalomaniac Otacon or a super-sexy sniper woman called Quiet, fans will welcome back the Metal Gear they love.

Final Fantasy XV (PS4)

But THE video that set E3 on fire, that’s the one of Final Fantasy VersusXIII. The game quits the Lightning series as expected, and officially becoming Final Fantasy XV. This masterpiece of a trailer doesn’t need much explanation, but just notice the psychics of the next gen water, the destruction everywhere around, Noctis’s stylish moves, the giant Leviathan, the FFXII-styled world… After this you can close E3 and cancel everything until this game is release.

Review – Senran Kagura Burst

Not really a sequel, Senran Kagura Burst makes you revisit the story of the first Senran Kagura (SK) from the «bad girls» side. You therefore play as the busty female ninja of Ebijo school, opposed to the (equally busty) heroines of the first game. I’m not sure Marvelous had expected to do a sequel, because the characters of this one don’t really fit in the main role. It impacts the story because it fails to achieve the same coherence we had in SK. It feels more like a sum of individual stories of variable interest.

Higake as well as the duo Yomi/Ikaruga were great parts, I really like both the story and the gameplay. Homura was fun to play (especially in Crimson mode) but her story was skipped (probably because we already know it from SK). Haruka and Mirai felt really flat imo. I have to stress that, like in the first one, there a LOT of written dialogs. It’s not uncommon to read for half an hour and actually play a 3-minute level. SKB therefore is a light novel as much as a video game. Beware though, the level of Japanese used is VERY advanced and will kill anybody in-learning.

The gameplay of this BTA is more varied than in first one and combos can are smoother than before. A good thing that takes all its flavour in the reshuffled difficulty settings. SK was a somewhat easy game. SKB is really easy too (excluding the side mission which are pretty tough)… until chapter 4 in which difficulty suddenly increases tenfold! The AI that had been queing to get its ass kicked so far now deals considerable damage, and your rivals act as real bosses. Hence you begin to play Senran Kagura for real : making clever use of burst and dash and using your ougi at the right moment is critical to encure victory. Those difficulty spikes might be unsettling, but I liked that extra pressure.

No problem in graphics, the engine is still the most impressive I’ve seen on 3DS. The anime-like style is unrivaled on the system.

This newest Senran Kagura adresses the fans of the series first, but doesn’t forget about newcomers since the (comparatively good) first episode in fully included in it! A double ration of Senran Kagura certainly is worth the while.