Set in late 19th century Japan and England, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles recounts the tale of Phoenix Wright’s ancestor, a university student named Ryunosuke Naruhodo over the course of two adventures. Following a request from the government of Japan, the protagonist and his friends are invited to the British Capital to study their legal system and ways of thinking. Whilst at the same time, our upcoming lawyer superstar is thrust into a series of intense murder mystery cases that all share a familiar thread.
Funnily enough – and correct me if I’m wrong – the young lawyer’s surname, Naruhodo means “I understand” or “that’s right” in English. So yeah, they actually are related! There you go.
A Truly Superb Script
But back on topic, that sense of connectedness is what I really love about this pair of games in particular. As other Ace Attorney titles almost always have some type of filler case or two that has little to do with anything. Those who’ve played Justice For All will know exactly what I mean. That clown case was – well, let’s just not go there!
What starts off as a seemingly innocuous study of British law, steadily turns into something much more insidious. This epic origins story never stops ramping up the intensity either! It even introduces themes of racial prejudice and classism. Also highlighting how anyone can easily find themselves walking down this clouded path of judgement. Although, then again, as the main cast comes to realise – maybe we’re not so different after all? The game tackles these topics and many others exceptionally well.
The localisation team at Plus Alpha also deserve a medal for their mastery of translation and top-notch writing. Since most of the story is text-only and set in England, where the country has dozens of different dialects to consider and represent, Plus Alpha have perfectly captured these distinct styles of speech. I was laughing so hard when I read one of the characters saying “didn’t even ‘ave time to pull out me Lucy Lockets!” Because you can just picture exactly how they’d pronounce that phrase in real life. It’s honestly incredible how well these sentences flow! It brings out so much more of the cast’s characterisation, just from their use of language. Oh, and did I mention that the characters are just as good, if not more likeable than any other game in the series? Ace Attorney fans are in for a treat.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles In Flight
Talking about speech though, that’s the foundation of Ace Attorney; gathering a bunch of relevant evidence and information about a case, then engaging in some epic courtroom battles with the prosecution. It’s pretty straightforward Ace Attorney stuff here! However, I’d have to say that this is legitimately the best gameplay permutation of the entire series. I couldn’t find one dumb logic leap in either of these entries as well. Also, not only does the player cross-examine witnesses and present evidence, but there are times where you’ll need to carefully compare juror statements with one another or participate in Sherlock Holmes’ *correction* Herlock Sholmes’ Dance of Deduction.
Said dances were some of my absolute favourite parts of the game! Sholmes would make these grand, sweeping declarations about the happenings of a specific area. While Ryunosuke and assistant, Susato would have to tidy up his statements by picking out certain items or pieces of evidence that line up better theoretically.
The logic dances are a simple system in concept! It’s just so fun to watch Ryunosuke and Sholmes click their fingers and prance around each other! It’s as if they’re acting in some hyper-dramatic theatre show. I also love how they’ve set up Sholmes’ character to be this brilliant! Yet he is also a clumsy buffoon with a heart of gold, it’s so good. Like the rest of the soundtrack, the Dance of Deduction theme is straight-up awesome, enough said.
How The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles Solves A Series-Old Problem
The last major addition to the gameplay is Story Mode, which is great for those who just want to sit back and enjoy the show. Even though it basically plays the game for you, Story Mode works wonders with this game’s setup, since you can turn the feature on or off at any time.
In previous Ace Attorneys, it could get really frustrating when the player was stumped on what evidence to present, or be difficult to figure out if any last-remaining clues had been missed during the on-foot investigations. Whereas here, it essentially removes those issues in one fell swoop. That being said, it did bug out on me a few times when the game tried to change my area of investigation. However, Story Mode more than makes up for these little errors at the end of the day.
If there was anything else I could nit-pick, I’d have to admit that some of the character animations felt a touch overused. The English dub also fell a little flat at times. The actors’ performances aren’t the greatest by any stretch. However, they still get the job done in the rare moments of voiced dialogue. Rest assured, the Japanese VO is great.
Is The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles worth a purchase? Indubitably, my dear fellows! This is the series at its absolute finest. Each episode slowly builds and builds upon the story, culminating in a stunning finale that every Ace Attorney fan needs to see. The characters are exceptionally well-written, the music’s top-class and the gameplay formula is better than any other past title yet. I could go on, but then I’d start spoiling the game – it’s time to visit London!
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is a masterful piece of story-telling that every gamer needs to experience. It handles some extremely sensitive topics like racism and classism extraordinarily well, all the while beaming with gorgeous music, memorable characters, thought-provoking gameplay and series throwbacks that fans will assuredly love.
Can Ace Attorney get better than this?
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Capcom. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.