Welcome to The Ten Reasons, where I discuss ten reasons why I like or dislike a game. You know, I wanted to write a review for Apollo Justice this month, but it turns out that Zach Rich already did it. And that’s what this column is for! It’s my excuse to talk about games that have already been reviewed, without getting in trouble for it!
Reasons Why I Like Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney
1. Prosecutor Payne’s New Hairdo
This game takes place seven years after the third Phoenix Wright game, and it’s obvious that Prosecutor Payne has been visiting the salon.
Oh yeah. Look at him flip that hair! Such sheen! Such body! Winston, you may be bald, but you clearly know how to treat your hair right!
2. 3D Models and Animation
After ignoring the DS’s capabilities for the past two games, Capcom remembered that the Ace Attorney games are, in fact, DS games. So this game contains new, cool DS-style things like video animation. And 3D models of crime scenes that you can manipulate! Awesome!
3. The Return of Gemini Man
Our feminist gamer friends have pointed out that Apollo Justice used to be Gemini Man from Mega Man 3. It’s good to see that Capcom is reusing the old Mega Man characters, rather than letting them die, forgotten.
4. The Return of Luminol
OK, maybe it’s just me, but I cheered when Ema Skye pulled out a bottle of Luminol during a trial so Apollo could check to see if blood had been left anywhere.
Now that I think about it, I know why it was so awesome. Ema was acting in character. And given the fact that Phoenix Wright is ridiculously out-of-character in this game (much, much more on that later), seeing at least someone act in character was like a breath a fresh air.
5. Funny Conversations
Like it or not, Apollo Justice is one of the Ace Attorney games. That means it has funny conversations and jokes and that sort of stuff. Here are some I liked:
Reasons Why I Don’t Like Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney
6. Phoenix Wright Disbarred
No. No. NO NO NO NO NO!
CAPCOM, HOW COULD YOU????!!!!
This is NOT what’s supposed to happen! Phoenix does NOT get disbarred! He continues his career as a successful attorney, surrounded by his friends and colleagues, and he eventually marries his partner Maya Fey. To suggest that Phoenix does anything else is laughable, but to change things around so that Phoenix’s life becomes the complete opposite is unforgivable.
OK, OK. I’m confusing people who haven’t played this game. Let me start over.
For those of you who don’t know, 2008 was a sad, sad year. The Indiana Jones series got resurrected, and everyone was excited because Indiana Jones is awesome. But it turned out to be a horrible addition to the series, where they tried to replace everyone’s beloved Indy with newcomer Shia LeBeouf.
…The exact same thing happened with the Ace Attorney series. The first new Ace Attorney game in seven years, and they tried to replace the main character with newcomer Shia LeBeouf Apollo Justice.
I suppose we all should have seen this coming. After all, it was foretold in the Bible:
And there was in that land a man named Phoenix Wright. He was an upright and honest man, and he secured Justice for All, despite the harshest of circumstances. The Lord God looked upon this Phoenix, and saw that he was good, and so blessed him.
But lo, an evil horned beast appeared to usurp Phoenix’s place of honor. Using fake evidence, the beast had Phoenix ejected from the halls of justice. The horned beast then attempted to secure Phoenix’s place as his own, but yea, he was stupid and lame, and we want Phoenix Wright back, dammit. Nobody wanted to see him get replaced. Whoever came up with the idea should be beaten by angry lawyers with briefcases.
So, yeah. In this game, Phoenix Wright is nothing at all like he was in the other games. He’s no longer an attorney. No, he got disbarred on trumped-up charges. Because, apparently, the fact that he’s a world-class attorney and so would be able to, I dunno, defend himself from these false charges never crossed the minds of the game’s producers.
Oh, it gets worse. Phoenix has lots of friends who would gladly help him out if he ever did get in a tough situation like being disbarred. This game pretends that they don’t exist.
That’s right. You’re not going to hear anything about the Feys or Edgeworth or Gumshoe or anyone else in this game. You’re left to believe they all completely abandoned Phoenix, because he is now a penniless bum who spends his nights playing poker and getting drunk off wine (sure, the game says it’s grape juice, but let’s be honest: grape juice doesn’t come in wine bottles or in wine crates). The only way he makes ends meet is by getting money from having his daughter go onstage and show off her panties to everyone.
Yes, truly, Phoenix has hit rock bottom.
Look, I can understand wanting to change things. Phoenix Wright was in a good place after the third game, and it would have been hard to come up with new, life-altering cases for him to handle. I understand the game’s development team deciding to move past Phoenix Wright and start again with a new lawyer.
But the way they moved onto a new lawyer—by completely ruining Phoenix’s life—is just plain wrong.
Come on, Capcom! I know you can change things around with the next installment of the series! Arthur Conan Doyle continued the Sherlock Holmes series after killing the main character! L. Frank Baum restarted the Oz series after he ended it for good! Capcom, you can do the exact same thing! You can keep the Phoenix Wright series going, even if you already finished it!
Here, let me help you! There are plenty of ways to take a step backwards and continue the series with Phoenix in his rightful place as main character. You could have Phoenix retake the bar exam and get his attorney’s badge back! You could say that the Phoenix in Apollo Justice was just an impersonator, and the real Phoenix was elsewhere! I’d even be willing to accept the “it was all a dream” cop-out at this point! PLEASE!
7. Klavier and Kristoph Gavin
Klavier and Kristoph are the two new lawyer characters in this game, brought in to replace the various lawyers that Phoenix Wright knew. I don’t want to sound like a Negative Nellie here, but I don’t really like either one of them.
Kristoph creeps me out. He’s got a stalker grin, with the kinda freaky Japanese-style upside-down closed eyes. And what the heck kind of hairdo does he have going on? It’s like he has a ponytail, only it’s out in the front and hangs there like a deformed lollipop stick. I dunno. I was too busy being disturbed by the way Kristoph looked to be able to accept him as a good character.
Klavier, his brother, is a little better. The game decided to try something new by having a friendly prosecutor character, but unfortunately, it doesn’t really work out all that well. Sure, Klavier’s a nice guy, but he’s also…really kind of boring. Plus, he has the same scary hairdo as Kristoph. What the heck IS that thing? Clearly, he curls it in a circle because there’s no other way he could have diagonal lines going across it.
I am sorry. That hairdo creeps me out big time. Get a haircut, Gavins.
8. Ugly Apollo
Speaking of things that creep me out, check out this animation for Apollo. Ew. Keep that thing away from me.
9. Decisive Evidence
I know the Ace Attorney series likes to make things dramatic by making it seem like the trial could end at any moment, but this game takes it a bit too far. Near the end of every trial, right when you’ve got the killer cornered, he/she says something like “You can’t convict me! You don’t have decisive evidence!”
The Judge immediately agrees with the killer. Never mind the fact that you’ve just proved who the killer is, how the murder was performed, and what the motive was. No, the killer will now get off scot-free because you didn’t have “decisive evidence.”
It’s just a completely ridiculous ploy done to up the dramatic tension and to slightly lengthen the trials. I can understand using this ploy once or twice, but it gets used in every trial. It’s just so overdone in this game, and it’s such a bad line of thought to begin with that I reached the point where I wanted to break my DS whenever the phrase “decisive evidence” came up.
Plus, Phoenix Wright gets disbarred because Klavier makes a demand for (totally irrelevant) “decisive evidence.” That’s enough reason to dislike decisive evidence in itself.
10. Courtroom and Lobby Discrepancy
This is probably just me, but I noticed that for every single trial, the courtroom number never matched the courtroom lobby number. That bugged me.
Bonus Eleventh Reason: Stolen Panties
When I learned that Apollo’s first detective case was to find a pair of stolen panties, I was immensely disappointed. Has the quality of the cases gone downhill? Yeah. It’s gone downhill big time.
True, about ten minutes later, the panties storyline ended up becoming hilarious, not disappointing. But still. I don’t think our feminist gamer friends approve of this rather perverted storyline.
Well, that’s it for Apollo Justice, everyone. I guess I kinda like this game as much as I dislike it. Phoenix, if you’re out there reading this? Please come home, buddy. We miss you.