Note For People Who Don’t Care About Miles Edgeworth: Skip to the video and enjoy it, without reading this blog post.
I recently finished with Case Four of Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth. Case Three took me a long time to get through, but Case Four went relatively smoothly because it’s a good murder mystery. In fact, it might be the best case of the game!
And because I’m in Edgeworth mode right now, I think I’ll explain how Miles Edgeworth: Ace Attorney: Investigations breaks down.
Case One: Very Good! It’s a short, sweet and simple introduction to the game and gameplay mechanics. If the rest of the game was just like this (a balance of investigation, followed by cross-examination), I would be happy. The bad guy in this case is more memorable than all the other bad guys in this game put together, except perhaps for the bad guy of Case Four.
Case Two: Good! The concept behind this case is that a murder is committed in the First Class section of an airplane, so the murderer has to be one of the people in First Class. That’s an interesting concept, but it sort of falls apart in the game itself, because the plane is super-unrealistic. For example, the plane has an elevator that services three floors, a 50-foot tall cargo hold, a working bar, and a gift shop. I know it’s a jumbo jet, but come on!
This is also the case where the poor translation job rears its ugly head. In particular, Franziska von Karma appears in this case, which should make it interesting and exciting, but instead, it’s just…boring. Her dialogue with Edgeworth is rather devoid of life and energy. They should have peppered it up with jokes or something, my goodness. It is nothing like the interesting Edgeworth/Franziska conversation we saw at the end of the second Phoenix Wright game.
Also, it seems that Rhoda Teneiro was designed to be a semi-romantic interest for Edgeworth, but due to the poor translation, you can barely tell she has a crush on him. That’s a real lost opportunity.
Case Three: Not so good! The concept behind this case is that a murder takes place at a theme park, during a kidnapping scheme, and all the people involved with the case were wearing giant animal costumes at the time. Um…that’s just weird, and it plays out as such.
Problem #1: The flow of the game isn’t smooth here. For some reason, Part 3 is really, really short; it’s a fourth as long as Parts 1, 2, 4 and 5. Also, for some reason, Part 4 contains no investigation at all. Maybe they should have combined Parts 3 and 4 to make things flow better.
Problem #2: The investigation in the stadium seems like an excuse for Ema Skye to have an under-utilized cameo appearance. Is it nice to see her again? Sure. But she only shows up for four minutes. She either should have appeared more, or she should have been cut from the game.
Problem #3: In this case, we finally meet the new main characters of the game: Agent Lang and Kay Faraday. I don’t think this was done well. For super-important, brand-new main characters, they show up really late in the game, and get almost no screen time outside of this case. Plus, their backstories are just sort of…huh. Lang is a meanie, and the reason why (“he hates prosecutors”) is just sort of…generic. Kay is a Master Thief who shows up as a Deus Ex Machina (for reasons that aren’t explained), spends the whole day with Edgeworth (for reasons that aren’t explained), and has magic crime-scene recreation powers. Edgeworth should just buy his own Little Thief and tell Kay to take a hike.
Case Four: Best case of the game! It’s a flashback to seven years ago, when Edgeworth was a bad boy. In this case, you get to cross-examine the Judge from the Phoenix Wright series, hang out with Franziska, and meets a detective who loves lollipops.
This case is the one that feels the most like a Phoenix Wright game, which is what makes it the most enjoyable. It takes place in a courtroom, we get to see characters like the Judge and Manfred von Karma, and there’s even a courtroom battle between Edgeworth and a rival defense attorney. It’s pretty enjoyable. There are problems with this case, to be sure, but it’s still rated as the best case of the game among fans.
Case Five: Good-ish! Of course, it’s the last case of the game, so it’s super-long and super-complicated, and it tries to bring everything together in a way that makes sense. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded if the game was just a series of non-related cases–it might be better that way–but I admire them for trying to have an overarching plot.
Overall, the first half of the investigation was pretty good, up to the point where Bad Guy #1 was caught. Catching the first bad guy definitely felt like an achievement.
The second half of the investigation, capturing Bad Guy #2, though, was hard to enjoy. Let me summarize it for you:
Bad Guy: Ha ha ha! You can’t stop me!
Edgeworth: Oh, yeah? This evidence shows you did it!
(Edgeworth cross-examines the Bad Guy’s testimony 1-3 times.)
Bad Guy: Ha ha ha! You tried, but you still can’t stop me!
Edgeworth: Oh, no-saurs!
Another Character: HOLD IT! I have…NEW EVIDENCE!
Edgeworth: Aha! This new evidence will end the case!
[Repeat the above steps for three hours.]
Three hours of non-stop cross-examination, with the same character. It was painfully boring at points. It would have been more tolerable if, like Bad Guy #1, there was a clear motive for Edgeworth to stop this villain…but instead, Edgeworth just seemed to want to stop the villain because (s)he was the villain of the game, and not because he had a personal connection to the case.
So that’s Miles Edgeworth: Ace Attorney: Investigations, the game that has pretty much nothing to do with attorneys. There is some investigating, but the game’s main focus is not really logical deduction and crime solving. What will happen in the upcoming sequel to this game? Will Edgeworth stop pretending that his BFF, Phoenix Wright, doesn’t exist? Will Edgeworth fall in love with his new rival, a female judge? Will the translation be easier to put up with? We’ll have to wait and see.
[Reprinted from the blog of former staff writer, Michael Gray. For more on Ace Attorney Investigations, check out The GameCola Podcast #28: A God Among Men.]
I have to agree with everything in the article, except for case #5 — I was concerned that the game would end prematurely without tying up all of the loose ends, so I actually enjoyed how the final interrogation played out.
It’s a shame that the localization team didn’t have the charm and wit that they had in previous PW games. Oh well, there’s always next game (I hope)…