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3DS  header logo

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies

For: 3DS   Also on: iPhone, iPad

Not so Wright on the money

Product: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies | Publisher: Capcom | Format: 3DS | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies 3DS, thumbnail 1
Remember when Jonathan Creek used to be good? Alan Davies and Caroline Quentin would solve the most baffling, brain-bending cases, and you'd simply allow yourself to be swept along in all the whimsy.

Nowadays, whenever they put out a Creek special it turns out to be rubbish, devoid of any of the mystery and wonder that characterised the series to its peak.

We've waited five years for ace attorney Phoenix Wright to return, but his comeback feels a lot like a Jonathan Creek Christmas special - it's definitely Phoenix Wright, but it's missing that certain something that made the series so great in the first place.

The Wright stuff

From the moment you boot up Dual Destinies it's obvious that you're home again. Everything in this latest title is near-identical to the rest of the series, for better or for worse.

You play a string of defence lawyers, all working out of Phoenix's law agency, as you deal with five different murder cases and attempt to find the truth by examining evidence and completing puzzles.

One half of the game is spent hunting around crime scenes, looking for evidence, talking to witnesses, and generally getting a feel for the case.

The other half sees you in the courtroom, locking horns with prosecutors who are baying for blood. By picking apart testimonies from witnesses you can establish the truth and get your clients off the hook.

There are some neat 3D character models for the first time in a Phoenix Wright game, as well as anime-style cutscenes, but otherwise this is your average Phoenix Wright title through and through.

Wright on time

Keeping in line with other Ace Attorney titles, Dual Destinies is a massive game, clocking in at over 20 hours of play.

And it comes with plenty of ridiculous stories, as you'd expect, with numerous messed up twists and turns along the way that seemingly come out of nowhere.

Capcom has attempted to streamline the experience this time around. There's a Notes area where you can check what the heck you're meant to be doing next, and when you're searching crime scenes a tick will signal that you've already examined something.

But while Dual Destinies has the makings of another great Phoenix Wright game, it misses the mark consistently, offering up one of the least-memorable experiences in the series to date.

Just not Wright

None of the stories in Dual Destinies is very memorable, and I found myself drifting off while playing, simply because I wasn't hooked by any of the bloody tales.

Meanwhile, the new characters aren't particularly engaging. New defence attorney Athena Cykes, for example, is your bog-standard ditsy spirit, with a pretty dull power that centres around emotions.

By the end of each case, I was struggling to care at all about who was murdered and why - and given that the story is Phoenix Wright's main selling point, this can't be a good thing.

It doesn't help that, for a good portion of the game, you're not even controlling Phoenix - rather, he is only the main character in some cases, and you're actually giving directions to Athena and Apollo for around half of the game.

Another joke based around the word Wright

There are issues concerning the game's underlying mechanics too.

Plenty of times you're forced into a situation where you're holding evidence that could blow the case apart, but you're made to deal with other less-important facets of the case first. 

Then there's the issue with the penalty points. In past Ace Attorney games, if you chose the wrong options and wore the penalty bar down to zero, you were thrown back to the start of the day. This was annoying and unfriendly, but at least it made you really think about your choices.

To "fix" this, Capcom has done away with punishment entirely. When your bar wears down to nothing in Dual Destinies, it says "Game Over" - but then you're put right back at the spot you were up to, with a full penalty bar again.

This means there is no element of risk and reward, and when you're stuck you can simply just try every piece of evidence until you find the right one. It boggles the mind that Capcom hasn't implemented a ranking system, so that those players who manage to get through a case without "losing" gain a higher rank than those who see "Game Over" a couple of times.

Phoenix Wright fans are going to buy Dual Destinies regardless of its flaws. It's not a bad game by any means, but it's not the one we were hoping for either. Newcomers to the franchise will want to pick up the earlier titles rather than starting here.
 
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies
Reviewer photo
Mike Rose | 24 October 2013
Dual Destinies is disappointing. In general it's more of the same Phoenix Wright we've come to know and love, but the stories and characters are horribly weak
 
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Joined:
Nov 2013
Post count:
1
drsek | 05:54 - 24 November 2013
completely agree, I think the new characters were varying levels of hollow and I felt the writing was off, relying more on heavy reuse of series tropes rather than more genuine dialogue. The 'objection!' and 'hold it!' banter in court was very overused, the scene where someone unexpected says 'objection!' or 'hold it!' and everyone acts surprised was overused and by the end I found myself tiring of when they occured, I just began to expect them constantly.

Additional misuse of 'objection!', nothing in court could be a simple reply, almost every two lines of dialogue were objections, even certain lines that were not at all objections were started with the 'objection!' graphic. I know that in previous titles they were fond of objections, but they only really started to fly out in intense crucial battles, it added a lot of excitement and intensity, while also leaving room for them to make great surprises.

It also had its issues as a game, I agree wholeheartedly that the decision to make it so if/when you receive a 'guilty' it just puts you back right where you were with a full bar is a terrible one. It takes out so much tension that the series had, which is really a shame. There wasn't even any illusion of penalty in the new brainstorm type sequence, usually occurring when someone remembers to 'turn the case on its head', if you get an answer wrong the character will explain why it is wrong and then drop you right back to the choice, it literally never matters if you choose wrong. This took out so much tension past entries had where a guilty verdict sucked because you had to start the day all over, if not for the story implications.

Also, the game held your hand throughout all 5 cases, it never let you try to make an even slightly difficult decision yourself, with hints ranging from somewhat obvious to PLEASE PRESENT THIS PIECE OF EVIDENCE NOW. Past entries always held you through case 1 and then that was about it, you were on your own to wrap your mind around complex cases. This time the puzzles are much easier and in the places that are even slightly harder it holds your hand through them with dialogue.

I have nothing but praise for the visual direction, I thought it was a very pretty game and they handled the 2d->3d transition very well. However, from more bland characters to less engaging cases and gameplay, I think they dropped the ball on this one a bit.
Joined:
Jul 2012
Post count:
93
@RaveofRavendale | 15:11 - 6 November 2013
I'm glad to finally find *someone* who agrees with me, zoozbuh! I was beginning to think that I was just a massive killjoy :D
Joined:
Nov 2013
Post count:
1
@zoozbuh | 10:48 - 6 November 2013
I'm currently only on the 4th case, but I sort of see where you're coming from with this review. It's weird that no other reviewer really picked up on it, but this game has some of the weakest writing and characters in the whole series.. Unless the 5th case drastically makes me change my opinion, I haven't really been that impressed.

I personally think it's because the original writer didn't work on this game... The new style of writing feels quite different- especially when it shoves key plot points down your throat, and doesn't allow you to make the big choices (instead forcing you to focus on trivialities)

I'm not sure I would want a 'Ranking system', but again- I can see where you're coming from. There is absolutely NO penalty for getting a Game Over, so what's the point of it even existing? It would have been nice if you (just, as an example) could unlock extra bonus material if you got through a case with less than a certain amount of Continues, or something like that.. (Like the 'Picarats' unlock system in Layton games.)
Joined:
Oct 2013
Post count:
1
Kevin De | 00:00 - 25 October 2013
I respect your opinion, but the problem I have with your review is that it doesn't give me much perspective because of a serious lack of context specially this part:

"None of the stories in Dual Destinies is very memorable, and I found myself drifting off while playing, simply because I wasn't hooked by any of the bloody tales.

Meanwhile, the new characters aren't particularly engaging. New defence attorney Athena Cykes, for example, is your bog-standard ditsy spirit, with a pretty dull power that centres around emotions.

By the end of each case, I was struggling to care at all about who was murdered and why - and given that the story is Phoenix Wright's main selling point, this can't be a good thing"

You're pretty much saying what you feel without explaining why, again it is your opinion but as a professional your job is to deliver insight in a way your readers understand, and nobody is going to understand your feelings towards the plot and characters if you just give such a vague explanation, we can't look inside your mind you know.

I see reviewers do this many times but this is one, I have to say, is one of the worst. Reviewing a story focused game requires much more than what you just presented here.

Again you can give whatever game whatever score you like, but if you are going to do this professionally you have to present a better justification of your thoughts.
Joined:
Oct 2013
Post count:
1
Steve Tasker | 23:18 - 24 October 2013
This Phoenix Wright is the best one yet. It's made for both new players to the genre and still takes care of the players from the previous games.

A ranking system? One of the worst ideas I have ever heard.

No reward for perfecting through a case? It's just like the other games too (which you praise).

Dull story? The cases are great and heck the first case kept me hooked the whole time (didn't even shut the system off, plugged it in and kept playing).

The characters are great. Athena reminds me of Maya Fey and her power to read peoples' emotions is a great mechanic. Much better than the other PW games where you had to break the "locks" to reveal a persons intentions.

This review is pretty bad. Not only is it short, but you give no exact reason as to why you didn't like certain characters or why a case didn't attract your attention. It seemed more like you wanted this game to play exactly like the old ones but with a "ranking system"...
 
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