Hot-shot defense attorney Phoenix Wright is back, and this time he's in China?
Capcom only revealed the next installment in the Ace Attorney franchise earlier this month, but it already had a playable demo of the game at this year's Tokyo Game Show. Despite being only on offer in Japanese, I managed to struggle my way through the obnoxiously difficult legal Kanji to finish the demo. Ace Attorney 6 takes the series back to its roots, putting you in the shoes of Phoenix himself as he tackles another murder mystery.
Ace Attorney 6's opening case drops Phoenix into the "Kurain" kingdom, which from it's visuals and the clothes people are wearing is meant to be a representation of dynasty-era China (how these bizarre countries continue to exist in Phoenix's world is the real mystery here). After his new friend, Bokuto Tsuaani, gets himself wrapped up in a murder case, Phoenix discovers that the Kurain kingdom doesn't actually have any defense attorneys, and of course takes it upon himself to set things right.
The game itself plays pretty much exactly the same as every other Phoenix Wright game before it. In the courtroom sections, you'll be given evidence, have to cross-examine a witness, and point out contradictions in their testimony in order to prove you client's innocence. The same "visual novel" style is used, with moving 3D models against a static background, and as is Ace Attorney tradition you'll even face off against yet another incarnation of Winston Payne for your first case. The Kurian judge also looks suspiciously familiar...
It very much preys on fan nostalgia, while still changing a few things up with the new setting and characters. The 3D models look fantastic, and are much more "alive" with their animations than in the previous game.
The only major difference is the new "psychic gimmick". Just like Maya's Magatama and Apollo's bracelet, Ace Attorney 6 also features psychic powers that are apparently completely admissible in a court of law. This time, newcomer Reifa is an "oracle of deceased spirits", and can use her powers to see the last moments of the victim's life, projecting them onto a big water mirror in the middle of the court room.
I'm a bit sad that there were none of Ace Attorney 5's excellent anime-style cut-scenes, but it could just be that they weren't in this particular demo.
There's not really too much more to say at this point. The game is shaping up to be yet another solid addition to the Ace Attorney franchise, that fans will snap up as soon as its available. There's nothing really too groundbreaking or new, but as the old saying goes - if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
I am glad, however, that they have seemingly decided to put the focus back on Phoenix and Phoenix alone, although I do hope to see some more of our old friends come back later in the game (sorry, Maya fans, no sign of her yet!).
Ace Attorney 6 will release in both Japan and the West some time in 2016, exclusively for Nintendo 3DS.