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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies iOS Review

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It’s been over half a decade since I wrapped up Ace Attorney: Apollo Justice. Since then, we had a couple of Miles Edgeworth adventures and the less than stellar Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney game that only reminded me how much I missed Ace Attorney proper.

I could have played Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies when it made its North American on the Nintendo 3DS but Capcom Japan made it known that an iOS version of their game was launching soon. With a choice between a fair and logical digital distribution service and a borderline travesty, I chose to wait and hope for a North American release of the iOS version. That iOS release debuted in the second half of 2014.

I’m glad I waited. I’m sure I would have formed fond memories with the 3DS version as well but the jump to more capable hardware did wonders for the presentation. This is the best Phoenix Wright and the gang have ever looked.

A limited set of expressions were utilized to convey emotion in the earlier games. The move to 3D could have ushered in a full range of emotions with varying degrees of happiness or anger but that wouldn’t have been true to the series’ roots — the series’ charm would have been lost. Thankfully, Capcom chose to retain the fixed set of expressions but spruce up the quality of animation and the results were wonderful.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the animated cutscenes as well. Level 5 set a high bar with their efforts in the Professor Layton games and I was pleased to discover Capcom put forth a commendable effort as well. I wouldn’t mind seeing a feature length film if they’re as well done as the cutscenes.

There’s a new set of abilities at my disposal with the introduction of Athena Cykes, the rookie defense lawyer at the Wright Anything Agency. It’s tough to add new mechanics that would fit in the vernacular of an Ace Attorney game but Capcom somehow manages it. In Dual Destinies, Athena used “Widget” to visualize people’s emotions. I was asked to pinpoint the emotion that didn’t belong or the one thing that triggered a specific emotional response. I thought, it was a better idea in theory. Fortunately, there was no penalty for choosing the wrong emotion because there were a few times where it was a crapshoot.

I’m pleased by the continued developments in Phoenix Wright’s life. He’s a dad now and his thoughts and emotional maturity is apparent. It’s still a bit weird to see the long time protagonist step aside for the likes of Apollo Justice and Athena Cykes but I welcome it. In this game, Capcom also expanded on the life of Apollo by giving us glimpses to his early life and his temperament through challenging times. They did a fine job introducing and integrating Athena into the fold as well. By the end of the game, we know her motivations, her struggles in life and what she brings to the team. There’s still a number of tales that they could tell but I feel Dual Destinies did a great job establishing these “new comers” as staples of the series.

They don’t need to annualize or even bi-annualize the series. The time gaps between each adventure is enough for them to come up with wacky but somewhat logical cases for us to puzzle through. They still have to smooth over the issue when I know the solution but not necessarily the piece of evidence to trigger the intended outcome. All that issue does is force me to save before committing to an option in order to preserve “life”.

I finished the game with a smile on my face and that’s all I asked for. I love this series and I am glad Capcom continues to do well by it. I wish they put out a better version of the Ace Attorney Trilogy HD on iOS and give Ace Attorney: Apollo Justice some HD remastering love as well but I’m lenient. If Capcom releases fantastic ports like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies on iOS from this point forward, I forgive them.

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For more information on Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, visit the official website.

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