The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles Review

After six long years of waiting, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles finally makes its way to the West on the Nintendo Switch. Featuring a full English dub, auto-advancing story mode, an in-game gallery, and more, the compilation of both games is probably one of the best titles for the Switch to come out this year. While the duology retains the outlandish characters and storylines that make the Ace Attorney series great, the real reason it succeeds so well is that it expertly crafts a 90-hour journey that all ties together in a neat, satisfying conclusion. Although traditional Ace Attorney games are a little more episodic in nature, each of the ten investigations across The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is connected to one another and this leads to an incredible payoff during the grand finale.

Of course, the two games also retain much of the charm and narrative twists that the Ace Attorney franchise is known for and this is exemplified perfectly in the localization. With the story taking place in a Meiji-era Japan and Industrial-Age Britain with a diverse cast of characters, the localization is much more emphasized than previous Ace Attorney games as the text-heavy dialogue shifts through different accents, slang, and jokes. From the Irish lingo of Magnus McGilded to the British accent of investigator Tobias Gregson to the street slang of Gina Lestrade, many of these characters depend on these tiny details to come alive for the player, and the localization team goes all out. Even the English puns of character names are cleverly thought out and surprisingly witty to the point that you wonder what the original Japanese names were. The Western version tones down certain aspects of the original narrative such as the racial insensitivities and attitudes of the British towards the Japanese, but it’s navigated quite well and doesn’t detract from the characterizations either. Shu Takumi returning as the director also plays a pivotal role in the games’ success as his phenomenal scriptwriting is on full display throughout the twists and turns the narrative takes.

While The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles shares a lot in common with previous Ace Attorney gameplay, it slowly introduces them to the player to not overwhelm them. Each case brings new mechanics for players to employ as they navigate both trials and investigations. The two games also introduce a jury system instead of a single judge where jurors vote on the defendant’s guilt and innocence. If every juror enters a vote of guilty, then the defendant is charged. Thankfully, players can also make use of the summation examination mechanic once jurors have agreed on a guilty verdict in order to pit them against one another and convince them to change their minds. Unfortunately, the Great Ace Attorney games stumble here a bit because of how excruciatingly long these trial processes could be. Summation examinations pretty much happened during every trial and their predictability made me roll my eyes more than once at the jury’s idiocy.

Overall, the sheer amount of twists and turns presented over the course of the two games also became a detriment to the player experience. The storylines themselves were executed brilliantly but there were so many moments of artificial suspense built into the dialogue of characters. The game would keep you on the edge of your seat waiting for a new plot twist only to interrupt it with something else before coming back to the topic ten hours later. The characters’ dialogue would be set up for a cliffhanger or surprise but the excitement would fizzle out just as quickly with a new distraction for our protagonists. Although the resolved mysteries had a nice payoff at the end, much of the setup dialogue could’ve been cut out with minimal effect.

Like any good Ace Attorney game though, the charming and diverse cast of characters are the glue that holds the storyline together and this is where The Great Ace Attorney excels the most. The slow burn of the storyline gives plenty of room for protagonist Ryunosuke Naruhodo to develop alongside his judicial assistant Susato Mikotoba. Susato has a lot more personality than one might expect and her hilarious quips coupled with insightful analyses easily makes her one of the best assistants to date. At the end of the day, however, the real showstopper is Detective Herlock Sholmes and his youthful assistant Iris Wilson. Throughout the two stories, Ryunosuke often gets tangled up in investigations with Sholmes and players must complete the “Dance of Deduction” together with the famous detective in order to discover new clues. Capcom’s take on Sherlock Holmes is hilarious with energetic animations, bad dad jokes, and plenty of flair to his character. Though he appears quite often throughout the two games, it almost feels like you can never get enough of Sholmes. On the other hand, Iris is an adorable child prodigy that somehow has a medical degree at the age of 10 and is the author of “The Adventures of Herlock Sholmes”. Iris serves as the player’s assistant whenever Susato isn’t around and her character arc in The Great Ace Attorney is positively heartwarming.

An impressively written story, The Great Ace Attorney has one of the most satisfying conclusions in the entire franchise. All loose ends are neatly wrapped up and even questions I had 60 hours ago were resolved by the finale. Although the game can move slowly at times, the ultimate payoff is more than worth the wait and is a display of Shu Takumi’s brilliance as a writer and director. It’s quickly become my favorite entry in the entire Ace Attorney franchise thanks to its colorful cast of characters and interconnected plot. While there are a few missteps in its pacing, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles nonetheless delivers an incredible package that’s well worth the wait.

90/100

About the Author

Jeff

I turned my incoherent ramblings on music, anime, and video games into an entire blog.

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