Feenie and friends are back it seems, after quite a long hiatus—the last time Capcom released anything relevant in the series was 2010’s Ace Attorney: Investigations. Sure, Shu Takumi’s own Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective came out to fill the void, but apart from some half-hearted remakes on the Wii and iOS, the world has (criminally?) been without everyone’s favorite portable adventure game/source of creepy slash fiction.
I got to play a few minutes of Phoenix Wright’s brand-new adventure (subtitled Dual Destinies) demo over at Capcom’s E3 booth a few weeks ago and came away impressed. I had my apprehensions at first; primarily because the game was now using polygonal models rather than sprites to represent each character—which I thought would lead to less-expressive and less-charming character expressions, a series high point. As I sat down and played through the short case, those fears were quickly alleviated: Dual Destinies definitely captures the game’s signature charm. Though there are still limited amounts of animation per character (a blink of an eye here, some dialogue animation and maybe a pratfall somewhere in between), the cel-shaded visuals looked very smooth whether or not the system’s 3D slider was cranked up.
Set a year after the events of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, the demo sees Phoenix back in the defense attorney’s seat after rebuilding his practice and regaining his lawyer-ship. The case starts off right after an explosion rocks the courthouse: a bomb concealed within a stuffed elephant kept as a piece of evidence rips through the courtroom mid-trial, leading to the case Phoenix somehow manages to get involved in.
Apart from Phoenix and his trademark wacky coif, you should see a few familiar faces in Dual Destinies. Apollo Justice returns with a badass new look as Capcom quietly retcons him out of importance, Prosecutor Payne was also sighted during the demo; and of course the Judge is back to serve us with the power of the beard. No sight of Maya or Trucy but rookie defense attorney Athena Cykes fills in the shoes of Phoenix’ partner/jailbait eye-candy that they find a way to cop-out of a romantic interest at the last minute.
The demo itself was fairly straightforward if you’ve played any of the other games in the series—you get to leaf through evidence, point out inconsistencies in witness’ testimony and call out objections, all to prove the innocence of one Juniper Woods—Athena’s childhood friend and witness in that last case—who through some happenstance has managed to get her fingerprints all over the stuffed elephant/bomb. Fairly damning evidence for any other attorney, but somehow ol’ Feenie manages to save the day like he always does.
Capcom will be releasing Dual Destinies exclusively on the eShop, which is a smart move in many ways—not only are they cutting out the middle-man of retail and ensuring such a niche title actually gets published in the first place, but since it’s such a linear game they’re also preventing people from turning around and selling the game once they’re done with it.
To go along with this impressions post, Capcom PR’s sent us a slough of PWAA: DD screenshots for your viewing pleasure! Check out the gallery after the break.