Video Game Review: Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney

Details: howlongtobeat.com says this game takes around twenty hours to beat. Played on the 3DS. More information can be found at http://www.us.capcommobile.com/apollo-justice

Score: 5.8/10

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is a game in the Ace Attorney franchise that came out for the 3DS some years ago. I had never played anything in this franchise before so I didn’t know what to expect. Unfortunately, Apollo Justice is a visual novel and every visual novel I’ve played through has been pretty boring to me, including this one.

You don’t need to play any of the prior games to get the story in this one, though there are some clear references to past games. You play Apollo, a newly minted attorney who is trying his first case. You soon find that your first case is abnormal and something sinister is afoot.

I won’t say anything more about the story because that’s kind of the whole point of a visual novel. This clearly a crime-mystery oriented story so I won’t ruin the mystery here. I will say that the story was okay. I didn’t really get into it until the ending, but the mostly meandering majority of the story was tough to get through.

This is game a fairly standard visual novel. That means the majority of the game is simply a multiple choice test where you have to pick the correct choice. This is a mostly linear game so don’t expect multiple endings.

Gameplay is mostly divided into two portions: investigation and trial. During investigation you talk to people and click around static images in order to investigate them. I don’t want to use the word “puzzle” to describe some of the tasks because they are so simplistic that labeling them “puzzles” erodes the meaning of the word. Let’s just say you examine a picture, select some objects in the picture and read through volumes of slow paced text.

The trial part also consists of reading through a bunch of text. Throughout the trial part, you have to decide when to press a person, when to present evidence obtained through the investigation part, and which dialogue options will progress you through the next stage.

This is not a special visual novel nor does it do anything exceptional with the genre. For the most part, the gameplay of this game is just trial and error. It’s what I call “pushing all the buttons.” The solutions to puzzles are not that intuitive, so what happens is you just click on everything and try everything, which is really boring. I think part of the problem is that this game is a translated Japanese game. Something must have been lost in translation to make the puzzles that much more obtuse.

Voice acting would have helped with this experience, but there’s none of that. More animation would have helped, but the visuals used in this game amount to mostly GIF’s or short, repetitive animations. The music is good though. It’s mostly synthesized stuff, no real instruments.

Overall, this game is like most visual novels; it is was mostly boring. I looked up the price for this game when it was released and it was about twenty dollars. That was way too much. Visual novels are supposed to be cheap and this game was not special enough to be priced at that amount. I think this game is actually worth somewhere from free to five dollars.

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