Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice
Top Critic Average
I never thought I would enjoy being a lawyer, but Spirit of Justice definitely has me imagining that strange fantasy.
From prisoner prosecutors to astronaut defendants, the Ace Attorney series has built a reputation on turning legal proceedings into over-the-top battles for the truth. You’d think after five games, three spinoffs (two of which we’re unlikely to see in the West) and one crossover, every possible plotline would be played out, but the writers behind Ace Attorney just keep coming up with new scenarios, new gimmicks and new memorable characters. In fact, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice proves the franchise still has a lot of life in it yet, and ranks among its best entries.
Although Spirit of Justice doesn’t utilize all of its mechanics to their full potential, it is filled with the strong storytelling and humor fans of the series expect. It is a must-play for any Ace Attorney fan.
If you’re a fan of the series and haven’t picked this game up yet, I can’t fathom why. It’s easily one of the strongest entries and while there may be some pandering to nostalgia, it feels like its continuing Dual Destinies’ work to get the series back on track.
Obwohl ich mich nicht als Ace-Attorney-Experte bezeichnen würde, kann ich der Reihe schon einige positive Seiten abgewinnen. Bislang habe ich als großer Fan der Professor-Layton-Serie lediglich das Crossover von Capcom und Level 5 aus dem Jahr 2014 gespielt und dieses auch sehr genossen. Allerdings sollte sich jeder angehende Star-Anwalt auch über die Eigentümlichkeiten bewusst sein, die zur DNA eines jeden Phoenix Wright zwingend dazugehören. Die Inszenierung der Gerichtsprozesse kommt in ihrer Anmutung schon sehr japanisch daher. Der Schlagabtausch zwischen Richter, Staatsanwalt und Verteidigung erinnert in seiner Hektik an die Aufgeregtheit eines Duracell-Hasen. Unentwegt schmettern die Protagonisten "Einspruch, Euer Ehren!". Und wenn mal eine der handelnden Personen in die Defensive gerät, fließen die Schweißperlen in einer völlig überzeichneten Ästhetik an der Stirn herab. Auch die Texte, obwohl mit viel Witz und Liebe zum Detail ins Englische übersetzt, arten zum Teil in nicht enden wollende Klickwüsten aus. Auch der klackernde Sound der Buchstaben kann nach einiger Zeit schon ein bisschen nerven. Dafür kann man die Serie nur lieben oder hassen. Einen Mittelweg gibt es wahrscheinlich nicht. Von daher können alle Fans der Serie bedenkenlos zugreifen, während Skeptiker auch diesmal einen großen Bogen darum machen.
Review in German | Read full review
At this stage, it feels incongruous to state whether or not this is the best Ace Attorney game. A lot of the aspects in the game are nothing new, but whilst there are elements that separate it from its predecessors, there is nothing that instantly makes it significantly better than the rest. In part, this is because the main series has been so continuously strong. Even though there has been an increase in the number of visual novel type games to come to the West, Ace Attorney is still one of the best, and Spirit of Justice does not detract from that. The fact that it holds its own against previous entries, as well as providing the most engaging overall narrative in the series makes it worth playing. What's more, it retains the humour and character (and not to forget great music) that makes the Ace Attorney series so exceptional. Now if there aren’t any objections, the verdict can now be given…
Spirit of Justice proves that Ace Attorney can still manage to be fresh, exciting, and most importantly tell a great story.
All in all, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice is a solid addition to the franchise. At times, it feels like it's more of the same and just spinning its wheels, but even at that point, it's charming and fun to play. The cases are strong, the characters are funny, and the visuals are delightful. It doesn't reinvent the wheel or drastically change up the series, but it doesn't need to. The title provides enough satisfying payoff for long-term subplots that it carries itself through the weaker moments. Fans should have a lot of fun, but newcomers may want to play Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy and Dual Destinies first.
Bringing together the key players from recent Ace Attorney outings, whilst developing some of the newer characters to flesh out their stories for future entries, is a very difficult balancing act, yet with Spirit of Justice Capcom expertly navigates any pitfalls to deliver the most in-depth, enthralling episode of Phoenix Wright's adventures so far. It might, for better or worse, feel like Apollo Justice 2 to some, but the way the story unfolds over the five cases is magnificent and leaves players - new and old, alike - hungry for much more.
I hope the next Ace Attorney game has more structure in its overarching narrative and the developers actually have the cases flow naturally from one to the next. Even with its flaws, Spirit of Justice is good fun, through, and another quality example of a narrative from the ever-growing stable of visual novels we are now getting translated into English.