GAME: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All
CASE: Reunion, and Turnabout
CONSOLES: GBA, DS, Wii, iOS, 3DS
And so we come to the traditional filler case, the third in the game. While the mystery of the Steel Samurai was something of a highlight, it felt like it was much longer than it needed to be. Here, we have a somewhat less interesting caper but it flows quickly over a tight two days.
This is a circus story, and so it is impossible to resist comparing it to all the other circus stories out there. A beautiful young lady who steals the hearts of the various freaks and geeks, an acrobat who suffered a terrible accident, the sad clown and the fatherly ringmaster are all present and correct. The central character, an overly ambitious magician, is difficult to care about in a world where The Prestige was released a decade ago.
I've never really liked circus stories. They feel over-represented in the media for something that you don't really see that often in the real world any more. How many times have I sat through Robin's origin, or been expected to delight at the heinous mistreatment of lions, tigers and elephants? As for clowns, I've never found them scary but they rarely work as comedians in the modern era. What we're left with is a pile of tired tropes that exist only because they appeared before in other media, but which don't hold much weight with modern audiences.
All of this isn't to say this is a terrible case, just a dull setting for one. The twist to the murder at the centre of it all is smart and nicely signposted, and for the most part I found I was working things out at the same pace as Phoenix (apart from an annoying piece of paper who just refused to pick up until a character told him to.)
It was odd to go from a case which hinged on something mystical happening to one which revolved around magic being impossible, but moving away from the game's major problem made the smaller flaws stand out. The music here just isn't quite as good as the previous game's, nor the next. The solutions are all a little too spelled out to the player, which avoids being quite as stumped as one might be but also takes away some of the satisfaction of a good solution.
Overall, this is the very definition of a filler case. By being removed from the overall plot, it avoids being tarred with the brush of Justice For All's slightly underwhelming core, but it also ends up feeling a little trite and forgettable.
Pun of the week: Hard to pick one pun in a story full of circus performers with colourful stage names, but the stooge named Lawrence "Moe" Curls was a nice touch.
A setting and characters seen a million times before, but a tight little case that doesn't overstay its welcome.