GAME: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies
CASE: Turnabout Academy
CONSOLES: 3DS, iOS
Despite an initially worrying focus on high school drama, this case actually unfolds into something genuinely intriguing. We're back defending Juniper Woods, for the first time in the story's terms, and getting embroiled in the comings and goings of Themis Legal Academy.
Thematically, we are retreading a lot of old ground. The school, and this case, obsesses over the clash between seeking the truth and desiring a victory for the client by any means necessary. The game talks repeatedly about the "dark age of the law", but we've been having this debate since the start of the series.
You might remember that during Apollo Justice, I often complained that while playing as that rookie lawyer I often felt as though the other characters were solving cases for me. Here, Apollo has matured and can do the business by himself . . . but the player takes control of Athena Cykes and is once again being lectured to.
Thankfully, the courtroom drama isn't taken completely out of our hands here. I definitely felt like I was being shepherded towards answers, but I couldn't tell you if the games are getting easier or if three cases into my fifth Ace Attorney game I just know how they work by now.
Nonetheless, spotting contradictions, piecing together events and laying it all out to crack the villain was immensely satisfying. The perpetrator here wasn't revealed at the start like the last case, but despite the game trying very hard to suggest there were only three suspects it was very obvious which character was the evil git behind it all.
I can imagine the schoolroom scenes here and the drama between three young friends being tiresome for some. The smug genius, hothead and perfect girl were textbook anime, though they all show more depth as the story unfolds. The revelations about a woman being disguised as a man were almost handled really smartly, but the evidence which brings it crashing down was that no woman could resist a frilly dress. Oh, Japan.
Part of me does also wish more was done with the mock trial which preceded this case, though that might have killed the pacing. As it was, getting to play judge for a moment, and also enjoy the return of Klavier Gavin and the funky remix of the main theme which played in this "courtroom" was a nice enough diversion. Perhaps any more would have been overkill.
Ultimately, this played the role of "third case filler" splendidly. It didn't drag, it wrapped itself up nicely, and despite not being overtly related to the overall plot, it dropped nice hints about the secret histories of Athena, Apollo and Blackquill which are all waiting to be unlocked in the finale.
Suspiciously British Colloquialism of the Week: "You're a goner!".
An overall tight and enjoyable case that left me excited to finish off this game.