The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles Review: Making Criminal Proceedings Fun!

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles Review: Making Criminal Proceedings Fun!

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles Review

2021 is apparently the year for new editions of visual novel puzzles: In March, Famicom Detective Club came for the Switch, and now The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, which is also available for PC and PS4. Both titles have in common that they were only available in Japanese before. Now the western audience can finally join in the excitement. We're not going to appeal.

Chronicles even comes with a package of two games, Adventures and Resolve, each dealing with five cases and taking around 50 hours in total. The adventure brings variety, but does not reinvent the Ace Attorney series either. But it doesn't have to be.

Table of contents

1 Suddenly a lawyer 2 Big stories and small nasties 3 Silence! 4 Lie in my face 5 Swan and hat 6 Lean back sometimes 7 Hold it! Recommended editorial content At this point you will find external content from [PLATTFORM]. To protect your personal data, external integrations are only displayed if you confirm this by clicking on "Load all external content": Load all external content I agree that external content can be displayed to me. This means that personal data is transmitted to third-party platforms. Read more about our privacy policy . External content More on this in our data protection declaration.

Suddenly a lawyer

Things change for young Ryonosuke Naruhodo when he is put in the dock. Source: PC Games In a fictional version of the 19th century we play the Japanese student Ryonosuke Naruhodo, an ancestor of Phoenix Wright. Ryonosuke becomes entangled in events that put him on the lawyer path. At first he has no right to do anything, until he suddenly has to defend himself in court. For him and for us it means: learn quickly. And before we know it we're in London to investigate and negotiate murder cases.

Time and again, the relationship between Japan and England comes into play. Because developments around the court cases put the new alliance between the two nations to the test again and again. In Resolve the big world exhibition takes place, at which unforeseen incidents are preprogrammed.

Our brave student does not have to face accusations and international ordeal alone. His loyal, legal assistant Susato Mikotoba is at his side. World-class detective Herlock Sholmes also accompanies us during the investigation. In case you are wondering: The name Herlock Sholmes was used to circumvent the partially valid copyright on Sherlock Holmes in the USA. This spelling was also used in the adventures of Arsène Lupine.

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Big stories and small nasties

The world-famous detective Herlock Sholmes is less brilliant than one might think. He also has a strange sense of humor. Source: PC Games During the investigation, we investigate crime scenes, collect evidence or ask police officers and Scotland Yard about the course of events. We can take a closer look at everything important that we collect in the court records. We must not forget that, as other hidden clues and details can be found hidden on or in pieces of evidence. Incidentally, the so-called Dance of Deduction is new for the Ace Attorney series, in which we are allowed to correct the misguided conclusions of Herlock Sholmes step by step. Often the point is to observe exactly where the person being interviewed is looking. The defendants like to give themselves away with careless looks, which helps us tremendously.

The courtroom in London is extremely impressive. The fire bowls and the stained glass windows add a lot to this. Source: PC Games


Even if he utters a toast to us, the prosecutor could probably kill us with just his looks. Source: PC Games Once we have finished our investigation, it goes into the courtroom. In The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles there are some cases without a trial, but most of the episodes follow the tried and tested formulas. The first case still takes place in Japan, which shows us the differences between the respective fictitious legal systems, but also the technical development. Where black and white photos are the ultimate in Japan, we are presented with color evidence in England, which makes things a lot easier.

Our goal is to prove the innocence of our clients. Our "opponent" is the public prosecutor, who usually has exactly the opposite motivation. In the Japanese courtroom, the main thing we have to do is to convince the judge that the accused has not committed anything. In London there is also a six-member jury made up of a wide variety of people from a wide variety of circumstances. And: They don't argue particularly objectively. One actually just wants to go home, the other is after blood anyway and the old granny just wants to knit. Great, it's only about a death sentence. But well, we'll manage to get them to our side by questioning witnesses.

Lie in my face

During the questioning of witnesses, we have to pay close attention to inconsistencies. Because despite the obligation to tell the truth, some people like to fool. Source: PC Games During the interviews, we cross-examine the people on the witness stand and see whether their statements contradict evidence or other information. It could be that someone remembers wrongly or lies outright. And finally we have to get to the bottom of the truth. Before we can do that, the jury members have usually already voted guilty. We have to change their minds again, otherwise the case will end and our mandate will be found guilty.

The first time it comes as a surprise that we just turned the case around, later we are used to it and it becomes predictable. We are first told that the process of persuading the jury is ancient and hardly used any more. In itself, this part of the negotiation is entertaining as it can provoke arguments between the members. The sequence is as follows: Everyone on the jury explains why they voted guilty. Then we look for inconsistencies and contrast the two statements that contradict each other. This gives us the jury members to see and the two, whose reasons we have refuted, vote innocently. If we have changed four people, the hearing will continue and we can continue to fight for the freedom of the accused.

The jury consists of six people who are supposed to represent more or less votes from the people. They are not always particularly neutral. Source: PC Games

Swan and Hat

The NPCs are wonderfully weird, which gives the experience its own charm. The lady's hat here is less lifeless than one might think. Source: PC Games In our fight for justice we never get around quirky NPCs that are so overdrawn (in both respects) that you won't forget them anytime soon. Be it the lady with the swan hat on whom a real cattle lives or the gentleman who could be the man in the moon. At this point the character design supports the writing wonderfully, but otherwise the game simply looks good.

The style ties in with its predecessors, but adds a lot to the backgrounds and animations, also in comparison to the original Great Ace Attorney games. Anyone who has played the last two adventures in the main series or the crossover with Professor Layton knows roughly what to expect, but in a much nicer way.

Lean back sometimes

From Japan to the victorian metropolis london. The cutscene for the arrival in the metropolis is designed full of love. Source: PC Games Some of the cases are comparatively easy, especially when looking at other Ace Attorney games. Especially at the beginning of the first part of Chronicles, Adventure, they take us by the hand a lot. Every now and then the NPCs talk about the bush and we are just waiting to finally be able to prove why something could not have been as the other side claims. Fortunately, this improves later in the game.

While some cases are rather easy, we still get stuck in other places. Because with some testimonies there are no contradictions, but they suddenly appear when you drill at the push of a button. This is often, but not always, intuitively recognizable, so that a lot of experimentation has to be made. So we have to go through that, but we already know that from previous parts of the series. If we get stuck, there is now also the story mode that we can activate. The game does all the work for us, including all the puzzles, and we can sit back and relax. As a puzzler friend you only do that when there really is no other way, and that should rarely happen.

Hold it!

In the so-called Dance of Deduction we correct the oh-so-brilliant master detective. Source: PC Games The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles brings nice new elements with the jury and the investigation dance by Herlock Sholmes. Otherwise there is little fresh wind, but the series doesn't necessarily need that either. The Ace Attorney series has its proven strengths and also plays them out in Chronicles. Not every case is equally good, but the overall package is really successful. The characters are weird as ever and enchant us with their absurd charm.

For the games, however, a good knowledge of English is necessary, because there are no German texts and the few cutscenes are set to music in English, as are the familiar exclamations like "Objection" and "Hold it!".

Fans of the series definitely can't avoid the new part and even visual novel lovers will have a lot of fun with The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles.

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles has been available for PC, PS4 and Nintendo Switch since July 27, 2021.

My opinion

By Monika Himmelsbach

Author Der Charme the characters just matter so much. Ace Attorney lives from the story, so it was a shame that some cases were a bit weak. At the latest, however, you will be rewarded when all the story threads suddenly come together to form a whole. The hero, Ryonosuke, is extremely insecure, especially at the beginning. I was really happy to see his personal development. I have nothing to complain about about the characters. When it comes to gameplay, I wasn't expecting anything new, so the jury and whatever Sholmes is doing surprised me. Unfortunately, some parts of these innovations wear out over time. Yes, I know Herlock talks a lot of funny crap, but at some point the gag is also sucked off. Nevertheless: The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles also has everything that makes the series so unique and is recommended to every fan and those who want to become one. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles (PC) 8/10

Graphics - Sound - Multiplayer - The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles (PS4) 8/10

Graphics - Sound - Multiplayer - The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles (NSW) 8/10

Graphics - Sound - Multiplayer - Pros & Cons Quirky characters with good character design Nice style and fluid animations Exciting cases with few exceptions Story function in case we're stuck Jury and Dance of Deduction as Innovations Otherwise not much of a breath of fresh air Now and then the game holds us up No German text option More pros & cons ... Conclusion Proven principle with a few innovations. A must for fans of the series and visual novel lovers.

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