Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies great addition to the series

The first three entries in this series followed Phoenix Wright, a defense lawyer who deals in murder cases, as he grew from an a rookie lawyer into an experienced legal representative.

The fourth game however, had Phoenix disbarred after he was accused of falsifying evidence, and instead followed his apprentice, Apollo Justice.

Dual Destinies, the fifth game in the series, sees Phoenix return to the courtroom after retaking the bar and proving he actually hadn’t falsified evidence. Apollo and a new character Athena Cykes join him in the game, where the player can play as any of the three depending on the case.

Anyone who’s previously played an Ace Attorney game before will notice a major change between the older games and Dual Destinies upon starting the game. That change comes in the form of high-quality 3D models that have replaced the pixelated images that were used to represent characters in the older DS games.

The models bring a lot more life and expression to the characters and are definitely a big improvement. While I’m still a firm believer that good graphics don’t necessarily make a game good, they can be the icing on the cake, and that’s definitely the case with Dual Destinies.

Dual Destinies doesn’t really do anything too different with the actual main mechanics of the game largely sticking to the text based gameplay and storytelling of the first four games.

The touchscreen still plays an integral role in the game as players can present evidence or press witness statements with it when in court, as well as use it to investigate crime scenes with it when not in court.

The main thing players should be on the lookout for in this game are contradictions. These are used to cast doubt on a witness’ testimony or even invalidate said testimony all together. Contradictions can be proven by presenting evidence or by using one of three systems exclusive to each character.

The first of these systems, the Psyche Lock system, has been around since the second Ace Attorney game and is used by Phoenix to lets him know when a person is “locking up” or intentionally trying to keep information from him.

The second system, the Perceive System, debuted in the fourth game and is used by Apollo and lets him identify a “tell” when a person is lying. These “tells” can be very hard to spot as they’re usually innocuous things like a twitching eyebrow or clenched fist.

Finally, Athena, being a new playable character brings with her a new system called the ‘Mood Meter’ that allows her to sense a contradiction between a person’s testimony and their feeling. All three of these systems are very fun and intuitive making it impossible for a player to choose a favorite.

For such a text heavy game an underwhelming plot can be a death sentence. Luckily though, the writing and story are still top notch adding drama, humor, and intrigue in equal parts. My only story complaint would be that the opening cut scenes for the first two cases explicitly show the player and the murderer, removing the fun and challenge of figuring it out for yourself. I won’t go any further into story though, because it is the main attraction in this game and I wouldn’t dare spoil that.

Overall, Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies is a great game and well worth the price. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to go out and buy a physical copy you’ll be in for a rude awakening.

Due to the American audience’s lack of interest in the fourth game, Dual Destinies is only available as a digital download on the 3DS eShop. Despite that it’s still worth picking up, the dialogue is well-written, the plot is interesting and the graphics have been significantly upgrades. Dual Destinies is a must-own for any 3DS owner.