Monday, 15 March 2010

Apollo Justice

[Apollo Justice] As an addition to the posts about visual novels (see “visual novel” and “visual novel 2”), here’s a post about a special kind of visual novel that might be better known outside Japan than the rest.


About half a year or so ago, I bought “Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney” quite cheap. Then I had not even heard about visual novels, so I simply saw it as some kind of computer game I could not really place into a normal genre.

Now, replaying and finishing it after I had started to take an interest in visual novels, it was quite obvious that I was dealing with a sub-genre of this kind of game.

“Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney” is the fourth game in a series (if I get the number right). The first three (that is the first three I could find on amazon) have another main character, though: Phoenix Wright. He turns up in this game, too, first as defendant in a murder process (the first of four cases), later on as the head of the Wright Talent Agency which has two talents so far: Phoenix (no longer an attorney, instead a pianist and poker player) and his daughter Trucy (a stage magician).

As Apollo manages to clear Phoenix in the first case, but at the same time sends his own boss, Kristoph Gavin, to jail, he later on becomes another member of the Agency.

I liked the graphics from the very first time I played the game, as I’m a big fan of manga and anime and thus of that kind of graphics.

But I also liked the game-play a lot. There’s two main parts to every case (except for the first): investigation and trial. During the investigation, Apollo and Trucy (who usually calls him ‘Polly’) visit various places connected to the crime, gather evidence and talk to people. Later on, there’s the trial where Apollo has to find the loops and lies in the witnesses statements and prove it. If he gets it right, he can win the case. One really interesting thing about the trials of case 2 to 4 is the fact that the persecutor is always Klavier (in the German version his first name is Kantilen) Gavin, the younger brother and spitting image of Apollo’s former boss. That’s giving the third and fourth case a lot more action, because Klavier (or his band, the Gavinners) are involved with the case. In case no. 3 they are involved, because the murder happened during a concert, in case no. 4 the victim and defendant are part of an old case – the one during which Phoenix lost his attorney badge and the first Klavier ever had.

During the last case, the player goes back in time seven years. Because the only way to understand what happened in the present, it is important to understand what happened seven years ago. This also gives the reason why Kristoph Gavin murdered a traveller (who, seven years ago, was the defendant in the same process and is the real father of Trucy Wright) and how it could take seven years for a trap to finally be sprung. Needless to say the seemingly simple case for a new jury system in reality is the most difficult of all four cases. But then, it should be, as it is the last one…

The cases are quite interesting and feature a lot of twists and turns. They are, despite four murdered people, also quite amusing, mainly because of the strange characters. And the cases are almost all entwined (except for case 2) and based on what happened seven years (or a bit longer) before.

So, if you own a Nintendo DS and like to get a look at a visual novel and buying a game that will, at least, take about 10 to 15 hours to solve, take a closer look at “Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney” and his vocal cords of steel.

No comments: