Ace Attorney: A True Sequel

A discussion on just what makes a memorable sequel to a series.

By James Labalokie. Posted 07/28/2010 12:21 4 Comments     ShareThis

Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth Artwork

A sequel is a continuation of an existing idea; be it a movie, video game, book, etc. By that logic, every addition to the Turnabout Courtroom is a proper sequel; each one extends the incredible story further without breaking continuity. However, and this is the thing, beyond the story little has been added — or altered — with each addition. Sure, a new game mechanic is inserted into each game, but other than that there really isn’t much going on. Each title is the same, with the same characters and the same setup. That’s fine; after all, I loved the first one, so naturally I would love the second and the third just as much because nothing has changed.

The problem is that Turnabout Courtroom is not a movie, nor is it a book; rather, Turnabout Courtroom is an interactive experience. So, whereas a movie or a book might only have the story going for it, a video game is so much more; when the only thing different is a set of minor changes to the story, well… it’s hard to call it a new game. Because it isn’t new. Actually, it bears a much stronger resemblance to downloadable content.

Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth Screenshot

Now, what the most recent game, Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, did for the series is unique: it changed the point of view. This sounds minor, but it makes a massive amount of difference when interpreting the plot. As the title implies, Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth stars Miles Edgeworth, Ace Prosecutor. This positions the player to pursue a culprit instead of forcing said player to defend a client. Essentially this sets the role of the games straight; very little of the Turnabout Courtroom series involves defending a client; rather, you’re constantly pursuing the true culprit in order to prove your client innocent by process of elimination. By switching from a defensive role to that of an offensive one, the very core of the game is subtly altered; suddenly the story flows and becomes less awkward due to the marriage of gameplay and story, which until this iteration had been as separate as a good metaphor from a bad one. You know, kind of like that metaphor I just wrote. Let’s pretend that didn’t happen and drop down to the next paragraph.

This departure from the series’ norm – this change of role – breathes life back into a stagnating series, and yet very little has changed. The game essentially plays the same, involves the same characters and relies upon the same sense of logic and humor that had been developed in Ace Attorney. However, the point of view has shifted outside of the courtroom, and in doing so the experience becomes a vastly different one. The gameplay just feels right. It is an improvement, as opposed to an addition, and this is what makes Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth a true sequel, rather than an addendum or an afterthought like its predecessors.

4 Responses to “Ace Attorney: A True Sequel”

  • 441 points
    Terr says...

    I didn’t think the series was stagnating at all. Apollo Justice is still my favourite, but Miles comes very close on the heels & moved up another notch when I replayed it. I would say it could well take over my favourite Ace Attorney slot one day. It did give a refreshing view of the other side of the bench as well. All these games are incredible & Miles is no exception. It was well written & well given.

    Thumb up 0
  • 1329 points
    Andrew Hsieh says...

    I really need to give poor Miles Edgeworth the time of day sometime. I played a little bit, but all the footwork wore me out, hahaha. Apparently I’m so lazy that even virtual footwork sucks.

    … which doesn’t explain why I play so many RPGs.

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  • 1370 points
    xeacons says...

    From Pheonix Wright 1, Edgie has always been my favorite character! Whether or not the series was “stagnating”, there’s no doubt AAI was an improvement (much like RE4).

    Thumb up 0
  • 183 points
    Williaint says...

    I love these games! This would still make an even better Wii game, too though.
    I’d like to see some sort of compilation.

    Thumb up 0

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