Thursday, June 14, 2018

AAR : Turnabout Time Traveller

I took too long to get to this case, really.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice, is the sixth main game (not counting spin-offs) in the long-running Ace Attorney series. I already reviewed a case from this series, but that was a case I was recalling from the dark valley of memory. This is far more recent, I was just watching it a week ago!* (No 3DS. I have to make due.)

Turnabout Time Traveler is the DLC for the game, taking place directly after the events of the game (though without directly spoiling them). The previous main series game, Duel Destinies, had a pretty good DLC case in the form of Turnabout Reclaimed (the one where you defend an orca), but can this game match up?

The case opens with Phoenix in his office, watching his daughter Trucy and his co-worker Athena Cykes struggle over Trucy appointing Athena as the new assistant in her magic show. It’s a nice bit of domestic fun, but the day is derailed with the sudden arrival of Phoenix’s childhood friend, Larry Butz, who has a woman in a wedding dress in tow, and is claiming that they’re getting married

Needlessly to say, the childhood saying around Phoenix’s school “When something smells, it's usually the Butz.” holds true, with the woman identifying herself as Ellen Wyatt, the fiancĂ©e of Sorin Sprocket, soon to be CEO of Sprocket Aviation, a company specializing in flight. Oh, and she’s on the run for murder. And a time traveler.

According to Ellen, shortly after her wedding reception, she was attacked by Dumas Gloomsbury, the butler (insert jokes here). He forced her to the edge of the “Flying Chapel” the airship where the wedding was being held, but Ellen made a wish on her pendant to go back in time to her “blissful moment”, passing out just as a shadowy figure struck Dumas on the head. When she came too, it was time for the wedding reception again! This time, there was no attack, but while cleaning up, she knocked over a lantern, exposing Dumas’ battered body...and the situation points the finger of suspicion on her.

Needless to say, Phoenix finds himself taking up Ellen’s defense, and the case soon turns into another form of time travel for series fans in the pure nostalgia department. Not only is Phoenix reunited with his long-time assistant, Maya Fey, but standing across the courtroom is Phoenix’s old rival Miles Edgeworth as “the Prosecutor’s Office is full of cowards” who have been intimidated by the powerful Sprocket family. Not to mention that the murder weapon is once again an unusual clock.

It’s hard to judge this case in a pure mystery basis, as like Reunion, it’s not a fair play mystery in the normal sense. There are only two positions for murderer, and you aren’t exactly in a position to solve things in advance per se. The fun comes from having to adjust to the new information that gets tossed your way. Such as why the lanterns at the reception were mismatched or what the flower petals in the lantern with the body mean.

That being said, I can still judge this in the pure mystery sense. Sadly, the time travel gimmick isn't wholly satisfying, though the motivation behind it works. The case as a whole feels a tad shorter than it should. While some of the contradictions are difficult, I can’t imagine skilled players having much trouble with this. The killer is also bit too obvious, though to be fair Ace Attorney isn’t really a traditional whodunit. The cast is well done and distinct, though I feel that Edgeworth gets walked on a bit more than normal in this case.

Speaking of the killer, their big transformation is fun, but a little too over-the-top for my taste, thought maybe that’s because the main game spoiled me on those. Those who are new to the series will get a rush from it though. (Though as a fan, I hope they tone it down for the next game.)

All in all, a fun addition to Spirit of Justice, with plenty of enjoyment for older fans, but I wouldn’t say newcomers should start with it.
*At the time of writing. Now it's been like....a few months. A year. Maybe.