I didn’t finish The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles even though I loved Ace Attorneys
It very rarely happens to me to pre-order a game. With my schedule, my gaming periods are counted in minutes. If a game interests me correctI can wait for a Black Friday or a Boxing Day without having the impression of pushing my patience to the limit.
Image credit: Nintendo
I pre-ordered The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles because I was so excited. Although I don’t give full marks to all games in the series of Ace AttorneyI loved them all.
Obviously, the original trilogy has a special place in my heart and even those that followed managed to charm me. Although some additions in the game mechanics slightly displeased me, I understood that they wanted to stir up the formula a bit.
But in the case of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, I gave up. I would never have believed it. To give you an idea, the last game I pre-ordered was Mass Effect Andromeda which was a disappointment from start to finish, but I finished it.
What happened? First, let’s set my expectations.
What is a good Ace Attorney?
For those who clicked out of curiosity and have no idea what a Ace Attorneythese are games where we embody a defense lawyer (and once Miles Edgeworth of the crown).
Well, I know, that pitch of “Yé! Play to be in progress! may seem boring and borderline tedious, but the Ace Attorney are so much fun that I mentioned them in my suggestions for games with a lot of texts.
Essentially, these are games that mix investigations, deductions and interrogations where we must bring the truth to light about sordid murders. It’s like playing a game of true crime with wacky characters who have a lot of humor.
So much information to pass on
In general, the first trials of Ace Attorney are short. They serve to show us how to play the game. They set the stage for the tone and the sequence.
We start in the lobby where we are presented with the situation, then we embark on the trial. In a short time, we move on to the next scenario which is heavier.
But there, my god, it was annoying. There are such information to pass on to us. If it was right Phoenix Wright in Japan over time, that would have been quick. But there, they decide to immediately dig into all the ins and outs of each character, bombarding us with information like when you start a new job and have to remember everything.
This transfer of information is not camouflaged through reversals of the narrative framework. We have characters who explicitly explain the situation to us as if we were in the second season of Lance Et Compte: “You know Suzie, you are my sister. My sister Susie. My dear sister Suzie, know that I don’t like you hanging out with Patrick, this Frenchman who comes from Honfleur. Honfleur is in France. France is the European country that was founded in…”
The dialogues of The Great Ace Attorney are so bold that you would think they were written with chicken wings.
So much unnecessary talk
I collect myself in a game that explains more things to me than a Ted Talk without creating significant tension. To give you an idea, while the first trials are usually fast and fun (at most where a murder trial can be), The Great Ace Attorney’s first trial has several three parts. THREE PARTIES!
I grew bored of characters from the first trilogy who could be splintered like John Armstrong, Lawrence Moe Curls Where dick gumshoe. The tone of The Great Ace Attorney is so solemn that it reminds me of my college math class.
Not only do we have to pass off so much information (about the Japanese justice system, the English justice system, the trial situation, the state of the characters, their ambitions, and their reasons for being), the characters are so down to earth that they lose color.
I think if we had dug so much into Mia Fey starting the first game, I wouldn’t have finished it either. Through all those lines of text forced upon us, The Great Ace Attorney isn’t funny.
Exit Wendy Oldbag, hello a kind of Sherlock Holmes called, and I’m not kidding you, Herlock Shlomes. The creators of the series should spend years in the prison of creativity for being so lazy in creating a character.
This character alone poisons an already off-putting game.
The game plays by itself
When I tell you that there are too many texts, I am not kidding. This time, the game offers to press a button to enter the mode auto play which unrolls the dialogues without us having to press anything by ourselves.
However, our interactions are so limited that we go from very very long periods without intervening. It made me think of the moment in Custom Robo at the GameCube where we were asked to save during a very long dialogue.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that I « played » the game by folding my laundry and cutting my toenails. Anyway, it’s not so bad if we miss a moment, there is so many repetitions that redundancy removes any element of deduction. The characters practically lean towards the camera like a professor to say « THIS DETAIL WILL BE ON THE EXAM! » »
And they will repeat it often. Simply put, the characters alternate between being repetitive, informative like a news anchor, and sassy chatterbox.
When I say the game plays itself, that’s not a misnomer. I even went through a turnaboutoops, of a episode which has no court. An Ace Attorney without a court is like a Mario Kart without karting. What happened?
In this story, we are so rarely challenged that even I, who consider Candy Crush to be a video game, wondered if I was playing a video game or an interactive anime.
As long as I tell a story passively, there are series on Netflix that are better scripted.
Will I give him another chance?
A few things have changed in this edition. For example, we see the appearance of a jury that we must convince. On the other hand, as I said, they highlight so much what we must do when we are in trouble that I have the impression of never having left the tutorial mode after hours and hours of games.
All this is useless except to add even more texts for nothing.
Another major modification rests in the principle of having several witnesses at the same time at the bar. This leads to times when one of them reacts strongly to an utterance from another. As much as we had to go there syllable by syllable to find a dubious micro-movement in a witness when playing Apollo Justice, we are warned at each action that we must take.
Thus, an audio and visual clue tells us to go and see the reactions of others. The game guides us so much that I have the impression, as I said, that the game plays itself.
I feel like when we play Pandemic with a player who is too bumpy and tells us what to do. I just want to do something else and let it live by itself.
Words fail me, in a text that is already long enough, to express my disappointment. This is not an official review, as I haven’t finished it, there will be no rating.
Having been the script-editor of the game, I would have pruned in a large number of decisions in order to refocus the game on the essentials. I would have cleaned it all up to bring out some interesting themes (like racism, being new to a country and such) to take away hours of brettage.
The few good ideas are buried by so much boredom that I no longer have the strength to continue. Maybe it catches up hours later, but if it does, I find myself in a situation similar to when a friend tells me to watch a TV show « that gets good in the 3rd season »
And I don’t have time for that.