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One of the biggest Wall Bangers about the Ace Attorney series is that even after proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the true killer was there with the victim and pulled the trigger / stabbed with the sword / whatever...you still lose the argument, and the case, if you cannot decisively prove that the killer had a motive. Even though everyone knows and can see that the killer has, without a doubt, killed the victim, motive or not. On top of that, you must always prove the real killer's motive while your clients are routinely arrested without motives and the prosecutors always handwave this.
That and the fact that you need to prove who the killer was to get your client off the hook, even if you can conclusively prove your client not guilty. Phoenix is a defense attorney - it shouldn't be his job to find out who actually committed the murder! What makes the whole business worse it that Edgeworth himself said that it is his job to find the guilty party during the Redd White Case and that Nick should stop accusing the witness. Admittedly, doing it any other way would result in a very unsatisfying narrative where you never get to corner the real killer, so this is probably a Justified Trope.
The insane part is that, in one case, stating that the suspect had no reason to kill someone who they most likely never met and therefore isn't likely to be the culprit, just earns you a brushing aside from the judge, who says people kill each other every day without motivation. This means the court accepts that a motive isn't necessary to commit the crime, but you are required to provide one anyway when you point out someone else who could have done it.
It is also the start of the events in Apollo Justice where Phoenix starts working behind the scenes to overhaul the current judicial system to one with a jury so that evidence does not have to be THE sole way to convict the guilty party. After a few years of Phoenix Wright having to come up with evidence and use the most insane logic for them and the motive of the killer, it is no wonder that he finally decided to do something about the system geared towards getting people guilty by Apollo's time.
The developers must have realized this, as there are two instances in Dual Destinies in which, once the defendant is proven to have not committed the crime, the Judge gives them a "Not Guilty" verdict without having to find the criminal first. Granted, both of those instances involve Phoenix defending the people who are arrested after the fact, but...
There has to be at least two times per case where Phoenix or Apollo has much better evidence that could end the trial much quicker, but we are not allowed to use it.
There's a theme in the series that, when you think about it deeply enough, serves to undermine the entire premise. And it starts with this: there are no accidental murders. Ever. Any time someone is suspected of accidentally killing someone (Miles Edgeworth, possessed Maya Fey, Athena Cykes, John Marsh), you spend less time arguing the ethics and more time arguing that the events could not have happened in that way. The closest things that exist to sympathetic killers are criminals acting in self-defense (Dee Vasquez, Lance Amano), attempted murderers who killed the wrong person (Acro, Marlon Rimes) and everything pertaining to Godot. Thus, there is no defense that succeeds with anything less than pointing out the true guilty scum, motive or not. (Case 5-4 flirts with this, except that the same case continues in 5-5 anyway.)
And then you look beyond it. No fewer than three cases that have endings revolving around trying to outrun the statute of limitations, a law that has nothing to do with convicted innocents and serves only as a time limit to find the true guilty person guilty. The vast majority of animation effort devoted to the perpetrators revealing their true colors and having as dramatic a Villainous Breakdown as possible, to the point that in more recent games, you can tell who the perpetrator is by who has animations that best lend themselves to such a breakdown. The way every case has a Darkest Hour moment, whether the player should be able to overcome it on their own or not. And the way any scene where the guilty party goes free is treated as a Bad Ending, with or without plot contrivance to have it result in other unfortunate consequences. In short, this is not a game about defense. The true goal of the game is to ensure that every guilty party is punished in the most satisfying way possible, rendering the defendant a mere catalyst for the drama. Which is not only identical to what the series claimed was wrong with Edgeworth's philosophy in the first game (although at least the player character bothers to figure out the truth along the way), but is the exact same philosophy that led to the Japanese court system becoming what it was in the first place!
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
In case 4, when Maya is actually arrested for contempt charges, coupled with the threat of you being arrested for same simply for cross-examining a decisive witness (made worse when it's revealed that she never witnessed the crime herself). The game tries to handwave legal oddities with Rule of Fun and a backstory that suggests a simplified court process heavily stacked against the player, but this may as well be a kangaroo court. It doesn't even matter that Manfred von Karma is the villain - a prosecutor does not declare law and punishment. No court works that way this side of a totalitarian dictatorship.
Later in the case, you encounter the prosecutor in the police office who just emptied the evidence to the DL-6 case, and the only way to continue the game is to present him with the evidence linking him to the murder and that will set the defendant free, even though the move is clearly suicidal for any defense attorney and something the prosecution would never do. The fact the game requires you to do this is especially aggravating, and makes part of the subsequent trial much more complicated than it needs to be.
In one section of case 5, the testimony reads 'The man raised up his knife, and... and stabbed Mr. Marshall in the chest...!'. You possess an autopsy report stating that he was 'Stabbed in the back'. Presenting it here will get you a penalty.
The biggest wall banger of them all comes from a single quote (Case 4): "Even accidental murder is murder, you know." Has the judicial system decayed that much? Would they have given Edgeworth a life sentence for accidentally killing his father when he was nine years old? In real life this is called Involuntary Manslaughter and caries a lesser, but no less serious, sentence.
In Case 1-3, the reason why two people who were in Studio Two cannot be in any way affiliated with a murder that took place in Studio One is because a monkey statue's head has cracked and fallen into the path with some branches, effectively blocking the path... Nobody seems to think that people are capable of walking on grass or other non-asphalt surfaces. This type of alibi should never work, considering people can walk on grass just fine. So none of those people would actually be "stuck" at Studio Two until the path was unblocked.
Same case also has a longer subplot going on, where people are wondering if the costumed person in a photo is the person who is generally known for wearing said costume. Ignoring the fact that such an idea is pretty dumb, said costume completely hides the person's body and any means of appearance based recognition, it takes them a good day and a half to finally come to the conclusion that just because someone is known to wear something quite often, doesn't necessarily mean that the worn item automatically means it is the person.
Case 1-2, we have Mia Fey appear during the trial and practically blackmail the killer into admitting that they, well, committed the murder, otherwise their other crimes of repeatedly blackmailing other influential people in politics and similar would be revealed. Aside from the fact that the victim of this case is saying this, this is flat out blackmailing the killer, technically revealing that they had previously committed crimes and any type of confession should not be considered truthful, as it is done under pressure and practically forced out of them. They could be confessing to something they actually never did, after all.
Justice for All
In the first case, it's claimed that the (misspelled) name of your client in the sand was written by the victim, naming his killer as he died. Despite the fact that he died instantly of a broken neck. This wouldn't be a problem were it not for the fact that the game doesn't allow you to point this out or even try to provide a reason why they're willing to run with him being capable of writing - instead you have to highlight the spelling error made with the writing of the name. This is already after they've arrested his girlfriend for the crime, when she has no motive, based on evidence consisting of her name being written and misspelled with the wrong hand by a guy who couldn't have stayed alive long enough to do it. The witness's testimony was full of ridiculously obvious contradictions, made even more questionable by his poor eyesight, and he had even left his cell phone behind at the crime scene, complete with a list of numbers of known criminals. If Phoenix hadn't been struck with plot-convenient amnesia, this might have been the easiest case in the series. The cherry on top? The incident is such a tarnish on Maggey's reputation that she is forced to retire from the police force, despite her innocence!
2-4 has a few absurd moments. There are multiple times when you have to present the correct evidence in one try or you lose. The part where you have to point out The Nickel Samurai's costume is baggy around the legs in a photo with one try seems especially insane, since you could assume it's because of the angle and the photo being in black and white. A much better contradiction that they should have also allowed was the Nickel Samurai's arm completely fills the glove in his promotional poster but you can clearly see space between the arm and the glove in the picture. Thus whoever was wearing the costume at that time of the picture must have had thinner arms than your client. But the game railroads you into a game over if you try and point this out.
Trials and Tribulations
In case 2, no one bothered to even mention how Luke Atmey's nose would have posed a serious problem wearing the Mask*DeMasque... uh, mask. They don't even lampshade it, they just ignore it entirely! Rule of Funny?
In case 3, you have to deal with a claim that a previous witness saw what was going on through a large mirror. The witness talked about how he was trying to read the victim's newspaper prior to the crime. You have the newspaper in your court record. Yet, nobody at the trial seems to bother to ask themselves, how the hell could a witness have possibly even tried to read a reflected version of a newspaper. While it is possible to read a text reflected in a mirror, this requires extreme focus and is very stressing on the brain.
Case 3 in general pretty much demands that you forget the fact that the case is a month old. The Judge throws a fit at Godot for not mentioning the bloodstain (ketchup) on the defendant's apron, but since he was presiding over this trial a month ago, he should have already known about it. The fact that the crime scene was left preserved, complete with yellow tape, as well as the victim's lotto ticket cluttered desk, for an entire month only makes it stranger.
The second day of case 5 is an utter nightmare in terms of the logistics of guilt. As the trial day begins, Iris declares that she was involved in the murder's coverup, but claims that the actual murderer was Maya. For several cross-examinations, you must prove her accusations false. If you fail, the court firmly gives a guilty verdict to... Iris, rather than Maya. Later on, it's revealed that the defendant in the courtroom is Dahlia instead of Iris, and she claims to have killed Maya. Fail to disprove this, and a guilty verdict is given to... Iris. But handle everything right, dispel all of these accusations, and prove that Iris was never at the actual murder scene (as stated by multiple witnesses, including Dahlia), and the case turns to the question of who actually had the opportunity to strike the victim dead. Fail to accuse the correct person, and the court gives the guilty verdict to... Iris. Apparently the court is just that obsessed with arresting the original suspect.
The developers have fixed this in Dual Destinies, in which multiple bad endings can occur, depending on how and at what point one fails the trial in question.
Case 3-5, the reason why the murder occured is incredibly dumb and the only highlight is that the murderer himself admits that it could've been avoided, had they spoken up about something important. Godot eavedrops on Pearl's conversation with her mother and learns of the location of a letter, in which Morgan is giving Pearl directions on how to channel Dahlia's spirit and basically kill Maya - unbeknown to Pearl, who didn't get that part, due to the kanji being too difficult (this was the reason in the Japanese version) Instead of burning the letter he puts it back and allows Pearl to read it and start up the plan to kill Maya. Even better, he enlists the help of Iris and Maya's estranged mother in an attempt to keep Pearl from channeling, which ultimately fails, and Godot ends up killing Maya's mother during a struggle when she was channeling Dahlia, and gets Iris suspected of murder. Godot could've easily avoided all of this, had he even simply told Maya that she was in potential danger and that she should watch out. But he doesn't. Of course, the blame doesn't solely lie on him, as Maya's mother or even Iris could've mentioned something, putting the whole plan in the open and foiling things. But no, the murderer kept everything to himself in a stupid attempt to play the Hero. Good job, Godot! Good job.
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney
The third case: two shots were fired from a high-calibre gun which could potentially dislocate the shoulder of a strong adult if they didn't brace themselves properly while firing it. Your client is a small, 14-year-old boy who has probably never fired a gun in his life, and is completely unharmed. And legally blind. This fact is brought up in the trial, but no-one thinks it would have done more than throw his aim off a bit. It's also later revealed that the accused is only pretending to be blind, but the cops wouldn't have known that at the time of the arrest. Not only that, but it is eventually revealed the gun belonged to the victim, who was an Interpol agent three times the defendant's size and more than capable of fending him off in an assault.
As a bonus, the prosecution also figures that after the police started their investigation, the legally blind suspect stole a musician's guitar, went back for the victim's corpse (who is three times his size, remember) and lifted and carried them onto a portion of the stage that was elevated fifteen feet, requiring considerably more strength than he most likely possessed, leaving himself unconscious, and accomplishing little more than further implicating himself. Why would he do that? Because it fit the lyrics of the song he was performing.
Further compounding the insanity is the fact that the prosecution never seems to take the height difference into account. For their suspect to have killed the victim, he would have had to be standing on his tiptoes holding the gun over his head with his arms fully extended in order to get the bullets to go on a perfectly straight trajectory through the victim's shoulder. Because of this, the case became incredibly simplistic once the player realized that the killer would have to have been a man in order to beat the victim in a fight, two new male characters were introduced in the case, and one of them was Trucy's uncle - which by default made him innocent...
The fact that the other three Gavinners were never revealed or even called into suspicion is itself a Wall Banger.
The fourth case ends with what many consider to be a major Anticlimax. The murderer breaks down alright, but not because of the evidence you present (which gets shot down); it's because of Phoenix's overhauling of the judicial system. On top of that, Apollo is completely absent between the two trial days, during the MASON System segment—are we playing Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, or Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Apollo Justice?
What's epically stupid about this development is that, if you lose the case the traditional way (too many penalties) the judge ends the trial immediately instead of handing it over to the jury like he was supposed to.
All of this can be chalked up to Executive Meddling, since the original script didn't have Phoenix or this case in it. But Capcom wanted the star of the series in it so...
The motivations of the Big Bad just seem to be completely nonsensical. So, let me get this straight... Kristoph framed another defence lawyer and had him disbarred, forged false evidence to aid in that framing, attempted to kill three people (and succeeded twice) to cover his tracks, and basically set the entire game in motion... all because he was jealous that a single client picked Phoenix as his attorney instead of him? All over the results of a card game? Most Phoenix Wright villains are evil, but this one just comes across as petty.
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth
One of the cross-examinations in Case 3 is a constantly cited Wall Banger by many players: You are told by the other characters that in this testimony, you have to prove that the victim and the murderer's girlfriend never knew they were related. Sounds simple, but then, you end up spending over 30 minutes on this one testimony. Then you find out that answer is not to prove that they didn't know they were related but that there were three people involved in the kidnapping case.
In addition, near the end of the case, Lance admits that he was in on the whole kidnapping plot. However, even at that point, he insists that Lauren killed Oliver. When you finally provide the final evidence that reveals that he did it... he breaks down and admits that Oliver attacked him and he killed him in self-defense. Uh... why didn't he say that earlier? He's already admitted to every part of the crime except the part that's completely justified, and yet he still tries to frame someone else for it? What's the point? While he could have been lying about that as well, the game never follows up on it.
What about the fact you first establish a completely plausible crime scene by a thorough explanation of the unusual shape of the wound on the victim, but when the real crime scene is revealed to be elsewhere, no-one bothers to even try to explain the now-unlikely wound again?
The third case has a pretty big wallbanger in the form of Edgeworth having an Idiot Ball moment. He states that the possible murder location is a stage that was setup earlier and the victim was standing on it, where as the murderer was on the ground and shot upwards, hitting the victim's stomach. This is an incredibly dumb theory, because just looking at the body shows that the exist wound is practically above the shoulder blade, meaning that the supposed positions and murder location are false, since - in order for the exit wound to be that high up - the entry wound would have to result from an enxtremely sharp angle.
The biggest wallbanger was when you had to examine the video tape. Just to start with you need to prove that a certain card we see someone holding so as to only show us the back of it contains orders given to him by the boss of the smuggling ring. What part of the picture do you have to show to prove this? Just point out the card the victim is holding. Did they really need the player to do this, in retrospect its so painfully obvious that it seems like it was designed JUST to trip the player up by making them think too hard. Then after that you need to prove that the person sitting in the limo was connected to the nation of Cohdopia. There's a great big shiny metal that has the colors of Cohdopia visible and we later learn there was given to only one Cohdopia hero as a war metal, but guess what its not the right answer! its the black card in the figure's breast pocket. It's like the game is trying to screw you over at this point! Worse, the limo itself has a Cohdopian flag on it, but the camera zooms in on the window to keep you from pointing this out.
In the first case of Investigations 2, a hired assassin calls his mark cowardly because he is unwilling to sacrifice his life to save his bodyguard. Think about that for a second.
Also in the first case of Investigations 2, despite the bullet with Rooke's blood being found in the monitor which proves he was shot inside the plane, you have to deal with another testimony because Knightley/Naito switches two guns OF THE SAME MODEL which somehow changes the ballistic markings.
At the end of the first trial day of the third case, Blackquill presents a photo to the court showing the defendant and victim together, with a visible clock showing the time to be roughly minutes before the victim was murdered, contradicting the theory that the defense had presented at the time. Athena has no response to this, and the judge is about to hand down a guilty verdict when several witnesses and the defendant herself simultaneously confess to the crime in an effort to save each other. This is perjury at best and contempt of court at worst, but let's ignore that for now. The actual problem is that once this stunt postpones the trial until the next day, a quick analysis of the crime scene reveals that the clock was wrong. This is a wall banger for two reasons. First, there's the idea that such an innocuous error, and one that's even dismissed less than thirty seconds into the second trial day as a result, was previously conclusive enough to justify a guilty verdict right then and there. Second, the main reason why the defense had no rebuttal was because they never once investigated that room during the first day, despite actually believing that the murder took place there. In other words, that clock existed solely to create a Near Villain Victory scene, prevented only by The Power of Friendship (with no regard for the law), and was then tossed aside once it accomplished its goal. And they had to postpone the investigation of the crime scene, the most obvious first step of any murder case, just to make that scene work.
Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney
The second case ends with the actual murderer being executed. Phoenix is appalled by the sight and ineffectually tries to stop it, and the following conversation establishes that he's not happy with this outcome. As a defense lawyer, he should really know and accept the fact that the act of pointing out the true guilty party is likely to end with them receiving the punishment. And this is after a Motive Rant established guilt beyond a doubt. This isn't even the first time in the series that the true perpetrator's execution has been part of the plot. Basically, if Phoenix has a problem with capital punishment, this should not have been the first case to bring it up. Fortunately, a later case handles the issue much better.
After the typical Layton reveal sequence, the topic turns to the initial disaster that started the events. Espella and Eve snuck out to the bell tower and rang the bell, triggering a previously unknown condition that caused everyone in the village to faint, leading to an uncontrolled fire that killed almost everyone else. Certainly a tragic outcome as well as a traumatic one, and one that does a good job explaining the rest of the plot by Layton logic. The problem is how the game chooses to reconcile Espella's traumatic memories in the end after the deception is revealed. Not by having her family and society help her cope with the tragedy, or reminding everyone that absolutely no one could have foreseen the consequences, but... by proving that she misremembered the events and that it was Eve who rang the bell. Really. They went up to ring the bell together, solving a puzzle that required both of them, and it was Espella's idea the whole time, but apparently only the one who actually used the sounding mechanism can be blamed for murdering the entire village, even accidentally. (And yes, some of the villagers want to kill Eve when they learn about this.) And worse, this is treated as a shock to Eve, who also misremembered the events, as she was apparently wrong in blaming Espella for the events. (Which she never really did; her revenge scheme was for a different tragedy that occurred many years later.) This is the absolute pinnacle of the Ace Attorney series idea that truly innocent people cannot even accidentally kill anyone, and it ends up turning an already melodramatic tragedy into petty finger-pointing... which is not the kind of finger pointing that fans of these series were hoping for.