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I've seen Spirit of Justice's reputation decline a bit, sadly, since I first played it, and to that end, I'm going to step up to this plate and defend it.
Yes, that whole "Defense attorney gets the same penalty as their client" bit is a bit overplayed, even if I do like the way it ultimately plays into the final case's conclusion. Yes, the main prosecutor antagonist this time around doesn't quite stick the landing when it comes to balancing his sympathetic and unsympathetic qualities. And, yes, that forth case is a garbage fire, being a bad story with lame characters and an unnecessary reliance on very-Japanese things for a game with a substantial international audience; its only redeeming qualities coming from a star witness whose major gimmick deserved to be in a better case and Blackquill sitting behind the defense bench as a consulting attorney.
But, honestly... aside from that, it's easily the best Ace Attorney title in years. This is at once the game Apollo Justice should have been in terms of developing the character and making a plot centered around him, willing to use the more-advanced tech of the 3DS in ways that feel fun rather than gimmicky, and full of the series' colorful characters, including villains who have charisma and/or complex and sympathetic motivations in a way the last title's largely-flat and one-note antagonists did not. In particular, it does a great course-correction on Ema Skye, without throwing out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to the better ideas her last appearance had.
Special shout-out to the DLC case, which does an excellent job of having a "throwback" style Wright-vs.-Edgeworth nostalgic murder mystery without any of the often-obtuse or frustrating elements that sometimes plagued the original trilogy, and to Apollo Justice, who not only finally gets to have some extremely strong character development, but has a barn-burner of a second case in the non-Khurain segments that, not to spoil anything important, showcases just how much potential was wasted in his first game. And, while Athena's case is, again, a garbage fire, it is at least, unlike garbage-fire-cases past, mercifully short.
Finally, I like the Khurain segments, with the "assistant" there being wonderfully unconventional by series standards and the Himalayan-inspired location offering some fun twists on the usual urban-and-countryside locations for the series.
Capcom seems to have finally put the series on ice for good after this title, and that's a shame. But at least it went out on a great final note, that balances the best of the old with some new ideas of its own.
I highly doubt this is the final Ace Attorney. Remember how we never got a main series game for four years after AJ?
I should clarify: I don\'t necessarily think this is the last one ever, but it\'s been the last one for a while, and I don\'t expect to see another any time soon.
While I agree that case 4 is unnecessarily reliant on Japanese stuff, it was far from a "garbage fire" and I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. Blackquill isn't the only good thing in it - what about the way DID was used? And Uendo himself?
Also, you found the fingerprint testing fun? It was badly implemented, what with the blowing not working at times and the tiny surface you have to work with.
If by "assistant" you mean Rayfa, she's an insufferable tsundere. I know some people really like tsunderes, but I can't stand them. Tragic stuff is going on around her, but she's still unsympathetic.
The star witness, I\'ll grant you, was a good idea that deserved to be in a better case. But at it stands, it\'s basically a mediocre tutorial level sandwiched between two deeper, better cases that absolutely murders the pacing. And I don\'t remember any particularly-inventive uses of the DID gimmick.
I don\'t necessarily mean the fingerprint testing, no, but I didn\'t have any technical issues with it either. Rather, I found the three-dimensional search sequences managed to avoid pixel-hunting frustration, and the minigames like the fingerprinting were at least less tech-demo-y than in previous titles, like Apollo Justice or the bonus case from the first game.
Finally... look. If you loathe her archetype, \'s your right. If you loathe it so much that you literally can\'t find a crying child whose whole world comes crashing down sympathetic, \'s coo. I\'m not judging. I\'ve got my own bugbears.
But it at least represents something new, compared to the supportive assistants of previous titles.
...I should go back and mention that star witness though. And add a shout-out to the great course-correction they did on Ema.
Case 4 is supposed to be a Breather Level, a lighthearted case between two higly dramatic ones so as to not overwhelm the player. And it does its job. When I mentioned DID, I meant it was depicted in a much more realistic way than other works of fiction do, and it has received notable praise from what I\'ve seen.
I suppose you do have a point in that Rayfa is something new in terms of assistants. A thing that\'s good in concept, but I think was not executed well.
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