The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC, PS4
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Medium: Digital/Disc/Cartridge
Players: 1
Online: No

As someone whose previous (and honestly only) exposure to the world of Phoenix Wright came through the Ace Attorney Trilogy compilation a few years ago, I have to say that The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles were quite the experience. Above all else, this game — which brings together a pair of Japan-only games, Great Ace Attorney and its sequel — is different from the more modern-day Phoenix Wright games. Possibly good different, possibly bad different, but unquestionably and undeniably different.

The biggest difference is probably the tone. Even if the game?s protagonist, Ryunosuke Naruhodo, is Phoenix Wright?s ancestor, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles isn?t anywhere near as over-the-top as the Ace Attorney games that so many people know and love. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles may have some characters and moments of levity, but the game is set in the late 1800s, at a time when Japan was transforming from a feudal kingdom into a more modern nation — and, not coincidentally, seeing a rise in English influence.

I mention that because this transformation is at the heart of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles. The game spends a lot of time explaining post-feudal Japanese society, as well as its relationship with England, and the game takes place in both countries. Further, that relationship underlies some of the cases you?re tasked with solving here — there are all kinds of political and cultural shifts happening in the background, and they inform several of the major plot points here.

On that note, I?ll also highlight that The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles feel much, much more exposition-heavy than your usual Ace Attorney games. How much more? I?ll put it this way: there?s a Story mode option here that allows you to turn off your inputs and choices, and just allows you to watch everything unfold. While I wouldn?t say that the game quite crosses the line from however you?d classify the Phoenix Wright games (courtroom adventure games?) to straight-up visual novel, it definitely comes very close to that line at times.

That said, there are still plenty of courtroom and investigation elements if you?re patient enough to wait out the lengthy exposition — though they may be a little different than what the series has done so far. Building on that English influence, there are several points here where you?re not just trying to convince a judge, but also a jury.

On top of that, the game takes advantage of its setting by introducing another character — Herlock Sholmes, who?s pretty much exactly who he sounds like. The difference between Sholmes and Doyle?s creation, however, is that while both love their deductions, Sholmes? are wrong more often than not, and it?s up to you to correct them. Even if this new mechanic finds the game branching out into uncharted territory, if you?re looking for something that captures the zany spirit of the mainline Phoenix Wright games, that?s arguably the closest The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles comes.

In other words, even if The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles has ?Ace Attorney” right there in its name, it?s not the Ace Attorney that you may be expecting. This game finds the series branching off into a new and different direction, and as I said up top, it?s not inherently good different or bad different, just different-different.

Capcom provided us with a Great Ace Attorney Chronicles Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B