After many years of waiting, we finally have The Great Ace Attorney available officially in English. Not just the first game either (which was fan-translated back in 2019), but its sequel on top of that. I honestly thought we’d never see the day, but I am definitely not complaining now that they’re finally here.
Alright, so a bit of background first. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is a collection of two games: The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures and The Great Ace Attorney: Resolve. These two games are spin-offs of the main Ace Attorney series and take place in the Meiji era (late 1800s to early 1900s) rather than the near-future. The two were first released on the 3DS in 2015 and 2017 and were never released outside of Japan. As such, this is the first time we are seeing them officially in English in any form.
The two games play just like you would expect from the series. They are basically full-blown visual novels with some light gameplay additions thrown in – Danganronpa is perhaps the closest comparison. The vast majority of your time will be spent simply reading text, but the gameplay elements that are here are pretty cool – letting you take part in investigations, presenting evidence in court, pressing witnesses for information, and generally just being able to move around and interact with the game world. It’s simple stuff, but not something you usually see in this genre.
The Great Ace Attorney takes this gameplay up a notch compared to the original games. The same core “investigate for evidence, find contradictions, present evidence” system is all there, but now you have a jury to worry about and you’ll need to swing their opninions in your favor by pitting their own words against each other. It’s like a regular cross-examination, but with an additional layer and it was pretty cool in practice.
Then there’s the “dance of deduction” feature where you work with Herlock Sholmes (yes, you heard that name right) to correct the logic in his deductions and uncover the truth. These segments involve you scanning the 3D environment for clues that otherwise would have been hidden and are a nice addition on top of the regular investigation stuff.
In general though, the gameplay here is still not too complex, but a nice step up from what I was used to with the main games and it gives the story that touch of interaction that it needs to keep you involved. If you don’t want to engage with the gameplay at all, there is a new “story mode” feature that just does all of that for you – so that’s an option as well.
And on the topic of story – that is yet again an area this collection excels at. The first case is a bit slow to get going – it’s actually the longest intro case in any Ace Attorney game – but once it does, it really hooked me. In fact, that was pretty much every case after that point. They each follow that same steady rise in pacing as they go on and get more and more complex. What you think happened at first is never quite right and the twists and such are both ridiculous, yet feel right at home in this series and some of them really caught me off guard with how well executed they were.
The third case in the first game, for example, takes a very interesting turn towards the end that is quite unlike any other case across the entire series. I don’t want to spoil it here, but its one of the more unique cases in this series and exemplifies all that I like about these games. Pacing that rises and falls naturally with each development, characters that actually have – well – character, and mysteries that are somehow 10x more complicated than they look. Each case is a journey in itself and I’m happy that these two games were able to maintain that same level of quality from the main series.
And as with any Ace Attorney game, the comedy is absolutely on point. The games manage to have all of these serious cases and crimes to solve, but never lose that lighthearted feeling. There’s the ridiculous character quirks, the dumb one-liners, and I really love how this series is able to make references to itself even when its not necessary. I laughed out loud when I found out who the first prosecutor was – because of course they had to make him the same as the one from the main series but bill him as an ancestor.
It’s the little touches like this that really give the series its unique feel and I know some may say this makes it hard to take seriously, but the story can get serious when it wants – it just knows when to do so and can actually manage that balance there.
As for length, you can expect around 60-80 hours for the two games combined. The second game is longer than the first, but they’re both fairly meaty visual novels and are comparable in length to the recent Ace Attorney Trilogy release despite that one containing three games instead of just two.
And with regards to the PC port, there’s really not much to go over there. The collection is hard locked to 30 fps (expected given they’re visual novels coming from the 3DS) but does support higher resolutions. I played them on both 1440p and 4K and the 3D models and such look great and I didn’t have any technical issues there. Control-wise, the collection plays fine on both controller and keyboard and mouse – the latter of which is rebindable. I played with a mix of both and didn’t feel the need to change any bindings – the default is intuitive enough.
Simply put, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is the best visual novel release of the year. It takes all of the series’ strengths, throws it into a new and interesting setting, and delivers an Ace Attorney experience quite unlike any other. On-point writing, excellent comedic balance, gameplay that is actually interesting – it’s got pretty much everything and is an easy recommendation for fans or even newcomers to the series (although I would still probably recommend going with the original trilogy as your first one if you are completely new).
Quote: The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is the best visual novel release of the year. It takes all of the series’ strengths, throws it into a cool setting, and delivers a truly unique VN experience.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles retails for $40 USD on Steam – you can get an official Steam key and support the channel by buying through my Green Man Gaming partner link. If you purchase before August 31st, you get a special DLC bonus as well. The collection is also available on PS4 and Switch.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.