If you told Ace Attorney fans a year ago that Capcom were localising Dai Gyakuten Saiban, we simply wouldn’t have believed you. After many dashed hopes these last six years, the long-awaited duology finally arrives on Switch, PC and PS4, now called “The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles”.
Placing both entries, Adventures and Resolve, into one package, this spin-off comes from Ace Attorney’s original creator, Shu Takumi, who’d left after 2007’s Apollo Justice. Retaining that signature courtroom gameplay with fresh twists, Chronicles is nothing short of a phenomenal entry.
A Scandal In La Carneval
Set at the start of the 20th century, Great Ace Attorney uses Phoenix Wright’s distant ancestor, Ryūnosuke Naruhodō, an English student frequently drawn to trouble, and Adventures begins with Ryūnosuke on trial for allegedly murdering Dr John H
Watson Wilson. Eventually, he ends up travelling to Great Britain with judicial assistant Susato Mikotoba to further his studies, becoming a defence lawyer and going up against Prosecutor Barok Van Zieks.
Despite the setting change, this is still very much an Ace Attorney game, packed with a gripping story and the series’ signature humour. However, it’s worth noting that by going back to Victorian-era Britain, Capcom hasn’t sugar-coated British social attitudes and their misconceptions towards foreigners, either, as often witnessed when others speak with Ryu and Susato. Thankfully, such views are regularly challenged, and our newest duo repeatedly put such people to shame.
Notably, Chronicles features a significant crossover with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective,
Sherlock Holmes Herlock Sholmes, alongside John’s 10-year-old daughter, the young and eccentric inventor Iris Wilson. Though these two entries were initially released separately, they’re closely tied together, so this review treats both games like one wider set. Resolve picks up from the first game’s story several months later and thanks to Adventure’s unresolved plot threads, putting them into a collection makes this more cohesive.
Much like before, Chronicles’ gameplay is primarily split between two segments. Though some cases only focus on courtroom or investigate gameplay, most cases between Adventures and Resolve tend to mix the two. As the accused’s defence lawyer, you’ll be tasked with investigating crime scenes to gather evidence, explore new environments, talk with other characters to obtain information, and examine objects for further clues.
During these moments, Sholmes frequently makes deductions about other characters within a "logic and reasoning spectacular", reaching two major conclusions. However, despite getting close to the truth, Sholmes usually misses the mark in several key beats, mistaking what the targeted character’s perceived or their intentions. As Naruhodō, our goal is to direct Sholmes onto the right path through course correction, swapping out keywords and evidence for a joint show. It’s highly dramatic, stylish, incredibly over-the-top, and perfectly executed.
Once investigations are complete, Naruhodō will head to the courts. That involves facing off against rival prosecutors, exposing contradictions in witness testimonies, and ultimately earning our client a “Not Guilty” verdict. This is achieved through cross-examinations, presenting evidence against contradictions and, if none appear, pressing statements to acquire more information. Sometimes, we’ll cross-examine multiple witnesses at once, who often present different avenues for information called “pursuing” when their guard isn't up by perceiving their reactions. If you get it wrong, the judge penalises you and 5 errors will end the trial, though thankfully, you can save at any stage.
However, Chronicles has one key difference. Unlike past entries, most cases have us convincing a jury of six, all members of the public, rather than a singular judge. If the jury reaches a unanimous “Guilty” verdict, that begins a "summation examination", which sees you appeal directly to members of the jury by exposing contradictions in their reasoning, reversing previous guilty votes with their own words by proving that doubt remains. Generally, you need to sway at least four jurors, tipping the scales back towards Not Guilty. For existing Ace Attorney fans, you’ll feel right at home here. Chronicles builds upon the series formula nicely, feeling unmistakably familiar but offering key evolutions that help keep proceedings fresh.
As a long-time fan, I found myself utterly hooked. Though it can prove frustrating when contradictions aren’t obvious during courtroom sequences, Chronicles employs a “story mode” that lets the game automatically progress for you, which you can switch on or off at any point. Not only does it negate those frustrations, that adds significant accessibility for those who just want to enjoy the story, helped by other factors like changing the text box's transparency and turning off screen flashes.
If you’re a series newcomer, I’d suggest starting the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy first to see where it all began, but either way, Chronicles presents a truly exceptional experience within, one that was worth the wait. Between the new gameplay additions, thrilling story and added accessibility, this is without question my favourite entry so far and for that, I cannot recommend The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles enough.
Review copy provided by Capcom
Reviewed on PS5 through backwards compatibility.