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Run the Series 10: Ace Attorney (Phoenix Wright, Apollo Justice, Investigations)

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Hello NWR Forum users. Welcome to the 10th edition of Run the Series, a poorly run forum series that just won't quit. We are just a few days shy of it being one full year since the last entry so clearly this series wasn't built to withstand a pandemic.  :P

Some may wonder why make another entry in this series. Does anyone even care about it at this point? Good question and I wondered it myself. Then I discovered that the last entry on Metroid has almost 104,000 views! That's more views than the Switch Friend Code which has been stickied atop this forum for 4 years! More views than a three year old thread on Smash Ultimate. More views than a 5 year thread on Xenoblade Chronicles X. More views than like 95% than most of the topics available here on these forums. More views than any other entry in the series and I have no idea why. 29 posts and 10 votes for the poll but somehow we hit viewer click pay dirt with that topic. Can we do it again? Probably not. It's likely a fluke. But let's try chasing that high and see what happens with this entry.

Run the Series Mission Statement

From past posts, I am sometimes surprised at what games users on these forums have played or missed in a franchise and it's made me curious about the gaming habits of all our various users here. It also made curious as to what my gaming experience looks like compared to others. I thought I'd see if I could find out more information on the matter by creating a series of threads designed to look at different franchises found on Nintendo systems to see what series the users here like. What franchises do people still find important to keep up with and what series have they let lapse or play infrequently? What are the franchises people haven't even touched or have fully completed? Which games are the most common shared experience in a series and which ones are the least?

For each entry, I've created a poll and the poll lists all the games considered as franchise entries.* Users can then select which games in the series they have beat. When I mean beat, I'm just referring to completing the main quest or storyline and seeing the credits and not if you've completed every other side quest or mission similar to how Backloggery would classify those terms. This poll is a chance to let all users see how they stack up again users from this forum.

In addition, if you want to provide more information about what your level of completion is on games, feel free to post about it. For that matter, feel free to give your thoughts on the series. Why you play it, why you don't, what's your favorite entry, least favorite entry, how you'd rank the entry in the series, what you'd like to see, what you don't want to see, etc. You know the drill. Whatever comments you want to make based on the series under discussion or specific games in the poll, this thread is open for you to do so.

*Or at least my take on what the series consists of. You are welcome to tell me how wrong I am with my selections.  :'(

Past Entries in the Series

1st Edition - 2D Mario Platformers
2nd Edition - Pokémon Main Series
3rd Edition - Donkey Kong (Country Style)
4th Edition - Wario Platformers
5th Edition - Mario Kart
6th Edition - 2D Zelda Games
7th Edition - Star Fox
8th Edition - Professor Layton
9th Edition - Metroid

If you are new to this forum series and/or you missed an entry and/or have recently played something in the series and now want to comment on it, feel free to check out the past entries and post as desired. Bumping Khushrenada threads is always a welcome practice on these forums.

The Series Up for Discussion

Recently, there had been an announcement of an ESRB rating for The Great Ace Detective (aka Dai Gyakuten Saiban) getting released which caused some people to speculate and wonder if those entries may finally be coming westward. It sparked up some discussion of the Ace Attorney series on Discord so the series has been in the back of my mind the last couple weeks. I say it is about time we hash out this whole series once and for all here on the forums! And now we've have a thread to encapsulate discussion for the whole series as well which we can also come back to in case we don't end up settling it once and for all.  :P  ;)

The Ace Attorney series started on the GBA and the first three games were released on that system in Japan. However, it was during the era of the DS that the games were translated and brought over at that time and for that system. As such, in the West, the Ace Attorney series seemed to get regular entries almost every year or two. However, it was after the release of the first game in the spinoff series of Ace Attorney Investigations that new releases in this franchise began to slow down in the west with only three new titles released on this side of the Pacific over the past 11 years.

The idea of taking on a role of a defense attorney to prove your clients innocence by sifting through the testimonies of witness and the evidence at trial is a great hook. When I first heard about this series, I was very interested to try it and wonder how it might work. 12 Angry Men is one of the top ten films of IMDB'S top 250 Film list and pretty well liked by the vast majority of people that watch it. The film goes through the evidence of a trial where most of the jurors have already arrived at a guilty conviction but one juror holds out and, going through the objections and testimony, begins to change the understanding the other jurors have of the case thereby changing their opinion on it. In the same way, cases usually begin with the circumstances and evidence of why the client is guilty and the player must start looking for any inconsistency they can to mount a defense for the defendant and the real truth behind the crime. Of course, the series is more outlandish and crazy then 12 Angry Men. While one recognizes that this is nothing that will ever happen in real life, it doesn't hinder one from still enjoying the story and feeling like the stakes don't matter.

For many players, this series was probably their first introduction to a style of game referred to as a visual novel although it is classified as part of the Adventure genre. When playing my first game of this series, I was sometimes frustrated because I could see a clear contradiction but when presenting evidence the game would rule it as incorrect. That's because the game wanted me to focus on different piece or evidence or testimony dialogue first. Usually after a couple steps in that direction it would then lead back to the contradiction I could see earlier and wanted to point out. I began to see how limited the game was in player choice. I also made the connection in my head that it wasn't really a game but more of a novel before hearing the term visual novel. I summed it up in my head as a book that would quiz you at time to time to make sure you were keeping up and following along with the mystery. The creator of the series, Shu Takumi, wanted the game to be simple enough so that even his mother could play it and had wanted to make adventure and mystery games. With the game mainly consisting of text to read with just a bit of button pressing to select an option on a screen or cue the next bit of text, the biggest barrier of entry is just being able to read. While it may not be everyone's cup of tea, if you enjoy a wild mystery yarn then Ace Attorney may be up your alley.

Why Are These Games Part of the Series?

While the series does already have a spin-off with the Miles Edgeworth Investigations and the Professor Layton one-time crossover, I've just included all games together here under the Ace Attorney moniker. There's not that many games to cover to make it worth dividing the series up into different branches. Plus, in the end, they are still mystery visual novels and play pretty similar to one another. The major difference is just who the main character might be in leading the search for the truth. Thus, all the games that have been released in the West have been included.

And we also have a first of sorts for Run The Series. Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is included as part of this series and marks the first time a game has appeared twice over two different series. I didn't think the game could really be classified as an entry for only of the franchises being crossed over so it gets to appear here as well.

What Games Weren't Included

As just mentioned, the entries that have been officially released in the West are the ones being counted as part of the series and up for discussion. While there are some fan translations of Investigations 2 and the Dai Gyakuten Saiban entries, they do not count as they are unofficial and Capcom's translation department could put a different spin and take on things. Still, I hope that they do eventually get an official translation since Investigations 2 deals with a loose plot thread going back to the second Phoenix Wright game and when reading about the Dai Gyakuten Saiban entries they seem to have gone in the direction I thought was going to happen after Apollo Justice with jury trials.

Also not included is the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy collection. It just encompasses the first three games and they are already included individually on the list for all entries of the series. No need to duplicate them as it were.

So, with that quick little rundown, let's open it up to the rest of you forum users and let's see how well NWR has Run the Series!

You know, I thought this was going to be a case where I've completed every game in the series but I still need to get around to Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright. I've been putting that off because I was going to play it after beating Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy. Just a domino effect situation happening here!

Mr. Bungle:
I am one of the few and not so proud. I am very interested in the series but it just hasn't happened yet. I have played the two Layton games on 3DS and they are 10's in my book so I think my entry into the series would be the Layton vs. Wright game. That seems to rather expensive on the used cartridge market so I will probably be going digital with that one and wait for a Capcom sale.

Not to derail the topic but as an Adult Swim fan I picked up and played the Harvey Birdman game for Wii. It seems like it is trying to ape the style of the Wright games but not having played them I cannot say. Can anyone give an informed comparison on this.

6 votes in the poll and 4 of them haven't played or completed any game in the series! I am shocked. I did not expect to see such a high ration skewing in that direction. Ace Attorney was so big on these boards in the last half of the double-0 decade with people posting pictures of objections and AA memes all over. But I guess a lot of those users have disappeared as well. (Or have just become very inactive to the point they don't even vote on these polls.) Still, this seems to highlight to me the importance of keeping a brand relevant. Ian Sane may complain about Nintendo releasing their umpteenth Mario game but at least by having a Mario game of some kind each year with the vast majority at good or great quality, it seems to ensure that Mario stays relevant and new players begin checking out the series through a new or recent release.


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