Ace Attorney hasn’t had a new, full game in English since 2016 — even though The Great Ace Attorney 2 hit Japan the very next year. Neither of those games, which serve as 19th century prequels to the adventures of Phoenix Wright and company, have ever officially made it westward. Until now of course. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles will bring the international investigations to English on July 27, 2021. Just in time for the 20th anniversary of the series as a whole.
The Great Ace Attorney games follow Phoenix’s ancestor Ryūnosuke Naruhodō and flip between Meiji Japan and Victorian England. Like most of the mainline games, each sports five loosely connected murders. It’s naturally up to Naruhodō and his allies to solve the mysteries across investigative and courtroom drama sections. Though for the first time ever this collection includes a story mode. Players can give the gameplay over to autopilot and just experience the story like a more traditional visual novel. While the other Ace Attorney games aren’t known for brutally hard, they can be somewhat obtuse, so this should be a big boon to newcomers.
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Chronicles includes several other goodies as well. Like concept art with developer notes, the ability to play each song from the game’s soundtrack, and alternate costumes for main characters. Other than that these seem like those games from 2015 and 2017. Only in English for the first time ever. You can also select Japanese voice acting if you so choose, however.
That’s perfectly fine by me! The Ace Attorney games have always felt like a lowkey labor of love for developer Capcom. While a lot of its biggest games have truly flourished in recent years (e.g. Resident Evil and Monster Hunter) it had been a minute since we’d seen anything Ace Attorney related besides rereleases of the original three games. If you’re still missing that trilogy, you’ll actually be able to buy it together with Chronicles in a single collection.
This also means every “proper” entry in the series will be available in English (one remaining spinoff, Ace Attorney Investigations 2, still hasn’t made the jump to Europe or North America). So we can enjoy more tortured puns. You know, like “Herlock Sholmes,” a completely original character that appears in both titles. Though it’s oddball characters like that which really make Ace Attorney shine. It’s tremendously satisfying to present contradictory evidence that corners killers during the climactic courtroom battles. But there’s a reason these casts, specifically, keep people coming back for more. All the death usually takes a backseat to the goofiness and triumph.
Driving that home will be a series of “slice of life” stories included in this collection. These sound like more relaxed, miniature excursions with the protagonists. At least compared to clicking on bloodstains and confronting strange men with deadly weapons.
Players will get their chance to see the “new” games on Nintendo Switch, PC via steam and PlayStation 4. Which by extension means PlayStation 5 players as well. There’s no word on Xbox or mobile versions of either game yet. Though the series usually finds it way to smartphones eventually. So there is… evidence… that makes it seem likely