The fifth game in the Ace Attorney series has a new protagonist, but players familiar with the franchise will find most of what they’ve come to expect. There are plenty of awful pun-names, ludicrous characters, and frustrating puzzles. Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth became a fan favorite for his role as an antagonist to defense attorney Phoenix Wright in the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney games. But in Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, the prosecutor has bigger problems than winning his cases. Within the first few chapters, Edgeworth’s office is robbed and he’s framed for murder, and he must use his skills as a lawyer to find the real culprits. The combination of egomania and determination make Edgeworth a strong lead. He’s more upset that the murders are inconveniencing him than that they happened in the first place, and he constantly mocks everyone he talks to.
Even though most of the game’s action actually takes place outside the courtroom, players will still be looking through evidence to present to witnesses they’re grilling in order to get honest testimony. Even with no judge around, Edgeworth still has the habit of screaming “Objection” at the top of his lungs.
Miles Edgeworth abandons the psyche-lock system of the later Phoenix Wright games, since the prosecutor relies on cold logic rather than psychic abilities. As Edgeworth investigates, he gathers pieces of information that appear as logic bubbles, and players must find the connection between the facts in order to point him in the right direction.
There are plenty of familiar supporting characters, including the perpetually unlucky Maggey Byrde, who is once again wrongfully accused of murder. The game also recycles clues, which feels lazy. A new mechanic lets players navigate Edgeworth around a crime scene so he can search it. But while the game offers new freedom of movement, players are still tightly constrained when it comes to solving problems.
It’s easy to pick out the flaws in an argument, but much harder to figure out the single way to counter it that the game will recognize as correct. In one particularly frustrating instance, a minor difference between two otherwise identical suitcases is important evidence. But clicking on one of them docks your health, while choosing the other progresses the investigation. The result is that you’ll want to save often to avoid failing because of arbitrary programming.
While Ace Attorney Investigations has all its predecessors’ charm, taking the action out of the courtroom also makes the stakes seem lower. If Phoenix Wright fails to defend people properly, their lives are over. If Miles Edgeworth can’t solve a crime on the spot, at least he can recommend a great attorney.