Developer: Capcom
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★★
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies is a direct port of the latest title in the fantastically popular Ace Attorney series. For those unfamiliar with it, the these games are courtroom dramas with a twist of absurdist humor, mostly centered around Phoenix Wright and his rise to become a star defense attorney. By Dual Destinies, the seventh title in the series, Wright and his two protégés are taking on their most exciting and intense cases yet. Each lawyer has their own “special power” that gives them the edge in court and also serves to add unique gameplay mechanics.

Phoenix wright scareSince Dual Destinies is a port, given the difference in screen sizes, I was worried that there would be significant loss of video quality when it was scaled up to the iPad. To my surprise, all of the animation is HD. Each cutscene is like watching an anime, and in case you can’t get enough you can always replay them from the main menu. The voice acting and music is really well done and, as with the rest of the Phoenix Wright series, the localization is top-notch.

Dual Destinies is episodic, separated by each court case. The first episode is being offered for free, but you can purchase the entire pack in-game for $14.99 or buy each case individually for $4.99. There’s also a bonus episode, “Turnabout Reclaimed,” where players must defend Orla – a killer whale – and that’s not even the most ridiculous thing you’ll find here.

Although Dual Destinies hardly takes itself seriously with its cartoonish animation, goofy cast, and wacky sense of humor, due to the nature of the cases some of the content is graphic. You will see blood, bodies, and violence, and as such it carries an ESRB rating of M. You may want to play the game once through before handing it over to your kids.

Phoenix wright apolloAnother thing that might turn players off is all the dialog. It’s brilliant, but wordy!  Dual Destinies expects the player to read a lot and keep track of tiny details, but to keep speed-readers happy the dialogue can be tapped through quite quickly, and you can always scroll back through the court record for anything you may have missed.

Finally, and importantly, this is the seventh game in the series and it heavily references its own history.  If you’re a total newcomer to Phoenix Wright, you’ll be missing out on a ton of references, cameos, and details. Still, some Phoenix Wright is better than none.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies is a fantastic interactive visual novel full of drama, humor, and mystery. It’s easy to pick up but hard to put down as you become embroiled in the defense of your clients. While many of the references might be lost on newcomers, for longtime fans of the series it’s great to see this excellent game brought to iOS.

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