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          Ace Attorney Investigations provokes thought, humor in crime-solving

          Justin Petersen

          Issue date: 3/19/10 Section: Focus
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          [Click to enlarge]
          Courtesy gamespot.com
          Courtesy gamespot.com
          [Click to enlarge]
          The Ace Attorney video game series is probably best known for the exploits of fictional protagonist Phoenix Wright, a defense attorney who defends his clients in court. The latest installment of the series, Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, features not a defense attorney, but prosecutor Miles Edgeworth. Edgeworth spends most of his time in Ace Attorney Investigations away from the court room and on the crime scene, uncovering evidence and trying to unravel murder mysteries. The game is split into five "episodes," each focusing on a different crime.

          Following the trend set by previous Ace Attorney games, Ace Attorney Investigations' gameplay is split into two modes: investigation and questioning. Investigation mode plays like a traditional point-and-click adventure. Each area contains evidence important to the case, and the player must track all of it down in order to advance. Ace Attorney Investigations' "logic" system adds flavor to the investigation segments. Some of the insights that the player gains through investigations are only part of a picture, and it is necessary for the player to connect relevant bits of information together in order to unravel the mystery each crime scene presents.

          The game's "logic" system is, for lack of a better term, very logical. The different bits and pieces of each scene are usually accompanied by contextual dialogue that makes pinning everything together an intuitive process. During investigation sequences, the player is also required to use a "deduce" function to point out which parts of the scene just don't add up. Each crime scene is riddled with cover-ups and contradictions, and it is necessary to discover them in order to uncover the perpetrator's identity.