Apollo Justice Ace Attorney Hands-On

Capcom's popular law series gets a new face in the courtroom.

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One of the surprises at Capcom's recent press event was a playable version of its newly announced Apollo Justice Ace Attorney title. The game is a continuation of the popular Phoenix Wright series but features a new focus on up-and-coming trial lawyer Apollo Justice. We had the chance to try out a playable work-in-progress version of the DS game--dubbed the mock-trial version--that featured one case, "The Turnabout Trump," with some very familiar faces.

The demo stuck close to the model of the previous Phoenix Wright games. The demo opening showed off a crime and then segued to Apollo's somewhat spastic internal monologue as he prepped for his court appearance with Kristoph Gavin. The demo's dramatic twist to the proceedings was Apollo's client, onetime ace attorney Phoenix Wright, who's gone all granola here, sporting a knit cap and stubble and playing piano in the Borscht Belt Club. The former attorney is accused of murdering one Shadi Smith during a poker game and is in need of some defense.

The dialogue-intensive gameplay is in line with what's been seen in the previous games. You'll read through Apollo's inner dialogue, talk to various people involved in the trial, and interrogate individuals during their testimony. You'll collect information and evidence that you'll rely on to solve the case when the time comes.

Apollo Justice's presentation is in line with the graphics and audio we've seen in the previous Phoenix Wright games. The game features richly detailed, partially animated 2D art and a modest mix of sound effects and audio clips for dramatic moments. The game uses the same onscreen interface and includes options on the DS touch screen you can select by tapping with the stylus.

Based on what we played, Apollo Justice Ace Attorney is shaping up to be a solid continuation of the quirky ace attorney games. The game looks good and plays well on the DS and should please fans of the series--well, European fans, at any rate. At the moment, Apollo Justice is confirmed for release only in Europe next year, with no word on a US release yet. That said, given Phoenix Wright's popularity, we expect an announcement for a stateside release soon. Look for more on the game in the coming months.

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