The level of lunacy on display hits all-time highs. The second chapter takes place on an aeroplane. An aeroplane so enormous that not only does it have a full-size elevator (adorned with statues at the entrances) that can call on three floors, but a cargo hold that has to be at least 40 feet high. And a large gift shop. And fans of the Blue Badger couldn't be in for a bigger treat.
The volume of cameos comes so thick and fast that I can only imagine the game might as well be in Borgonian for those who haven't played the previous episodes. Of course there's Franziska von Karma and her cruel whip, the completely adorable Ema Skye with some excellent new science to show off, and a troubling amount of the terrifying Wendy Oldbag. Oh, and my favourite minor character of them all, Sal Manella, turns in a very brief appearance with some fantastic new 1337 gibberish.
Things are further made to feel comfortingly similar with Kay Faraday, who's convinced she's the new incarnation of thief Yatagarasu, with her excitable plans for stealing everything she sees. She's essentially Maya to Phoenix, or Trucy to Apollo, and packs the same wallop of delightful enthusiasm and naivety. She also has the idiotic Little Thief system, which projects the explorable holograph crime scenes. Even Edgeworth himself loses a little of the collected cool that made him slightly unlikeable before. He's now more than capable of letting loose a "Nnn… Ngwooooooh!" at just the right moment.
Sadly the same damned idiotic mistake that has held every one of these adorable games back from receiving a higher score is present once again. It's head-bangingly frustrating. But yet again perfectly acceptable solutions, interjections and presentations of evidence are rejected because of poor scripting. Edgeworth has so many ways of losing blocks of green from his "health" bar now - incorrect rebuttal interruptions, wrongly chosen Deduce evidence, and combining Logic in a perfectly reasonable way they didn't think of, all knocks points from the meter.
When your suggestion was valid, it's maddening. And this becomes a real problem if you decide to risk saving with a half-empty meter before stumbling into one of the more terrible puzzles. Normally this is fine as the meter readily refills itself at various intervals. But for some reason in the epically long third chapter this stops happening for the last third. I was left trying to guess at one muddled situation with only three chances, forced to constantly switch the machine off and on again to reload.
Oh, and the animation of Interpol's Shi-Long Lang (from the Republic of Zheng Fa) reaching for his ancient manuscript of investigative technique every time I got it "wrong" has become my least favourite thing in the universe, beating the deaths of kittens and Big Top for the number one spot. Why can't they just playtest these out? Then they could have the 9/10 that lives in my heart.
But you can't stay angry because he's Interpol's Shi-Long Lang from the Republic of Zheng Fa, and responsible for the third of the opening quotes. He hates prosecution lawyers because of how they destroyed his family's reputation! He thinks courts are for idiots! Nothing makes Edgeworth more mad than that. Nothing!
Once again the translation team have done the most incredible job. There's a few typos, and the rather strange repeated mistake of saying, "You're going to have to make due." But otherwise it's a tour-de-force of near-impenetrable puns (it took me a long time and the help of a friend to decipher "Cammy Meele"), awesome one-liners, and incredibly inventive made-up agony noises.
For all that's new, it's still faithfully an Ace Attorney game. I continue to be devastated not to know what's happened to Maya and Pearl. Goodness knows where this fits in the timeline. Apollo Justice was set seven years after the third Wright game, but here Gumshoe is only two years older than he was in the first… Whenever it is, it's been three of our years since we heard from the girls, and you know, I'm getting worried.
It's so gorgeously loveable. Edgeworth was an inspired choice to take the lead role. The cast is ever-changing and hilarious. It made me laugh out loud so many times in Starbucks that the staff now give me odd looks. I've found myself playing it as I walk down the road. It certainly lacks something without the permanency of Nick and Maya's relationship. (And indeed the appearances of Mia. It occurs to me that I've no idea how her name is pronounced. Is it "Mee-ya" or "Mii-ya"? The game's only ever pronounced it "Be-baddy-be-baddy-beep" and that can't be right.) But Kay is a fantastic new inclusion, and it's all so good-hearted your DS glows with warmth.
It's bursting with happiness. And so am I when I play it.