Ace Attorney Movie Trailer

The actual video itself was given to me by a friend and is apparently an ‘unlisted’ video on Youtube. I guess this means I shouldn’t go handing the link out, but once it’s made official I’ll embed it here.

There’s more than a few things that caught my eye about it. The first and most obvious is that director Takeshi Miike has embraced the animesque visuals of Ace Attorney just like Kenneth Brannagh embraced Thor‘s camp elements. This really looks like Ace Attorney blown up onto the big screen.

Remember Lotta Hart’s ridiculous hair? It’s bigger than it was in the game. The costumes of characters like Edgeworth and Maya Fey? Even Phoenix’s spiky hair. They are all here. And it is glorious.

Not that it all looks like some campy parody. In its own way, it also looks like a slick courtroom drama. Sure, a hugely dramatic and stylised one, but that’s an integral part of the series and it looks like it’s being treated that way.

Another thing is the characters. Sure, Phoenix, Maya, von Karma and Edgeworth were prominent. I also caught glimpses of Larry Butz, Dee Vaquez, Gumshoe, Mia and the aformentioned Lotta Hart. I was really surprised by Vasquez’s appearance. She’s from the third case of the original game, the one that doesn’t actually fit into the overarching plot.

Presumably then, the film will cover the four cases that comprise the first ‘arc’. That seems like too much for one film. It would seem logical that some of the cases are only dealt with in cutaway, montage-esque sections or that the film will be in two parts.

Hopefully the film will get an international release (DVD only, I’m not deluded enough to think it’s get a theatrical run in Europe or the US). However, I am completely behind this project and I have a lot of faith in Miike’s vision.

Perhaps, and now this is heavily deluding myself, perhaps if this film and Wright’s appearance in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 are popular enough outside of Japan, we’ll see international releases for Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney and Ace Attorney Investigations II: Miles Edgeworth!


Stuff you should really be into

Nope, still not got anything to review yet. However! There are some things you should check out, so here’s a list.

Echo Bazaar
No I will not shut up about this. It’s a brilliantly written casual game you can play completely free while just pissing about on the internet. Why don’t you play this yet?

The Guild
A web series created by nerd queen Felicia Day after a two year World of Warcraft addiction. It’s a clever, deadpan take on MMORPG’s, gamers and gaming culture with a genuine knowledge of and affection for games. So it’s not just people saying nerds are shit

Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Blog
Inspired in part by The Guild, this is a short web superhero musical by Joss Whedon staring Nathan Fillion, Neil Patrick Harris and Felicia Day. It’s also full of catchy tunes, great dialogue is just a blast to watch. You can find it for free on Youtube, but there’s also a DVD you can buy with a musical commentary among other cool features.

The comics for The Guild and Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Blog
Darkhorse hosts the tie-in comics for not only these, but also Mass Effect and Serenity. You can buy them all at Darkhorse Digital. While they’re not of the highest quality for comics, they’re certainly fun (though the Mass Effect ones are the ‘worst’ as it were.) There’s also some Neil Gaiman comics on there, and I judge you for every moment in which you don’t read them. Speaking of which…

The Sandman
Think of a comic book. This is better than that. An epic series of 10 volumes told over nine years about the titular Prince of Dreams, The Sandman flits from urban horror to swashbuckling fantasy to nightmares to historical drama and back to 90’s New York in time for tea and it all fits ridiculously well. Not only is it one of, if not the greatest thing from comic books, but of all fiction ever. Really, it’s that good.

Dr Solar, Man of the Atom
I did mean to mention this along with all the stuff from Darkhorse before I got caught up in talking about The Sandman. Sorry about that. Dr Solar is nominally a superhero comic in that he gains superpowers from a freak accident and fights creatures that terrify the populace in a costume. But it’s not really about that, he’s like a cross between Green Lantern and Dr Manhattan. It’s a series that approaches the superhero story from a more human angle. It’s worth checking out.

A card game that comes in a variety of flavours including vanilla Fantasy, Pirate, Sci-Fi, Cthulhu Mythos, Cowboy, Kung Fu, Super Spies and Zombies. It’s a humorous game in which you and your friends compete to get to level 10 first. To do so will often require your mewling little levels ones to band together and help each other, only to then backstab and cheat to the top. It’s a lot of fun once it gets into the swing of things, though there’s always the one guy who gets the short end of the stick and ends up moping. He’s just not cheating hard enough.

Are you sick of shooting and hacking zombies into small, gooey chunks in first and third person shooters and sandbox games? Well now you can fight the horde in a board game! You and a few friends try to fight your way to the Helipad in a randomly generated city with power cards, ammo counters and all that sort of thing. It’s fun, but falls short of being innately great. It depends who you play with. A bunch of chatty and competitive (and hopefully drunk) friends? Great! A bunch of people you vaguely know…Maybe not.

One Special Edition isn’t enough for Final Fantasy XIII-2

I’ll admit that I’ve yet to play Final Fantasy XIII, so I don’t know if there is something really amazing to it that I’ve just not experienced but I’ve not seen or heard anything about it that’s made me really excited. So, when I heard that it was just one title in a planned compilation I was a little annoyed. Sure, make plans for sequels and spin-offs when making a game but it smacked a little of counting their eggs before they hatched to me.

Still, Squeenix are Squeenix and they can do whatever they want with their games, so long as Vaan either doesn’t appear or can be brutally murdered by much better characters like Kain or Laguna.

Apparently the designers over at Squeenix have a metaphorical hard-on for the character of Lightning. A combination of the game’s sales and developer’s wishes lead to the green-lighting of a sequel to Final Fantasy XIII-2. My only experience with the character was in Dissidia Duodecim: Final Fantasy, where she seemed like a fairly generic ‘tough girl’, and essentially a meaner version of Squall Leonhart. I don’t know why she’s like that, but it definitely didn’t sell me on her.

As you can probably gather from above, I’m not super excited about the sequel. But hey, it’s their franchise, their money and people want this game enough. I’ve seen worse games made with less justification.

What has annoyed me is their plans for the Special Editions. Now, these were announced for the Nordic Countries, the EU and Australia, but that doesn’t preclude their release in other territories.

First up is a Limited Collector’s Edition at £60. That’s fine. Lots of games do that. Final Fantasy has definitely earned the right to have an extravagant Special Edition. It’s got a Soundtrack CD of selected tracks, an artbook, six collectible postcards and a high quality art print of Lightning. Fairly cool.

But then, for another £20, for a grand total of £80, you can order the Crystal Edition with the complete four disc soundtrack (replacing the selected track CD) and an exclusive t-shirt to go with the other stuff. Add in the pre-order bonuses from different places (Serrah and Noel getting different costumes, a recruitable monster and and a novella bridging the gap between the two games), and the list of stuff is pretty damn high.

First of all, I question if all this is really necessary, how many units of these do they expect to ship? Sure, it’s quite well priced for what it’s offering, but are there people out there who care that much? That’s not rhetorical, I actually don’t know if this is an experience that merits all that.

But that preorder content that you can only get one of? Well, in the Nordic Countries, there’s a special Nordic edition that gets all the preorder content as standard. Huh. Seems that nowhere in the world can you get all this content for one version of the game.

That bugs me about stuff like this, If you’re expecting someone to want to preorder for special content and buy a collector’s edition, surely they’ll buy everything that’s on offer. Why is this sort of stuff almost never made available in a complete form?

UPDATED: Phoenix Wright’s Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 Costumes Now with DLC

Man I am so psyched to play as the most badass lawyer of them all in UMvC3. If only there was another layer of reference to his home series I could get uber-nerdy about. Oh wait, they announced his alternative outfits!

Here’s his Primary outfit. Nothing too exciting, it’s him and Maya in their everyday duds. Not terribly exciting, it was pretty much a given but…

Here Phoenix and Maya take on the colours of Miles Edgeworth, Phoenix’s prosecutor rival and Mia Fey, Maya’s older sister and Phoenix’s mentor, respectively. That’s cool, honouring two such important characters in that way. It’s cool, if a little predictable. It’d be fun if there was something quirky next.

Alright! Phoenix is now dressed up in duds designed to emulate the lovably incompetent Detective Dick Gumshoe and Maya’s dyed her hair blue to better look like Edgeworth’s adoptive sister Franziska von Karma. Y’know, I was hoping Ms. von Karma would show up in the flesh. Then again, maybe i just have a weakness for whip-wielding 19 year old German girls.

OK. I did not expect this. Phoenix is dressed up like his slacker, womanising friend Larry Butz while Maya is wearing something reminiscent of the Tres Bien restaurant uniform both she and perpetually unlucky Maggey Byrde wore. It’s weird, but heck, it embraces the strangeness that’s been integral to Wright’s design.

OK, glad as I am that these two are represented with these outfits, they’re a bit of an odd pairing. Phoenix is wearing the colours of the mysterious, coffee guzzling Godot from game three and Maya’s dressed as what is basically a copy of her (but a good one, so all’s forgiven) from game five, Kay Faraday. Whatever, the costumes don’t have to make sense. Ooh, wouldn’t it be great if Phoenix could get a special coffee mug evidence piece while dressed as Godot? Or throw a cup instead of documents? C’mon Capcom, you know you want to.


*ahem* Yes. These are costumes based on the appearances of Sissel and Detective Lynne from the game Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective from the studio that gave us Ace Attorney. It’s just a shame that Missile (that little doggy that helps out Phoenix in this game) doesn’t look like Missile from Ghost Trick.

Wright’s DLC costume is his young Phoenix outfit that he wore in college, as seen in Trials and Tribulations Case 1. Maya on the other hand, is dressed up like Iris from the same game. Which, if you’ve played the game, makes absolute perfect sense. And if you haven’t, well…go buy it.

Oh, if only there was different OBJECTION! music tracks that played for each different costume. There are a few more I’d like though, like an Apollo Justice and Trucy Wright set, or a Steel Samurai and Pink Princess combo. In fact, can we just have an Ace Attorney beat ’em up? Or how about Ace Attorney Investigations 2 and Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney?

Thought I’d let that go? Not a chance.

I’m really looking forward to playing as Wright. His design, both visually and in terms of gameplay looks to be a fair distance from perfect, but it does a great job of capturing the spirit of the character and his home series.

Should I Buy? – Persona 4

Absolutely. Do it yesterday. Better yet, do it a month ago so we can talk about it now. Still need convincing? Alright, here goes.

Persona 4 is a JPRG that’s technically part of the MegaTen franchise, which is a huge deal in Japan but kinda only has a cult following here. Europe got Persona 4 in 2009, but the rest of the world got it at varying times in 2008. The developer in question is Atlus. For those of you who don’t know of them, Atlus are famous for making really difficult games. For example, a boss that can hit every party member every turn for their precise weakness, bypass your physical defense and has a resistance to every single element is only really a mild threat compared to what else is out there.

Yeah. Still, this game’s Beginner Mode is a lot more forgiving than your regular Atlus game, if only because it seems to have stopped the AI from using strategies that would murder you every turn.

The game is about you moving to the small Japanese town of Inaba for a year and the people you meet. Except it’s not, because you get involved in a supernatural murder-mystery case. Except that’s not it either, because this game’s actually about the truth. There’s a constant undercurrent to every encounter you have that nudges the characters towards facing and accepting their own repressed negative feelings and dealing with them to become a better person.

It manages this because I wasn’t entirely truthful about the genre classification. Yes, this is a meaty and challenging JRPG, but it’s also a social simulator. As a High School student the time you don’t spend saving the world is spent attending clubs, doing part-time jobs and working up the courage to ask girls out. Literally. And somehow, it pulls it off. Though you may not like a character at first, chances are that by pursuing their Social Link you’ll grow invested in their story.

There’s a real incentive to do so, even if you’re some heartless bastard that doesn’t give a damn about Kanji-kun or Nanako-chan. That’s another thing, this game is unapologetically Japanese. It throws around the honorifics without ever explaining them and you’ll be quizzed on how to make dishes like sushi.

Anyway, the battle gimmick is that each character gains a ‘Persona’, a magic creature that gives them special skills. The protagonist is a ‘wild card’, who can wield the power of many different Persona and fuse them together to form new, more powerful ones. For each rank in the corresponding Social Link you’ve established with the characters, you get bonus experience for the new Personas you create, which can save hours of grinding for cool abilities.

Battles rely around you finding the weaknesses and strategies to defeat the enemies, with your allies being able to do their own thing or fight under your control. For the most part, they’ll do the right thing if left on autopilot. Even if you take control, by increasing their Social Links they’ll gain a level of autonomy, becoming able to help each other cure status effects, performing special moves and taking powerful blows for you. It’s all very gratifying to see your team come together with all this camaraderie.

Still, if a straight up RPG is what you’re looking for, this isn’t your ideal game. The dungeons, for all the interesting symbolical representations of a characters personalities and randomly-generated maps that mean it’s never the same twice are few and far between. You’ll often spend in-game weeks running around doing unrelated stuff. Luckily, there’s enough scripted events and general activities to make sure this doesn’t get too bad.

If you’re wondering just how far a game can push a single theme, you’d be surprised. In order to find everything there is you’ll really have to work hard. Some of the Social Links are a devil to start, let alone finish and you need absolute perfect actions throughout game year to get them all up to maximum. And the advanced Fusions you can perform require very specific Personas that are a nightmare to assemble without some kind of detailed list of locations and Fusion outcomes.

Another major point in the game’s favour is that it keeps its perspective firmly grounded in the mindset of the teenagers we follow. There’s a lot of tantalising hints at budding romances between just about everyone, and things like midterms carry some fairly serious weight to them. The unfolding plot isn’t told from an omniscient point of view, always giving us the relevant facts like a lot of games, but in the insular bubble of knowledge the characters have. It’s hard to explain, but you’ll understand after you’ve spent some time with it.

Ultimately, you’ll get out of Persona 4 what you put into it. If you just try to potter through on
Beginner and see what all the fuss is about, you’ll have a good time. If you invest heavily in the characters, you’ll be rewarded with appropriate and meaningful resolutions. And if you pump it up to Expert you’ll see the Game Over Screen so much it’ll become almost welcoming.

But the best way to play it is to remember that you’re always searching for the truth. If a character is looking to you for advice, that’s what you’ve got to push them towards. If there’s an easy way out, you should ignore it. If there’s still mysteries left unsolved, you’ve got to keep looking for answers.

This is one of the best JRPGs I’ve played. And I’ve played a fair amount of them. It’s seriously worth your time, just try to forgive the fact that the opening cutscenes last for several hours. Hey, if people can forgive Metal Gear Solid for it, they can forgive Persona 4 too.


Sorry all one person who cares (Hi Mitch!) but between a Persona 4 addiction, a bunch of games to work through before I can review them and a great big steaming pile of assignments to get done, I’m going on an indefinite hiatus. I’ll still post stuff from time to time, but I won’t be keeping to a regular schedule.

Should I Buy? – LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga

Who doesn’t love LEGO or Star Wars? If you don’t, you might not be human. Not judging. Just saying. When I first heard the news about the first game being in development, I was really excited. The Complete Saga is actually two games stitched together into one, one based on the Prequel Trilogy and the second based on the Original Trilogy.

Thankfully, these interpretations of the Prequels are much more fun to sit through than the films. For those of you without a soul and ergo have not played the LEGO games yet, you (and a friend if you wish) control little LEGO versions of the characters as you play through the events of the films with all that plot and dialogue removed and replaced with funny cutscenes and puzzles.

And it’s really fun. It’s got a tangible affection for the source material and a light, breezy style. See, each character has a variety of skills which have simple applications in puzzle solving. Force users can build stuff, robots can use panels, guys with blasters can shoot targets etc. The levels don’t outstay their welcome but if you want something really deep and meaty you’re better off looking elsewhere.

There’s a few kinks, the partner AI is terrible and can’t kill any enemies, blaster characters from the Prequels can’t dodge at all (and Chewie, for some reason) and there’s vehicle sections which are…well, vehicle sections.

Where a lot of the replay value for this game comes in the option to replay levels with any available characters to find more secrets or to see Yoda kick Vader’s ass. There’s also a lot of fun to be had playing with friends, and the simple gameplay means that anyone from kids to adults can enjoy it together. Seriously, if you’re looking for something you can play with a young child like a daughter or a nephew or a little sibling for some ‘quality bonding time’, the LEGO games are great. And it means you don’t have to fall off Rainbow Road all the time.

So yeah, it’s fun, colourful, charming, family friendly and great for pick up and play sessions. Seriously consider investing in this. Just don’t get the one based on the Clone Wars TV series. That’s supposed to be terrible.

Price: (CEX) £15 – PS3
(CEX) £20 – XBOX 360
(CEX) £15 – Nintendo Wii
(Steam) £14.99 – PC

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