Here’s the biggest takeaway from my time with the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice 3DS demo: it’s now spelled Khura’in village. It’s not Kurain village anymore. After years of knowing Maya and Mia’s hometown as Kurain village, this name change is kind of a shocker.
Still, Spirit of Justice is quick to throw you back into the righteous shoes of Phoenix Wright, defense attorney. He’s come to Khura’in village (this spelling is too weird) to visit an old friend – probably Maya – but finds himself caught up in yet another murderous trial. His tour guide, Ahlbi, has been accused of larceny and murder, and it’s up to Phoenix to rescue his client from these false accusations. It’s always murder.
The Spirit of Justice demo is all about Phoenix getting accustomed to the legal system in Khura’in village. Trials in the village don’t normally require defense attorneys, as the judge can just rely on their spirit medium Rayfa to reveal the final moments of the victim’s life and proceed to pass his verdict from there. The testimony and contradiction systems still work the same – you’ll listen to the witness’ testimony, look for something that sounds out of place, and then present evidence from your court record to point out the contradiction. The new stuff comes in when Rayfa presents her insights into the victim’s last moments.
In this scenario, we were shown a screen of a static image, as words floated around onscreen. These words are meant to represent the sense of the victim and what they experienced. For instance, the phrase ‘Song of Ceremony’ is meant to indicate that the victim heard this particular song just before he was about to die. Rayfa will present her insights in a testimony style, and you can also point out contradictions in her statement. You’ll also have to look at her insights and use those to point out contradictions too. This means you have to really pay attention to a lot of details in testimonies, and take extra care to consider the victim’s five senses and final experiences to try to paint a picture of the murder.
It’s also worth mentioning that the animations are most certainly on par with those of Dual Destinies. Watching a nameless side character’s sprite waddle onstage to remove Rayfa’s coat and staff before going off definitely shows how far the Ace Attorney series has come, in terms of graphical and visual improvements. The models look just as good as they did in Dual Destinies, and the soundtrack remains as delightfully epic as ever.
Speaking with Capcom, a representative told me that Spirit of Justice will follow Phoenix Wright and Apollo Justice as they go through their own stories. Phoenix will likely be mostly based in Khura’in village, while Apollo might stay in the modern city. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice doesn’t really break any new ground, as compared to the Mood Matrix in Dual Destinies, but fans will find a lot of familiar stuff to love here.