Contradictions and Cross-Examinations
Apart from some cases places where prompts should be reworded for clarity, I found everything completely fair, which I don't say very often!
I did find Trial Former very easy, as well as the last half of Trial Latter (from when Grace testifies about her not having a motive onwards). Perhaps this wasn't the feeling of your beta-testers? This was largely because I was able to figure out two key plot points (that the murder mystery game was Strater blackmailing the suspects of his daughter's murder into being around for Phoenix to investigate; that the locket was evidence of Grace's infidelity with Connor) long before Athena. I'm not aware of any solution to this. Having played Dai Gyakuten Saiban
recently, I can report that this is something even canon games struggle with. Even Takumi's games! I'll also point out that many of the contradictions I found easy were "direct contradictions" in the language of this tutorial
. In future games, you might want to check how many of those you include.
That said, the difficulty did pick up in the first half of Trial Latter, which I appreciate. It took me some time to figure out that Barre really shouldn't know about the origin of the dining room, and that Strater couldn't possibly have left the fingerprints. Kudos on the subtle hint where we can see Strater's full sprite during one of Athena's inner monologues.Dialogue and Characterization
One of my gripes with Spirit of Justice
was the treatment of Athena in 6-4. We see in Dual Destinies
that Athena has thin self-confidence. Most of the time, she is unhesitating and will say whatever is on her mind. However, if you couple insults with some other reason to doubt herself, her confidence abandons her. This was continued in Spirit of Justice
, but Athena was "triggered" by constant insults and allegations of incompetence from the prosecution, the gallery, and even her own co-counsel. Game of Turnabouts
continues Athena's issues with self-confidence, but in a way that's more believable and less cruel. That said, it may be good to have Grace go a little bit harder on Athena at the end. I think she needs a little more of a push to give her a crisis of confidence, but she's close. Speaking of which, I cannot recall a fancase that has done a better Athena. Her youth and immaturity need to show, which you do quite well! You even capture Athena's quickness in changing the culprit she suspects.
Klavier is about where he needs to be, but I'll admit that I need to brush up on Klavier's writing. Klavier seemed unusually cooperative with the defense at first, but as I was writing this review, I realized that writing choice made a lot of sense. When we see Klavier prosecute in-canon, he's against Herr Forehead. But it would ruin his rock star image to do anything to antagonize a Fräulein, and Athena's impulsiveness already makes him look like the one in charge, so he doesn't need to try as hard to accomplish that. Apart from one point that I mention in Check #2, this is a very good Klavier.
This takes me to the original characters. They're great! We don't see much of Strater, and while we do see him, he's playing the cryptic "gamemaster" and also blackmailing most of his guests, so he's projecting more power than usual. Nothing struck me in particular about him, but he works.
I would have said the same about Ken Forza if not for the closing scene. He's weak both mentally and emotionally, but is so without aggravating the player or being just a joke. That's a hard thing to pull off, and you did quite well. But then the reveal that he was just trying to get to Isla's money... Ken's personality was very well done to make it seem like a complete 180 while being completely consistent with everything else we knew about him in hindsight. And the drama between Grace and Ronald Barre just made it dig all the deeper.
Next, Connor Iving. I didn't "get" Connor much on my first playthrough, but I can see what I missed more clearly on the second. He's the kind of person who is unashamedly interested only in himself, but not out of arrogance. The face he presents the world is just supposed to make him civil, not project a more elaborate persona. It was a very nice touch that his speech changes when he's under pressure, so he starts cutting out sounds.
I'll defer most discussion on Ronald Barre and Grace Gilding to the Narrative section, except to say that "Could you all stop patting each other on the back and accuse my wife of murder, already?" is much funnier than it should be.Narrative
I'd like to thank Gizmological for this case. I had forgotten how much I loved Ace Attorney confrontations when they hit their mark. The confrontation with Grace is amazing.
Let's begin with Ronald. He's a pompous, self-absorbed jerk. It's quite telling he compliment Iving as being like him, but gossips about him in revenge once he learns what Iving said. That much knowledge of his character takes us through Trial Former and the first cross-examination of Trial Latter. But then Grace claims Ronald threatened her, and we see something darker yet. Petty pride. He will not let himself be betrayed, least of all by his trophy
. So he confesses to murder so that they can get on with her exposing her as adulteress, liar, and murderer. I don't think I'm off to say he wants her humiliated and is proud that he made her "finally give up." His word choice is telling. For example, the sarcastic "darling," and when he says "I'm not allowing my wife". He really does manipulate the court out of spite for his injured pride. Just like we saw him do with Iving earlier.
Now Grace. We didn't see much of Grace earlier, and I was disappointed by that. It was my own fault for not presenting Grace's profile to her to see what she'd say. The self-dismissal when we ask her about herself is not a good sign. We see her shyness and passivity start to give way to something else throughout the trial, but it never fully breaks out. She finally gives up. Ronald does much of the expositing himself, and when he finally talks, Grace can only say meekly not to listen to him.
When she starts "making her own choices," she makes the wrong ones... Namely, to be an adulteress, liar, and murderer. Sadly, that's when we see her be the most assertive. Grace objects to being called "darling" when she's about to commit murder. Reading the script as I write this, Grace barely seems like the same person in Ronald's final flashback. Then she seems to be "coming out" when she realizes the lynchpin evidence isn't there, but no, she sinks back in again with a beautiful final present, followed by her saying just how bad things were.
Truly, well done.Other
Connor Iving revealing the locket is crucial in Athena's successfully indictment of Grace. Why did Iving reveal the locket, and why doesn't Grace react to Connor giving it up? The locket was (as he well knew), evidence of the affair between himself and Grace. He revealed it to the court anyway, and he may well have suspected by the time he took the stand that Grace had it only because she took it off of Strater. I could imagine Connor instead claiming he stole a fountain pen of Grace's. Of course Grace would go along with it! She doesn't want that locket to be brought up in court.
On its own, it would be a minor plot hole, but it's a major opportunity for you to develop Grace. Grace's final argument is that there's no evidence that she was having an affair, and even if she had, Connor would never talk. Grace's motive is despair after the fact that nobody (except maybe Connor?) ever cared for her. Athena's final evidence proves that Connor already has revealed it, and he betrayed her with that evidence without a second thought. Thematically, that is perfect
. I could not design a more story-appropriate final evidence present. But for some reason, this point isn't brought up. Unless I'm misunderstanding the story, the implications of Connor revealing the locket are worth showing.