What happens when an orca is accused of murder? In our world it might simply get put down, depending on the circumstances, but in the world of Ace Attorney there’s always more to the case than that. Thus, it’s a no-brainer that Phoenix Wright and his partner Athena Cykes decide to take on a case that involves defending a whale that allegedly killed its own aquarium owner, setting the stage for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies‘ downloadable episode.
“Turnabout Reclaimed” only sounds ridiculous outside of the context of the Ace Attorney series. Even in the excellent Dual Destinies alone we’re inundated with a slew of outrageous scenarios, so one more can’t possibly push us over the edge. This one comes courtesy of Sasha Buckler, an employee of Shipshape Aquarium and star of its “Swachbuckler Spectacular” show. When her whale friend Orla—arguably the show’s true star—is accused of murdering Jack Shipley by ramming him to death in the pool, Sasha rushes from attorney to attorney, each one turning down the opportunity to defend a whale. Despite not being entirely forthcoming about the accused, Sasha nevertheless convinces Phoenix and Athena to help her out, marking a truly bizarre return to the courtroom for our hero.
If you’ve played a Phoenix Wright game you know the drill by now, and that goes doubly so for anyone who just wrapped up Dual Destinies. It’s kind of tough to evaluate an individual case, but “Turnabout Reclaimed” has all the hallmarks of a solid entry. Investigations build up to intense days in court, and every time the defense inches toward victory something else pops up to turn things on its head.
After spending the majority of Dual Destinies playing as Apollo Justice and Athena, it’s nice to get another case in with Phoenix Wright, but other than the unique characterizations he brings to the table it really doesn’t make much of a difference who points their finger from the defense’s side of the room. As great as its leads are, the Ace Attorney series has always been just as much, if not more, about the bizarre and often hilarious characters encountered along the way. As mentioned in our review of the full game in the latest issue of Otaku USA, their animated tics and quirks are even better on 3DS, with the new 3D character models showcasing a ton of personality. It still manages to impress, especially considering how skeptical some were when it was first announced that the series would be dropping the beloved 2D sprites for this entry.
It’s kind of disappointing that “Turnabout Reclaimed” wasn’t presented as part of the full package, but it’s also tough not to recommend it. If you played through Dual Destinies you’re going to want more—including those sweet cutscenes by anime studio Bones—and this delivers just that for the price of a cheap lunch. Capcom may already be working on the next Ace Attorney game, but it’s going to be a while, so be sure to get as much out of this one as you can.