Since it came out in 2011 on the Nintendo DS, Gyakuten Kenji 2 has received critical acclaim among Ace Attorney fans, and after finishing it this week, I’m a little disappointed in myself that it took me so long to discover the masterpiece. Part of the reason was that Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth wasn’t the most exciting game and it was difficult for me to see how the sequel could be so much better. Another reason is that the game was never (and doesn’t plan to be) officially released outside of Japan. Fortunately for English-speakers like myself, a fan translation under the name Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth: Prosecutor’s Path was completed in 2015 and I was able to enjoy this game.
Because it took some effort (took me 10 minutes, so not really that much) to set up the game with this English patch, I remembered asking this question on Google before starting the game: “Can someone give me some spoiler-free reasons why this game is so good?” Obviously, with Ace Attorney games, where the meat of the gameplay is in the plot itself, it’s a difficult question to answer. However, in this post, I will give you six spoiler-free reasons to hopefully convince you to check out this sensational game.
Note: If you’re thinking of playing Gyakuten Kenji 2, I assume you’re already somewhat familiar with the Ace Attorney series. If not, I highly recommend that you checkout the original Phoenix Wright trilogy before this game.
1. There were no filler cases
In the original Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney series, it was common for one of the cases in a game to more or less stand alone as a “filler” case. This was far from the truth in Gyakuten Kenji 2. Every single case, even the first, was connected in someway to the subsequent cases. In fact, the entire game takes place over 13 in-game days (between 03/25/2019 and 04/06/2019), so there is never really a break in the plot between each case.
In my opinion, even cases 3 and 4 in this game would have been sufficient as “climax” cases in some of the previous games. But what’s amazing about Gyakuten Kenji 2 is that cases 4 and 5 continue to build upon an already-excellent story, growing the player’s anticipation of the plot before wrapping it up masterfully in case 5.
2. Edgeworth and Kay’s relationship
When we were introduced to Kay Faraday in Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, she was a typical assistant character but didn’t really seem to click well with Edgeworth. However, in Gyakuten Kenji 2, it’s safe to say that their relationship deepens such that it warmed my heart in a way that no previous Ace Attorney games had before. No, Edgeworth and Kay don’t get together (he’s 26 and she’s 17 after all), but in this game alone, Capcom managed to show us an unbreakable assistant-prosecutor relationship that rivals Phoenix and Maya’s in the original trilogy. Saying more would give away spoilers, so I’ll just leave it at that!
3. Edgeworth’s past explored: Gregory Edgeworth
We were first introduced to Gregory Edgeworth in case 4 of the first Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Turnabout Goodbyes. Without giving away too much, in that case, we learned that Miles Edgeworth’s father was a defense attorney, and something happened when he died that prompted Miles to go down the opposite path in law as a prosecutor under Manfred von Karma. In Gyakuten Kenji 2, we actually get to play as Gregory in the IS-7 incident, the case that gave von Karma the penalty mentioned in the Turnabout Goodbyes.
However, Gyakuten Kenji 2 does even more than that, and smoothly ties Gregory’s case with the entire plot of Miles’ current investigation. Not only that, we get to see the uncanny similarities between Miles and his father, while at the same time seeing them on opposite sides of the podium as prosecutor and attorney, respectively. It’s through these flashbacks that we are able to understand Miles’ character progression throughout this game.
4. Strong character progression
It should come to no one’s surprise though, that we would get Miles Edgeworth character progression in a game with his name in the subtitle. However, what I didn’t expect was that Gyakuten Kenji 2 would provide such strong character development with the other characters in the game.
First, there’s the series regular, Dick Gumshoe, who undergoes quite a change in the last case that makes me wonder how Capcom’s going to tie it into future Ace Attorney games, since we’ll inevitably see him again working with both Wright and Edgeworth. Two other notable characters that we learn a lot about throughout the game are Justine Courtney (Hakari Mikagami), the first judge character in the series, and Sebastian Debeste (Yumihiko Ichiyanagi), a rookie prosecutor. They first appear in the second case and have significant roles for the remainder of the game. Obviously, I can’t talk more about the specifics of these characters without spoilers, but I will say that Capcom does a great job of showing us a variety of character personalities that appeal to any type of gamer.
5. Every character matters in the cases
By the end of the last case of Gyakuten Kenji 2, my mind was blown at how Capcom was able to weave all of the characters in with each other throughout this five-case storyline. What’s more impressive is that out of the 37 characters above, nearly a third of them appear in other games in the Ace Attorney franchise! So for these characters, all of the intricate connections with the five cases in Gyakuten Kenji 2 had to stay consistent with their stories in the other games.
The new characters all had strong backstories that really allowed me to get to know them even if this is the only game they appear in. I’ll say it again though: I’ve never seen an Ace Attorney game in the past that has connected all of its characters so well in a coherent plot that wraps up nicely at the end.
6. Well done fan translation
The fan translation was what made this game possible to play for those of us who don’t speak Japanese. But don’t let the words “fan translation” deceive you. If I didn’t know it was one, I definitely would have just thought it was an official release, due to how well done it was.
The translation team used existing sound files from previous games for the recurring characters’ English voices. For all of the new characters, they came up with English names that are in the same style as previous characters in the series, and even got voice actors to say their lines (“Objection”, “Overruled”, etc.) in English! All of the pop culture jokes and such were localized to Western audiences, but the main plot stayed true to the original version. It was amazingly done and puts fans in a dilemma: We want Capcom to officially localize Gyakuten Kenji 2, but then there’s a chance that they might change these names and voices. I know that Raymond Shield’s objection voice (voiced by Byronic Hero) will always be my favorite.
After playing this game, I subsequently changed my Slack profile icon at work from Phoenix Wright to Miles Edgeworth. Although they are on the same team nowadays compared to in the first couple of Ace Attorney games, I am definitely Team Edgeworth after Gyakuten Kenji 2. It makes me a little sad that once I go back to the main series (Dual Destinies is next for me), Edgeworth will inevitably take a backseat to the series’ main character, Phoenix Wright. Even sadder is the fact that many of the Ace Attorney Investigations-exclusive characters like Kay Faraday will probably never be seen again.
All of this said, I highly recommend Gyakuten Kenji 2. I know some may not agree with me, but if you don’t have the patience or time to get through the first Ace Attorney Investigations game, I recommend that you read through the case summaries on Ace Attorney Wikia just so you can play Gyakuten Kenji 2. It’s worth your time.