As I wrote about in my previous post, Gyakuten Kenji 2 or Ace Attorney Investigations 2: Miles Edgeworth: Prosecutor’s Path is one of the best entries in the Ace Attorney franchise. Even though I’ve moved onto another game already (Persona 3 FES), I found myself wanting to write more about the game. Again though, I found myself faced with a similar problem as last time: How do I talk about the game without spoilers when plot was its strongest element?
The answer: I’ll be telling you about the amazing soundtrack of Gyakuten Kenji 2 that set the scenery for the plot, composed by Noriyuki Iwadare. Particularly, I’ll be reviewing the Gyakuten Kenji 2 Orchestra Arrangement Collection, a collection of 11 orchestral arrangements of various pieces from the soundtrack. Without further ado, here’s my spoiler-free track-by-track commentary (along with YouTube links) for the album. Listen along as you read!
When it’s played: During Miles Edgeworth’s “Objection!” Well, not all of them. Just the epic “turnabout” ones.
Thoughts: It’s great that the album opened with this theme, since it’s probably one that the fans are the most familiar with. Loved the key change at 1:59 just like it does in the game to add additional drama. I don’t need to say much more about it except that the live brass instruments give this objection theme the oomph that really makes it shine.
When it’s played: Whenever anything having to do with Kay Faraday happens. The slow part is from an event relating to Kay in one of the cases.
Thoughts: I thought this arrangement was one of the best in the entire album. The original piece in the soundtrack was played pretty often so it got a little annoying at times, especially with the synthesized sounds. However, the orchestral arrangement was incredible! From the beginning, the percussion solo set the pace for the song that doesn’t lose its energy except during a 40-second more somber part in the middle. I also loved how various instruments/sections of the orchestra all took turns playing the catchy melody, even though Iwadare could have just stuck with violins for the whole thing. This piece is definitely among my top three favorites in the album.
When it’s played: This piece is a medley that includes music from various parts of Edgeworth’s investigations throughout the game.
Thoughts: This suite contains music from various investigation moments in the game. The first 90 seconds is from “Investigation – Opening” in the soundtrack. It’s followed by “Investigation – Middlegame”, except the orchestra definitely sets the detective mood better than the original version. The climax of the piece occurs at 3:55, during the “Investigation – Core” portion of the medley, giving the suite an intense and dramatic ending.
When it’s played: This “suite” is another medley that includes music from Edgeworth’s logic connections as well as when he engages in Logic Chess in Gyakuten Kenji 2.
Thoughts: The soft introduction of the piece is from when Edgeworth uses logic in the menu to make connection between various facts. It transitions to “Trick Break” from the soundtrack, which is played during times outside of the logic gameplay that Edgeworth makes deductions. Starting at 2:48, the medley finishes with music from Logic Chess, which I thought was very well done by the orchestra compared to the game, especially since the gameplay was often frustrating and punishing at times which probably conditioned me to dislike the music. However, I was impressed how this arrangement smoothly captured the various stages of Logic Chess with its key, tempo, and volume changes throughout the piece. It’s definitely one of my favorites from this album.
When it’s played: This is Justine Courtney’s theme in the game that plays whenever she has a strong moment.
Thoughts: This is another piece that’s a vast improvement over the initial music from the game. First, the 75-second intro is a nice touch and allows this piece to stand on its own before the familiar organ melody kicks in. The combination of organ and percussion throughout the piece really make Justine Courtney’s theme “feel” like there is judgement and power behind her role as a judge and representative of the Goddess of Law. Another nice touch is at 3:16, when the small tinkle of a bell represents one of the key pieces of evidence in the game.
When it’s played: This medley is a combination of all of the music from the cross-examinations/rebuttals in Gyakuten Kenji 2.
Thoughts: I loved this one. The slow pace and sass of the melody at the beginning really hits home when thinking about how Edgeworth’s opponents were lying through their teeth during testimonies. Then the melody speeds up and goes up a key at 1:40, just like in the game when the testimonies get more intense, and this is quickly followed by yet another key change at 2:03. But even with the amazing first half, the star moment of the medley is at the 3-minute mark, when the familiar melody upgrades to “Confrontation – Presto” from the soundtrack, a track that is reserved for the most intense and dramatic confrontations in the game. Then just when I thought it couldn’t get more exciting, at 4:02 a vivid strings climax takes the presto confrontation melody up another notch for a home run ending.
When it’s played: This is an epic piece that is played during the most sensational moments throughout the cases in Gyakuten Kenji 2. It’s definitely one that many fans will remember.
Thoughts: The original piece was already so good in the game, but the orchestra as usual, did a great job translating this epic to live music. During moments that this piece is played, you just want to sit back and watch the action as Edgeworth completely dismantles his opponent’s argument to finally convict the criminal of his/her wrongs. There’s not much more to say about this; just listen to it.
When it’s played: This is Gregory Edgeworth’s theme that plays mostly throughout parts of the third case when you play as the late defense attorney. The slower violin solo in the middle is from when Edgeworth and Shields reminisce about the latter’s involvement in the IS-7 incident with Edgeworth’s father.
Thoughts: The dignified nature of this piece perfectly represents Gregory Edgeworth’s noble attitude toward his career as a defense attorney. It was also nice that this arrangement fit in “Reminiscense” from the soundtrack, as that was a beautiful piece that was nearly ruined by its overly-synthetic nature in the game. On the other hand, the violin solo in this arrangement really allows you to feel the unfortunate circumstances that occurred in the IS-7 incident.
When it’s played: In various parts of the game when something happy/bittersweet has resulted from a case being resolved.
Thoughts: This is the only fully slow piece of this orchestral arrangement album. Like many of the other slow parts of the soundtrack, it translates really well to orchestra due to the ability to hear the difference between live and synthetic music more clearly in slower pieces. It’s meant to be a tear-jerker, and it definitely still gives me the feels when I listen to it.
When it’s played: This is the last piece of the original sound track and the second last piece of this album because it’s the credits theme of Gyakuten Kenji 2. It’s so epic that it gives me the chills whenever I listen to it.
Thoughts: The best piece of the original soundtrack can only be made better when converted to an orchestra arrangement. Iwadare didn’t have to change much from the original version, since it was already done so well. Everything from the slow introduction to the climax at the 4-minute mark is done perfectly. It’s a shame this piece wasn’t played more in the game, but I guess that would make it stand out less as the unique final theme. Definitely one of my favorites on this album.
When it’s played: This is a medley of many of the other pieces in this album. It was originally used as the background music for the second official trailer of Gyakuten Kenji 2.
Thoughts: It’s great that the album ended with what was really the “beginning” of this game, since an earlier orchestral rendition of this exact piece was used to announce the game. This medley includes parts of (in order), “Objection!”, “Hakari Mikagami (Justine Courtney) – Goddess of Law”, and “Pursuit – Wanting to Find the Truth” from the rest of the album.
Hopefully my previous post and this one have encouraged you to give Gyakuten Kenji 2 a shot in your game backlog. If you need further motivation, I’ll let the YouTube comments from these videos do the talking:
- “The feels”
- “This song just made me realize something: Edgeworth is the most defined character in the whole series. Think about it: He has 2 games around him self, has been in every Ace Attorney game minus apollo Justice and Layton vs. Wright, he has had most of his family and backstory revealed over the course of the whole series, and overall has strong character traits.”
- “In order to find the truth, he just use Logic to connect clues and his smart questions when he is interrogating someone.”
- “I wanna be a lawyer with edgeworth’s personalities”
- “IMO the best of all Ace Attorney games.”
- “Just played the Prosecutor’s Path fan translation. They did an incredibly amazing job at the translation. To everyone involved, have all of my thanks! All of it!”
- “This feeling I have for clearing this game can’t be described with mere words… 🙂 It has been a long ride, Gyakuten Kenji 2…”