Frivolous Waste of Time

Sci-fi, fantasy and video games

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice: Turnabout Time Traveller DLC for Nintendo 3DS

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice: Turnabout Time Traveller DLC, to give it it’s full and most unwieldy name, is primarily an exercise in nostalgia for the original Phoenix Wright trilogy. Whilst it was nice to spend more time with familiar faces and in familiar scenarios, following the re-invention of Spirit of Justice this DLC feels a little bit lacking and low stakes.

The accused in Turnabout Time Traveller is Ellen Wyatt, a maid for the wealthy Sprocket family who was due to marry the heir to the fortune, Sorin Sprocket. When she is attacked on her wedding day by another servant, she is accused of killing him in self defense. She claims that, at the moment of her attack, she travelled back in time to before the wedding and the killing of the other servant. She is delivered to the Wright Law Offices by none other than Larry Butz, Phoenix’s childhood best friend and general idiot, and the case is prosecuted by the much loved Miles Edgeworth. Maya Fey, returned from her training, re-joins Phoenix once again as his assistant.

The best thing about this DLC, easily, is going up against Edgeworth for an entire case. There’s a reason that this is probably the most popular character of the series; he’s impossible not to like, particularly for long term fans who know him pretty well by this point. I was not so enamoured with the return of Larry Butz, who I didn’t find particularly funny in the original trilogy and I don’t find particularly funny now. It was very nice having Maya Fey along for the ride again, although on balance I still probably prefer the newer character Athena Cykes. The problem with this case is that, when not appealing to nostalgia, it’s just not that interesting. I was waiting for a mind-blowing or ridiculous twist in the classic Ace Attorney style and it simply never came. Compared to the silliness of the whale case DLC from Dual Destinies, Turnabout Time Traveller feels very safe, like a not particularly interesting filler case in a main game. The time travel element never gets as interesting as it should and I couldn’t find myself invested in this case’s story. Still, seeing Edgeworth back on the prosecutor’s bench was enough for me.

This case is a two investigations/two day trial type deal, but to be honest this feels like an attempt to make this DLC look more substantial than it is. In the main game each of these investigations and trials would have been a full day in its own right. There certainly isn’t the substance here needed for a case with this structure. I can’t help but compare it to the final case of the main game, which was so extensive that it was essentially two separate and complete cases in their own right. There’s not point really talking about the gameplay mechanics because it’s…well, an Ace Attorney game.

I like this series enough that even on autopilot I still have a good time, and there is an undeniable charm to returning to a trial against Edgeworth, with Maya Fey at your side. Still, after the interesting stops forward made in the Spirit of Justice this DLC feels like a bit of a step back. I think that if they were going to pull on the nostalgia strings they should have gone the whole hog, brought back Gumshoe, made the victim and defendant someone we know, things like that. If this DLC goes on sale it’s worth a look, but I don’t think it’s a great investment as it stands.

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