[PyWright] A Turnabout To El Dorado (Released!)

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Re: [PyWright] A Turnabout To El Dorado (Released!) 

Message par DWaM » Sam Août 12, 2017 11:37 pm

Thank you for playing! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Spoiler : Ending :
El Dorado brought her child back to life in exchange for her own.
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Re: [PyWright] A Turnabout To El Dorado (Released!) 

Message par Ferdielance » Lun Oct 16, 2017 1:09 am

Okay, I've played this, and I'm going to break my comments into two sections: non-spoilery and spoilery.

General non-spoiler comments

* A Turnabout to El Dorado is a hefty case, but it differs from some of DWaM's prior long cases. Its length doesn't come from the piling on of twist after twist. Instead, the case focuses intensely on the relationships of its central characters, building up the stakes and gradually revealing motivations. All the while, the pacing is generally tight, with the exception of a few digressive conversations, and the scenes varied enough to keep any given scene from dragging. These characters act for compelling reasons, even if sometimes those reasons are seriously foolish.

* DWaM's work often veers wildly out of control, with massive plot-branching and subplots within subplots. When this pedal-to-the-metal approach works, it's exhilarating, but A Turnabout to El Dorado works differently. It is far more more measured than any of DWaM's previous work; it's disciplined and sharp, even if it appears, at certain points, to be digressing needlessly. While DWaM often writes about self-deception, this case explores the reasons people might fool themselves and others in a more focused way. I didn't keep count at the number of times I grinned or nodded at a particularly observant piece of dialogue, but there were many.

* As expected of a DWaM case, the presentation is excellent. DWaM does not rest on his laurels here; he introduces some new presentational tricks that make use of PyWright's capabilities in a story-appropriate way. They aren't show-off moves - each genuinely adds to a scene. Whether it's elevator doors slamming shut with a sharp finality, or the changing of the lower screen to reflect swapped investigators, or a few deliberately bizarre screen effects, the devices used here genuinely contribute to the mood and the tension. Sprites, too, are mostly well-chosen.

* This isn't to say that this game is flawless. One critical character is underwhelming and unconvincing, but the rest of the cast carry the case well. Some of the cross-examinations penalize the player for pointing out real, serious contradictions in the wrong order - the characters here sometimes lie so badly that it's hard to find the exact hole DWaM wants the player to see. One set of locations is a pain to navigate during the investigation, though this may be intentional. All in all, though, this case was a lot of fun.

Spoiler : spoilers :
* I get the sense from playing this case that DWaM thought seriously about what it means to kill off a female character and use her death as a device to explore the motives of her boyfriends, and worked very hard to make sure his victim retained agency throughout the case. Victoria Nova dodges a lot of pitfalls of bad character writing here, and her inner monologue is readable and engaging, even if it gets a bit over-the-top in the final scenes. I had a bit of trouble quite making sense of her relationship with Lex by the endgame, but there was enough ambiguity and empathy in its presentation that it didn't seem as if she'd just written off everything that was terrible about Lex. This is pretty nuanced.

* The least satisfying character was Eve. I was warming up to her in the interrogation sequence. There, she was extremely effective, as was the gameplay. I could believe through that point in the game that she was a somewhat unstable FBI agent. But the final sequences left me shaking my head: how exactly was she not suspected of being the mole, given her close connection to Thurston? How is someone this fixated on some kind of Electra complex (????) an FBI agent? She seemed to have stepped in from a different, weaker case. It didn't help that her sprites were unexpressive and a bit dull, and while DWaM did as much as possible to make this consistent with her "hard-to-read" character, it just made her harder to sell.

(Given the limitations of those sprites, that the interrogation sequence IS still very effective is a testament to how well DWaM does tense set-piece scenes.)

* Maybe the biggest problem - and one that's hard to address in a fair way - is that the idiosyncrasies of the Ace Attorney universe don't quite seem to line up with the atmosphere of this case. Making Gumshoe show common sense and giving Ema Skye friends was a great touch, and those scenes seemed to be improving the AA universe a little. In other places, though, the goofiness of the AA universe jars with handling of some of the topics, and seems to almost be an excuse for odd storytelling choices. I can believe a magical underground door that grants wishes; I'm all on board with El Dorado as a premise. I have more trouble believing that we can simultaneously have a world where:

A) An archaeologist can be so much like a Hollywood grave-robber that he keeps trophy cases of artifacts in his room; no countries demand their return
and
B) Anthropologists are serious professionals who write papers and whose credibility can be damaged by participating in a goofy search for lost ruins

The AA universe is broad enough to handle both Indiana Jones and a more realistic academic.... but probably not in the same case. Likewise, I think an AA case could sensitively explore the pain of a miscarriage, and this one delves into that dangerous territory with confidence and empathy. But I don't think that same case should include a long stay in a "mental asylum" (psychiatric hospital?) caused by a mysterious bio-agent called SIN. (The game cannot seem to decide whether SIN is a virus or a toxin, but it really doesn't matter - what's most important is that it's probably a Trauma Center reference.)

That's not to say that goofy over-the-top elements can't coexist with serious drama. They do in AA, and they could here. (For example, here's an article suggesting that the juxtaposition of wild anime stuff and reality in Persona 5 makes it more entertaining: Jeff Vogel piece.) But this requires that each element be believable in context. For example, this slightly grittier version of Phoenix works well, because his goofy moments and his dead-serious moments gel together into a basically consistent character.

* But all of these concerns shouldn't undercut my main point - which is that I enjoyed ATTED and played it from start to finish, and was engaged in it all the way through. I cared what happened to Victoria, and I cared that her terrible, terrible boyfriends be forced to confront their screwups, and for a while I even cared about Eve. Some of the puzzles were genuinely engaging, including the one that makes great use of the Examine button, and none of the weaker ones were game-breakers. For a game of this size and depth, that's about all I can ask.
"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"
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Re: [PyWright] A Turnabout To El Dorado (Released!) 

Message par ItsAllAboutTheTruth » Jeu Fév 08, 2018 5:28 am

Just finished the case, and all i have to say is... Great job mate!

It was amazing all the way through!
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Re: [PyWright] A Turnabout To El Dorado (Released!) 

Message par Esrom » Lun Juil 16, 2018 8:41 pm

Okay, this isn't about the game itself, but about bugs in PyWright.

I'm told you shouldn't save during lists or menus, because the save files could be bad.

What constitutes lists or menus? Do cross-examinations count? Most of the saving I do is during cross-examinations.
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Re: [PyWright] A Turnabout To El Dorado (Released!) 

Message par Esrom » Jeu Juil 26, 2018 6:10 pm

Okay, I've started playing. It's good, though a lot of sections are rather long and chatty with things that don't seem at all relevant given what we know in the present day. It feels ... well, padded at times.

I've only gotten a bit into it, but there's one aspect of a testimony that seems odd to me.

Spoiler : :
We object to Gumshoe's testimony about the car's condition based not on what he says in the actual testimony statements, but what he says in the 'press' conversation. A bit that's disguised as fast-talking for the purposes of comic relief.

The usual procedure in Ace Attorney games is that when we press, and the witness gives information that seems very relevant, we're then asked if we want that added to the testimony. From there, we either press THAT addition for more information, and/or present a bit of evidence that seems strange in light of that statement.

I'm not entirely sure doing it THIS way - skipping the whole 'should we add this statement' bit and instead allowing one to object based on a press conversation - really works.


The bit in the spoiler was one major quibble with this. As for the rest, I'm trusting a lot of it will end up paying off in the end.
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