Broken Commandments

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eerew
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Re: Broken Commandments

Post by eerew »

If you want to be a legend then you should keep your case private after telling people how great it is to play it blind and not to peek at reviews.
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Trybien
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Re: Broken Commandments

Post by Trybien »

Ignored warning and skipped to the final thoughts.
Spoiler : :
Oh god, another good and interesting case to throw into my backlog on release :sideglance2:
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TimeAxis
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Re: Broken Commandments

Post by TimeAxis »

Just letting everyone know that I’ve resumed reviewing and will have the next one out within the next couple days, likely, and the rest will follow much more quickly than before. I won’t be recording them anymore though, since I’m still too sick for that, but I’m otherwise fine to continue reviewing.

I also had a question for everyone though, regarding the award ceremony. Obviously we won’t be spending too long on it since we don’t want to keep you guys waiting after the break for the holidays (although some work behind the scenes has gone into it already), but if you watched last comp’s award ceremony there was something I’m not too sure about. Something about “from now on all future award ceremonies will feature representative cameo characters from each entry.” It was a fun idea, but especially with how people are being pretty protective of spoilers for their cases, I’m not sure how I feel about using people’s stuff like that without their input. I thought I’d ask how everyone else felt about that. It’s possible Zekrom and DrVonkitty just meant in their own future award ceremonies, but it’s still worth discussing whether it’s worth making that the standard or not.

One way to still do the idea but with a bit more respect to the creators would be to have entrants optionally write a short little teaser segment that we can include. But I haven’t discussed that idea with Awsome or anything yet. Thoughts would be appreciated.
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TimeAxis
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Re: Broken Commandments

Post by TimeAxis »

The Secret Turnabout by Trybien and Spongesonic
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Spoiler : Synopsis :
A hotshot attorney, Aiden Gambit, defends a prosecutor in a larceny case, the outcome of which has dramatic consequences on the legal system.
Spoiler : Review :

Story:
If one were to only play the first act of this case, they might come away with a pretty mediocre impression. This case starts off a bit rough around the edges, and the writing can feel all over the place at times early on. But as the case progresses, not only does the quality of the narrative steadily improve, but context is provided that improves the quality of earlier bits as well. By the time you reach the second act, things start falling into place like dominoes, and the writing becomes a lot more compelling. Overall, I enjoyed this case's story quite a bit. Unfortunately, it's not finished, so I can't give it full marks with the assumption that it'll stick the landing in the final act. But what is there is very good, and I enjoyed it a lot. I think when this case is finished, if it continues along the same trajectory it's going, it'll be great.

Characters:
There are a number of original characters introduced in this case, but they're a little hit or miss. Some of them are a lot of fun, and I enjoyed most moments they were on screen, while others were pretty forgettable, and sometimes even a little inconsistent or hard to get a read on. Sometimes a character is put in multiple roles throughout the case, and they work better in one role over another. I particularly felt that the protagonist, Aiden Gambit, was more interesting in their later roles compared to the initial one. But on the whole, I'd say the good characters outweighed the worse ones.

There were also a number of familiar Ace Attorney characters brought back in this case, and one thing I really loved was seeing interactions between characters we might not normally get to see interact much. There are a couple of familiar prosecutor characters that have a pretty fun dynamic together which I enjoyed. There was also a great and very clever bit involving the Judge that I don't want to spoil, but it was probably my favorite moment in the whole case. It had me smiling throughout.

Presentation:
This case's presentation was fairly middle of the road. It lacked polish, with a fair few typos and some bugs here and there, and had graphics that could be a little rough around the edges, but generally it followed Ace Attorney conventions well enough. The visuals did a good job of conveying what they needed to in order to serve the gameplay and story. The music choices were usually fine, but on more than one occasion I got a sense that the music's timing was a little off, with moments where there clearly should have been music playing but it was silent, or moments where intense music was playing while the dialogue didn't particularly match the tone. However, these moments were pretty rare and not the norm. The presentation may be a weak point of this case, but it was by no means bad, especially not to a distracting degree. It just didn't stand out as being especially impressive.

Gameplay:
I enjoyed the gameplay of this case. Case logic was solid, contradictions felt on point, and every mechanic was well implemented. I did have one minor moment where I thought "the logic behind that is a little weak", and it resulted in me losing half my life bar over something I felt wasn't as clear cut as they were making it out to be, but it wasn't a major issue. The investigation segment was great and had some of my favorite moments, but the stand-out feature is really the Jurist System and how that whole mechanic was handled. I've gotta give props to Trybien and Spongesonic for their clever design which allowed them to add a whole cast of additional characters while minimizing the assets that were needed for them. I enjoyed everything about the jury, gameplay-wise, presentation-wise, and story-wise.

Theme Relevance:
Spoiler : Broken Commandments (Warning: Spoilers and speculation) :
Keep in mind that this case is not finished yet, but the seeds of the mystery are planted well enough that I feel comfortable speculating on which of the rules were broken. These could potentially turn out to be false when the case is finished, though:

3. No more than one secret room or hidden passage may factor into the mystery.
7. The detective must not themselves commit the crime.
Spoiler : Followed Commandments (Warning: Spoilers and speculation) :
1. The criminal must be mentioned early in the story.
2. All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.
The theme relevance for this case was spot on. It was extremely clear which rules the case was intenting to follow and break, even despite the actual mystery not being fully concluded yet, there's enough information in the case already to figure it out pretty easily. As far as the mystery goes, I enjoyed it a lot. I figured it out almost immediately, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The moment-to-moment contradictions were still compelling and the way things started to come together really helped drive the whole thing home. This case has all the pieces necessary to be a great mystery, as long as it sticks the landing in the final act. But I have to judge it without the final act, and even with only what's in this case right now, I'd still say it's a pretty good mystery already.

My one worry is that some people might try this case and be turned off by the first act, and then stop playing. My recommendation to anyone who plays this case is to give it until you get to the second act at least, as it really picks up.
Spoiler : Overall :
PROS
  • Great mystery that fits the theme well
  • Some really fun interactions with familiar characters and new characters alike
  • Jurist system mechanic was implemented really well.
CONS
  • Occasionally spotty presentation, lacking overall polish
  • Some of the characters were fairly forgettable and don't always fit well into the roles they're put in
  • Case has a rough start, but picks up in the second act.
By the way, I spoke to Awsome about the award ceremony teaser idea, and he gave it the okay, so if any entrant wants to come up with a short teaser (try to keep it under 2 minutes) for their case for us to include in the ceremony, feel free to brainstorm that up and send it to us (along with any necessary graphics/sounds/etc that should accompany it) and we'll make it happen. It's totally optional, of course, but it may give you guys something to do while I finish the rest of these reviews over the next week or so.

Also, for Trybien and Spongesonic, I did partially record the first part of this case, so if you want the link to that, let me know, but the majority of it was played off-camera. EDIT: Nevermind, the copyrighted music got the video full-on blocked, even while unlisted. That's a first for me.
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TimeAxis
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Re: Broken Commandments

Post by TimeAxis »

Turnabout of the Future by DJJ6800
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Spoiler : Synopsis :
In a time when trials are practically unheard of, a Law Professor must defend himself in court when his close friend is murdered.
Spoiler : Review :
Story:
While it took some adjusting to get used to what this case was going for in terms of its tone and style, which is a little different from typical Ace Attorney, once it got going, the story was solid and enjoyable. It does a good job of building up its unique setting without being overbearing about it, and makes the player naturally want to learn more with each little nugget of info that gets dropped.

Characters
The part of this story that shines is probably the characters. Since this isn't set in the familiar AA universe, all the characters are original, but while some of its characterization was really enjoyable, it was a little hit or miss. It's difficult to judge the case as it stands, as it's not quite finished, and the culprit's motivations in particular left me feeling skeptical. While it's possible that the completed case may wrap things up well, I wasn't getting a good feeling about where certain things were headed. But while I was left with some doubts and questions, there were a number of interactions that I quite enjoyed, and I thought the characterization that did exist was fairly well written.

I liked the protagonist, and the witnesses were fun. Tone-wise, I got Ace Attorney Investigations vibes more than anything from the main series, and I've got no complaints there.

Presentation:
This case makes great use of a lot of custom assets that help drive home the uniqueness of the setting. Visually, it looks pretty nice. However, just as the story is unfinished, the presentation and polish also left something to be desired. There were a lot of very minor issues, bugs and things that didn't detract too much from the experience but made it unquestionably clear that this was not a finished case. Things like a fade or objection popup not auto-advancing were relatively frequent occurrences.

There was a custom map graphic that did a good job of clearly giving the player an understanding of the crime scene, but visually it was pretty messy, with some pretty heavy compression and what appeared to be leftover pieces of what I assumed to be, bizarrely, a photobucket watermark. I also wasn't the biggest fan of some of the music choices. Most of them were fine, but a couple of them stood out as just being Ace Attorney music but with weird mixing that sounded worse, in my opinion. But that's a bit more subjective so I can't hold it against the case too much.

All of this was pretty easy to look past on its own, but together it did leave an overall unpolished impression. That being said, a lot of this came across as a time issue. When the case is finished and the little things are ironed out, I think the presentation will be a lot stronger and may even be one of the case's strengths. I have to judge it as it currently is, though.

Gameplay:
This case's gameplay was pretty standard and solid. While there were a few minor awkwardly phrased questions and answers here and there, the case logic was generally good, and the moment-to-moment mystery solving gameplay was enjoyable. There weren't any points that I considered unfun. Just like the story and presentation, however, there were some bits that were clearly not finished. Aside from the case itself ending abruptly (which I was warned about), a number of side options earlier on were not implemented and led to abrupt end screens, which I was a little disappointed by. I do appreciate as much of the case being finished as it was, though, as roughly 80%-85% of it was there. One little touch I really liked was how presenting wrong evidence gave unique dialogue for each witness.

Theme Relevance:
Spoiler : Broken Commandments (Warning:Major Spoilers) :
9. The sidekick of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal any thoughts which pass through his mind.
Spoiler : Followed Commandments (Warning:Spoilers) :
2. All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.
3. No more than one secret room or hidden passage may factor into the mystery. (possibly?)

3 might go one way or the other depending on how the case gets resolved, but currently I think it's following it.
This case does exactly what was asked of it, which is to take a rule and break it, and base the mystery around that in a way that felt very clear in intent. So in that sense, theme relevance is spot on. But unfortunately the mystery is still unfinished. How the killer did it isn't explained, which is a pretty integral part of the mystery, so I can't say it's perfect. But there's still enough there in what this case has already to fit the theme well, and the case in its current form still does consist of a nice mystery to solve, even if not all the pieces are there. So I'd still say the case is good in the theme department.
Spoiler : Overall :
PROS
  • Unique and interesting setting is implemented well
  • Some of the character interactions are really well written
  • Good theme relevance
CONS
  • Unfinished, leaving many important things unresolved
  • Presentation sometimes feels pretty lacking in polish
I took some notes as I played, so if you're interested in those, let me know. Next up for me will be Blackrune's entry.
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