97 reviews liked by Quelconque

my second favorite after aa3 so far - keeping the narrative cohesion that the 3rd really nailed, but weirdly swinging the narrative back to phoenix at the end. i like the cast of apollo a lot, and the animation of klavier playing the air guitar is batshit. more of this, i hope! (i have no expectations)

me when
"I laughed and shook his hand
And made my way back home
I searched for form and land
For years and years, I roamed
I gazed a gazely stare
At all the millions here
We must have died alone
A long, long time ago"

I tried so hard with this game but in the end it just pisses me off more than anything. Huniepop 1 was a cute game and was over before I had a chance to get bored of the gameplay, so I was looking forward to this game!

Man oh man...The gameplay in this feels so RNG based at times that it feels like I'm just hitting a slot machine! Huniepop 1 was like this at times but never so offensively, it feels like you're always getting fucked over in some way by this game. It's not horrible or anything but it's super mediocre. Baggage, while cute in concept, can be really fucking annoying more often than not, and hinders my experience rather than helps it. This is Huniepop man I'm not here to tryhard I'm here to chill out, match 3, and see some boobs.

The characters though...I hate like 90% of the cast, most of them are really fucking annoying or weird and are just insufferable to talk to. One thing I do like is the double date system allows for some interactions between characters, which Huniepop 1 had very few of, so that was kinda cute I guess. But when the characters are THIS annoying I don't really care to see them interact at all! Shoutout to Lailani for being the only new character I actually liked, she's super cute.

Not even the porn is good. The artstyle is way worse than the first game.

So I'm sitting here 70% of the way done with the game and it hits me, I hate the gameplay, I hate the characters, I even hate the porn, why am I playing this?

And so, I'm not.

I played it for the puzzles. And also to beat off.
On a more serious note, Huniepop 2 is genuinely enthralling compared to the first game. The first game tried to be a dating sim puzzle game, whereas 2 is a puzzle game dressed up as a dating sim, and it make SO much of a difference.

seventeen years later apollo justice is a capital CG Cursed Game. harbinger of a new age which never really came- the apollo justice trilogy as a complete package is plainly awkward in how it languidly, disinterestedly follows its namesake. of course you can’t blame apollo justice for the decisions the IP made after it came out but apollo’s role in the franchise absolutely colors how this game is played now. now the game is a thracia 776-like experience, a darker, more punishing, more inconsequential story in the face of a broader conflict, except the two generations of warriors that flanked thracia 776 are both replaced by the one and only Phoenix Wright™.

it’s honestly doubtful that AJ receives the sheer abuse that investigations 1 or dual destinies does online, but it feels like the only game in the series that has yet to find a strong niche. the old guard has always held it apart from their beloved trinity, but yamazaki’s growing base of defenders doesn’t want to claim it either. its fans are often colored as the most vapid, rabid fans in the fanbase, relishing an imagined dynamic between klavier and apollo.

and certainly it’s not a difficult game to poke holes in. the game’s infamously fraught middle cases, regardless of how you view them, just don’t click together. yeah yeah, there are a lot of cinemasins “ding!” issues, but the cases also fall limp dramatically. in court there are scenes and even whole witness interrogations that don’t materially contribute to the core narrative of the mystery, as takumi envelops the player in minutiae to fill space. while both cases are about noble thieves and rotten cops, the game seems to shy away from its own subject matter at key moments. klavier, the series’ most passive rival, completely disengages from the injustice at hand when the corruption of law enforcement is exposed, even when he has a personal connection with the people at stake. apollo’s unique “gimmick” mechanic is also very weak, a task of observation that doesn’t engage with puzzle-solving in relation to the case at all.

but the game’s most glaring sign of incompleteness is the complete epic fail of an ending. the game goes out on a long limb to ground the player lucidly in this entry’s grand, time-spanning mystery. and the gamble pays off! there’s a lot of momentum that gets built up, all for the most bafflingly anticlimactic final day in trial of the entire series. i do not actually have much objection to how phoenix intrudes on the case, it’s not really revolutionary to have the mentor set the stage and deliver a couple pieces of evidence that help you clench the case. but the game completely fizzles after this. it’s so bizarre. for a franchise with so many infamously persistent final bosses, it’s insane how trivial the proceedings of the final court segment of this game are. right after managing a perfect passing-of-the-torch moment in AA3, they completely bungle it here. somehow.

but it’s inaccurate to label apollo justice a failed experiment, the tone and ideas the game is going for are still deployed and in place, if not exactly intact. right out of the gate apollo justice asks the player to consider possibilities that would be considered downright heretical in the rest of the main series. in the original trilogy, the shounen-like, operatic approach to good and evil is striking, but it often drains the game of moral dimension. sure, the games often flirt with the idea that maybe the protagonist would have to make a moral sacrifice, or that an antagonist was a profound victim before lashing out, but you’re always able to manage a perfect victory, in the end. every antagonist unilaterally goes too far in their plotting, even if they were hurt by the world or the people around them.

apollo justice dares to challenge this. the perfect victories that define the original trilogy are nowhere to be found. your catharsis is impeded as each subsequent not guilty verdict represents a new threshold to which you’re forced to subvert the justice system in order to free your unjustly accused clients. for the first time, it seems that the rot in the justice system might not just be a few corrupt Bad Men led by Wrong Ideologies, but instead a set of systemic failings, that the mechanics of justice itself might be at fault. for all of the games that have been centered on the expansion of the wright anything agency as a found family, apollo justice is the only game to lucidly cope with legacy, and how values, practices, and patterns of behavior are passed down (or often, more interestingly, withheld from being passed down).

the game’s final decision feels almost insulting given the current state of the game’s ending but i applaud that the final action the player takes is rendering an explicit moral judgment on a character. it’s an empty choice, but it demonstrates the strength of even the most trivial and obvious decision a person can make. more importantly, it invites every player, even the lowly klavier-apollo shipper, to consider the ethics of what actually happened here, that they are a creator of justice and not just a subject to it.

this attitude pulsates through the entire game. miraculously, ace attorney’s signature attention to detail when it comes to staging and presentation adapts perfectly to a more grounded, desperate story. the soundtrack is much more subdued overall but constantly poised to summon that classic pursuit cornered momentum. the animation maintains its expressive power while respecting and communicating the humanity of its subjects. all in all, apollo justice acquires a unique electricity no other game in the series has. this electricity carries you through even as you’re arguing about the location of a trash can a witness threw a pair of panties into or whatever

i’d consider myself something of an ace attorney superfan. this series’ creative calculus has a way of wringing out pathos that draws my focus to the screen unlike any other franchise. but i can’t deny that after having loved the series for so many years, it can feel weary in how it tells its stories with the same cadence, with the same structure underlying every case. even on the fiftieth replay, apollo justice still feels untamed. never definitive but always suggestive, my heart pours out for ace attorney four.

One of the best games I have ever played.

The most underrated indie RPG from the 21st Century.

When the shitty AAA publisher actually makes a really good game for once but nobody buys it 😐😐😐

"why didn't anyone tell me this is one of the best indie games ever made?" i say after ignoring everyone who told me to play crosscode for the past five years

replayed this to help get over a recent silly heartbreak and could barely stop sobbing through the last couple hours. this game is shallow, jank and extremely inconsistent… but also beautiful, deranged and ungodly raw. i think it’s time i stopped pretending it isn’t still one of my favourites. spm, like love, will constantly disappoint with surprisingly boring space and cloud levels and is basically overrated but fuck, when that memory theme hits and tippi reminds herself she still has hope after everything, would i not let it beat me to death one last time :’)

jk jk i mean the level design is pretty good but sometimes speech bubbles look like they’re coming out of the wrong places. 9/10