This review contains spoilers

i wish this had just been packaged as a single game from the start, because that's what it really is - the first game is basically just a long winded intro to the second and neither works without the other. my impressions of the first game initially were lowered because it failed to match the pace I was expecting for a self contained game, but when treated as a preamble to the masterpiece that is TGAA2 it's all well worth it. so - treating this all as 1 game - the overarching story is easily one of the best in the series and the main cast is incredible - loved how many recurring characters were intertwined in the complex lattice of events, making for so many satisfying reveals toward the end. on the other hand though, particularly in TGAA1, i found the side characters wholly unsatisfactory; i found it difficult to care about many of the witnesses/etc as they were either boring or explicitly detestable (2 was definitely better in this regard). i also really am not a fan of the jury system in the trials. it didn't affect my enjoyment of the game too much, but i just found them a constant nuisance whenever they were at the forefront, especially when interrupting trials for no good reason other than to awkwardly force the plot forward. i also found the jurors to be the most blatant perpetrators of xenophobia/racism across the board. while surely period-accurate, it really doesn't make me want to listen to more of their dialogue when half the time it's some spin on "japanese bad". at least van zieks has some motivations about it (speaking of - awesome prosecutor, but it did take quite a while for me to think of him anywhere above average). it speaks volumes that my favorite trials from a gameplay perspective were the ones with no jurors! but in any case, still was all worth it in the end. (though they never did explain the deal with all the repeat jurors... I kinda expected that to be a major plot point somewhere, but nope?) I definitely do hope we get to see more of this cast in the future, whether it's in britain or japan or some wholly new location - honestly as characters i think ryunosuke and susato are way more interesting than phoenix and maya lol, not to mention sholmes, iris, gina and the like.

i don't know how i'd even begin to rate this as two separate games, but as a complete experience - minor gripes aside - truly fantastic. it's simply a long, slow burn, but with the greatest show of fireworks you've ever seen waiting at the end. 9.7/10

Reviewed on Feb 20, 2024