Finished the game! Woo-ee, translating as you go takes forever.
My review! (the bits under the tags aren't game-ruining spoilers, but if you'd prefer to know less rather than more going in, then they will be of use.)
a) The graphics are great and make great use of the 3D effect. I think Phoenix jabbed a hole into my being on multiple occasions.
b) I liked all the new characters, but I think for the next game it's time they veered away from the teenage girl sidekick. In any case, I like how it feels like Phoenix has an actual law firm on his hands now.
c) Honest to God character growth for Apollo.
d) Good ol' GK Team case interconnectedness and non-linear timeline, though this time around the character relations are–no other way to put it--
! contrived. Like, original trilogy Larry-is-entirely-coincidentally-the-defendant-of-a-dozen-different-murders-that-have-nothing-to-do-with-each-other level contrived. (If a character flow chart has more than a couple of "just happens to be"s, you have reached Larry level.)
! I did not see that twist coming at all! Holy fucking shitballs you guys.
f) Thematically pleasing overarching story, though the jury trial system doesn't even get mentioned. Yes, the world of Phoenix returns to its outrageously stupid system where evidence is everything. This is justified by the AA4 climax being a trial run of the jury system, but you'd think they'd at least mention it considering the DARK AGE OF THE LAW and all that.
! That Apollo has his mom back and that Trucy is his sister is never mentioned. In fact the whole Gramarye tragedy is seemingly forgotten. One imagines Lamiroir will reemerge in the next game, when things are less crowded.
h) I like the Mood Matrix a lot (that music is amazing), but I didn't like Perceive in the last game and I don't like it here, either. That's just me, though.
i) Characterwise, Phoenix doesn't have much of the AA4 hobo in him anymore–he's more like his original trilogy self with the face faults and all that. It seems like at any given point in Phoenix's life, he's a completely different character (ridiculous crybaby ----> bluffing butt monkey -----> hobo-cool, aloof papa in the shadows -----> some sort of mix between bluffer guy and more seasoned legend).
j) My number one point of gratitude for the development team-- THANK YOU for making the investigations so much less tedious!! I fucking hated the pixel hunting need-a-guide arbitrary bullshit of the other games. Here you even get a checklist of things to do! Finally, the hint system pinpointing the piece of testimony you need to look over if you get three penalties in a row is a welcome addition as well.
Whatever criticisms I may have had, it was still an Ace Attorney game and therefore I enjoyed it immensely.
--- Update From New Post Merge ---
Fun little pun
There's a Space Center named GYAXA (a play on the Japanese space association JAXA). Gyakusa. Gyakuten Saiban.
Again, I wonder how that'll get localized.