The long awaited prequel* to the Gyakuten Saiban series, Gyakuten Kenji has been released last May 28, 2009. Here's a little sneak peak of what's in store for those who are waiting for the translated version (like I am XD)
Gyakuten Kenji starts off with a crime (as usual) that happens in Edgeworth's office (makes you wonder why a lot of crimes have been happening in close proximity to the Prosecutor's belongings). You'll see after the first cutscene how, instead of the usual half-body portrait sprites that GS players are used to, there are now full body sprites. I'm pretty impressed on how they drew the sprites of the characters.
Left: Gyakuten Kenji opening screen
Right: Part of the cutscene in the first case
I'll skip from the storyline of the case because I pretty much don't have a clue on whatever they were talking about. Too much kanji OTL.
Left: Investigation phase, players can get to control Edgeworth as he searches for clues and evidence
Right: Edgeworth obtains a clue that can be used in the logic phase
*cough* As what was said in Court Records the gameplay in Gyakuten Kenji is split into three types: Investigation, Logic and Confrontation. The screen below shows some screens of the investigation phase, where the touch screen shows a part of the map where Edgeworth is currently in, and the portrait of his current partner. In the upper screen, will be the location, as well as Edgeworth and his current partner. You can touch anywhere in the touch screen to make Edgeworth move, and touching on the partner portrait will let you speak to your partner (possibly for hints when the player gets lost). Of course, there is the ever-present court records on the upper right-hand corner of the screen, then the button to activate the Logic process on the upper left-hand corner, and when Edgeworth comes across an area that can be investigated, the 'investigate' button will appear in the lower right hand corner.
Left: Logic Phase, where players try to piece evidence together
Right: Edgeworth talking to good ol' Gumshoe
Honestly though, I was expecting the navigation to be similar to Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass where you can drag your character in the touch screen, and switch the upper and lower screens if needed. I think that would have been a more effective approach to this kind of game play.
Left: Examining evidence in 3d;
Right: a view of Edgeworth's Court Records -- looks like we'll have some court action after all
Speaking of game play, it was a good thing to see that some gameplay elements from GS4 (Ace Attorney: Apollo Justice) were retained in GK -- like the examination of evidence in 3d. Also, since there are court records, it's possible that players will also be seeing some court action -- but on the prosecutor's side. I'm pretty much anticipating the appearance of Mia Fey, Diego Armando or Gavin as the Defense.
That's it for my preview cover of Gyakuten Kenji. I'm excited to get the translated version later this year to see how the rest of the game unfolds. For those who can read Japanese enough to play GK, you can now purchase GK via your neighborhood online Asian goods site. :D
*based on what I have read from joystiq.com