Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Modern Classics: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice (3DS)

Episode 3: The Rite of Turnabout

Scenario: It's been an eventful 24 hours in the Kingdom of Khura'in. Datz Are'bal, a senior member of the insurgent leadership and Dhurke's right-hand man, has escaped from prison. The rebel group, which calls itself the Defiant Dragons, is viewed as a band of ruthless killers, so the villagers are understandably on edge. At the same time, they're excited by the news that a vigilante donning the garb of Lady Kee'ra, a guardian deity who long ago fought to establish the the Kingdom of Khura'in, has hunted down and slain two insurgents. Rumors have spread throughout the village that the vigilante is actually Lady Kee'ra, herself, having returned from the dead with the intent of defending Khura'in from this latest threat.

Of greater importance is the kingdom's Purification Rite, a three-part ceremony held whenever the moon can be seen hovering directly over the summit of Mt. Poniponi. The rite's purpose is to purify the soul of the beloved Lady Kee'ra, who in the eyes of the villagers is equal to the Holy Mother, her sister, in terms of historical significance.

On the morning of the ceremony, Phoenix Wright finally reunites with his longtime friend Maya Fey. After they share a warm greeting and reminisce about old times, Maya informs Phoenix that she'll playing the role of Lady Kee'ra in the Purification Rite, during which she'll act alongside Abbott Tahrust Inmee, the High Priest in charge of conducting the ceremony. Upon his request, she'll be adopting the Lady Kee'ra persona in place of his wife, Beh'leeb Inmee, who usually fills the role but can't do so today because she is currently with child. Phoenix accepts Maya's invitation to witness the ceremony.

While preparing himself in the Plaza of Devotion, where monks have gathered for two days of uninterrupted prayer, Phoenix injures his back and passes out from the pain. When he regains consciousness, he finds himself in the High Priest's mountainside home, where Ahbli informs him that Maya has been arrested. He and Ahbli return to the plaza and discover that Maya has been charged with the murder of Abbot Inmee, who was killed in the Inner Sanctum during the Purification Rite. The bearer of this bad news is Ema Skye, who has traveled to Khura'in with the desire to learn about the latest techniques in international forensic science. She was encouraged to do so by her traveling companion Nahyuta Sahdmadhi, one of the kingdom's most highly revered prosecutors (he apparently has a special interest in her investigative talents). Also, she reveals that Sahdmadhi has been assigned the position as the attorney in charge of prosecuting Maya.

Not at all dissuaded by the deadly consequences of the Defense Culpability Act, Phoenix takes on Maya's case and vows to prove her innocence. He receives permission from Ema to investigate the Inner Sanctum, which is normally off limits to commoners. It's there where his investigation is beset with tribulation: He encounters Her Benevolence, Rayfa, who is greatly perturbed that Phoenix has sullied sacred ground with his mere presence; also, she's still angry about how he poked holes in her Divination Seance during the previous trial. The distrusting priestess resolves to closely supervise his every move. Other lingering concerns include the mysterious activities of a bizarrely tempered bearded man and the ever-hostile inferences of Inga Karkhuul Khura'in, who Phoenix learns is the husband of Queen Ga'ran and the father of Rayfa.

At the least, his proficiency with the truth-unlocking magatama works to earn him the blessing of Beh'leeb Inmee, who otherwise wasn't forthcoming with the information that her husband had been sent a letter threatening him with dire consequences if he were to go through with the ceremony.

After studying the evidence, Phoenix comes to theorize that the High Priest was secretly a rebel, his death resulting from an encounter with that same insurgent-hunting vigilante. Lacking any solid evidence, it seems that his power of speculation is the only weapon he'll have going into a trial where the odds are stacked against him.

Day 1: Post-Investigation 

OK--there's so much going on here. This early chapter has introduced a whole host of vaguely defined characters and largely unexplored storyline events, which is no doubt going to make it difficult for me to pin down possible motives and guess as to who's colluding with who. So my challenge here is to somehow tie together all of these separate pieces and leave you with at least one theory that doesn't completely collapse under the slightest of scrutiny.

But first I have to mention that I'm not at all surprised that Maya has been named the prime suspect in a murder case immediately upon making her long-awaited return. That's a very Ace Attorney thing to do. Though, when I'd think about potential roles she might fill in advance of starting the episode, I really couldn't imagine any other scenario playing out. I mean, they weren't going to have Maya make a grand return and then relegate her to the status of trailing sidekick or information-supplying temple-dweller. They had to come up with something that would position her as the episode's centerpiece, and nothing commands the spotlight quite like "murder suspect." It was the obvious choice, I felt.

True--it probably would have been appropriate for me to make this prediction in one of the previous entries' closers, but I was so preoccupied with trying to figure out the Sahdmadhi-Defiant Dragons connection that I simply forgot to mention it.

So it turns out that Rayfa is actually the daughter of the kingdom's ruler, Queen Ga'ran, and her husband, Inga. Before, I had Rayfa pegged as Inga's underling, with the two being "in cahoots," but now it's evident that the relationship runs much deeper. His being portrayed as shady makes me believe that Rayfa, who comes off as disagreeable but otherwise sincere in her convictions, is merely a pawn in whatever game he's playing. I still say that he needs for the legal system to remain corrupt so that he can continue using it as a deadly tool of suppression--a means to spread fear throughout the kingdom and preemptively quash any rebellions. 

Also, I get the feeling that Inga is, as Maury Povich (or "Pat Ternity," as he's likely known by Khura'inese television viewers) might say, not her real father. This will be revealed later, whence she'll turn on him and begin to see the error of her ways.

The queen seems so much more reasonable in comparison, as if she's unaware of her husband's devious activities. It creates the general sense that she's somewhat detached from the reality of the kingdom's crooked systems, which works to temporarily relieve her of suspicion. Beh'leeb Inmee came off as a bit dubious at first, but she, too, has shown herself to be fair-minded. Of course, that might the setup, and it could be that either is a master conspirator waiting to be unmasked; though, as of yet, there's no evidence to suggest anything of the sort.

Really, it seems a little early to start delving into newly introduced characters' psychological makeups when we're obviously in the early chapter of a days-long episode. We likely won't learn more about them until the second investigation sequence. That's why I'm hesitant to start considering possible motives for characters like Phuray Zeh'lot--the High Priest's acolyte, who we've yet to see in person--and the mysterious bearded gentleman, who I initially believed to be a disheveled Larry Butz. I've since abandoned that notion. Knowing these games, there's even the chance that he's one in the same as Zeh'lot. It's kind of a stretch: I mean, his ungroomed hair could be covering a forehead tattoo, but in reality the facial proportions don't match up; there's a big difference in nose structure, for one (after the last episode, I've resumed my forgotten practice of constantly comparing characters' profile pictures--of looking for similarities and outing potential alter egos early on).

So here are the facts: The prison is located atop Mount Poniponi. One of its outer walls stands above the Inner Sanctum, our scene of the crime. A mass of sewn-together flags was found half-buried in the snow beyond the sanctum's right curtain. Datz Are'bal escaped from the prison the night before the High Priest's murder. He's a former paratrooper.

My theory is that Are'bal somehow got his hands on one of the sanctum's decorative flag strings (maybe one of string's bottom ends detached from its constraint and a wind current carried it up the space right outside his cell's window) and spent a few hours sewing the flags together. After escaping his cell, he eluded the guards' capture and used the sewn-together mass to parachute his way down into the sanctum. Once there, he encountered a monk--like, say, Phuray Zeh'lot--whom he mistook for the High Priest, his boss' target (I'm assuming that it was Dhurke who sent the threatening letter). Seizing the opportunity, he backed the monk into the purification pool and impaled him on the nearby Warbaa'd statue (Maya confirmed that the pool was already blood-red when she and the High Priest arrived in the sanctum). He then disposed of the body by tossing it off the side of the mountain. When the deed was done, he fled the scene.

Alternate scenarios:

(1) Are'bal never left the scene. He knew that his murder victim wasn't the real target, so he waited there all night, beyond the ritual curtain, for the Purification Rite to commence. While Maya and the High Priest stood there deep in prayer, Are'bal made his move. First, he blindsided Maya and knocked her out. Before the High Priest could even realize what was happening, Are'bal grabbed Kee'ra's Warbaa'd Dagger and plunged it into Inmee's abdominal area, killing him. In effect, he'd framed Maya, the costume's wearer, for the murder. He then fled the scene.

(2) Are'bal left the scene after disposing of the body. During the ceremony, while Maya was in deep in concentration, an opportunistic spirit--perhaps a recently deceased insurgent--possessed her and used the Warbaa'd Dagger to kill High Priest Inmee. This would suggest that some from the rebel band possess spirit-summoning power.

(3) For whatever reason, the Khura'inese clergy left the displayed Lady Kee'ra costume unattended in the Inner Sanctum. After parachuting down into the sanctum, Are'bal dons the costume and flees to the village below, where he kills the two rebels seen in the prologue. He then returns to the Inner Sanctum and hides out until he gets his opening to kill the High Priest. Call it psyche warfare on Dhurke's part: By having Lady Kee'ra, the rebel-hunter, kill both rebels and the High Priest in the same time span, it makes it appear as though the latter was secretly part of the group (I mean, she only kills rebels, right?). Dhurke counts on the oblivious Phoenix Wright to sell this connection to the public. This works to sew seeds of distrust between the Khura'inese people and the clergy. It's a classic divide-and-conquer strategy.

(4) Inga is behind both Are'bal's escape and the fake Lady Kee'ra. He's been playing both sides all along, doing what he can to stoke endless conflict. His only desire is to use the rebellion as a smokescreen for his eventual theft of the Founder's Orb. He's been manipulating the courts for the purpose of executing potential competitors.

If my hunch is correct, the Khura'inese people hate lawyers because of a particular case wherein one of their ilk used spurious tactics to mount a successful defense of Dhurke, who was charged with assassinating their former ruler, Queen Amara. If this is true, then I theorize that he was framed by Inga, who earned high office by capitalizing on the messy affair; specifically, he led the charge to "reform" the court system and brought long-lasting peace (or a false sense of which) to Khura'in; somewhere in between, he married the new queen. The distrusting villagers drove Dhurke into exile, anyway, at which point he decided to spur a rebellion.

In truth, I have no idea where any of this is going! There's about a 99% chance that the actual sequence of events differs wildly from what I've presented here.

All that's left is to see what my Phoenix Wright-style grasping is worth.

Day 2: Post-Trial

Well, I have to give the writers credit for coming up with a new way of getting out of a decisive guilty verdict. I thought for sure they'd resort to the ol' "unexpected savior bursts into the courtroom with testimony that can't be ignored" standby. I was thinkin' that Ema or someone with unquestionable authority--like, say, Edgeworth--was going to show up and save the day. Instead it's the bailiff bearing news of a second murder allegedly committed by Maya, who they now look to portray as a serial killer. A second murder charge stacked upon the first is hardly a desirable development, but ridiculously enough it's the only reason that Phoenix and Maya will be allowed to survive another day. What a thorny predicament.

So I was partially correct about the circumstances surrounding Are'bal's escape (he parachuted down with the aim of stealing the Lady Kee'ra costume). What I didn't foresee at the time, though I had every reason in the world to consider as much in light of all of that discussion about dual identities, was that our scruffy mystery man was Are'Bal in disguise (if only the escapee had been given his own profile picture!). However, it immediately became apparent to me that they were one in the same the moment I got the full view of his attire via the panning camera shot that welcomed him into the courtroom. I mean, of course a former paratrooper would be wearing green fatigues and army boots!

Before unceremoniously bailing from the court, Are'bal directed some interesting comments toward Sahdmadhi. First he referred to Sahdmadhi as "Yuty," the allusive tone of his delivery suggesting that the two shared a history, and expressed disappointment that the belligerent prosecutor had "forgotten the will of the dragon." He then stated with confidence that no "dogs of the Ga'ran regime" would ever lay a finger on him. As absurd as it seems, I can't help but think that Are'Bal was inferring that Sahdmadhi was formerly a fellow Defiant Dragon. Or maybe he was in Dhurke's crew before its radicalization? If either is true, then it raises the question "What made him turn on his friends?"

Naturally, the bailiff didn't provide us the name of the latest murder victim, though I have a hunch that it's Phuray Zeh'lot, the High Priest's apprentice. Here's why: If Tahrust Inmee was indeed a rebel, which the defense and prosecution agree is likely, then there's a strong probability that his disciple was also part of the insurgency. There's no way that Zeh'lot, too, wasn't going to be a target of the Lady Kee'ra-impersonating rebel-hunter. Now, it's been argued by Sahdmadhi that the person who left the threatening letter and the rebel-hunter are one in the same; there were no signs of trespassing, so he believes that the person who crafted the letter had direct access to the High Priest's home. In his opinion, only Maya, the Inmees' guest, could be the perpetrator. Phoenix could find no fault in this assertion.

However, we all know that there's a 0% chance that Maya will turn out to be the murderer. Take Zeh'lot out of the equation and that leaves one possible suspect: Beh'leeb Inmee, the High Priest's wife. Consider it: She knew that both he and Zeh'lot were rebels. She has access to the house. Her residence is within walking distance of the Inner Sanctum, where the Lady Kee'ra costume is kept (I'm assuming). And she could easily find a way to poison Maya, her house guest, without the young spirit medium knowing. (She might even by lying about being pregnant.)

Beh'leeb killed them all and framed Maya for her crimes. Now, I don't know why she did it or how she pulled it off, but her being the culprit makes perfect sense if Sahdmadhi and Phoenix's agreed-upon logic is to hold up. Events in this upcoming investigation sequence will no doubt point toward her being the guilty party.

So where does that leave Dhurke and Are'Bal? Well, while I still can't rule out the possibility that Are'Bal was somehow involved in the High Priest's death (there could be two Lady Kee'ra impersonators stalking about, after all), I'm of the belief this his and Dhurke's was a separate operation. And looking at the evidence, there's nothing to suggest that either has murderous intent. For that matter, we haven't actually seen a rebel hurt anyone yet. Hell--the insurgency's "campaign of terror" has been all hearsay to this point. I don't know that the Defiant Dragons will emerge as "good guys" in the end, but I'm willing to bet that they're going to play a big role in helping to thwart the villainy of Inga and his regime.

I'm feeling a bit more confident in my predictions this time.

Day 2: Post-Investigation

So that's how it is: Dhurke was a former defense attorney. I should have known. Naturally it would be someone of his distinction leading the rebellion against the corrupt Ga'ran regime. I might have had the roles reversed, but I did guess correctly that he was somehow linked to Queen Amara's assassination. Though, Datz Are'bal, who's suddenly my new friend, explained to me that Dhurke being queen's killer is nothing more than the justice department's "official line," a neatly tied bow on a trumped-up murder charge.

I can already see where this is going: Inga wanted to establish a dictatorship wherein he could rule over the Kingdom of Khura'in using fear as the means to control the populace. To achieve this goal, he assassinated the queen and framed Dhurke for his crime, sullying the name of the kingdom's most revered defense attorney; in following, he whipped up a propaganda campaign designed to demonize lawyers, and he preyed upon the villagers' engineered skepticism to justify the existence of the newly legislated Defense Culpability Ace. If there were no truth-seekers left in Khura'in--or if those who valued fairness were too afraid to ply their trade--then Inga would be free to engage in all sorts of criminality without anyone ever noticing. As long as he had the Dance of Devotion's minister under his thumb (easy to do if you're her father), he could control the outcome of trials and use the courts as a vessel through which he could destroy potential resistance movements.

The big shocker, of course, is that Dhurke is the father of both Sadmadhi and Apollo Justice (the adopted father in Justice's case). I suddenly recalled the Sadmadhi-Justice connection minutes after typing up the last entry, at which point I concluded that all three of the aforementioned once formed an adolescent trio that vowed to bring enlightenment to countries that had lost their sense of justice. Obviously the relationship runs much deeper.

While Justice being revealed to have a Khura'inese background is a compelling twist, I'll remain forever wary of the storytelling practice wherein creators retroactively link established characters and effectively alter the context of an entire series. Changes of that magnitude should occur following careful foreshadowing and games'-worth of thought-provoking inferences; they shouldn't derive from a whim or a desire to cheaply manufacture some shock value. I mean, we're starting to get into Star Wars-prequel territory in terms of the number of everyone-knows-everyone contrivances.

The rebels' secret hideout in the Inner Sanctum is our key to turning this case around. Its very existence explains the contradictions in Rayfa's Divination Seance: There was a third party present at the scene--a Lady Kee'ra impersonator who likely entered the sanctum through the hideout's revolving wall and then hastily retreated after killing the High Priest. The bloodstains in the hideout suggest that this same person previously impaled someone on the Waarba'd statue while its spiky frame was pointing inward; this would explain why the purification pool was already blood-red when Maya and the High Priest got there. (In an earlier conversation, Maya even jokingly alluded to the killer using a "secret entrance.")

But we're still left with the same question: Who is the fake Lady Kee'ra? That she possessed the key to the rebels' hidehout would suggest that our culprit is one of Dhurke's supporters, but I don't buy it. It's beyond clear to me now that the insurgents have no evil intentions. Initially, Zeh'lot being named as the latest murder victim reinforced my belief that Beh'leeb Inmee, our court record's only remaining unaccounted-for character, was the conspirator, but I can't possibly hold firmly to that theory in light of these recent events. And I get the feeling that the game is going to hit me with at least one additional world-flipping revelation.

If it's not her, then we're left with two possible choices: Queen Ga'ran and Inga. It could be that Inga is behind all of it. He's been donning the costume and slaying rebels while stamping execution orders in his free time. Or the queen--the kingdom's only authorized spirit medium--has been channeling the actual Lady Kee'ra, who stalks the night with the belief that she's still in ancient times battling invading armies. Maybe they're working together; Queen Ga'ran, via the spirit of Lady Kee'ra, kills rebels with a dagger while Inga does it with a stamp. Whatever the case, I hope they don't pull a Mr. Godot and hit us with another prosecutor-as-the-real-murderer twist; it would make sense in that he's former rebel and might know about their secret hideouts, but that wouldn't change that it's such a worn-out premise.

At this point, the Rayfa character is starting to grow intensely irritating--almost irredeemably so. I had hope that she'd grow empathetic with Phoenix and Maya as she got closer to them and began to understand the purity of their resolve, but instead she continues to wish for their death. She shows glimpses of possessing humanity, sure, but any hint of such is invariably erased by an immediate regression back to scornful brat. She's gone so overboard in showing contempt for us that her humiliating comeuppance is the only outcome that makes sense. Rayfa has dished out so much abuse that her exhibiting a last-second change of heart would be a lesson in inconsistent, contrived storytelling. Sadly, though, I think that's exactly how it's going to play out.

This investigation sequence put so much emphasis on Queen Ga'ran's spirit-channeling ability that I can't write off inferences of her potential involvement as a red herring. Though, I'm hesitant to go all-in on the prediction that the royals will be unmasked as the main conspirators because it seems too early in the game to be striking a fatal blow into the heart of their regime. That's why I can't rule out the possibility of Beh'leeb Inmee being the fall guy, her actions appearing self-serving enough to divert suspicion away from Inga and Ga'ran.

So I head into the episode's finale with a ton of questions and no solid evidence to back up any of my theories. The only thing that's for certain is that I'll arrive back here in a few days with the objective of figuring out how it was that the writers were once again able to flip my world on its head.

Day 3: Post-Trial

Well, now--this episode's finale wound up venturing much deeper into the realm of crazy than I imagined it would. The route to the destination featured a dizzying amount of swerves, and I'd be lying if I said that I'd anticipated any of them. Yet somehow, after navigating our way through an exhaustingly circuitous labyrinth, we arrived in an expected place: Beh'leeb Inmee's deadly actions were indeed the source of all of our troubles. Moreover, exposing the Inmees' self-serving cover-up shook the Hall of Justice to its foundation and finally managed to convince key figures that Khura'in's legal processes were illegitimate.

There's a consistent theme to these Phoenix-centric episodes: As he runs himself into one dead end after the next, he continues to clutch at straws and unintentionally sabotage his own case. Ultimately, after digging his way into the darkest, loneliest ditch imaginable, he manages to escape certain death at the very last second by desperately grasping onto the thinnest available thread and determinedly pulling himself up to safety, the force of his undaunted clambering somehow miraculously unraveling the villains' entire web of deceit. It's clearly the writers' intention to drive the player to a state of emotional fatigue so that her or she might empathize with Phoenix's dire struggle, and so far they've succeeded in that mission.

Now, there were times when I felt as though an episode was starting to drag on far too long--that the game had long since made its point and was now in a prolonged state of procrastination--and my mind would begin to wander (also, it's difficult to maintain focus on text-heavy games when you're tired after a long day). But Spirit of Justice has shown a knack for seriously turning up the heat as its episodes draw toward their wild culminations, their stories' endgames growing so compelling that I can't help but become too hopelessly absorbed to find the will to complain.

So let's recap what went on here: Acolyte Puhray Zeh'let was actually Rheel Neh'mu (I feel like a schmuck just typing that), a member of Inga's secret police. The night before the Purification Rite, he was investigating the rebels' hideout when he ran into Beh'leeb, at which point he disclosed his true identity and informed her that he was given permission to kill rebels with impunity. He then lunged toward her. In attempting to defend herself, she pushed a moss-covered stone slab onto Zeh'let, who crumbled under its weight and was pushed back toward the right wall, where he was impaled on the inward facing Waarba'd statue. It wasn't Beh'leeb's intention to kill him.

Fearing that (a) his beloved wife would be found guilty of murder, as no lawyer would dare take on her case in light of the Defense Culpability Act, and (b) the rebels' secret hideout would be discovered, the High Priest hatched a clever scheme to create a fake crime scene and shift blame onto Maya. First, he buried Zeh'lot's body in the snow and left it there overnight; he knew that keeping the body cold would create the false impression that the death was more recent. That afternoon, he carried the corpse down into the Plaza of Devotion, before the monks arrived, and placed it in a praying pose. To complete the act, he plunged the similarly shaped Waarba'd dagger, which bore Maya's prints, into Zeh'lot's open stab wound.

To ensure that the police would view Maya as a serial killer and thus the only likely suspect, he took the extreme measure of committing suicide while manipulating the scene to make it appear as though she was also responsible for his death. Before the rite, he made sure to drug Maya with a sleeping agent. Later on, when she passed out during the ceremony, he hurried to place the Lady Kee'ra costume over the Warbaa'd statue with its spiky protrusions. He then ran into it, full force, and impaled himself. Doing this allowed him to contaminate the purification pool with his own blood, diluting the trace of Zeh'lot's, and successfully produce false evidence via Rayfa's Divination Seance, which would show him being stabbed by Lady Kee'ra. Maya, the only other person in the sanctum at that time, would naturally take the blame.

We learned all of this, of course, when Maya channeled the High Priest during the trial. I should mention that his conjuring produces one of the most hilarious visuals in Ace Attorney history: The bald, anemic Abbott Inmee is seen garbed in Maya's channeling robes and sporting her beaded hair. Better yet is how he plays into it--how he savors his newly enjoyed ability to flip the mane he always dreamed of having. His painful-looking contortions only intensify the ridiculousness of it all, and for that the absurdist in me is very grateful.

By implicating Inga, the minister of justice, in Zeh'lot's murder spree, we've finally shined a light on the Ga'ran regime's misdeeds. We haven't struck a fatal blow, no, but we've indirectly succeeded in destabilizing Khura'in--in plunging the Hall of Justice into chaos and abetting the resistance in a big way. Even Sahdmadhi can see the truth now. His final exchange with Phoenix suggests that he's seen the error of his ways and is ready to atone for his sins, though his ever-smug mannerisms and condescending style of delivery make it difficult to tell if he's being wholly sincere.

While there's still a small opening for the genuine redemption of his character, Rayfa continues to be a lost cause. Even when Phoenix and Maya attempt to cheer her up and shower her with words encouragement, she still responds with a dismissive brand of scorn. Her despondency speaks more of self-loathing than it does understanding, so the character's trajectory remains unaltered despite the change in temperament. Thus, if we were to return to Khura'in in ten years time, it would only make sense for us to discover that Rayfa has developed into a rather nasty monarch.

"So where do we go from here?" I wonder. The closing scene in which Dhurke and Datz storm the Hall of Justice and create cover for Beh'leeb's escape suggests that this particular story arc features a final act that requires further player involvement, yet we've been made well aware of Phoenix and Maya's immediate plans to bolt as soon as possible. So what, then? Are they going to concoct a convenient excuse for us to stick around for an Episode 5? I don't see the point. I mean, haven't we already played out our role by discrediting the Defense Culpability Act and Her Benevolence's unchallenged Divination Seances? What else can we do here besides--I don't know--something bordering on the absurd, like defending Dhurke in a retrial of that decades-old assassination case?

How will the next episode tie into the events in Khura'in? Will it be an enlightened Sahdmadhi taking on Apollo this time? Or will there be a new prosecutor? Where will Phoenix and Maya fit in, if they're at all present? And will all of this lead into an all-encompassing, epically conclusive Episode 5? I'm anxious to find the answers.

Before then, however, I need to take a few days off to catch up on sleep and restore my mental faculties. I've been running on fumes lately, and my inability to focus for long periods has been negatively affecting my enjoyment of the game. Spirit of Justice has shown itself to be worthy of my full investment, after all, so I'd like to return to it with renewed vigor.

See you then!

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