Nina Aquila: Legal Eagle, Season One is developer Ethan-Fox's first JRPG style visual novel published by Tanuki-Sama Studios.
We take on the role of Nina Aquilla, a defense attorney, who has to go through different cases where people have been sentenced to death for crimes they may not have done. We as defense attorneys have accepted to defend them even though the prosecution is very hard to break and many of the other attorneys have refused to help.
After an awful incident that impacted our career and loss of spirit, we are motivated once again to face the challenge and continue to research evidence to be able to refute the sentence that has fallen toward our master. Now it is our responsibility to make justice prevail. To pursue this goal we have to face different difficult puzzles, game styles, and sometimes be blessed by a bit of luck.
The world is a small JRPG city-style map where we can walk across the streets to different locations. We have also the option to drive to a mountain area outside the city. You travel around by clicking on areas located on the map as well as securing evidence that may help to face the prosecution's charge.
Nina Aquilla is the Protagonist in this series, also a pupil of Anya Miller with a promising future as a defense attorney. She also wears an eyepatch, which seems to have its background from a past event in which we are not in the clear yet as to what happened.
Anya Miller is the master of Nina Aquilla and an expert defense attorney. Due to a mysterious case, she ended up involved in a murder and pleaded guilty to the judge. Through this action, Nina felt betrayed.
Chad Hawke is the new prosecutor and named prodigy. He is known for a very big case around one year ago and is a very meticulous character.
Judge Tawny is the one in charge of the court. She has a short temper, is way too time-stressed, and is also a very direct and coldhearted person.
Dylan comes to Nina asking help from his friend. Dylan's insisting pressure eventually breaks through Nina's depression of losing her master she decides to visit him in the police station.
Detective Flatfoot: The main Detective in the game, and also the one arresting all suspects for the committed crimes, and delivering statements in the courts as well to Chad Hawke.
Nina Aquila: Legal Eagle includes different styles of mini games and puzzles. The basis is in JRPG style but during investigations we are forced to take steps we usually do not which changes up the style and feel of the game quite a bit. Taking matters at hand, we end up gambling in the Casino participating in a card game event named DFA-Dragon Fantasy Arena which looks similar to the Yu-Gi-Oh anime and card game. Other moments felt similar to Pokemon games, with setup characters to challenge that allow us to go further through the game. In another instance we are drawn to an illegal race that gives off a Need for Speed style vibe.
All these unique minigames are mixed within the different chapters and puzzles. In the end, the game became an experience full of diversity.
After each chapter is cleared we are presented with a clearance episode that explains the past chapter's base and also mentions that every event that took place in this game is based on some real event, game, or anime, which is very interesting.
The art style is very RPG like but I was still hoping to see better details and texture. The world and characters themselves were for my taste too old-fashioned.
The character sprites have a good variety of facial expressions during the dialogue scenes and there are a few CG scenes which is nice to have, but they fit squarely into the average category as the art was not standout, nor did they have any "wow" to them.
When launching the game, it will open in a smaller windowed screen as the default. You do have the option to expand to full screen mode that still looks nice but it is not borderless, so you will still see the windows frame around the edge of the screen.
The game is full unvoiced but it does have a good variety of music that adapts to the mood of each scene and event nicely.
I really liked the fact that we had to search for clues and pieces of evidence in every case and had to puzzle it out in court. Failing too many times would cause us to fail the defense of our client and in those scenarios they would be sentenced as Guilty.
I also enjoyed the creativity and subject themes presented to us in the game. I can tell that they pulled from familiar elements found in manga and anime that I appreciated. This was further emphasized at the end of each chapter where you learn more details about the cases and where the developer got the idea for them from.
The mini games were something that were really neat to see. These are required to continue searching for clues and answers for cases. As they pull heavily from other well known games, I would have liked to see an option to skip these and still collect what is needed but this all boils down to personal preference, so some may absolutely love them.
These last two gripes are minor, but I did not like how the prosecutor's priority was actually to just send someone to jail, but not to truly seek the truth. Also, the time pressing from Judge Tawny, don't rush me!!!
Nina Aquila: Legal Eagle is an entertaining detective game that was a fun experience to complete. Imbued with the variety of the court, research of clues and evidence, minigames, and also the end of chapter scene with explanations of what inspired the case (which I really appreciated) all mostly worked well with each other.
The text dialogues include some good humor which helps to lighten up the darker theme. The story of each chapter's character had all their own appeal and background and it was rather difficult to get some answers right which that gave a satisfying challenge.
I recommend trying out this game to anyone who enjoys the detective genre and JRPG based games as it is a nice blend.
As an addition, a sequel seems to be already announced in the near future with an announcement after we clear the last chapter.
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