As with previous Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney games and Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Dual Destinies is very easy to pick up. The first mode is during court and the second is investigation. During the courtroom mode you will cross-examine witnesses, present evidence and make important decisions that will affect the outcome of the verdict. Before each courtroom mode (apart from a couple of exceptions) you will have a chance to go out and gather evidence to present later in court.
Below is a list of actions you can do during Courtroom mode.
Cross-Examination is an important part of the game. Witnesses will during trials provide testimonies to the court and it is your job to find contradictions in their testimonies and present evidence to prove their existence. The witness will first say their testimony before the cross-examination begins. The touch screen on the Nintendo 3DS will have forward and backward arrows in the middle and "Press" and "Present" on the top corners. New to the series is a conversation button that will show you what characters previously said up until now, which is located alongside the save button in the middle of the lower part of the screen. On the bottom right corner is a button that toggles voice command on or off if you feel like shouting "Hold it!" or "Objection!" (just make sure you don't do it in a public area with a lot of people).
At any point in a testimony, you can press the witness on a statement for some information. In general, pressing a witness won't penalize you, so don't be afraid doing it whenever you feel you need some more information or clarification. Certain statements will provide multiple choices and in general, you need to choose the correct one to move the plot forward. If you do pick the wrong choice, you can simply return to and press that statement again and pick another choice instead.
If you find a statement that contradicts a piece of evidence currently in your court record, you can present it to the court. Doing so will make the witness and their statement unreliable and will help your client in the end. Remember, if you present the wrong evidence or present it on the wrong statement, you'll get a penalty.
Several times throughout the game, the Judge or other characters will ask you to present evidence to back up your arguments and works similarly to cross-examinations. And just like cross-examinations, you'll get a penalty if you present the wrong evidence.
New to the Ace Attorney series is the Mood Matrix. With the help of Athena Cykes, you'll be able to pick subtle emotional cues from witnesses on the stand and do a different cross-examination than what what you're used to. During these alternative cross-examinations, you can see the emotions the witness is experiencing while giving testimony. On each corner on the upper screen, four faces called Mood Markers will flash at various intensities based on the witness's emotions (they may even not flash at all). They represent happiness, anger, sadness or fear and shock or surprise. What's more, the screen also provided a visual re-enactments based on the witness's testimony.
If you find an emotion is in conflict with the statement in question, you can press the Pinpoint button and then press one of the four mood markers in question. This will change the testimony to become more clearer as the witness's memories resurfaces.
At times, contradictions between the testimony and evidence may appear as you help the witness amend their statements. at these points, just like regular cross-examinations, you can present evidence at the statement in question.
Occasionally, when one or more emotions have much more powerful readings than normal, the Mood Matrix will enter Overload mode. You must then find the source of these powerful emotions images in the upper screen. Once you've found the source, you can click the Probe button and click on the object in the image to help calm the witness down.
The Court Record
Just like the previous games, the Court Record holds all the evidence for the trial and profiles for individuals related to the case in hand. The Court Record is accessible at all times in the game. New to the game and exclusive to the investigation mode, however, is the Notes tab. The tab is a to-do list of things needed to complete to advance the plot, while also keeping a check on things done.
When you are in Investigation mode you will find yourself in a number of different locations. Usually you will start at the crime scene or in the Detention Centre. During Investigation mode you cannot receive a 'Game Over' screen, so you are not able to do anything damaging to the plot. In order to advance the plot you will have to find certain evidence and talk to certain people. When you have completed everything you need to do during the investigation the chapter will automatically end and you will begin the next day in court. You are able to access the Court Record during the Investigation mode, so you can keep on top of what evidence you have. The touch screen will display 4 options for you. Move, Examine, Talk and Present.
There are 4 different actions you can perform while in Investigation Mode:
When you click on the Move option, another screen will display. It will have a list of different locations you can move to. In some cases you have to move to one location in order to access other locations. You may have to visit the same location more than once during the trial. When certain criteria are met the plot will advance and there may be new people to speak to or new evidence to be discovered at the location. Select 'Back' to return to the main screen.
When you click on the Examine option, the screen will have a pointer. You can use this pointer to select different objects. When there is an object that you can examine closer a tab called ‘Examine’ will display in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Clicking on this will trigger a discussion about the item. Sometimes the object will be added to the Court Record; sometimes you will just receive information about it. If you need to switch to a different perspective of the area, you can press one of the arrowheads at the sides of the screen. Examining can be tricky but on a number of occasions it is required to advance the plot. Be sure to examine all you can at each location. Select 'Back' to return to the main screen.
NOTE: Examine isn't available in every area this time around.
If you enter a new location you will sometimes come across other people. You are able to talk to these people to help gather information about what happened. When you click on the Talk option, you will be presented with a list of topic to discuss. Sometimes when you discuss one topic it will ‘unlock’ another topic to talk about. New topics can also be unlocked by presenting the person with items from the Court Record. You should always make sure that you have covered all available topics with each person. You will know if you have covered a topic because a red check mark will be displayed at the side of that topic. Remember that the more information you can get during the Investigation, the better position you will be in for the next day in court. Select 'Back' to return to the main screen.
Presenting items in the Investigation mode is basically the same as in the Court Room mode. However you will NOT receive any penalties for presenting items. This means you can present as many items as you like to as many people as you like. Sometimes you will need to present an item to a certain person in order to get more information and advance the plot. Select 'Back' to return to the main screen.
Unlike Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, the perceiving system happens primarily during investigation mode when talking to individuals. Whenever he senses that the person is lying, Apollo can use his bracelet to look closer to the witness's body language if neither evidence nor pressing would do the trick. Simply press the bracelet on top of the screen to start perceiving the person.
When looking closer, you have to find suspicious movement on the certain part of the statement. You will have to watch the statement slowly go by. If a witness reaches a part of a sentence he or she isn't sure of, he or she will fidget in some way (twitching, shrugging, sweating, etc.) If you find the nervous movement, put the cursor on it and press A button to proceed. If you initially can't find anything by the end of the sentence, you can hear the statement again to try and find it once more.
The Health Bar
The health bar makes a return in Dual Destinies. Here, the health bar no longer depletes outside of courtroom trials if you perform a mistake while perceiving for example. What's more, whenever a trial for the day is over, the health bar will automatically refill itself (keep in mind that it won't refill itself between two trial segments taking place on the same day).
During trials, you'll receive penalties in the form of health loss. The severity of the penalty if you present the wrong evidence or choose the wrong answer can be seen by the glowing part of the bar. Remember, if the health bar becomes completely empty, it's game over.