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A Complete Fan Translation has Rescued Ace Attorney Investigations 2 from Localization Limbo

Rejoice, fans of anime-style Law and Order: Miles Edgeworth's second game is now fully playable in English.

Analysis by Bob Mackey, .

The last few years of the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP made for a depressing time to be a portable gaming fan in America, but that wasn't necessarily the case in Japan.

This period saw plenty of great Japanese games--some from extremely well-known brands--that, due to the effects of piracy, lack of interest, or the need for an extensive localization, simply didn't see an American release. Off the top of my head, I can think of Grand Knights History, the Final Fantasy Legend III (AKA SaGa) remake, Last Ranker, and Last Window: The Secret of Cape West (which actually had a European release)--though I know I'm missing plenty of others.

Recently, though, the tide has started to turn for some of these formerly lost portable games. The Brandish remake (which Jeremy reviewed) finally made its way to us after six years, and, next week, Final Fantasy Type-0 will be jumping ahead two generations of hardware with a PS4/Xbox One enhancement of a 2011 PSP game--a fact I'm still having a problem processing. And let's not forget that Danganronpa 1 and 2--which hit the Vita last year--originally released for the PSP in 2010 and 2012.

But even with this renewed interest in slightly old stuff, some games need to work outside the bounds of their kind masters in order for anything to happen. And Ace Attorney Investigations 2, which just received a full and complete fan translation as of yesterday, stands as a perfect example of this phenomenon. Now, as someone who follows the series, I know Ace Attorney fans can be pretty caustic towards Capcom, but this second Miles Edgeworth game put them in a tough position: Had they decided to localize it themselves, it most likely wouldn't have made it to the US until fall or the holiday season of 2011--not a great time to release a boxed DS game made for a somewhat niche audience.

The original Japanese trailer (with English subtitles) for Ace Attorney Investigations 2.

Ultimately, though, what made an official localization impossible is the fact that AAI 2's team disbanded shortly after production--something that ends up killing a lot of localizations (like Dragon Quest IV on PlayStation, advertised in the back of Dragon Warrior VII's manual). Localizing a game means working directly with the Japanese team who created it in the first place, mostly because they're often the only people who fully understand its inner workings. If they're busy with something else, localization teams are often out of luck--which explains why so much of fan translation is devoted to decoding the arcane programming tricks engineered by the original developers.

For a game so absolutely packed with text, Ace Attorney Investigations 2's translation is an achievement on par with that Mother 3--at the very least, it's had the same degree of frothing demand pushing it forward. And while I haven't had a chance to check out AAI2 for myself, everything I've heard from the Ace Attorney community tells me it's a big improvement over the previous game (which I still liked), and one of the best installments of the series. Of course, you'll need to do a bit of legwork to play this English version of Ace Attorney Investigations 2, but, thankfully, Japanese copies of Gyakuten Kenji 2 (its Japanese title) are plentiful and cheap, if you want to do the right thing. Again, if you'd like to play AAI2 for yourself, all the information and instructions can be found by following this link.

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Comments 9

  • Avatar for renatocosta90 #1 renatocosta90 3 years ago
    Fantastic. I had gotten a previous version they had released, but hadn't gotten around to playing after the first case. It's a DS game that lends itself to be played very easily on the phone.
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  • Avatar for Banandango #2 Banandango 3 years ago
    Wow, no kidding? I was just thinking about this game earlier today, and how it was such a shame we'd never see an English version. That's kind of creepy. Creepy, but good!
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  • Avatar for Zero-Crescent #3 Zero-Crescent 3 years ago
    It was quite amazing when two major DS fan-translations (AAI2* and Retro Game Challenge 2) came out around the same month. Both were highly sought-after, and both patches had professional-level localizations. AAI2's team, in particular, went through the trouble of coming up with punny names and recording voice-work for the new exclamations, letting the public decide who would voice each new character through a series of polls.

    * I'm referring to the beta patch released last year; it was a complete translation, with a few spelling/grammar errors at worst**.
    ** Still less errors than some of Capcom's official releases. ;)
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  • Avatar for camchow #4 camchow 3 years ago
    I played through the full translation 6 months or so ago. I absolutely loved it. I guess the patch was a beta back then? Either way it was fantastic, definitely better than the first one. I have my grievances with the two Edgeworth games but all in all I'd highly recommend a play through of them for any Ace Attorney fan. The patch may as well have been an official release with how good it was.
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  • Avatar for mappyland #5 mappyland 3 years ago
    I am so, so, so happy. Thank you for reporting on this!!!!
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  • Avatar for Elliot-Gay #6 Elliot-Gay 3 years ago
    AAI2 is a fantastic game and definitely one of the best in the AA series.

    Really glad more folks will get a chance to play it.
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  • Avatar for smartfish13 #7 smartfish13 3 years ago
    After playing the fan translation, I'm happy to report that AAI2 is much better than the first one. The new characters are less annoying (I'm looking at you, Kay Faraday) and I love how all of the cases get tied up in a mega-conspiracy at the end. Definitely worth the wait.
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  • Avatar for SOUP32 #8 SOUP32 3 years ago
    Thanks for the heads up. I've had the Japanese cartridge kicking around for about a year and a half, but I just got the patch working last night (had to order an R4 cart, and figure out how to backup my game first).

    It's so nice to finally be able to play this one.
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