So the initial reaction from me is that I feel a bit short-changed. It's just plain weird to have a case end right in the middle, with nothing even close to a resolution. Cases like G1-3 or G2-3 introduce some hanging mysteries, but it still feels like you had a full trial and resolution. Even the contested G1-2 has you solve a mystery and find a culprit, despite not having a trial sequence. So I thought that was pretty weird, especially when considering 6-5 was a massive double-case and wasn't split up.
That complaint aside, I did like much of this case. The victim and defendant both being recurring main characters really raises the stakes, and Gina's development continues to impress. There were some pretty big bombshells in this case, and I have a rather elaborate theory as to who (one of?) the main culprit(s) is(are). Separate spoiler for G2-5 on the off-chance that I'm right: I think Judge Jigoku is up to no good. He was the third of the visiting Japanese during the events long ago, he shut up Menimemo when Menimeno was going to spill some beans, he's been conspicuously absent during 2-4, he stopped off at Paris when Gregson was also in Paris (presumably when he died), and his trunk was large and went through customs. I suspect he killed Gregson in Paris then stashed the body (on ice) in the large trunk. I also think Gregson is not the Reaper. Don't tell me how right or wrong I am!
Back to 2-4 reflections, I know Stronghart has that kind of "Ace Attorney villain" vibe to him, but I'm holding out belief in him not being a killer. Break the stereotype, big guy! You can do it!
Lastly, I'd like to talk about the game's problems with tone a little bit. I thought this case had some kind of misplaced comic relief that was a little wacky. Toby, like, knocks Ryunosuke to the ground or something and he has a concussion? And then we go downstairs to see that Mikotoba and later Sholmes both get knocked out as well!? These people should be going to the doctor! This kind of extends to other parts of the game too, like Susato throwing Ryunosuke to the floor in the same room where their friend just "died" from a very similar accident, and how in 1-4 the game can't decide whether Joan's abuse of her husband is played for laughs or not. And how in 1-5 we have a guy flippantly pointing a gun at his head for frivolous reasons, and then they make suicide a serious issue in two instances afterward! It's not that I'm even against the dark humor (which can be funny), but that it's tonally inconsistent how the game handles stuff like this sometimes. It's like it's either in "joke mode" or "serious mode," and that greatly changes one's perception of a scene based on what "mode" it's in.
I guess you just kind of have to "roll with it" sometimes given the game's logic, but it's a little weird how you're supposed to pore over details in a realistic fashion during the cases and then sometimes they just do something completely wacky and crazy that you just gloss over. This was much worse in Layton vs Ace Attorney but it's still an issue here.
My wife and I are reading out every bit of dialogue aloud (in character voices!) so it's taking us quite a while to get through. But yeah, two rather long Ace Attorney games in one bundle makes for a lot of value. And at $40!
It shouldn't take a whole evening (or more!) to get through a single investigation segment, imo.
I'm enjoying it, but I have to take breaks. Also I've started to just skip whole bits of dialogue (usually repetitive stuff such as when a jury's about to vote too early) by holding down the B button, which isn't a good sign.
Finally beat the game! 100+ hours alongside the wife. Definitely got our forty bucks worth, that's for sure.
2-5 and full game SPOILERS
Overall, I'm quite satisfied how this game wrapped up. All the major mysteries were cleared up, most of them with satisfying or interesting conclusions, and there was even some solid emotion at the end with Iris and Sholmes, and Susato joining Ryunosuke back to Japan. The game's overarching mystery involving the Professor was compelling and interesting throughout.
Things I predicted correctly: -Jigoku was a killer! You can see my post right above. The game gives ample hints for this one without making it obvious. -Klint van Zieks is the Professor! I was proud of myself for calling this at 2-3; it largely seemed suspicious to me that he was the final death and thought it would be a very Ace Attorney-like twist if he was the Professor himself and either faked his death or was killed by another.
Things I predicted incorrectly: -Strongheart being behind everything. I didn't want it to be true! Alas, sometimes they just go the really obvious route. -Iris's parentage. This had me guessing until the end.
Most every major character really worked for me except Kazuma. He was a punk and I didn't like him post-recovery. Which is a shame because I thought he was very cool in the first case of the games. But he employs slimy tactics in court and acts inconsistently in front of Ryunosuke and Susato, so he can snack on a butt. I thought it was really unsatisfying that this guy gets his memory back and immediately waddles off for a week without the three of them, like, having dinner or something and catching up. Did not feel like something any sane person would do.
That aside I quite liked the rest of the main characters. Ryunosuke has a good arc that's different enough from Phoenix, Susato's sincerity never failed to charm me (they should've kissed at the end, why didn't they kiss), Van Zieks has a fairly typical "cold prosecutor who you warm up to" vibe but it worked, Gina has a good arc as well, Gregson is one of the most gray characters in AA history and I appreciate that, and Sholmes frequently steals the show.
I don't get why 2-4 didn't end with Jigoku's confession rather than at some weird point before the trial started; the case ends without being resolved at all, which is really weird. I guess it's not a big deal.
Overally, very good AA game. Sometimes it was a little long and wordy and the pacing was weird, and some of the characters were better than others, but altogether it gave me more than two solid months of good mysteries, laughs, emotion, and a strong cast. Well done!