Ace Attorney Wiki
You may be looking for the game Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth or for the "Investigation" musical themes.
The gameplay articles on this wiki describe game controls in universal terms. This means that some of the controls may not be relevant to the medium through which you are playing the Ace Attorney games. Mentions of the touchscreen refer to the touchscreen functionality on the Nintendo DS and the iOS. "X", "Y", "L", "R", "Select" and "Start" refer to buttons on the Game Boy Advance and the Nintendo DS. The "+" and "-" buttons refer to the small buttons in the middle of the Wii Remote.

Miles Edgeworth
...Going to a crime scene is akin to entering a jungle teeming with dangerous beasts. Before he goes there, a hunter needs to make sure he has plenty of ammunition. And in my case, that ammunition is called, "information".

The investigation is one of the two main phases of the "Courtroom Battle" Ace Attorney games, the other being the trial (or witch trial), except in the Ace Attorney Investigations games where trials are absent. Occurring outside of the courtroom, investigations usually have the protagonist searching for evidence, interviewing witnesses, and investigating the scene of the crime.

Base investigations[]

Aatt gameplay001

Talking to a character during an investigation chapter.

For most games, investigation chapters are introduced in the second episode of each game. Generally, upon entering a new location or upon entering an already visited location after triggering an event, a scripted event runs and then the player is presented with up to four functions: "Examine", "Move", "Talk", and "Present", which are represented as buttons that can be pressed or selected using a d-pad-controlled cursor and the A button. All four functions are necessary to progress through any investigation chapter. "Talk" and "Present" will only appear if there is a character to whom the protagonist can converse or present evidence. In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies, "Examine" only appears at certain points in an investigation.


This allows the protagonist to search for clues in the area. The player controls a cursor to a point of interest using the d-pad or the Nintendo DS or Nintendo 3DS touchscreen, and then confirms an area to investigate by pressing the "Examine" button (A) or touching the area again. The cursor is displayed as a set of cross-hairs prior to Dual Destinies, and as a red hand in Dual Destinies. One thing to note is that the "Examine" button will only appear if the cursor at a point of interest. Otherwise, the protagonist will say, "No clues here." In Dual Destinies, the hand cursor flashes with a red circle when hovering over a point of interest.

Often, the player has to change the field of view to survey the entire scene. This is done by pressing the arrow buttons displayed on the touchscreen (L/R).

Special examination modes are sometimes triggered, of which there are several. For example, in Farewell, My Turnabout and Bridge to the Turnabout, Dick Gumshoe gives Phoenix Wright an electronic tool - a bug sweeper in the former and a metal detector in the other - to investigate the presumed scene of the crime. The bug sweeper reacts to electric current and the metal detector reacts to metal; the strength of the reaction signal is determined with a "CHECK" gauge. Starting from Rise from the Ashes, several cases see Ema Skye giving the protagonist a bottle of luminol to spray onto an area to detect invisible blood traces; similarly, in Turnabout Succession she will lend a liquid reagent to find traces of the deadly atroquinine. Another commonly recurring one is the use of fingerprint powder, which will be occasionally be used to dust for suspicious fingerprints.


This allows the protagonist to move to another unlocked location that is connected to his current location. Sometimes, no locations are available, and some script is triggered instead. In Dual Destinies, the player can jump to any unlocked location regardless of the current location. In the MASON System, "Move" is replaced by "End Search", which takes the player back to the MASON interface.


This allows the protagonist to choose from one of up to four topics to discuss with a person in the current location. Sometimes, discussing one topic or doing something else will unlock another topic of discussion. From Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney onward, with the exception of Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright, protagonists can access special items here - that is, Phoenix Wright's magatama and Apollo Justice's bracelet - by pressing a special icon at the top of the screen (X). The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles calls this function "Converse". Before Dual Destinies, failing to use the magatama correctly would result in a penalty.


This allows the protagonist to show a piece of evidence or a character's profile from the court record to a person in the current location. In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice for All and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations, Phoenix Wright can use his magatama by presenting it. "Present" does not allow Wright to use the luminol spray or the fingerprinting set in Rise from the Ashes; these can be used by selecting "Court Record" (by pressing "R"/"-" or pressing the Court Record button), an option that is available at almost every user prompt.

Dance of deduction[]

Main article: Dance of deduction

The Great Ace Attorney games use a separate mini-phase called the dance of deduction.

Edgeworth's investigations[]

4719 - Ace Attorney Investigations - Miles Edgeworth (U) 55 25101

A scripted event in Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth.

In the Ace Attorney Investigations Collection games, characters appear as full body sprites standing at a specific point in an area rather than as large sprites facing the player. The protagonist (mostly Miles Edgeworth, with one exception) and a partner character (normally either Dick Gumshoe or Kay Faraday) appear on the screen in the same way, with the player able to move the protagonist around via the d-pad or touchscreen, and the partner character following behind. It is possible to directly go near an object to be examined, at which point the "Examine" option will pop out, or manually travel to the different locations of the crime scene, indicated by a directional arrow that pops out when near the exit of a particular area.

Investigations generally play out in a similar manner to the rest of the series with a few added features. The protagonist navigates through various locations, talks to characters, and inspects suspicious locations or objects. Doing so either adds evidence to the organizer or add information "nuggets" to the "logic panel". Edgeworth can then press the Logic button (L) at any time outside a conversation or scripted event to try to piece the "nuggets" together. Additionally, by pressing the "Partner" button on the touchscreen, the protagonist can initiate a conversation with his partner. Doing so is entirely optional, with the partner normally providing comically unhelpful advice. Little Thief and Mind Chess are other modes that could play out during these investigations; however, Logic and Mind Chess may procure a penalty if done incorrectly.

Investigations will end (marked "Investigation Complete" on the screen) once the protagonist has gathered all the evidence he needs and used Logic enough to solve some of the case's mysteries (or, occasionally, once he has completed certain conversations). Complete investigations will also restore up to half of the protagonist's penalty bar if the protagonist has taken damage from an earlier argument.