Also, because I forgot to post it earlier: the MIT Mystery Hunt was awesome, even if I caught the flu from it. The puzzles were, on average, harder-than-usual. But one easy-and-fun one that I solved solo except for a little fandom-IDing help, was the one made up entirely of bad fanfic.
Hack Writer, click on the "Check Answer" in the upper-right to see the solution. If you've never seen a mystery-hunt style puzzle, the page there is all we got, but we knew the answer was either a single word or a short phrase, because we'd need to call it in to headquarters. Almost all the hunt puzzles have that sort of answer -- one word, a famous name, or a short phrase.
I'm in the middle of the flashback case in 4-4 -- spoilers go through there and then there are vague ones (i.e. ones I knew pre-getting-the-game) past that, but I'm trying to avoid detailed spoilers on the part I haven't played. I'd been spoiled on the Phoenix & Kristoph story, but not on what the actual cases were, because I wanted the puzzles to be puzzles.
General thoughts: the music just isn't as good as AA and T&T, though it seems higher-quality. It's not as bad as JFA, though. I played most of JFA cases 3 & 4 with the sound off. The new gameplay aspects I could take or leave, since I'm not a minigame fan. I'd be just as happy if Ema just did all the science for us.
Thoughts on 4-1: As I mentioned to commonlogic, I got the weird feeling that Phoenix was playacting a fair bit in this case -- he was the witness, so by PW-world logic, he was supposed to lie on the stand, and muck around with the crime scene, and it was Apollo's job to call him on it. The problem is that Apollo doesn't quite figure it all out in court -- the forgery is touched on but not completely dealt with. I don't have a huge problem with Phoenix forging evidence if it's in that context -- he's not the lawyer, and thus he's working on an entirely different set of values.
Thoughts on 4-2: Ahahaha, panties. Okay, I like Trucy. She's got a dubious moral compass, but I think that comes mostly from her real father, and that Phoenix just hasn't "fixed" it. Which *would* play better with his background -- if he's intentionally trying to avoid being Von Karma redux, he'd let her "be herself" even when he should have been sterner. Assuming that, the poker-playing seems less bad; I'd suspect it was mostly Trucy's idea. (If 4-4 contradicts that, don't spoil me yet please.) And I was very, very surprised at how much Klavier was hand-holding Apollo through the case (not in THAT way, folks). I'd expected the tension between the leads to come from 4-1 (as I did know going into the game that Kristoph was the killer in 4-1), and for Klavier to be bitter. Him being a total sweetheart was really quite awesome. And if Trucy were a few years older, I think I'd be shipping Klavier/Trucy. They're so cute at each other, though since she is that young, I take it more as a surrogate-big-brother (yes, I know the spoiler).
Phoenix was odd in 4-2, but I'm going with assuming that it's because Apollo completely doesn't get him. (Which is definitely the case no matter what; they don't have a working rapport at that point at all.) Apollo, however, is amusing. So uptight, but fun to play. And he's pretty much uninjured in the car crash, so the fact that no-one (ahem!) comes racing to his side seems reasonable, rather than strange. Trucy isn't worried, and the thing about the videos implied that he was catching up on Maya's gifts rather than having a giant get-well present from her but no-one else. Also, I really, really wanted to be able to examine the package in Wright &Co that looked like it was covered in air-mail stickers.
Also, the real killer had a sprite or two that was very Dahlia-esque. Creepy, creepy. (The sheer number of little shout-outs to the first three games was impressive, but now I'm forgetting the actual details. Burning bridge jokes, etc.) Wocky kind of annoyed me, but oh well. Wesley made up for it. (And the reason why he cut through the park cracked me up -- there's a grassy patch at MIT with a worn path through the center from ages of engineers cutting across it to save just a few seconds' walk.)
I loved Ema in 1-5 -- it is sad to see her so jaded, but she's still a lot of fun here. And it gives a good reason to have a detective willing to spill case details -- she still feels she owes Phoenix.
Thoughts on 4-3: This was my favorite case so far. Poor Klavier -- I spent most of the case wanting to hug him, as I did know from spoilers who the real killer was. I liked the courtroom dynamic at the end of the case, where Klavier was being friendly and helpful and then going "oh, but that's not actually good enough for this world's fucked-up legal system, sorry, can you do better?" I thought that was a good way to make a sympathetic prosecutor and also have some challenge. I wish they'd used the 1-5 video-tape interface in this one -- I really wanted to get a chance to point out the ignition and the brooch on the video rather than presenting evidence.)
And 4-4 so far: Oh, Capcom, break my heart a little more. I knew spoilers going in about the flashback case, but I didn't know it was playable -- I thought it was cut-scenes only. I put my DS down yesterday night (closed, paused, didn't even save, just put it to sleep and plugged it in when I got home) in the middle of it because I just couldn't bear to get any closer to having to present the forged evidence, and switched to cryptic crosswords for the commute today. The music, and the backgrounds, and oh, Phoenix. I hadn't realized how good a job the characterization and localization teams had done until Phoenix's first inner monologue, which was so him. (Don't remember what he said, just that I immediately recognized it.)
Also, will get back to links of meta on the game from people who've already finished once I'm done myself. Have commonlogic's recap and CFTF's (on C-R) on the to-read list.