First off, I think these GK games would have worked a lot better had they removed the "path of a defense attorney" question, moved back the date two years, and repackaged it as "Edgeworth's Missing Year." Even in this game, I can still see attempts to undo Edgeworth's character development and build it back up, or mold him into Phoenix 2.0 (OMG! I have to SAVE people! lol wut. No you don't. You got on Phoenix's case in 2-4 for that very reason).
I also didn't care for the moments where Edgeworth was entirely too trusting of a meek character, a little too quick to "believe in" someone like a defense attorney (Phoenix) would. Yes, one could argue that it's part of the dilemma Edgeworth has in this game, but it still feels like that naïveté was created for the sake of bringing about that dilemma, instead of letting the dilemma happen for some other natural reason.
That said, GK2 overall was an improvement over GK1.
The story at least seemed to tie together much better. It wasn't just in the obligatory "Hey let's play as X in the Y-years-ago" case. Everybody a role to play, and with the exception of a couple of cameos, it didn't feel as forced. I admit I had my doubts in the first case... (Gourd Lake of all places, and Shelly de Killer of all people?) But I was glad to see any shelved portions of the story returning in latter cases, and old clues getting accounted for. What seemed like an ordinary(?!) assassination attempt would actually be extremely relevant to not one, but two past cases.
I found myself more invested in the new characters than the previous game. Even the ones that turned out to be utter cretins. I laughed when Ray Shields got more than what he bargained for while seeking hugs from the prison warden, Patricia Roland. And for a moment, I sympathized with Roland for feeling threatened, only to realize later she wasn't half as innocent as she'd made herself out to be. I had a thousand eyerolls for the inept Sebastian Debeste, and Justine Courtney, the judge who seemed to encourage his involvement in EV.ER.Y.THING. And then the little bastard suckerpunched me right in the damn feels. It was good to see him grow up and become a respectable person. At first, I worried that he was there just to make Edgeworth look smart by comparison (which is completely unnecessary), but I eventually saw that there was more to it than that. And I was relieved to see that there was more going on with Courtney, and that her true objective didn't involve squashing Edgeworth like a bug.
Although not a "new" character, I did enjoy playing as Gregory. They played the Gregory-Miles comparison a bit too much, especially in the interactions with certain characters (Delicia Scones). But it was kind of nice. And I'm not just saying that because Gregory is also smoking hot. I also liked getting a glimpse of how cases were handled before the 3 day trial system was implemented. (And this is random, but speaking of case 3, Kate (and Kay) cracked me up with her singing when irrelevant evidence was presented.)
I liked that Horace Knightley and Simon Keyes were not just random people, but players in the case that would give Manfred von Karma his first penalty. Also, identifying Blaise Debeste as the chief prosecutor responsible for giving von Karma the penalty
Can't remember if I'd spoiled Keyes for myself since it's been a long time, but IMO he seemed a little too sweet in case 2, and Edgeworth and Kay were a bit too eager to believe in his innocence. I'd dropped my suspicions for a while but by the 5th case they were back. After all, his was the only "known" profile that fit the acolyte, when you consider a kid that would have been the appropriate age in both the IS-7 and SS-5 incidents. Think I was more surprised by him being buddies with Dogen, and being the kid who set the fire, than I was by him being Gustavia's son.
Speaking of villains, were Gustavia and Blaise in the running for Japanifornia's shittiest dad? Thank goodness for men like Gregory and Jeff (well, technically the dude did take in Kate).
Overall, the cameos were good, though I still wasn't feeling Ema's and Larry's all that much. Granted, Kay coming back at all felt a little forced, but at least they tried to do something with it. Some people don't care for the part where Edgeworth turns in his badge, but to be honest, that felt like one of the few moments he was actually in character. It seemed like something Edgeworth "would" do, or would eventually, because his quest for the truth is more important than from what side he chooses to pursue it. Same for when Courtney kept threatening to take away his badge and he was like "dude, really, I don't give a shit. You won't put a stop to my goals."
Actually, I guess there is one thing left unaccounted for, or perhaps I just wasn't paying attention. Was it ever revealed how Dogen and (Miles) Edgeworth were acquainted? I assumed it was in a previous case, but I don't think that was made clear.