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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (DS) artwork

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (DS) review


"As a child, adults would commonly ask about a child’s aspirations in life. Certainly, nobody would answer that they aspire to be a garbage disposer or a manager at a local fast food chain. Most answers would consist of being lawyers, doctors, psychologists, etc. Unfortunately, as children grow up their lack of effort in school also diminishes. Not everyone can be a lawyer or a doctor, but luckily for those that couldn’t get into law school, Capcom has decided to meet the needs of the unlucky. En..."



As a child, adults would commonly ask about a child’s aspirations in life. Certainly, nobody would answer that they aspire to be a garbage disposer or a manager at a local fast food chain. Most answers would consist of being lawyers, doctors, psychologists, etc. Unfortunately, as children grow up their lack of effort in school also diminishes. Not everyone can be a lawyer or a doctor, but luckily for those that couldn’t get into law school, Capcom has decided to meet the needs of the unlucky. Enter Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, a heavily text based game that features everything you’d come to expect from a trial. While the game is far from a real life trial, the court setting mixed with its comical dialogue offers a unique experience. In essence, the game was able to capture the sheer awesomeness of being a lawyer, but also making the process fun.

Being text based, one would probably think that the game must be boring and a chore to play. But the game is actually the complete opposite. The game’s storytelling rivals that of any topnotch rpg, and the ability to survey the crime scene and battling it out on court makes this game one of the more entertaining and unique games in recent memory. The basis of the game revolves around its story. Being heavy on the text, the game slowly unravels the intricacies of a murder mystery. As you slowly advance in each episode, more info will be released, and once the episode comes to an end, you’re left with a simple awe and a sense of amazement. The story could only be described as suspenseful and cohesive. As you are solving a case, you don’t know who the murderer is, but after a successful court defense you will soon find out. However, the important thing to remember is that the game will throw plenty of twists along the way before you solve the case. And that is what makes Phoenix Wright so special.

In Phoenix Wright, there are 2 critical areas of gameplay. The first would be when Phoenix can move around freely from area to area, where he will ask questions regarding the case, or examine items for any clues. While at times the examinations and questionings can be a bit tiresome, the game for the most part throws plenty of crime solving mysteries at you that it prevents it from being repetitive. However, there are a few situations where it does become a chore, and it is mostly because you want to keep the story going. So in a sense, the game’s own story is so good that at times it makes you want to skip all the trivialities and go straight to the conclusive verdict of “INNOCENT”.

Finally the most important part about being a lawyer is actually being in court itself. During the court session, you will have the duty to cross-exam a witness or raise an objection. You will also have the opportunity to present evidence, but don’t be to hasty on that because presenting the wrong evidence will give you the reward of having one of your “!” taken off. All of the episodes are based off of murder cases, so it is crucial that you prove your client to be innocent without a shadow of a doubt. But it isn’t easy considering that your childhood friend turned nemesis is the prosecutor. Miles Edgeworth is a cold hearted, firm, and tough minded individual who will not stop at anything short of a guilty sentence. Don’t worry though, after a while, he will begin to grow on you, as do all the characters. And for the most part, he will be your adversary. Now the funny thing is the judge, who is a bit uninformed for a judge. Sometimes you will wonder who is actually in charge of the courtroom, but nevertheless the judge is, and no matter how uninformed he may seem, it is critical that he never says the word guilty.

During these trials, when a witness takes the stage, he/she will give their testimony. It is up to you to find the contradictions in their testimony and turn it against them. What is especially likeable about this game is that even the witnesses tend to have strong or weird personalities that you can relate to. Once the witnesses have given their testimony, you have to cross reference those testimonies. In order to find a contradiction, you have to pay special attention the words that are being said. And once you find it, you present the evidence in court and watch the witness become tongue tied. For example, if the autopsy is stating the time of death to be at night, but the witness said it happened in the day, then you present the evidence and rip them a new one. With a firm statement of “Take That”, you can watch the events unfold and how the witnesses will try to squirm their way out of it. But of course some of the contradictions aren’t so obvious and when that is the case, you will have to press the witnesses to see if you can get some further information out of them.

For the most part, Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney is one of the most unique games I have played in a while. The game also has plenty of charming characters that offered plenty of laughs and twists. Phoenix Wright’s story is one of mystery and it certainly rivals any topnotch rpg in terms of story. The ability to analyze the crime scene, collect evidence, and take center stage in court is nothing short of entertaining. More importantly, the game had a strong sense of strategy. It required players to analyze the evidence given and decide on your course of action in court accordingly. While there are certainly noticeable flaws, and some of the text does drag on a bit, but for the most part the game was unique and entertaining. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney certainly bolsters the Nintendo DS as a portable that has some of the most creative titles around.

Rating: 8/10

galactus21's avatar
Community review by galactus21 (February 26, 2006)

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