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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Review

When I first read a description for the Japanese game Gyakuten Saiban, about a lawyer solving murder cases on the Game Boy Advance, I thought it was a preposterous idea for a video game. However, Capcom decided to release the game in North America and it soon became the ridiculously impossible to get Phoenix Wright. As I read more about it everything said that this was a great game. Many months passed before I was finally able to get my own copy at a reasonable price (read: not at the typical exorbitant amount those online auction sites were selling it for). Now, I can officially say that this really is a great game, and one that fans of great games should at least give a go if given the opportunity.

In essence Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is your standard point and click adventure. Move the stylus or directional pad to examine the scenery to lead you to clues that will help you in your cross examination of the various witnesses throughout the game. What really makes Phoenix Wright shine is the writing. Dialogue is humorous and very witty and they did a great job of localizing the game for North America in the effort of making it appeal to a wide variety of people.

You’re not going to find the greatest graphics here, as the game consists of mostly still screens with the occasional character interaction. It’s not fancy at all, but in a way it feels like you’re reading a book and somehow helping to piece together the mystery in order to get your client off. Considering the genre and the fact that this is a handheld game originally designed for the GBA the game holds up very well, luckily the game doesn’t look the part.

Because Phoenix Wright was originally a GBA game the sound suffers a little as well. It’s not really all that great, there really aren’t too many sound effects to mention and save for the occasional “Objection!” there’s no voice acting. Although, you can do your own if you read out loud or just use the DS’ built in microphone to yell out objection which will promptly result in Phoenix Wright also saying it in the game. If you’re into the game you may not even notice as, you’ll be trying to figure out what to do next to solve the case. In the end there’s nothing stellar here, but it’s adequate for the game and genre.

The game revolves around the attorney, Phoenix Wright, as he plays detective so he can get an acquittal for his client. Use the stylus or d-pad to unearth clues that will eventually be used as evidence to claim a victory. That’s pretty much half of the game. The rest of the time you will spend grilling witnesses to try to find holes in their testimony. The trick is finding the right statements and choosing the right things to say in response. Choosing wrong will lead to you losing the case much like it might in real life. This is by no means a “lawyer simulator”, but it is by all means a fun game that’s definitely worthy of a spin in most everyone’s Nintendo DS.

The one issue that anyone who has played this game all the way through will tell you is that the game severely lacks replay value. In fact playing the game once is probably more than enough for most. With a lack of extras, there isn’t much of a reason to go back to play the game other than the great story, but for many that may not be enough. However, the game is lengthy and the cases do get progressively longer, so there in plenty of game even if there’s not a tremendous amount of replay. Another drawback is the lack of interaction throughout the game. This is probably more like an interactive novel than a video game. The game is entirely menu driven and there’s very little to no animation, so don’t go in expecting the next action adventure extravaganza. While there may be some drawbacks to the game, it’s far more entertaining as it is than most other games of various genres.

Final Verdict

As long as you know what to expect from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, you probably won’t be let down. As a gamer you should be open to all types of new experiences and as such, Phoenix Wright won’t let you down. So, if you can find what may be the rarest of DS games at the moment, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.


8.5 out of 10

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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Review

Related Information

Posted by: Redeema
Date: November 4, 2006
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: 10/12/2005
Genre: Adventure
Number of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: Teen
System Reviewed: Nintendo DS

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Categories: Nintendo DS Reviews, Nintendo DS, Reviews

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