Review by vallxtreme
"The Defense is ready, You Honor"
Many games doesn't see light outside of Japan, but with the era of the new handheld systems, Capcom decided to localize the whole series to both North America and Europe. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney was such a success on the Gameboy Advance that Capcom ported them to the DS. A franchise that has totally grown with a steady fanbase and suddenly became a cult-classic among gamers.
You play as the titular character Phoenix Wright, a rookie Defense Attorney or Lawyer. You work under Mia Fey, owner of the Fey & Co. Law Offices. The game primarily focuses on courtroom dramas set on a fictional country where you take on cases and solve the mysteries behind it and prove the innocence of your client. You tackle on 5 different cases and meet different colorful characters for you to talk, interact and solve each cases. The story is quite humorous at times and serious at most times. The story is also set that you cannot advance if you have not completed a certain task. Sometimes a case is quite deep that you can't understand what is going on. But as you progress, you will be able to piece together the story and know the truth.
The game is all about reading. You will spend all your time reading, analyzing and bringing together your thoughts to solve cases. The game is mostly a point-and-click adventure and is divided into two parts, which is the Investigation part and the Courtroom part. During the Investigation part, you are always in a first person view to talk and interact with other people. You have 4 commands which is Examine, Move, Talk, and Present. With Examine, the background moves to the bottom screen so that you can interact with the environment and examine various objects to search for clues. The Move command is used to move from one place to another. Talk is used to speak to a person and the Present is used to show various evidences to the person you are talking to. There is also a menu present at all times which is the Court Record. The Court Record, lists all of the evidences that you have and the profiles of the people involved in the cases. You spend a lot time reading and examining evidences to analyze the case. The second part which is the Courtroom part wherein you are inside a court of law and examine the case of a person. Here, you are in a second-person view and places you in the view of the Judge who gives the verdict of either Guilty or Not Guilty to the defendant which is the accused person. During Courtroom sessions, the Prosecution whose job is to show evidences and to have people testify to show that the defendant is Guilty. As a Defense Attorney, your job is to find contradictions and show evidence to prove your client innocent. You do these during the Cross-Examination period. You read and analyze the testimony of a witness, and you can use the Press command so that you can get more information from them. Then if you find a lie, you use the Present command to show the evidence that contradict a particular statement of the witness. A fun feature here is you can hold the Y button for the Voice-mode. Here you can shout "Hold It!" and "Objection!" to the DS mic as an alternative input method. However, if your deduction is wrong, the Judge will give you a penalty which is symbolized as 5 Exclamation Point on the upper right corner of the top screen. If you lose all five, your client will e proclaimed as Guilty and it will be Game Over for you.
The game sports beautiful and solid sprites that are presented quite nicely. You can see the detail on each character and their animations are quite fluid and sometimes humorous. The game mostly have static backgrounds that are sometime quite dull yet shows a colorful world and sets a good ambiance on the game. The images however are quite detailed and you can always determine each object you see. You will not see any signs of blurriness at all.
Although not a soundtrack that will attract all, most of the tunes are composed well and shows a catchy tune on each theme. None of the tracks are annoying however. Each track also sets the mood of the story. There are also minor voice-acting which are limited to the words "Hold It!", "Objection!", and "Take that!". The voice-acting are done pretty well on Phoenix Wright and Miles Edgeworth, however there are some voices which you cant understand and is quite annoying. The sound effects of the game have been placed well and portrays emotions for each action that are done.
This is where the game falls short. The game is good overall but have little to no incentive when replayed. The game can be compared to a good book that will keep you entertained for hours but once you finish, you will never open again. Another reason is that you already know the steps and actions that you must do and there is such a huge difference when you play the game during your 1st time and 2nd time.
The game has a very good story and you will be drawn to it along with the wonderful cast of characters. If you like reading books, this will surely keep your interest. If you also like point-and-click adventure games, you will most probably like the game as well.
Score: 8/10 - Great
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/29/08
Game Release: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (US, 10/12/05)
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