Pheonix Wright: Justice for All (DS)

January 6, 2007

There was only one objection at the end of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, that it ended and fans would have to wait a while before entering the court room for another case. So, was the release of Phoenix Wright: Justice for all worth the wait? Or does Phoenix fail to hold the jury’s attention for more than five minutes.

For the uneducated, Phoenix Wright is not about fast paced gameplay or beautiful graphics, it’s about the story, it’s about reading through reams of well-written text to uncover clues, badger witnesses and ultimately battle to the truth against the evil, whip wielding prosecution. It’s a well-produced drama in the palm of your hand.

The basic gameplay is split up into investigation sequences (looking for clues, talking to characters) and courtroom battles (in which Phoenix must cross examine witness’ to reveal flaws in their testimonies). The game never lets you progress from the investigation without all the information required and while this may appear restrictive, entering the court without all your defence would feel like being left down a river without a paddle. The court scenes make sense, most of the time however, on a few minor occasions the piece of evidence you must present is so obscure that it will take a while to figure out.

A new feature to the investigation is the ‘psyche lock’, this barrier is broken down through interrogation of a witness outside the courtroom and helps to give the sections a visible target as well as shaping the players opinion of characters.

The main problem with this game is that it is only four cases long (one short of the original games five), and it doesn’t include any DS trickery like the additional case 5 of the first game. Fans of the CSI style fifth case will have to wait for Gyakuten Saiban 4, which is released in Japan in 2007. That said, the games cases are very fun to play (even the initial ‘phoenix lost his memory’ training mission) and the fourth case has some intense twists that really keep you on your toes.

The other annoyance with the game is that Capcom changed the music, some of the originals most catchy themes are nowhere to be found. However, the game has its moments of audible charm, such as the clown theme.

All this said, nothing could demean a game with such brilliant writing and characters that deserve to be experienced by everyone who considers themselves a fan of puzzle or plot driven games.



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