Objection! I’m Having Fun In Court!

Just about every day, I find a little time in my busy day to sit down with my Nintendo DS and get a some quality hand-held gaming in. And while I’ve yet to finish Phantom Hourglass from Christmas, I recently picked up a used copy of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, in order to see what all the fuss was about, and further diversify my library of DS games. Turns out that there’s not a lot to object to – public defender Wright’s got a pretty fun game on his hands.

The game plays much like you’d expect from a defense attorney pseudo-simulation; you are presented with a series of trials in which you help Phoenix carry out his duties and have the defendant found not guilty. This is accomplished via a combination of pre-trial detective work and courtroom shenanigans. There is a lot of reading to be done as you work your way through interviews, witness testimonies, and the courtroom process. Those who take the time to actually read all the text are rewarded, though – sifting through the details carries the obvious benefit of helping you solve the cases, and you’ll enjoy the game more, as it is very well written.

The presentation of Ace Attorney is excellent, and the graphics and music really fit the game’s writing style well. All the characters in the game, important or not, are brought to life in a sharp anime-like style, with a sprinkle of animation here and there. The backgrounds all have a painted quality to them as well. I especially enjoyed the courtroom / lawyer segments. The mix of the written drama with the expressions of Phoenix and company are great, and had me laughing and booing at all the right points. The musical score, while slightly repetitive at points, is also very well done, and help move along the story at the appropriate times.

I’d estimate that at the time of this writing, I am about 95% finished with the game, and though I found most of the game fairly easy, I did stumble on a few sections. In my opinion, this is where Phoenix Wright truly shines, though. Throughout each trial, you’re asked to present key evidence or to answer important questions at certain points. Each correct answer moves the story forward, and inches your client closer to vindication, while each wrong answer results in a penalty from the judge, which can only happen five times before the trial is over and the defendant is declared guilty. Sometimes the solutions are obvious, and sometimes they take a lot of thought, but I appreciate that Capcom actually tried to make you think and use logic to solve the crimes… it’s something that more studios could afford to do these days.

Once I’m done with Ace Attorney, I’ll probably try to find a copy of the second installment of the series, or maybe even jump to the third. I’ve really liked this game so far, and if you’re not afraid of doing a little bit of reading on your DS, I highly recommend it. Phoenix Wright is a quality game, and aside from the Mario and Zelda staples, it’s probably some of the best gaming I’ve done on my DS.

And now, for one last law-themed promotion: It’d be a crime not to play this game!

Oh, and in completely unrelated news, I’ve been interviewed by Complete Indie Gamers… check it out!


  1. xot - Over a year ago

    Phoenix Wright? Courtroom GAME? *pffft* I’m doing the real thing next month. Jury duty. Again. $15 per day! w00t!

    I tried the Ace Attorney flash demo. I didn’t really quite get into it, which was unfortunate, because the game looks pretty cool and original. There was so much clicking through dialog, though. That always bugs me. I think the demo was well done, but it didn’t sell me on buying an NDS. I just can’t seem to find a compelling reason to buy that thing, even though I think it is a pretty nifty bit of kit. As big a Zelda freak as I am, I should probably buy it just for Phantom Hourglass.

  2. MasterOfHisOwnDomain - Over a year ago

    I’ve browsed the game before, but I haven’t ever really looked into what it’s about. I can’t see myself enjoying the gameplay, since I can’t imagine it is extremely fast paced or packed full of explosions (unlike Worms 2: Open Warfare), but I might look into it further now that I’ve read your review. Capcom have done some pretty good games in the past; I’m still playing Dead Rising, two years on..

  3. Dmaster270 - Over a year ago

    I’m thinking of getting this game. The Videos look nice. If Xot has a link to the flash demo I’d like to see it. Even though I’d probably just google it. I’ll probably buy it soon.

  4. Dmaster270 - Over a year ago


  5. tuntis - Over a year ago

    Don’t get the third game until you’ve played the second. The third game’s plot ties to the second game’s plot (and if you want to understand Ace Attorney 4, play *at least* the first game).

  6. Dmaster270 - Over a year ago

    By Ace Attorney 4 you mean Apollo Justice? Game Informer says it’s fine for newcomers to the series to jump straight into. With no confusing back stories for characters. But I’d rather get the first one first.

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