Thursday, December 13, 2007

Game Review: Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations

I really don't play enough games on my DS. Then again, most of the library is pet simulators and Brain Age wannabes. For this reason, I was very, very excited when I found out that they were releasing a third entry in the Phoenix Wright series.

If you've played either of the first two, then you need no convincing to buy the third one. For the rest of you, let's recap:

In these games, you play as Phoenix Wright (the guy in the blue suit and red tie), a defense attorney who always seems to be taking on clients with desperate cases. You'll spend your time talking to witnesses, examining the scene of the crime, and gathering clues and evidence. Finally, you'll end up at trial, pressing those who testify and using the evidence to either expose their lies or to convince them to reveal more information. In the end, it's pretty much like a game of interactive Matlock; you always prove the innocence of your client by proving that one of his accusers is the real culprit.

If that sounds like a wacky justice system, that your client isn't innocent until you've proven someone else to be guilty, well, just roll with it. Despite the silliness evident in the system, the game is still incredibly fun and quite amusing.

The games were initially released for the Gameboy Advance, but were later adapted for the DS. In the first entry in the series, there was a special case which you unlocked which was made specifically for the DS version. It incorporated a lot of DS specific features and was the longest, most intriguing adventure to have shown up, period. Sadly, neither the second nor third games included any of these features, but the games were still fun all the same.

The third game is still loads of fun, but I have two criticisms about it. First, it's too short: In the previous games, you had to spend three days solving all of the crimes. In this entry, most of them take place in one day, two at the most. It's just gone too fast. Second, Phoenix Wright feels like a bit player in his own game. There are five adventures, and you don't even play as Phoenix for two and a half of them! How can it be his game if you only control him for half the game? Bizarre!

Don't let my criticisms stop you from playing it, however. These games are worth every penny. If you're new to the series, you should definitely find a copy of the first one, as there is no excuse for not having these games in your library. If you've already played the first two, then stop reading this and go buy the third!

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