Dennis Laumen We who cut mere stones must always be envisioning cathedrals

Review: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice For All

Phoenix Wright 2 Cover
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platform: Nintendo DS
Genre: Adventure

A couple of weeks ago I finished the game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice For All. The Phoenix Wright games are best described as a mix between old school point-and-click adventure games and an interactive novel. This is the second game in the series which was originally released in Japan on Nintendo's previous handheld, the Gameboy Advance.

Although I haven't played the first game in the series I thoroughly enjoyed this second installment. The story refers to the first game quite regularly but this is pure fan service and is never crucial for solving cases. The main protagonist of the game is Phoenix Wright, a lawyer. As Phoenix Wright you end up in four different cases in which it is your job to get acquittal for your clients. These cases are divided into two types of gameplay. Most cases start with an evidence-gathering chapter followed by a courtroom chapter. The later cases contain several of these phases in which you gather evidence, go to the courtroom, gather some more evidence etc.

The evidence gathering contains two important gameplay mechanics:

  1. Finding evidence. This is done by tapping the environment with your stylus and seeing if something can be found. If it's found the evidence is added to your inventory.
  2. Interrogation. All the people in the environment can be interrogated. These interrogations consist mainly of asking predefined questions and shoving pieces of evidence in their faces. Although this sounds like a simple mechanic it can be pretty difficult at times. Guessing isn't really an option because of the plethora of options.

The courtroom scenes contain only one gameplay mechanic, the interrogations.The audio and visuals of the game are just a bit above mediocre. The music in the game is alright but because of the DS's technical limitations can't provide awesome sound. The visual art in the game is pretty good but it really lacks on some areas. Most notable is the lack of character animation. Most characters have only two looks: regular and nervous.

All in all I must admit I really enjoyed this game. It's definitely not a perfect game though. If you don't mind reading lots of text and enjoy the old school adventure game then you owe it to yourself to play this game. If you don't... Don't even think about playing it because you will hate it.

Pros

  • Excellent writing.
  • One of a kind.
  • It's an adventure for Christ's sake!

Cons

  • Lousy use of DS capabilities.
  • Maybe too scripted?
  • Mediocre audio and visuals.

Verdict

**** of *****