Release Date: 10/12/2005
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For almost 10 years I have been dodging Phoenix Wright, but I can’t fight it any longer. I know all about the characters and what the game is like, but I had no clue that the story was this deep and interesting. Honestly, Phoenix Wright’s biggest flaw is the lack of gameplay and frustrating puzzles, and sometimes no clues on what to do. Despite that, you are going to play this mainly for the story and characters.
Phoenix Wright is a new attorney straight out of law school. You start out with your first trial and get the trial contradiction puzzles nailed down first. You are presented with a court record that keeps track of all evidence. Witnesses will take the stand and you need to press each sentence in their testimony to point out inaccuracies. Wright and the prosecutor will go back and forth with the judge and once you’ve pressed every statement you need to find the contradictions. This is where things get frustrating. Sometimes it’s pretty obvious and it feels good nailing their false statements, but 60% of the time I had no idea what to do. Most of the statements would be very vague and not give you many clues as to what evidence can catch them in their lies. However, each case and witness varies. Sometimes testimonies will be restarted and you need to find new contradictions. It sounds confusing, but is both fun and frustrating at the same time.
Once you finish out a trial or you are on a new day you need to investigate. This is the other half of the game. You go from place to place examining the area for clues, talking to witnesses, and sometimes showing them stuff to get things out of them. This can also be frustrating because you won’t have any idea where to go sometimes or what to show. On top of all this aimless frustration, there’s hardly any gameplay. You are reading about 80% of the time and the gameplay just consists of selecting things. Later on, you use the mic a bit, but other than that it’s mainly just a point and click adventure at heart.
That’s not to say any of the game isn’t any fun. The story and characters are gripping, the 5 cases you end up doing are very interesting. Each case will take about 2-3 hours to complete so there’s quite a bit of play time here. I just wish they weren’t all the played out the same. Do a trial, investigate, do a trial, investigate, talk, talk, talk, examine, show some evidence, talk some more. Point and click adventure fans will love this game, but if you want action you’re out of luck. The trials tend to get heated and it’s pretty fun to watch everything unfold. The stories have twist endings and will leave you hanging all the time, but you won’t want to stop playing.
Ace Attorney is a fun adventure game with great characters and stories, but there’s very little gameplay. What’s here is frustrating puzzles of finding contradictions from witnesses testimonies and your evidence. Outside of that, you will wander aimlessly during investigations trying to figure out what to do and where to go. Phoenix Wright is a great step in the right direction for the DS but needs more to make it truly amazing.