bitparade: Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Justice for All (Nintendo DS)

All last year you couldn’t go on an internet forum without reading someone raving about Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney, or posting “Objection” pictures, while the latter was amusing to those who had played the game, I was left a little confused, I got that it was from Phoenix Wright, how could you not?, but I didn’t understand why everyone was going mad for it, now I do, the Phoenix Wright games are bloody excellent.

The game is basically a cross between your old fashioned text adventures (minus you having to input actual text), a DS based short novel and the dying Point-and-Click adventure genre. It sounds like a bit of a mish mash and confused but its not at all, it works incredibly well. The basic gameplay elements are thus: A murder happens, you turn up at the crime-scene to gather interrogate people by using the “Talk” option, asking questions and such, building up your “Court Record”, you can use the “Examine” option to check out locations, using the stylus to point to on-screen objects to try and find clues, some of which you can present to witnesses to try and gather more information. Once this is all complete its time to go to court and defend the murder suspect, which is basically done by questioning witnesses brought forward by the prosecution.

Those who played the original Phoenix Wright will immediatly feel at home as the core gameplay remains the same, as do the cast, many might complain that its not a big step forward from the original, but when that was so well received does it really matter. There has been one small change, and thats the addition of “Psyche-Locks”. These are little puzzles that require you to have enough evidence and ideas to pull apart a witness,or sometimes the suspect, in order to reveal a secret they are obviously hiding.

It all pulls together well to form an interesting and challenging experience, you’ll grow to love every single character from Phoenix Wright himself to Detective Gumshoe and finally Franziska Von Karma, daughter of Manfred von Karma, whom players of the original Phoenix Wright will remember. Sometimes its pretty easy for you to figure out who the actual culprit is, Case 2 in particular I found incredibly easy to see who it was, but the challenge is in getting to that result, something that actually proved harder than I was expecting, especially after you are more or less walked through your first case.

So, is Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Justice For All worthy of a purchase? Well, I’m really enjoying it as my first Phoenix Wright, and as the first game of this variety that I’ve played, gamers who were really big fans of the original will probably love this, but I don’t think it is likely to persuade anyone who was indifferent over whether Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney was any good or not. Will it bring the series to a wide audience would be a good question, I’m pretty sure it would, I could personally see my Step Mum getting some enjoyment out of it, and Nintendo had a TV advertising campaign which seemed to be successful, we’ll have to wait till the next game to see if its become more of a cult hit though. As it stands, Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Justice For All has been immensly enjoyable, and Capcom have earned themselves another fan of the games.

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