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Customer Review

103 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who could object to this?!, October 28, 2005
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Nintendo DS (Video Game)
There is a wonderful review of Phoenix Wright already up on Amazon, so I don't feel the need to go so in-depth with my explanation. I just want to cover some things I think about this amazing game, and give you a second opinion of sorts.

American's don't seem to normally fare well with text-based games. There's just something about having to sit and read and select choices that has the average american teenager running for the hills.

As such, I was amazed when I heard this game was coming to the States. There are dozens (if not hundreds) of this genre in Japan, but the US hasn't seen many of them. Yet, with the oddities of the DS and the growing interest in obscure Japan-only games among a certain cross-section of the gaming demographic (see Katamari Damashii, Wario Ware, Feel the Magic, or even such things as DDR or Para Para Paradise [okay, that last one not so much, but I'm a big fan]), publishers seem willing to take the risk a bit more than they would.

And so we have a slew of strange text-based games. There's Sprung that came on release (a very, very simple point and click text game, but actually it hardly counts, seeing as it's from a Canadian developer), and then the puzzle/text adventure Trace Memory (which I enjoyed, too), and now Phoenix Wright. While the others were fun, Phoenix blows them out of the water with one thing: style.

I'm not just talking about the anime-inspired art. No, I'm talking of the energy of the scenes and the stories, the various characters and charicatures you meet through wonderful dialogue, the forcefulness of the flow of the courtroom scenes, and just the overall feeling of giddiness underneath the suits of Phoenix and Edgeworth.

The plots here aren't groundbreaking, but they're of similar quality to your average Law and Order or CSI, and personally I think they're a lot cleverer, as they know they're melodramatic and revel in it with a cheesiness and sly humor that those shows with their self-imposed seriousness lack.

Yes, like all text-games it's fairly linear (though that's sometimes hard to tell), and the exploration/investigation parts where you visit scenes and talk to witnesses/suspects can drag a bit, but it's a text-game, and these are typical drawbacks. But when in the courtroom, Phoenix Wright pops with energy and power, turning legal proceedings into battles of wills with the prosecution (the wonderful Miles Edgeworth, who I want to see more of if there's a sequel) and the witnesses (a certain witness in Chapter 3 is memorable, a hilarious female that floors even Edgeworth).

These courtroom battles are over the top, with effects that seem more in keeping with a samurai duel than a trial, but it works in a way that is surprising and entertaining. For a text adventure, Phoenix Wright has more energy and excitement than any cookie-cutter action game out there.

And it's lengthy, too. The first case is short and quick, and leaves you wondering whether or not this game will be disappointingly short in the end (the one drawback to Trace Memory, though one wonders if these are even the same genre). Yet, each chapter gets longer and longer, until they become multi-day cases with witnesses and investigations stretching on as new facts unfold in the courtroom. Trust me, length isn't an issue, though you might end up beating it quickly just because you play it that much.

Phoenix Wright is a remake of an original game of three for GBA in Japan, and hopefully this game will prove to Capcom that there's a market for these things in America now, and all us English-speaking peoples can have a chance to experience more Wright. C'mon, give it a playthrough. It's worth picking up, and so long as you don't mind reading, and like entertainingment, and aren't put off by the idea of playing a lawyer in a courtroom melodrama, you'll love it.

If you've never played a game like this, this is the title to try. It's better than any I've ever experienced, and I can't recommend it highly enough as one of the best games on DS, period.
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