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on January 1, 2013
It takes a lot for me to become engaged in a handheld game. I really have to enjoy the gameplay and/or the story and characters as I generally prefer console games. I typically purchase Nintendo handhelds to play Pokemon. I came across this game by accident on Amazon, and after reading reviews and watching gameplay on Youtube, decided to ask for it for Christmas. I thought, what the heck, I'll give it a shot. I'm so glad I did! This game is awesome. You play Phoenix Wright, up-and-coming attorney. You have several cases to solve (I think 5. I'm on case 4 already because I play it so much!). Each case is a unique story with memorable characters. Every case I've played has been a murder trial. You get to investigate by searching for clues and talking to witnesses. After that, you get to go into the court room. Your job is to defend the murder suspect and prove his/her innocence by finding contradictions in the witnesses' statements and presenting evidence. You get 5 mistakes. If you give the wrong evidence, object at the wrong time, badger a witness too much, or sometimes answer incorrectly, you lose a "life." You have 5 throughout each trial. I'll admit, I've lost a few times, but I just retry and think until I can figure it out. This game is text/story-based, so if you don't like that, I wouldn't recommend it. It also might be a little much for young children. It's not super violent, and it only shows a little bit of animated blood, but still.

The dialogue is funny, and I find myself laughing at the banter between Phoenix and other characters. He's very likable as are many other characters like Mia Fey, Detective Gumshoe, Larry Butz, etc. The prosecutors, however, you just want to hate! They'll try anything to stop you from winning the case. It does get a bit frustrating sometimes because I'm not sure what to do, but I usually just replay that part, and then I figure it out. The nice thing about the game is that you get to save at any point in the game, even in the middle of a trial, so you can retry if you lose the case. It really does require you to think! After playing this game, I can't wait to try the others! I went out and bought Apollo Justice Ace Attorney from Gamestop. The games are not easy to find, though. I haven't been able to find any of the other 3 games except on Amazon. I may end up just buying them from Amazon, even though they're a bit expensive. They're such good games. I can't help it! So, if you like challenging games with a good story, pick this one up! It's pretty cheap on Amazon.
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on July 9, 2013
It was on June 5th about 5 years ago that I even first heard of this game, and it was on a friend's birthday where he got the game that I even found out about this series. He showed it to me, and though I was initially uncertain about the game, all he had to do was let me play just 1 court case on this series to hook me. I have been an avid fan of the series, and I just recently purchased this game for another unfamiliar to the series friend. The speed at which I received this game is pretty staggering, as I had ordered and acquired this game in a span of only 2 days total, instead of the typical 3 days of purchase, shipping, and receiving. If you have a Nintendo DS or 3DS, you absolutely MUST play this game, and Amazon does product acquisition the best out of any site I have gone through yet!
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on June 12, 2014
Honestly, this games is a decent length. There are 5 cases to solve and after the first one (which is the shortest) they get longer and there are more things you can do. I was just so addicted to it once I started playing that I finished it within 3-4 days. If you are someone who will only play when you get a little spare time this game will last much longer for you. That said I love this game. I have already ordered Justice for All, the next game in the franchise. The characters are all likable and oftentimes they make you laugh. I like the art and character designs, and once you get the hang of the game mechanics you shouldn't have any problems playing. The cases get trickier as you go on and some require some extra thought and maybe even a few redos until you figure it out, but none of them were so tricky that I had to look up an online guide. If you're into mysteries, quirky unique games, and interesting storylines, this is the game for you.
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on December 7, 2012
I like how in this game, the only way of winning each case is to pay attention to the biggest and smallest details. You get about five cases in the whole game; each one you have to investigate, look for clues, interview witnesses and bystanders so important information you gain can help you get the real criminal. After the investigation is over, you go to trial. Then you cross examine the prime suspect, while they are giving you the side to their story you have to find any flaws to their statement by using the evidence you found. And make sure you use the right evidence at the right time because if you screw up you lose a life (sort of) and you have a total of five I think. If you lose all five you have to start the chapter over or your last save point. Then there are obstacles as well, sometimes when the trial gets more complex the game will ask you to decide either keep questioning the suspect or let it go.
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on May 1, 2008
While playing Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, I got the impression that the company that made it didn't spend a lot of money on it because they didn't think it would be very popular. The graphics are very minimal, but not without their charms. There's very little animation, there are no slick movie interludes or smooth transitions. There is hardly any voice acting and only a few sound effects. The music, I should add, is incredibly catchy and expressive. I found myself getting caught up in the music so much that I got distracted from the game at times.

If you want this game to be a realistic depiction of what it is like to be a lawyer, don't get it. That is not the point of this game. It's basically a fun logic and whodunit murder mystery game featuring some very endearing characters. Alternately dramatic, funny, tearjerking, and shocking, this game puts you in the shoes of Phoenix Wright, a young rookie lawyer who is starting to take cases on his own. You ask questions and look for contradictions in the courtroom, and search for clues and talk to witnesses outside. In the final case, you even get to dust for fingerprints and look for bloodstains. The plotlines are very interesting and get more complex as you progress through the game.

Gameplay is limited to clicking on things with your stylus or flipping through your inventory with the arrow buttons. It's pretty intuitive and easy to learn how to do.

This game's main strength (besides the great soundtrack) is the well-written and endearing characters and dialogue. I loved seeing Phoenix get stressed out and sweat during a trial, seeing his friend/rival prosecutor Miles Edgeworth get aggravated, Detective Gumshoe's downtrodden puppy-dog look, Maya's charming naivete, and the entertaining variety of witnesses. While not as impressively rendered as most DS games, the artwork is very expressive and often hilarious. My only gripe is that there were a few misspellings and gramatical errors that should have been caught in the translation.

Overall, I thought this game was very charming and a refreshing change from games that rely on realistic graphics wow-factor instead of great storylines and well-written characters. It gets a "Teen" rating for some blood and a few off-color jokes, but I don't think younger kids would be able to put together the pieces of these rather complex mysteries enough to understand this game anyway.
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on March 10, 2011
Let me start out by saying this: I bought my Nintendo DS for the sake of playing this game. I was not disappointed. I plan to play the entire series.

Why play this?:
If you like games with a story, then Phoenix Wright is a must. Rather, this is a game played for the story; however, it's not like final fantasy, where you have to trudge through tedious, boring, & mindless turn-based battles before you can reach the next scrap of story line. Here, the story is the game, so it's constantly unfolding before you. There's never a dull moment in this game.

Getting stuck in the game:
Not being a gamer, when my friends get me to play certain games, if I get stuck too soon or the game takes forever to progress, I end up getting bored & quiting. This game, however, ensures that you are fatally hooked on it before there's a chance of that happening. Even when it does happen, getting unstuck is usually just a matter of putting the game down, & coming back to it later with a fresh mind. (on a side note, 3am really isn't the best time for problem solving.) Some people have noted in reviews that there are times in investigation when you have to guess at presenting completely random pieces of evidence in order to progress. That's only half true. You will have to present evidence outside of court, but there's always logic behind what you present.

Here, I would like to make an OBJECTION to a common complaint about the game-play. When moving from location to location, it's true that you can't go straight from point A to point F. For those who say this is tedious, I say you're picking at cross-hairs. For one thing, it's logical that before going to the park woods, you have to go to the park's entrance, yes? yes. If you were able to skip around illogically, it would be harder to maintain a sense of where things are. Also, it would be all to easy to completely miss places you need to go back to. Finally, even if you have to progress through 4 different locations to get where you're going, this takes all of 4 seconds.

Extra amusement:
Go to youtube & look up "Boot to the Head" & "Phoenix Wrong" these videos, as well as the amazon reviews, are what made want to play this game in the first place.
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on August 1, 2011
This game is a lot of fun. On paper, it sounds stupid. You play as a defense attorney? Come on. But in reality, this game is a blast, and it has none of the boring courtroom stuff that you might be imagining.

The game happens in two "modes." On most of the game's five chapters, you start out in an investigation mode, where you play the part of detective, unofficially, by talking to people and collecting evidence to use in court. Then, once you've collected everything you need, the game moves into courtroom mode, where you battle it out with the witness and prosecutor to uncover the truth behind the grisly murder.

The greatest thing about this game is the anime influences. When you raise an objection or press a witness for more information, you don't simply clear your throat and nicely say a few words. Instead, you shout it and throw your hand out! (See the box art for an example.) You can even shout into the DS' microphone to make this happen, if you like. Then, when you've made a point that the witness or prosecutor doesn't like, they recoil in shock to the sound of an impact, as if they had just been hit with something. It's so cartoon-like and so much fun.

It's also really satisfying to go from a seemingly obvious murder case to something completely unexpected one little piece of evidence at a time. It's satisfying to call the culprit on his lies and watch him squirm as he tries to weasel his way out of it with yet another lie.

I guess I do have one objection. The only negative thing I have to say about this game is that it really is completely linear, despite the freedom it gives you while collecting evidence or during a courtroom scene. There is only one thing you can do at a time, and only one right answer. If you get stuck, it's really hard to figure out, and sometimes the game's logic is a little shaky. It helps to have a guide or a friend who has played it before to refer to every once in a while.
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on August 25, 2013
For longer than I can remember, the Phoenix Wright series was just out there in the world, occasionally popping up in references, random video games and such. It has taken me a long time, but I finally found myself buying this game to check out the series. Though a very simple game consisting of endless dialogue, I loved every moment of it! There was something so satisfying about investigating the crime scene, finding new shocking evidence, and throwing in the faces of the courtroom with an "Objection!" or a "Take that!"

It really does give off a hilarious, anime-like-feel of a real life courtroom, and often makes you feel as though you really are there in the jury witnessing the heated debate between Phoenix and the prosecutor. I found my jaw dropping quite literally several times from the smallest turn of events in the courtroom.

Overall, I am very satisfied with my purchase. The gameplay is different but interesting, the characters are unique and lovable, and the music and sound effects top it off amazingly!
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on April 18, 2013
I really enjoyed this game. The overdramatic everything is just perfect. The objections, the meltdowns, the cheesy music. Love it all. Would recommend it to anyone.

Some points of the game are really difficult. I had to cheat to avoid losing a few times, especially in the later trials. It's hard to know, at some points, which evidence is the right one. Sometimes it made no sense at all to me, even after cheating.

Still, fun as all get out.
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on July 25, 2014
Phoenix Wright - Ace Attorney is a great game. As a legal, mystery buff, this game appealed to me very much. Another major bonus is that it's anime (which I love). It's an entertaining,humorous and charming click and point game with plenty of reading. If reading puts you off, then do not buy this game. I repeat: do NOT buy this game. 90% of it requires reading. I, for one, loved it. I love games that require deduction and putting on your thinking cap. I love solving mysteries and cases. It's part of the reason why I love shows like Boston Legal, The Practice, Law and Order. Some people have complained that there's little gameplay and it's true - but at its heart, Phoenix Wright's gameplay is all about investigating the truth through cross-examination and listening to testimonies. You can also look for clues at a crime scene and interview key witnesses. My chest swells with (a small) victory every time I get it right.

You're thrust into the role of Phoenix Wright. He's a young and budding lawyer fresh out of law school who works for Fey & Co law firm. The first case starts off with your buddy being accused of murder. Since it's Phoenix's first case, he is guided by the beautiful Mia Fey (chief) to navigate you through the jungle of legal tricks and fundamentals. The bevy of characters is an eclectic, zany bunch. I smiled in amusement at the jokes and clever dialogue. I loved how Phoenix gets tongue-tied around pretty ladies.

There are a total of five cases. Each case is episodic since there is a continuity to the story. At the beginning of every case, you are presented with an introduction of the murder scene. While the first case was fairly easy, the ensuing cases were complex. Trust me, I sat there dumbfounded while scrolling through the evidence frantically. "What would Bobby Donnell or Alan Shore do??" Don't let the simple mechanics of the game fool you, sometimes it gets quite challenging.

This game is well-suited for the DS's and 3DS's dual screen. (I have a 3DS.) The top screen is for the animation and text, while the bottom touch screen is where you engage with it. Aside from touching the screen in order to read the following text, you can also choose an answer in the form of a multiple choice (location and so forth) and check out Court Records. The Court Records hold the evidence you've collected. Each evidence (picture) is accompanied by a brief description (can't tell you how many times I've re-read 'em).

During trial, and specifically during a witness's testimony, you must find contradictions in their statements. You must discredit them in order to acquit your client. So you get the option of either asking the witness (and I must say, what a SKETCHY, SHIFTY-EYED BUNCH!) to explain what they meant by a particular statement or presenting the court with evidence. You are allowed to read/replay the testimony as many times without being penalized by the judge. And trust me, you'll find yourself re-reading their statements until it's practically committed to memory. You only get penalized when you present the court with irrelevant/inaccurate evidence.

There's not much of an audio in terms of a dialogue except for hollering "OBJECTION," "HOLD IT," and "TAKE THAT!" In spite of this, the music made up for it. It was suitable and changed tempo every time there was a new development.

All in all, I enjoyed this game. This was my first game in this series and I have consequently bought the rest. If you have a DS or 3DS, pick up this game. I know that there's an influx of point and click game apps for a cheaper price tag, but this game is wonderfully-constructed. Recommended. Can't wait for Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney coming this August. I hope my review helped in your purchasing-decision.
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