First of all, in interest of full disclosure, I must admit, I am huge fan of Phoenix and his buddies a super-fan even. These games have been instant purchases for me since I played the first one years ago, so yes, this will probably be a glowing review, after all the remakes look great with their revamped graphics. However, there is still a point in writing this up, even though I do enjoy the games, they aren’t perfect and can it really be worth the price point to a newcomer to the series or a non-super fan like me?
Basically, it is a lawyer simulator, that sounds boring, but no it isn’t, not by a long stretch. Game makers are striving to make a game that makes you care, give people a storyline that makes you cry, I have witness failed attempts in this by the likes of Mass Effect Three or L.A Noire. I have heard that The Last of Us has done this well, but I am not convinced from what I have seen, at the same point Telltale’s The Walking Dead has achieved this at points but failed in the end really. The storylines are the best in games I have played, the characters created throughout every game in the Phoenix Wright Series have had an impact no matter what, even if they are evil, crazy, funny and just plain annoying.
This is the game’s strength, even though the situation is crazy, nothing like real life or even a real life court room. Elements of fantasy and Sci Fi appear in this world and are taken without much amazement once established. The premise revolves around Phoenix being charged with defending a good guy client, against the odds and usually turning around bad witnesses testimonies to prove them to be innocent. The villain can be spotted early on usually, before an investigation stage, at points we see the murder happen like an episode of my favourite detective show Columbo. The testimonies are split up into statements and you produce evidence that contradicts the statement to catch out the lie. You get the evidence and background to the case in the previously mentioned investigation stage, you look at the crime scene various related places, meeting various characters to do with the case in general.
The game plays smoothly in general, however there are some obtuse and even terrible leaps of logic in the puzzles that need to be solved in each stage, though these problems are sparse, occurring more in the later games, I will say that the website Gamefaqs will help, they helped me multiple times previously! The cast varies from circus folk, to movie stars, to tramps, to master detectives, to spirit mediums, to sociopaths to mass murderers and hit men, all with something to contribute to the story, another criticism that arises from this is there are some characters that are genuinely annoying, just watch out for Larry Butz and Wendy Oldbag, they are to me the worst offenders!
Some people will be turned off by the sheer amount of reading that is expected, but the game is the story, invalidating this criticism instantly, the writing is charming and genuinely funny. The characters are well written as are overarching storylines throughout, action fans might not like the lack of action, but I think it is a great game and offers something to everyone willing to give it a chance. I don’t want to spoil any of the stories, but the themes can get adult, after all every case is about a murder, other themes like extortion, suicide, cover-ups are amongst a lot of things that makes these not a game for kids.
All in all, I stick by what I say, this may not be for everyone, but it is for me. I am glad for the chance to play this anew on my 3ds. The build is new and looks it, not like the two pound ninety nine pence versions on Ipad (Which plays like the old game boy advance versions, horribly). Twenty four ninety nine seems like a lot, but for a fan or even a newcomer this offers lots of hours of entertaining gameplay. These have been and still will be my go to game for traveling; it is that engaging to me, even playing over again. The new stuff plays well also; Duel Destinies was a great addition to the story last year and Phoenix and you will be hearing more of this year’s Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright later, it is on my list for top games of this year!
I will recommend this game, even at it’s price point, the value is great compared to other games offered on the 3DS eshop! It’s time to get back in the court room for the veterans or for non-Wright fans to give the series a try, it will be worth your while in my opinion!
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo 3DS code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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