Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Description official descriptions
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is an enhanced port of Gyakuten Saiban. This version features all of the cases from the Game Boy Advance release, with the addition of a fifth case which is longer than any of the previous ones and while it retains the same gameplay, it adds many new features that are unique to Nintendo DS such as microphone (to yell "Objection!" or use it to blow the fingerprint powder). Also, the inventory in the new fifth case adds a feature to examine each item in more detail and adds full 3D representation of every object which can be rotated by DS stylus or zoomed in for closer examination.
The new case continues after the ends story of the original game where Miles Edgeworth was the suspect in murder examination but has been acquitted by none other than Phoenix Wright, his childhood friend and a defense attorney. Maya Fey, Wright's assistant, also went to study and fully learn about her inherent powers of a mystic. New case, titled "Rise from the Ashes", introduces all new characters, and Phoenix finds himself defending a chief prosecutor Lana Skye who has been charged with murdering a police detective, Bruce Goodman. While Lana is all but admitting her crime and refuses to give any information that would play in her defense, her younger sister, Ema Skye, who aspires to one day become a forensic investigator, is not giving up on her sister and teams up with Phoenix in order to find out what really happened.
- 逆転裁判 蘇る逆転 - Japanese spelling
- 逆转裁判：新生的逆转 - Chinese spelling (simplified)
Credits (Nintendo DS version)
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Average score: 81% (based on 99 ratings)
Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 69 ratings with 3 reviews)
Phoenix Wright is one of those special games for the Nintendo DS. Here you play as the novice lawyer Phoenix Wright, a defendant attorney who really believes in the innocence of the person that he defends.
You may think that this is a boring game because of the starting concept, well, laws aren't the funniest things out there, but this game is just the opposite. To start with you will feel really soon the Japanese sense of humor in all the game, and you'll laugh a lot with the things that the characters say during all the turnabouts (chapters in the game) and the things that Phoenix Wright is thinking at any moment.
Gameplay is quite simple, you start the game with a case in the court and you have to defend your client. Once you've done it the real game starts (in the second chapter), the first one is just an introduction that really works as an inducement, but the real gameplay is divided in two parts. In the first part you're more like a detective than a lawyer. The second part takes place in the court.
About the first part, the "investigation" part, the game works as a simple graphic adventure. You point to different things on the screen and you examine or take them. You can also talk with the people, presenting them evidences from your court record and getting valuable information to use later in the court. The way is the same as any other graphic adventure, even more simple. You can't miss any object or information during your investigation because the game won't continue until you get what's necessary. Once you've done it you'll go to the court, which is the funniest part of the game.
In the court you'll have to defend your client with all the evidences taken during your investigation. You must read carefully what people say in the court, from the other lawyers to the witness. Phoenix Wright will help you during the court by thinking about what they're saying, it works like clues for you.
To sum up, the process is simple, you have to cross examine the witness and find contradictions in his/her testimony. Once you've found the contradiction you should present the evidence as a proof. It sounds easy, but it isn't, and it's not just because you'll have an amount of things in your court evidence... it's because there are some different ways to get to the contradiction. For example, a witness' testimony could be clean, but you can press him by asking concrete things to find the contradiction. You can't try again and again every single proof because you have "lives", so, the game's not as easy as it looks in the beginning.
All the chapters aren't related at all. They have some things in common, but you can solve all of them without knowing nothing about the previous ones. Each chapter is interesting and will caught your attention from the beginning, all of them are imaginative and really hard to predict.
Anyone can play this game because you only control the stylus (you can use the buttons too if you want) during the whole game. You can also use the mic of the DS to say "objection", "hold it" (if you want to press the witness) or "take that" (when you're presenting a proof). Fortunately, you don't have to shout like an insane person and you can make all with your stylus. So, no need special skills for playing this, just deduction, logic and paying attention.
Of course, you can solve some parts by chance, but the developers tried to get over it and they really did a good work. In the game you'll have to be very specific, not only presenting the correct evidence, you'll have to point the exact part of the evidence that proofs your theories. For example, if you have a report, you'll have to point the page where the proof is.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a remake of the game for Game Boy Advance. There are four chapters and a special one made for this game which uses the hardware and capacities of the Nintendo DS. If you didn't play the game for the Game Boy Advance (which was only released in Japan) you'll enjoy anyway all of them, but the last one is different because all the things that you can do on it.
To finish with, you'll soon love your character and all the people involved in every chapter. Every character is special because of the humor, charisma, and essence of the game. You really want to know a lot about Edgeworth, Gumshoe and Phoenix himself, and you'll discover a lot of things during the game about all of them. A good example about creating charismatic and deep characters for a game.
Sometimes Phoenix Wright is the one who will solve many situations, not you. It happens when he's suspecting about something and you have to select just an answer for a direct question to continue. It feels like Phoenix Wright is the one who realized about that but you didn't.
Pressing the witness' is always useful to get to the contradiction, but when you're pressing the witness' and he modifies something in his testimony because of that you'll know for sure that the contradiction is in that thing that he modified, and you won't pay attention to the rest of the testimony, which makes things easier.
"Detective" parts are a bit boring because they aren't special at all. Defending the client in the court is the most exciting part of the game, and this previous part is just a formality that sometimes is long, and something that you'll have to do many times during the game.
Try not to leave the game for a long time because you'll forget most of the info. You can save your progress at any time but you can also start the chapter again from the beginning, if it's been a long time since you've played last maybe you should take that second option. It's not something that I didn't like of the game, but it requires special attention to follow the story, and of course, some of your time during constant periods to finish the game.
The fifth chapter included for this game is perfect, but there are two problems that come from it. The first one is that you'll want more, and you'll realize that the previous chapters weren't using the possibilities of the Nintendo DS. The second one is more serious. The fourth chapter's story is the best one, and it worked as a perfect climax for the game. To include the fifth chapter once everything's finished ruins a bit the good taste of that ending. The fifth chapter is as interesting as the others, but it's not as relevant as the fourth is.
The Bottom Line
Prepare to point your finger to anything/anyone in the court with this original game that makes the practice of the law something funny. A nice remake of a game that was never released out of Japan, that will establish some basic elements for a new wave of games of this charismatic character.
Nintendo DS · by NeoJ (398) · 2010
"Phoenix Wright" is quite hard to explain to someone who never played the game. So let's put it simply : you assume the role of a young attorney with great potential (and spiky hair). The game is a succession of cases in which you must prove your client is not guilty. Each case divides between investigation and trials, in which you confront and cross-examine witnesses. So, basically, Phoenix Wright (PW) looks a lot like japanese investigation games like Snatcher. But in terms of game mechanics it is totally different, most notably because of the trial scenes (we'll talk more about it later)
Beside its original concept, PW is also filled with a wacky, witty sense of humor. The witnesses' names are all pun-intended ("Mr. Sawhit", "April May", and so on), they all have their own, distinctive way of talking (for instance the over-arrogant Redd White uses words like "fantabulistic" on a daily basis) and the dialogues are full of jokes and punchlines. The humor is also on the graphical side : the faces of the witnesses change as you cross-examine their testimony, your character sweats when it is not going as good as planned, with a clever use of the graphical codes of the anime/manga Super-Deformed style....
But the greatest part of the game still are the trials. Using the evidence you found in the investigation scenes, you'll try to prove the contradictions in the witness' testimony. But rather that a dull procedure, it is filled with hysteria, humor and excitement. "Objection !", "Stop It !", "Take This !" blows the upper screen as you - or the prosecutor, who you will soon learn to hate - try to change the course of the judgment. Those scenes are incredibly funny. And if the first trials are quite easy, it becomes quickly very complicated, as your opponent is better and better able to break your defense and put your client in danger.
Finally, one last word on the great quality of writing. Even if the game is mainly a comedy, it does have its tragic moments (those are murder cases, after all) and they are handled very well.
"Nothing !" I would answer, but actually there are one or two things that are a bit annoying.
First, the introduction sequence of each case shows you who is the murderer, and if it makes your job easier it kills a bit the mystery. But like a good old Lieutenant Columbo episode, the important part is less "who" did it, but rather "why", and of course, "how can I catch him/her" ?
Second, the stories are sometimes a bit far-fetched, but don't forget it is COMEDY, after all.
The Bottom Line
Probably the best game so far on the DS, and an instant classic. DS proved it was a great machine for adventure games (with titles as "Trace memory" or "Lost in Blue") and "Phoenix Wright" is only the confirmation of this statement.
Nintendo DS · by Pirou Julien (2963) · 2006
In the near future, a new court system has been brought about. People are guilty until proven innocent, the trial begins the day after the crime, and a verdict must be reached within three days of trial. Not an easy time to be a defense attorney. Playing as rookie attorney Phoenix, you'll investigate various murders and defend your client in court. Within each case you'll go back and forth between the two modes, with more segments of each in the later longer cases.
Investigations involve traveling between the available areas, asking questions of the people there, and investigating the areas for evidence or other clues. As you gain new knowledge, new possibilities open until you gather all that's necessary to proceed to the trial phase.
The trial is the real center of drama. After the prosecution introduces a witness and they present their testimony, you get to cross-examine the witness. At any time you can press them for more details. Your main goal is to find inconsistencies between their testimony and the facts (or their previous testimony), which Phoenix can then present with a righteous "OBJECTION!" If you're wrong, a mark is counted against you; too many and your client will be found Guilty. If you're right, the witness will try to correct their story, and the cross-examination will continue. Eventually you'll either get your client found Not Guilty, or at least introduce enough question that the judge will allow more investigation to occur.
Controls are pretty simple. Ace Attorney was originally a GBA game, so everything can still be controlled with the d-pad and buttons, but you can also do everything very conveniently with the stylus (my preferred method). You can even hold a button to use the microphone in court, shouting "Hold it!" to press a witness or "Objection!" to present a contradiction. Unless you're by yourself and want to wear out your voice you probably won't bother, but it's a fun novelty.
The exception to this DS rule is the last case, which was specifically added to the DS version. In this case they'll take greater advantage of the touch screen and advanced graphics capabilities by letting you dust for prints with a stylus and blow the dust away with the microphone, and twist 3D objects around with the stylus. It's also the longest case in the game, giving the game as a whole a pretty significant length.
The gameplay mechanics seem pretty simple, and they are. Luckily they're used on top of fun stories, characters, and just plain writing, which is what you'll leave the game remembering. From the names (Detective Dick Gumshoe and Ms. Oldbag for instance) to comments made by your assistant during your investigations, to the inept comments made by the judge, to even the varied styles used (one witness speaks in 1337) reading this title will leave you entertained--which is a good thing, since you'll be doing it most of the time. I actually found myself laughing out loud occasionally. You'll get attached to the characters, and assisting in their triumphs (or stopping a murderer) makes you feel pretty great.
Another bonus about the good story-telling and simple gameplay is that this is a good game for people who aren't into very complicated games. When it comes to handheld game systems my mom primarily likes to play puzzle, card, or board games, but as a bit of a nut for CSI, Law & Order, and murder mystery novels, I thought she might get a kick out of Phoenix Wright. I was right. She got stuck a few times and called on me to assist, but she never felt over her head.
If you demand a lot of interaction, this game might not be for you; it's very much on rails. You'll investigate and learn certain things in a certain order, until you've completed the game's objectives and move to the trial. At the trial you'll have to press the right statements and present the right piece of evidence at the right time. It may sometimes seem as if more than one piece is applicable, but it's only expecting one. You can at any time save the game to prevent losing progress and having to restart from the beginning of that day's trial, but repeatedly guessing can get pretty old if you're not sure what to do.
Other than seeing the story again, there's little to be gained by replaying this game. You're not going to find any new side areas you missed the first time around, or find an even better piece of evidence to use in trial. The most you can hope to gain is to investigate something you didn't see the first time around and get another funny comment from your assistant, or catch some other stray bit of text you'd previously missed. At least when replaying a case, though, you'll be able to scroll through the text much more quickly.
Though I earlier praised the game's writing and localization, there is one aspect I don't like. The Japanese version of the game was set in Japan, but in the English version it says it takes place in the USA. Considering the game contains things like nearby movie studios specializing in samurai shows and pre-packaged sushi meals, it rings false every time the text suggests they're in California.
As I mentioned earlier, the game was originally for GBA. Most of it hasn't been very changed, so the graphics and sound are under DS par. The designs aren't bad, but you'll notice some dithering and wish a few more colors were used. The music works, but you might wish for better samples.
Warning that there's only one save per game card. After beating a case you can jump to the beginning of it at any time, but don't expect to let someone else start their adventure while you're still in the middle of yours.
The Bottom Line
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is like an interactive comic. As someone who enjoys interactive and non-interactive entertainment, I don't mind a blurring of the lines if it's done well, and I believe it is here, though it's easy to get stuck and frustrated.
Nintendo DS · by Joshua J. Slone (4656) · 2007
1001 Video Games
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.
Due to issues regarding distribution rights between Nintendo Australia and THQ, Australia didn't see the release of the game until well after the sequel was available overseas, and a year after the European release.
The Japanese version of the iPhone port requires a constant connection to the Internet, unlike its western counterpart.
- 2006 – #2 Best Adventure of the Year
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- MobyGames ID: 20581
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Ben K.
Wii added by sgtcook.
Game added December 27th, 2005. Last modified December 3rd, 2023.