John Walker's Electronic House

Phoenix Wright Gets Acier

by on Aug.15, 2007, under The Rest

The new Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, comes out a week tomorrow – Pre-Order! Pre-Order! Pre-Order!

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There’s the horrible chance you don’t know who Phoenix Wright is. Nick, as his teenage assistant, Maya, refers to him, is a young defense attorney, working in a legal system based more on the rules of blind man’s bluff than anything more real-world. In alternating sections, Phoenix must investigate murders (going from area to area, interviewing people involved, and searching locations for evidence), and then enter court where he must cross-interrogate the witnesses provided by the prosecution. This is done by applying the evidence to reveal what the game so vivaciously calls “contradictions” in the witness’s words. In a manner. It’s all done with such a mad sense of purest joy that you want to hug your DS. Check out my Eurogamer review for more details, including how Maya channels the spirit of her dead older sister, also manifesting her larger boobies.

There’s also some confusion over the which game is which in this series, so let’s clear it all up.

There were originally three Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney – I think) games on the GBA, in Japan only. For reasons unknown, but providing unbridled joy, the decision was made to remake these for the DS. The first, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, came with the original four chapters, and then a bonus brand new chapter made especially for the new release, featuring a slightly tweaked cast. It used the touch screen even more than the port of the previous chapters, letting you rotate evidence to find hidden clues, and lots of gimmicky scratching and blowing things.

Then the second game, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All, received a similar treatment, except without the bonus levels. Everyone was back, with excellent new cast members like Pearl, another young psychic, and the inclusion of Psyche Locks – a means of applying the evidence manipulation from the court areas into the rest of the game.

Then the confusion arrived when Gyakuten Saiban 4 came out in Japan. There was no sign of part 3, and this time there was no English translation. In fact, it’s a brand new game set after the GBA titles, and featuring a completely new cast, without Phoenix Wright in the lead role. In the meantime, part 3 was in fact being given the same porting and translation, and that’s out in Japan on the 23rd.

Which for me is a reminder to finish the final chapter of part two. I had to stop to review it, and never reached the conclusion, which I’m finally putting right. And the fifth chapter is absolutely splendid. It’s a sort of ‘best of’, picking up story threads from both games, bringing in old favourite characters, and creating a double-team of evil prosecution lawyers with all sorts of melodrama. This is how excited it’s getting me for part 3: I’m not sure whether to play Bioshock or Phoenix Wright first. Yes.

I’ve feeling it’ll have to be PW so I can get the review done in time for EG, which means I’m going to have to play it in some sort of Bioshock-information-proof bunker. I’ll be switching off the internet that Friday, so download everything you need Thursday night.

PS. Does anyone really want to hear the inane music independently of the game?

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