I have to admit, I never thought that Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney would be my sort of game. I spend a lot of my gaming time on FPS’s and RPG’s and I haven’t played a point and click adventure in a long while. Also, it’s about lawyers…which didn’t seem like the most exciting premise. However, Capcom were offering the first Phoenix Wright game on the iPhone for 59p so I thought I would give it a go. I now find myself having completed the game, it’s sequel and am now well into the 3rd game in the series.
I have been completely won over by Ace Attorney.
The game is divided into 2 sections; Investigations, where you explore crime scenes and question witnesses and Trials, where you cross-examine and navigate through conversations in order to find contradictions. Once you’ve found a contradiction you can present evidence by yelling “Objection!” None of this remotely resembles a sane legal system. But the game does demand you to think critically from time to time about how the case fits together and is pretty engaging.
But, it wasn’t just the gameplay that endeared me to this game, although the twists and turnabouts and ridiculously dramatic moments as witnesses unravel on the stand are a joy to behold. Mainly, I fell in love with the writing. It can be pretty cheesy at times but each character is a very original creation written with depth and humour. Some you may only meet the once and others recur in the sequels but it’s quite hard to forget any of them. The originality of the characters also holds true for their appearance and animations. Each character has only a few expressions but I can’t help but be impressed with how much personality and emotion was infused into these few sprites.
This game made me laugh out loud more times than any other game I can remember playing since Secret of Monkey Island. It made me wonder why I spend so much time playing as silent, grim heroes. Phoenix Wright’s colourful world of flashy blackmailers, Steel Samurais, haughty prosecutors with tragic pasts, spirit channeling teenagers and old ladies who will just not stop yelling at you was like a breath of fresh air.
I should take this as a lesson and expand my gaming horizons more often. I’ve been guilty of sticking to my preferred genres too long and I wonder what other gaming delights I might have let slip me by.