reviews\ Jul 13, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All (WiiWare) review


Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney was a critical hit, if a bit slow to sell, for the DS. Yes, how shocking that a law-based visual novel adventure with Japanese roots did not sell as well as Hooters Road Trip. Sarcasm aside, can the follow-up, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All help Phoenix find the audience he deserves on the Nintendo Wii?

Justice For All is Capcom's North American port of the Japanese GBA game Gyakuten Saiban 2, with updated DS features like touch screen utilization, microphone input, and dual screen display. As with the first game, there are few greater pleasures than yelling "Objection!" into a tiny microphone in front of perplexed friends and family, then continuing to go about your business unfazed. Three years later, it's available for WiiWare.

There's a new investigative tool this time around called Psyche-Lock. The deeper a secret a witness has, the more locks appear around his or her heart. Of course, it's up to Wright to unlock the truth to further the investigation. You may find at times that while you feel you have enough information to undo the locks, partway through questioning it becomes apparent that you need to do more investigating before being able to complete the Psyche-Lock. Luckily, you can back out without being forced to lose all of your health in the guessing process. This is never frustrating; in fact, it feels more like a nudge in the right direction than a disparaging roadblock. When you ultimately do unlock the witness's heart, the locks' release followed by the unveiling of a juicy secret impart a real sense of accomplishment and the sense of a sea change in the case. Psyche-Lock shows up in further Wright games and it's good to see Capcom sticking with what works.

Of course, all of this will only be of interest to you if you haven't played the game on the DS. If you have -- and this is coming from Phoenix's number one Legal Eaglet -- don't bother with this low-res version. This is a straight port without the enjoyable DS functionality, or -- and this is the first and last time I will ever say this, I promise -- the graphical quality of the DS. I expected at least some new bells and whistles -- or at least the ability to point with the Wii Remote -- to make up for this as well as to encourage gamers who have already played through the title to buy it for the second time. Instead, what we have is a GBA game on the big screen. And judging from the lack of GBA-to-TV accessories currently available for purchase, this is not a good thing.

Capcom would do well to treat its faithful with the respect we deserve. In the end, it's best to object and hope the judges that be serve up a better port of the Phoenix Wright series.

Above Average

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