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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

There are many different genre out there in the gaming world; fighters, shooters, racing titles, platform games. However, there are not exactly a whole heap of games based around courtroom drama. In fact, it would be impressive if any of you could think of more than perhaps three! Therefore, there is an instant charm about Capcom's latest Nintendo DS outing, Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney as it falls perfectly into said category. Yet is standing out from the crowd really what this game should be doing, or hiding its head in the sand. Time to find out what objections, if any, we have...

The game starts you off as a rookie lawyer by the name of Phoenix Wright, a wet-behind-the-ears attorney who has been thrown into his first major case - a murder trial. Luckily it would appear that nothing is quite as bad as it might seem due to the fact that he is set to defend one of his friends, a person who no matter how often finds himself in trouble, actually is totally innocent. Therefore, it is your job to shoot down the plaintive's case and protect your defendant by exposing the lies, examining evidence and generally being a full-blown lawyer trying to uncover the truth, the whole truth and nothing but...the truth!

Phoenix Wright distances itself in graphical terms from other games on the market as it is not your run-of-the-mill 3D platform or action title. Instead, gamers are treated to what appear to be hand-drawn visuals that have a distinct character and air about them. Now, for some this may not appeal too much, but those that enjoyed playing around with Another Code will definitely be far more appreciative of the styling found within. The locations that appear during the game as the story unfolds are all well-detailed and characters go completely crazy during trials, giving the whole game a great sense of feeling and atmosphere, making you chuckle at times as well as shocking at others. As for the soundtrack side, though, there is barely anything to talk about as you hardly notice it at all. But hey, that does not really matter too much as the main part of the game will be keeping you so involved that you will not be bothered in the slightest.

Screenshot for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Some people might wonder what all the fuss is all about, to be honest, there is hardly what you could call drastic action going on throughout the whole game. In fact, certain groups of gamers could well find the pace far too slow to hold interest. Where are the guns, the violence - the meat of the title? Well, if you are not willing to get your brain into gear then perhaps this really is not the game for you at all. Do you like reading books and working your way through text-style adventures? Then Phoenix Wright is the one for you...

This is not the first game in the series, but unfortunately until now we had yet to sample its delectable charms. In some ways it can be described as one of the many point-and-click adventures that litter the PC market, only slithering into the console world on a very irregular basis. Now, just like with Another Code, these appeal to a niche sector of the gaming community (myself included). Fans of old text-based adventures will enjoy this thoroughly as it is one of those masquerading as a current generation game. But thankfully the use of the stylus ensures that everything flows smoothly and does not prove awkward and cumbersome. Although, for the sticklers out there, you can still use to old control setup.

Screenshot for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The idea is that you are a real-time lawyer thrown into situations that call upon your deductive skills to work out how your client is actually being framed for something they never did. Luckily the proceedings are nowhere near as boring as they may sound as the script is absolutely crazy and creates many a laugh-out-loud moment primarily due to the complete inanity (and insanity, for that matter) of many of the characters' conversation. You also will not be left out in the cold, as there are advisors that stay by your side every step of the way, plus your trusty Court Records, of course, which contain all the relevant evidence that you need to sift through. Should you uncover something contradictory when witnesses are giving their statements you can choose to grill them even more or even throw a strong piece of evidence into play, basically embarrassing them or causing them to hastily change their story (to which you will normally be shown a wonderfully over-the-top animation).

Screenshot for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

But it is the strange humour and over-exaggerated expressions that help to maintain the thrill of the game. As well as the fact that the DS is perfect for this type of point-and-click experience and the way you can go digging for clues as the game progresses by examining various locations and grilling numerous 'dodgy' folk. Unfortunately, though, there is a slight drawback in the fact that when you are given choices in conversations they are not as influential as you may think, in fact not so in the slightest, with Wright laughing off the 'incorrect' answer, leaving you with the correct one in the long run. There is also a major limitation in the number of routes to take in order to reach the climax – just the one! Plain and simple, no pretences, just one way to go and that is it, with your hand held most of the way through. But hey, with a game this good you can hardly hold too much of a grudge.

Leaving this game be is not an option once you have delved into its deep confines, and being forced to close your DS after watching the credits roll will not be something you have to worry about any time soon either. With clever use of both screens, the ease of touch-screen use, a wide-spanning world to navigate, the massive script to work your way through, all the investigative nosing around that is required, PLUS a lovely ‘little’ extra that extends the game beyond imagination, your money will safely be bet on this Capcom DS title.

Screenshot for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on Nintendo DS- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


Whoever decided to bring a spruced-up version of the old text-based PC adventure games to the DS has to be applauded as this works 'splendiferously' on the new Nintendo portable and really gets the brain working.


Whilst not blasting out of the screen with shiny new three dimensional graphics, Phoenix Wright has its own hand-drawn, anime look that suits the game perfectly and causes much laughter.


In all honesty, whilst Capcom may have tried to set the tone perfectly with the soundtrack, the majority of tunes just fade into obscurity far too easily.


With over ten hours of play-time to work your way through initially, the fact that the Ace Attorney has an even better trick hidden up his sleeve at the end is more than value for money.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

The Nintendo DS was supposedly created to bring brand new experiences to a market that had begun to lose interest in the Videogame Industry as a whole. Now, whilst the premise of Phoenix Wright may not exactly be a fresh one, Capcom has converted it into one of the most compelling experiences not just on the DS, but on the market as of now. Want to try something different and expand your mind? You know where to go...

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (8 Votes)

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Sorry but the sound is not near as bad as you make it sound like (lol). It fits the action perfectly and it IS noticeable. In my opinion it deserves an 8. I'm also surprised you gave a 9 for gameplay. How could this be, when there's almost none of it? Most of the time you just click and click to scroll down the text. Only in the last episode you have to do more interesting stuff. I have this game and I love it, but it seems you mistook the score of the sound for the score of the gameplay.

Revolution is the solution.

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