Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Wii Review

Publisher – Capcom – Developer – Capcom – Genre – Adventure – Players – 1 – Age Rating – 12+ – Other console/handheld formats – DS

Being late at purchasing a DS, I missed out on the Phoenix Wright series, so its release on WiiWare was welcome for me, allowing me to play a series that I have long been looking to play, and let’s just say that there are no objections from me, going by this initial game.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney stars the eponymous Phoenix Wright, a young fresh out of law school lawyer looking to kick-start his career, by defending a bunch of oddball characters through four cases. Murder may be a common theme throughout, though this is in no way to say that it’s a deadly serious game, as there’s an emphasis on humour.

It’s the kind of humour that is often so ridiculous that many will just not be able to resist laughing at the absurdity of it all, not least of which are the often bizarre but excellent personalities throughout. There’s an old lady called Ms Oldbag, who just can’t stop moaning about things, there’s a deceased character that takes the place of another to help out Phoenix in times of need. To go into any further detail would be a crime as chatting with the characters is one of the best and most prevalent features of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.

All the characters have at least one thing in common: they're odd.

The entire game is spent on largely static backdrops, though there’s some great art and some limited but charismatic animations from the characters. It’s heavy on the dialogue, but its humorous side means that even those that don’t usually like a lot of reading in their videogames may very well find it enjoyable, though it’s hardly going to go down well with those that just want to shoot the faces off people, but it’s not aimed at that type of person.

A typical case in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a combination of investigation and courtroom drama. Investigating has you building a case by chatting to witnesses and combing the murder scenes for clues that can be utilized in the court to clear the name of one person, or to implicate another.

Once you’ve found sufficient evidence, you’ll head off to court. Here it’s up to you to find holes in each witnesses’ testimony, presenting evidence that contradicts their statements and pressing them for additional information on certain topics. It doesn’t really tax the mind until the latter episodes of the game, but a lot of people will be too engaged with the bizarre cast of characters and the courtroom proceedings to care.

The courtroom sections have a high level of tension and the twists come thick and fast. Unsurprisingly, it’s far from a simulation of a court case, so you’re allowed to make up to four mistakes, at which point the judge will declare the accused as guilty, even if the evidence isn’t there.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney has so much personality and wonderful characters that it would almost be hard not to like it even if it was an awful game, but essentially it is the game. People that already own it on the DS will find scant reason to make them buy this Wiiware version, but adventure fans that never got the chance to try out the series first time around finally can and will find plenty to love, provided they don’t mind a largely easy game with an oddball sense of humour.

The evidence suggests a verdict of buy.