When my wife looked up at me horrified as I screamed ‘Objection!’ during one of the animated courtroom battles, I knew I was hooked to this trilogy. Given its anime style, Phoenix Wright is a timeless delight that has transitioned perfectly from the DS to the switch. This is the Capcom’s anime courtroom comedy-drama with a fresh lick of paint and it’s a welcome remaster.
For those haven’t tread the dangerous tightrope of the courtroom, you play as Phoenix Wright, a budding lawyer tasked with obtaining a “Not Guilty’ verdict on an increasingly bizarre and genuinely interesting mix of defendants. To do this you must first utilize your detective skills and scour crimes scenes and surrounding areas for clues, interview suspects and witnesses in order to build your case. Once you have gathered all the pieces for your trial arsenal you will enter the court and let battle commence.
The Courtroom is the heart of this game and where the most fun is to be had. Though Phoenix is an enthusiastic, loveable character he is a rather clumsy lawyer who needs all the help he can get. He certainly wouldn’t be my lawyer should I ever decide to get on the wrong side of the thin blue line! Fortunately, on your first court case, you are hand-held through the basics of the court. You listen to testimonies of the witnesses in order to find inconsistencies that you challenge with the now iconic - ‘Objection!’ Finding these inconsistencies and seeing the witness squirm as you tear them apart is such a guilty pleasure. It’s not perfect, however. It can be frustrating when you lose ‘life’ when you pick the wrong one of two seemingly identical pieces of testimony whilst attempting to nail the witness to the wall. Compounded by the fact that sometimes you truly are grasping at straws to find connections that have only the most tangential of links. I’ll be honest, there was more than one occasion that I saved the game and kept trying random combinations till I hit home.
My main gripe with the game strangely also happens to lead into one of the series’ main strengths. The exposition phase in-between trials, where you explore the world, finding information and evidence to bolster your client’s defense can be cumbersome. There is a lot of treading old ground moving through the same areas looking for clues and even more time traveling to link two clues together. As you progress in the series, new additions to gameplay try to add some of the drama from the courtroom to this part of the game by adding in the Psylocke capability. Where you can present evidence to witnesses that is clearly hiding something to break them into revealing an essential plot twist. It’s a welcome addition but it does little improve the issue.
This is a text-heavy experience and not for the faint of heart, it is a visual novel after all. You are given the option to skip the dialogue; however, doing so would remove the main draw to the game. This is the combination of fantastic writing and the amazingly eclectic mix of personalities that populate the world. You can’t wait to hear more of the backstory of the colorful cast of characters. The story is tight and as you progress through the different cases the same characters weave in and out of the plot bringing continuity and charm. These include the judge whose verdict seems to swing back and forth like a metronome, a downtrodden cop Dick Gumtree whose sole pastime seems to be being berated by prosecutors and the prosecutor Miles Edgeworth whose single-mindedness to win makes victory against him all the more sweet. This is all wrapped up with humorous dialogue that throws every pun it can into the mix.
The Phoenix Wright Trilogy was a blast from the intrepid introduction to the courtroom to the final crack of the gavel. It might not be for everyone, with its heavy focus on text dialogue but it is a charming adventure that’s well worth your time.
Coffee received a copy for review