At first look, Phoenix Wright looks to be an incredibly boring court room game. How wrong we could possibly be for ever even thinking that. With a very intense influence from Japanese culture, the game brings a world of deception and punishment unlike we’ve ever seen before. If you have what it takes, you may just be able to prove everyone wrong.
You take on the role of Nick “Phoenix” Wright, a rookie defense lawyer under the employment of Fey & Co. Law Offices. Your superior happens to be Mia Fey, and she is more or less your mentor in becoming a full-fledged defense attorney. Through trial and error (no pun intended), you will have to work your way through five grueling murder cases in order to prove that you are indeed the next top cheese in defense law. Your job in this game will make Johnny Cochran’s look easy for how tough it can get sometimes.
But of course, be prepared, the prosecutors you will end up facing are ruthless to the core. You will end up facing three in total, but each will do and say whatever they can possibly think of to achieve that guilty verdict they are shooting for. You will have to maintain your wits and wisdom as you press witnesses, investigate crime scenes and ultimately prove contradictions in court. That is the only way to save your clients.
As you begin the game, you are presented with some nice conversations between yourself and Mia Fey, your boss. Apparently you are heading into your first major defense trial, and you are especially nervous. Mia’s little sister Maya, a spirit medium in training, also tries to help you in trials throughout much of the game. Nevertheless, while your first trial may be your sort of tutorial and not exactly difficult, it still makes you think.
You must defend a childhood friend in Larry Butz. He apparently is one of those people with some of the worst luck in the world. Always at the wrong place at the wrong time and getting blamed for anything that goes wrong around him. Heck, people even have a saying for him, “If something smells, it’s usually the Butz.” That doesn’t exactly bode well for your friend as you prepare to help prove his innocence, but at the beginning it almost seems hopeless. You will have to pay attention to witness testimony and the evidence presented in order to show who’s really in the wrong here.
This trial is indeed an excellent way for you to get into the game and maintain your interest. The trial itself is hardly long and there’s not too much that will overwhelm you. The evidence is minimal and there’s the perfect number of witness testimonies that you’ll hardly feel bombarded. Simply take things one at a time and you will be just fine.
One of the great things about Phoenix Wright is the ease of learning how the game works as a whole. The first trial as stated before is your sort of “in-game tutorial”. It’s not exactly difficult, just as long as you pay attention and have a good knowledge of your evidence. You should come out with an easy first win. You will learn how witness testimonies, cross examinations and evidence showing works. Unfortunately one of the bigger aspects of clue discovery, crime scene investigation, doesn’t begin until your second case. Thankfully, the game also helps teach you how that works as well, but it’s really not difficult. You simply utilize the touch screen as the crime scene is shifted to the bottom screen, and you drag a targeting reticule to areas of interest. You also have your four main actions on the touch screen when you’re not doing anything in Examine, Move, Talk and Present. Those are all you’ll ever need, and becoming familiar with their usage couldn’t possibly be simpler. Just an overall easy game to learn, as anyone can really play it.
The anime/manga art style, especially from Japan, has always been thought of as “unique”. Well the case is obviously no different here. Phoenix Wright is driven completely by an anime style graphics presentation, with some of it looking like it may be from a comic book as well. Everything about the looks of this game is surprisingly impressive, and rather authentic for the most part as well. The attention to detail in all the game’s aspects is very well-balanced.
All the characters you encounter in the game will definitely leave a mark on you. Every person is very unique in their own special way. Whether it may be their personality, their clothing or just how they present themselves overall; it’s all unique. The only negative aspect in all this is some characters will be presented in an extremely stereotypical fashion. That can lead to some players having ill feelings towards the developers for having some stupid bias towards a certain gender or profession. Detective Gumshoe seems to be one of those “I’m intelligent when I really only need to be” type people. He’s not really “stupid” per sue, but he’s not the brightest bulb in the closet. Then of course you have your female personas who are highly sexualized. Now since you can only see the upper bodies of everyone, it’s obvious what that “feature” is.