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Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Justice for All review

Tricky witnesses, evil prosecutors and explosive legal drama make a strong case for this courtroom comeback

Pros

  • Still surprisingly addictive
  • More suspense and depth
  • Smarter than it looks

Cons

  • Too much corny pun humor
  • No DS-tailored trial this time
  • Franziska's whip gets tiresome

Defense attorneys in Phoenix Wright's world must be stressed to the point of insanity. Not only are their clients presumed guilty until proven innocent, but the only way to actually free them is to find the real culprits and force them to confess on the stand. What's more, the judge is a gullible idiot who allows key witnesses to constantly revise their testimony after being caught in lies. All things considered, it's a wonder these lawyers ever get paid.

Of course, it wouldn't be much of a game if the odds weren't stacked against you, and as Wright, you'll take certain defeat and turn it into victory time and time again. Four times, in fact, as that's how many new murder mysteries you'll get to solve in Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Justice for All.

Like 2005's Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Justice for All is structured sort of like the Law %26amp; Order games, except that it's actually interesting. Not that it sounds that way from describing it; it's a text-driven adventure that's divided between arguing in a courtroom and investigating crime scenes. Your input is limited mostly to moving between rooms, picking dialogue options, poking at static images to find evidence and then using an inventory screen to present that evidence.

See? Boring. But for whatever reason, the game isn't. Maybe it's the constant sense of danger, the thrill of slowly piecing together a mystery or the weird blend of oddball charm and life-or-death brinksmanship. Whatever the case, Justice for All is way more fun and addictive than it has any right to be.

Defense attorneys in Phoenix Wright's world must be stressed to the point of insanity. Not only are their clients presumed guilty until proven innocent, but the only way to actually free them is to find the real culprits and force them to confess on the stand. What's more, the judge is a gullible idiot who allows key witnesses to constantly revise their testimony after being caught in lies. All things considered, it's a wonder these lawyers ever get paid.

Of course, it wouldn't be much of a game if the odds weren't stacked against you, and as Wright, you'll take certain defeat and turn it into victory time and time again. Four times, in fact, as that's how many new murder mysteries you'll get to solve in Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Justice for All.

Like 2005's Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Justice for All is structured sort of like the Law %26amp; Order games, except that it's actually interesting. Not that it sounds that way from describing it; it's a text-driven adventure that's divided between arguing in a courtroom and investigating crime scenes. Your input is limited mostly to moving between rooms, picking dialogue options, poking at static images to find evidence and then using an inventory screen to present that evidence.

See? Boring. But for whatever reason, the game isn't. Maybe it's the constant sense of danger, the thrill of slowly piecing together a mystery or the weird blend of oddball charm and life-or-death brinksmanship. Whatever the case, Justice for All is way more fun and addictive than it has any right to be.

More Info

GenreStrategy
Description<p>Phoenix's&#160;second collection of&#160;four cases of off-the-wall courtroom drama is coming to WiiWare soon.</p>
Franchise nameAce Attorney
UK franchise nameAce Attorney
PlatformWii, DS
US censor ratingTeen, Teen
UK censor rating12+, 12+
Release date: (US), (UK)
Available platforms:DS
Genre:Strategy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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