The Ace Attorney series is almost a decade old, and we’ve been receiving them since 2005. What can really be said about any of the original games that hasn’t been said already? Even if the WiiWare version is “new”, reviewing it feels like I’m the last person to learn about a big rumor in my circle of friends.
I’m telling them all about it with excitement as they stare at me with disbelief that I could have possibly not known yet. Imagine if I posted a review for Super Mario Bros. tomorrow; would you read that review to learn more about the game? To a smaller extent, that’s my current predicament.
Anyways, bear with me while I tell the general gaming public everything they’ve known about Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulationsfor many years. If you missed the boat somehow, or never owned a DS, perhaps this will be enlightening. As a bonus, I’ll tell you all about the WiiWare port. Just try and forget for a moment that a quick glance at any review of the earlier WiiWare ports will tell you everything you need to know already.
AA:T&T’s gameplay remains faithful to the series’s text-adventure style, where we assume the role of defense attorney Phoenix Wright as he defends clients facing trumped-up murder charges. There are two gameplay modes: the investigation phases, where we question witnesses for vital information and examine the crime scene and other vital areas for clues and evidence. And secondly, the trial phases, which consist of logic battles with witnesses in court. Here, we listen to the testimony and use the evidence to expose any lies or falsities in their statements. Eventually, this leads us to exonerating our defendant while indicting someone else.
The main gameplay features of the previous game return, including the incremental lifebar (allowing for the penalty of presenting wrong evidence to be adjustable) and Psyche-Locks, a special segment of the investigation phase that acts as a sort of miniature trial phase. When a witness is lying or withholding information, Phoenix can confront them with evidence to force the truth out of them.
New to our third installment is…well, nothing. Of all the games in the series, Trials & Tribulationsis the only one that brings absolutely no new gameplay elements to the table. This game could have been DLC if the games were originally released in this day and age.
This means, of course, that the game needs to hold itself up on its story alone. Unfortunately, I would say that T&T has a pretty weak overarching story. It deals mostly with random skeletons in Phoenix’s closet, as well as the mystery of our new antagonistic prosecuting attorney du jour, Godot.
Godot is probably the biggest killing blow of the entire narrative, as he is completely absurd and unbelievable. He talks in stupid proverbs, throws big fits, acts like no real person would, and is probably the biggest rebel without a cause I’ve ever seen, both in reality or fiction.
We eventually find out his reason for hating Phoenix, which might have been believable if Godot were a thirteen year old boy, but alas, he’s not. Add in some huge plot holes in the cases themselves, and we have a pretty boring ride for the most part.
As with the other WiiWare ports, T&Tdoesn’t really do anything with the game except allow for motion controls (now you can pretend to throw evidence in a witness’s face…although I think that was unintentional) and multiple save slots. Otherwise, the graphics and gameplay are unchanged, and even the typographical and grammatical errors from the DS version remain intact. If we waited so long for this port, why didn’t those at least get fixed?
That’s pretty much all there is to it. People who enjoyed this game before already know if they’re going to buy this, and I imagine anyone who has avoided the games thus far are not going to change their mind. Perhaps this will appeal to…I don’t know, Wii owners who don’t have a DS? Either way, the boring cases, ridiculous (or, should I say, more ridiculous than usual) characters, and the lack of any cool gameplay elements we didn’t see in the previous installment make this game a borefest.
If you’re seriously fixing to play an adventure game, why not try the first two games, instead?
The aesthetic is fine, but it doesn't seem like a lot of effort was made in porting the game.
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The gameplay is very good, but the game is not quite as challenging as its predecessor while offering no innovation or improvements.
The music is pretty catchy, but it's overly anime-esque and sounds more like something I'd hear in a JRPG.
If you take your time to enjoy the experience, it'll probably give 20 hours of game time.
Take the previous game in the series and change nothing, add some new cases, some big plot holes, and a couple of stupid characters. That's Trials & Tribulations.