Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations DS Review
"Objection!" Your Honor, lawyer video games are NOT supposed to be fun. That's all we need, a lame ass Law and Order simulation that makes us wish we were dead or, at the very least, playing something along the lines of CSI instead. (Yes, I just said that, shoot me.) But, God help us, Capcom's done great work with the Phoenix Wright games thus far. Ace Attorney and Justice For All are both splendid games in their own right, using defensive tools to battle against the most unlikely of foes, cocky witnesses, an overbearing judge and plenty of prosecuting attorneys playing a mean case of hardball. The fun continues in Trials and Tribulations, the third and final game in the series. (Not to worry, Capcom has another legal series cooking with some Justice character in 2008. This is merely the end of the Wright saga.)
In the game, you'll control two different parties this time around -- Wright in the modern day, with his slick hair and confident demeanor, as well as his mentor Mia Fey, who was recently deceased but stirs memories of when she defended an accused Wright in court. They both play about the same, but there's a certain charm about Fey that makes us wish that she had stuck around for more sessions. Oh, well, at least her presence here is felt enough to be important, not overstaying her welcome. Other characters make an impact here, including Pearl, Maya, and our personal favorite, one of the best villains to be introduced in the series, an over-the-top attorney named Godot. This dude is beyond cool, with a cockiness higher than Wright's and a mean Cyclops-like visor stuck to his head. His choice of words? "I do not lose." Yeah, we'll see, chum.
Nothing's really changed in the presentation, but it remains particularly charming. The graphics don't go that far but the character design is impeccable and the animations are right to the point. It's fun watching a character lose his cool and literally explode into emotion right there in the courtroom. Likewise, the music really picks up as well, especially when Wright or Fey are "bringing it home" in the middle of a case, stacking up the evidence so that it's clearly working in their favor.
Tools of the trade are still available here, including cross examination, the ability to visit crime scenes, and evidence to examine. Between all this, it's your jobs to look for cracks in the story, something -- anything, really -- that'll prove your client's innocence. While it's a bit annoying to see familiar characters land BACK in hot water after you successfully defended them, it's not too much of a burden to stop you from playing the game. There's four great cases in all here, which will take quite a while to resolve. It's just a shame that new downloadable ones couldn't be made available via the Wi-Fi Connection.
If anything, Trials and Tribulations is guilty of just being the "same old thing". After all, the formula hasn't really changed whatsoever from what was present in the first two games, aside from some tweaks to the defense system. Past that, though, it's still a terrific lawyer simulation and a fine wrap-up to the Phoenix Wright saga. At least it didn't go downhill, but stayed right on course. Let's hope that the forthcoming Apollo Justice system Capcom has planned follows suit. It'll be pretty hard to top the almighty Wright. "Take that!"
What's Hot: Great new characters, particularly Godot and Mia Fey; superb presentation, especially the music; great examination tools.
What's Not: Still the same old gameplay mechanics from the first two games; logic sometimes goes out the window.