Launching into Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Image captured by cary
Image captured by cary, from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney © Nintendo

Do you know where I was when Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney was first released in 2001? I sure don’t recall. Even if I could remember, it probably wouldn’t matter much anyway because I never had the system it was on, the Gameboy Advance.  And if that wasn’t on my radar then, then Phoenix Wright and his ace attorney-ing wasn’t either. Over the next several years, the name “Phoenix Wright” would flit in and out of my ears. Once I got a Nintendo DS, I do remember someone asking me if I was going to get “that new Phoenix Wright game.” Well, my man of the hour was, if not Mario, then Professor Layton.  His puzzle-y stylings were enough for me. I didn’t need some “law and order” game gumming up the works. Truth be told, it would be a good decade before I’d informally meet Mr. Wright. And it wasn’t in the context of a graphical courtroom but in a fighting game: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Yep, here was this odd playable character named “Phoenix Wright” with the strangest fighting style imaginable. Who the heck was he? Who was that girl assisting him? And what was with all the “OBJECTION!” madness?? These were questions that bothered me only for a moment as I sought to crush my next opponents with Morrigan and Zangief. Phoenix Wright was just…there.

2012’s Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is probably the first time I really took notice of Wright. I never played the game, but having had a strong past with Layton, I was extremely curious about why the two gentlemen were put together in a game. This led to learning all about Phoenix Wright’s story and his games. His many games, in fact, as a number had then been released, and most of them had received significant praise.  Even with this new information in my head, I didn’t catch the must-play fever. I no longer had my DS then, and I wasn’t really looking to get back into mobile gaming. Wright would have two more outings: Dual Destines (2013) and Spirit of Justice (2016) before I’d finally decided it was time to jump on the law-abiding bandwagon. And I’m starting at the beginning with Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.

Image captured by cary, from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney © Nintendo
Image captured by cary, from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney © Nintendo

In the game, I’ve only just completed the first two cases, The First Turnabout and Turnabout Sisters, and my oh my, what a splendid time I’m having! Granted, I’m already seeing that I’m terrible at making inferences and deductions (I’m no lawyer…or Sherlock), but I’m rather taken by the stories, the writing, and the characters. Especially the characters, as they range from charming to eccentric to blazing mad. (And this is just in the first two cases; imagine what else is in store!) Taking on the persona of fresh-faced defense attorney Phoenix Wright is perhaps akin to settling in to the shoes of Toby MacGuire’s Spiderman – green, goofy, and gung-ho. He’s certainly not like any other character I’ve played in a game before.

Image captured by cary, from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney © Nintendo
Image captured by cary, from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney © Nintendo

I’m also enjoying the gameplay itself. Surprisingly so, I must admit. Not knowing anything about its mechanics outside of hearsay, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve not attempted any visual stories before, but the way the stories play out, from gathering evidence to the courtroom dramas, makes it seem like a more active experience than not. Sure, you’re really just clicking through options most of the time, but the storytelling is done in a way that makes it feel like you’re controlling to action. And there are even moments where you get to make important choices. I’m not far enough into the game to know if those choices really matter, but they seem like they do for the moment, and that’s enough to keep me invested.

Image captured by cary, from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney © Nintendo
Image captured by cary, from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney © Nintendo

So…why Phoenix Wright, and why now? It’s not like any of the games were in my backlog or that I was intending to taken them on this year. Um…well…? I could say that, over the holidays, I stumbled across a new Nintendo DS emulator for Android that I was curious to try. And yeah, having played emulations on my tablet before, I could say that knew that I needed a simple game to try with it, one that didn’t require extensive button use or the need to hook up a controller. And okay, maybe I read one too many reviews of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney − Spirit of Justice last summer and thoughts of it had wormed their way into my subconscious. I could say all of that. I don’t really know why I picked up Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, but I’m playing it now. And I’m glad that I am.

Hey Phoenix Wright fans, got any tips and advice? I’ll take all the help I can get!

10 thoughts on “Launching into Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney”

  1. Yes! I’m so happy that you’re playing, and would love to hear all of your thoughts! I love the series for its awesome turnabout mysteries, wacky cast of characters, and suspenseful music. You’re in for a treat if you liked the first two, because the series only gets better from there. Well, at least until the trilogy ends. Definitely play that original trilogy! Then I’ll leave it to your judgment if you want to continue from there. I will say that I enjoyed the most recent sixth game a lot, but I had to get through a couple of games to get there. Have fun and TAKE THAT!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, thanks! I had heard that these games had some…odd characters, but I had no idea that each would also be imbued with such personality. Even the old judge has his moments! And I’m already loving the strange relationship between Phoenix and Mia/Maya. It’s so wierd, but somehow it makes sense. Overall, I’m surprised as how addicting the game’s been, from meeting new characters to just enjoying the really awesome music. Uncovering clues and restoring justice has never been more fun!

      I’ll be writing more about my adventures in the game here in the coming months, so there’s more to come. Promise!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m the same – got introduced to Phoenix Wright through the Professor Layton crossover, which I absolutely loved. I then bought the trilogy on iOS.
    My only complaint is that sometimes the deductions require some large leaps in logic to get the right answer.
    I think the best tip is to press everything, and then see if anything said contradicts evidence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since finishing this post, I’ve started the third trial, the Turnabout Samurai, and I’m starting to see just how difficult it can be the get and stay on track with the deductions and clues. I’ve found that I’m pretty terrible at making certain correlations, but it’s good to know that may just be because the game’s logic is just a little off. I’ve also tended to jump to the wrong conclusions with the evidence, and thus lose favor with the judge, so I’ll try the pressing technique. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yay! I’m glad you’re diving into the games! 🙂 The character progression from game to game is really great, so you’ll want to continue playing these games in order. I also recommend playing the only Miles Edgeworth game that ever got released in North America. It offers some really great backstory on the prosecuting attorney.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Being just a few hours into the first game, I’m really surprised at just how well built the characters already are. I feel like already understand Phoenix and his nervousness and desire to win! Maya/Mia on the other hand…well, she’s going to take some time to figure out. ☺ But the writing is really top notch, and I’m loving it. It might take me some time to catch up with the series, but I’d definitely like to. (Thanks for the note about Edgeworth’s game — will keep it in mind.) If the first game is already this much fun, I can’t wait to see what else is in store!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Recollections of Play and commented:

    HOLD IT!

    Why Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney? And why now? Considering how far gone my gaming preferences generally are, those are good questions. Here I make a roundabout attempt to answer those questions, and no others, on United We Game.


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