Saturday, November 27, 2010

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations

I wasn’t planning to write another post about a Phoenix Wright game, because to be honest, very little changes between the games, outside of plot and characters. Trials and Tribulations is the third game in the series, and currently the final one featuring Phoenix as the starring character. You’re still a defense lawyer, with the gameplay segments broken up between court and investigation phases.

Someone accused of murder comes to you for help, to prove them innocent, and during the investigation phase you set out to learn more about the case, and gather clues and evidence that will help you in court. You’ll examine various locales and talk to various characters new and old. One new gameplay element introduced in Justice for All (the previous game) is the addition of Psyche-Locks. Frequently you’ll meet characters who aren’t giving you the full story. Maya’s Magatama will react to lies, and the person in possession of it (usually Phoenix) will see a varying number of locks around the lier in question, indicating they’re hiding something. With the number of locks representing how badly they want to keep the secret, Phoenix will have to blow away each lock by presenting evidence that contradicts their excuses, eventually forcing them to tell the truth. It’s just like finding contradictions in court.

What I came back to talk about was the story, by which I was thoroughly impressed. Even though each case throughout the series thus far has had its own, fully fleshed out story, there’s also been one overarching plot slowly developing since the first game, involving Phoenix and the entire Fey Clan. This plot comes to a finale during the 5th case, which is is epic. All the major characters come back for this case, including Franziska von Karma, Dahlia Hawthorne, Mia Fey, and even Edgeworth, who you even get to play as for a while!

The 5th case, and indeed, the entire game ends the entire trilogy on an amazing note, and left me wanting more, only to be saddened when I realized this was the last Ace Attorney game with Phoenix as a playable character. A 9/10.

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