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Phoenix Wright - Trials & Tribulations Review

Greg_Damiano By:
GENRE Adventure 
T What do these ratings mean?

Will the Defense Please Give It A Rest

I would call myself an Ace Attorney, except I must be the dumbest guy in the world. Take my latest case, for example, where I had to do a little detective work:

click to enlargeThe investigation arches around a mysterious paint spill. I go to the basement, the crime scene, and I find bright pink paint on the wall. Hey, wait a second! There’s pink paint splattered all over a piece of evidence I’ve collected. I also see the L-shaped box that stored my evidence has been thrown on the floor. The box is covered with pink paint. The paint spill on the wall ends in an L-shape. The case is solved.

But I can’t do a thing about it. These clues sit in plain view for HOURS before I’m finally allowed to accept them as evidence. A whole trial has come and gone by then. This is clearly an obstruction of justice. Can we hold the writer in contempt?

Trials and Tribulations is the last in a trilogy of “visual novels” starring our dapper but pointy-haired legal eagle. I really don’t have anything to add since Joe Dodson reviewed Phoenix Wright: Justice For All. Because there are NO NEW FEATURES to work with! But since I’m filing my report anyway, I’ll say that I like the promise of courtroom drama on my DS, but I object to Wright’s clunky and punishing “gameplay” - and you may too.

click to enlargeTrials takes a stroll through the life and career of our dear Phoenix Wright. You’ll see Phoenix’s mentor Mia Fey at the defense’s table, and you’ll reunite with old friends like Maya and Detective Gumshoe. I actually like these characters, so I was glad to have them back even if they’re heavily recycled. Capcom’s translators have brought us five more episodes of ridiculous characters and nonsensical rhetoric, and you’ll either get into the light-hearted approach or you won’t.

Trials does a fine job of reintroducing you to established characters and gameplay elements like Psyche Lock. The tired old “gameplay”, however, is the same exact punishment as predecessor Justice for All. You’ll read a hundred text boxes until you get to Phoenix’s cross examination, and if you screw up, you’ll have to crawl through those hundred boxes all over again. You’ll see the obvious arguments but can’t act upon your intuitions until you match some weird random clue to some frustratingly vague sentence.

It is equally unimpressive that Trials and Tribulations adds no new features and only a meager few characters to the Phoenix world. The menus are still as clunky as hell, and the whole touch screen is still lazily filled by a single giant Scroll Text button. I miss how the first Wright title had some DS-specific elements with the touch screen and microphone, but Capcom is saving that fancy alternative fun for the next installment.

But would I even want to see a fourth game? Phoenix Wright is not a game; it’s a book with an element of user-failure. Trials and Tribulations has been just that - a barely engaging read that keeps stumbling over its own unclear mysteries. There are no rewards here beyond the story, and even then Phoenix is a boring, go-nowhere guy.

click to enlargeSeriously, is he making good money or building a world-class rep for his work? Will he take on bigger clients or high-profile cases? He takes one case, goes on a whole-year hiatus… he must be doing great! He meets knockout ladies everywhere he goes. Can’t he at least get a phone number? Your Honor, please give me a reason to succeed beyond guilt and disappointment.

Ultimately, what could we expect? If you’re a fan of Mr. Wright, you’ll likely enjoy this additional chapter in the Turnabout adventures. The weak smiles and moments of victory, however, are poor motivations to solve Phoenix Wright.
C- Revolution report card
  • Revisiting old friends
  • Same old clever art and humor
  • Same old gameplay and interface
  • Rereading anything, ever
  • Nonexistent DS functionality
    Reviews by other members
    No member reviews for the game.

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