Phoenix Wright Trials and Tribulations Review

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations [Available on WiiWare, Nintendo DS, and Game Boy Advance]
Rating: T
Genre: Adventure/Visual Novel
Players: 1
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: May 10th, 2010

Parent Talk: Trials and Tribulations is the third Phoenix Wright game.  It can be enjoyed independently, but playing after two games would heighten the satisfaction.  Trials and Tribulations is identical gameplay-wise to its predecessors, just with new characters and scenarios to experience.  T&T is a text adventure that tests your ability to analyze testimonies.  There are some adult situations and suggestive themes, but nothing explicit—it’s a murder mystery game.  Younger children would probably have difficulty playing because of the game’s emphasis on heavy reading and logic puzzles, but parents have little to fear.

Trials and Tribulations is the third [and technically final] chapter in the main line of Phoenix Wright games.  There are spin-offs, but this entry completes the story set out by the first two Ace Attorney titles.  It introduces one of the series’ best characters, fleshes out the existing cast, and brings the saga to a close.  The franchise’s essential, trademark charm is maintained.  If you played the last two games, I’ll just recommend immediately to download this one..

The Great:
Strong writing and characters.  Capcom brings back the cast that fans know and love, with new personas thrown in.  Godot is one of the series’ most recognizable characters, with a tragic story that’s explained wonderfully during this game.  Trials and Tribulations is the most emotionally involved of the series, and despite its silly moments, pop-culture references and abundant jokes, there are genuinely sad moments that make you feel for the characters.

The Good:

+ Great music.  Trials and Tribulations enjoys a strong list of catchy music, much like the previous two games.  The style is similar, but there was no need to tamper with what isn’t broken.  The many new compositions work well, and fans may argue that this game has the best soundtrack of the bunch.

+ Though negligible, the WiiWare version interestingly supports the Wii remote.  You can thrust it forward (emulating Phoenix Wright’s iconic finger point) to shout “OBJECTION!”  This is the Wii’s way of “shouting into the DS microphone.”  This feature can be turned off though.

+ Length. T&T features five cases, and while one is regrettably short, the game still features far more value than many other WiiWare games.  The final case in particular is epic, and requires hours to finish.  While some would argue that a lacking incentive to revisit it all would hurt the game, it’s still extremely satisfying on its first playthrough, making the $10 investment worthwhile.

The Bad:

– Linear.  Trials and Tribulations’ plot is rich, but follows a strict path.  You explore character dialogue and text, yet there’s no way to influence the proceedings.  There are no multiple endings or alternate routes, meaning that you either discover the correct line of questioning or suffer a penalty.  However, this issue comes with the territory of text adventure games.  It fundamentally works due to the enjoyable mental stimulation, with mechanics simple enough to hook in the casuals and deep enough to warrant a look from the hardcore.

– Deja vu.  The presentation/gameplay are identical to Ace Attorney.  The sole difference comes with the “Magatama”, Phoenix’s lie detector test of sorts, which is introduced in Justice for All.  This adds the series’ trademark supernatural content, tying in with the background and lineage of some core characters.  When faced with a dishonest tongue, “Psyche-Locks” pop up, and presenting evidence can dispel them.

The Lowdown:

If you avoided the first two games, there’s not much point in downloading this entry.  You should experience Ace Attorney first, then the sequels.  Each release is worth it, presenting a satisfying piece of a fantastic story arc with memorable characters and great music.  Download the trilogy in its entirety — no objections.

Leave a Reply