reviewed on NDS
Phoenix Wright 1.5 Justice will Fall
It is common for a sequel to disappoint somewhat but it in the case of Phoenix Wright, disappointment reaches new heights. Much of the original game has been recycled except for the one thing that they should have left alone: the characters. Read on and I will explain.
In Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Justice for All, you play as a lawyer named Phoenix Wright who is lucky enough to have all his clients to be innocent of their murder crimes. Unfortunately, he has to deal with a cheating prosecutor who tends to conceal a lot of evidence in order to prove the defendant's guilt.
So what went wrong with the Justice for All's characters? Well, I never felt as attached to them as I did with the original. I really hated Franziska von Karma, one of the prosecutors, for being such a nuisance. This alleged child prodigy obviously never met a thesaurus for I quote her saying things such as 'Foolish fool who foolishly dreams of foolish dreams'. She has a score of these fool variant quotes. It really got on my nerves. More than once I wished that I had Phoenix's infamous 'Finger Point of Doom' and poke her in the eye while yelling 'Take that!'.
Most characters just seem annoying and appear to have to do without the spark that made the original game. In Justice for All they seem to be deprived of the charisma they had in the first game while having lost their intelligence as well. The only exception to the rule seems to be Detective Gumshoe who keeps on yapping at you like there is no tomorrow. At some point I was actually thinking 'Shut the hell up so I can go to court!'. It is this sort of thing that starts you developing an opinion of a character and it is sorely lacking with almost every other character in the game.
The 'rails' are much more obvious than in the original, right up to the point where it punishes your own creative thinking. You have to get the game's only possible answer as it provides no alternatives. For example, in one case you have to prove that a name found with the victim (indicating the murderer) could not have been written by the victim. At first I thought it was because he had broken his neck and he couldn't have moved even if he would have survived. Wrong. The correct answer would have been that the name was misspelled. One could call it a puzzle, I just call it aggravating.
The only really new addition to this game is the annoying psyche-lock. A potentially interesting feature but so poorly executed that it makes all the recycling that has been done in the game look good by comparison. Phoenix walks around with a rock that is called The Magatama. It detects a person's secrets and will allow you to present contradictions to prove to them that they are hiding something. The problem here is that the game does not let you know when you have enough evidence to open a person's these psyche-lock. You can get stuck in these locks, thinking you have everything needed to proceed and ending up losing health points for giving incorrect answers. Annoying!
Partly because of the psyche-lock system, the game quickly becomes a slow game of trial and error. On top of that the slow and plentiful on-screen text can't be sped up, further enhancing the feeling that you just can't seem to progress. If you add that the mandatory 'save and quit' is still there while the game has become much harder, you will realize that working your way through the game is nothing less than bothersome.
The graphics are pretty decent, yet much of it was recycled from the prequel. The quality of drawing isn't that bad either but it would have been nice to have something different to look at. The four cases will take you about 20 hours to finish but after that, it is unlikely you will ever return to the game due to its complete linearity.
No Pros and Cons at this time