Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations

January 16th, 2008 by exolstice

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The Phoenix Wright series is probably the closest you’ll ever come to defending a murder victim in a court of law on a home console. That being said, forget everything you think you know about courtroom proceedings, because none of it applies here, save for yelling “Objection!” into the DS microphone at opportune times. This game isn’t meant to be taken seriously, it’s old-school point-and-click adventure gaming goodness.

Trials and Tribulations is Phoenix Wright’s third outing on the DS. The game is split into five cases. Each case is divided into chapters consisting of investigations followed by trials. During the investigations you navigate from one location to another, examining the locations for evidence and interrogating witnesses when you find them. You can also present evidence to witnesses, which sometimes yields more information or additional lines of questioning. There’s also something called a “psyche-lock” that appears when a person is lying. There can be anywhere from 1 to 5 locks depending on how closely the witness wants to hold on to their secret. Breaking the locks is a simple matter of presenting the correct evidence when prompted, however, you don’t always have the necessary evidence on hand when you first encounter a lock, which could confuse newcomers to the series. Once a lock is broken the witness spills their secret and you can proceed with your investigation.

When you’re done investigating, you move on to the trial portion. Trials consist of witness testimonies, each divided into several items of dialog that you can press for more information or contradict with evidence. Basically, you have to find enough contradictions to discredit a witness or get them to crack under the pressure. If you present the wrong evidence however, you take a penalty, reflected in a life bar. Take enough penalties and the case is over.

Now all of the above would prove to be very boring if not for the colorful cast of supporting characters and the clever writing, which will keep you coming back for more. The stories are often quite intricate and full of twists. While each case is separate, there is an overarching storyline that ties them all together. In fact, this game ties up all the loose ends from the two previous games, so if you haven’t played them, I suggest you pick them up first. There’s also a lot of humor in this game, a trademark of the series, which can range from bad puns to obscure pop culture references, but the tone can also get pretty dark, especially near the end.

Basically, if you’ve read this far, you’re obvious literate and you’ll probably enjoy this game, as it involves a lot of reading. This is a thinking man’s (or woman’s) game. While some people may claim the puzzles are illogical, those people are just dumb. Ignore them. I found that practically every obstacle in the game could be overcome by reviewing the evidence one more time and using a bit of common sense. Just don’t play this game when you’re tired, you might get stuck, I know I did. So if you’re in the mood for a nice, enjoyable, and relaxing game, pick this up, you won’t regret it.

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Screenshots* (click the thumbnails for a larger version) :

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Buy from Amazon.com : Phoenix Wright Trials and Tribulations
Buy from Amazon.ca : Phoenix Wright Trials and Tribulations

Posted in Nintendo DS

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