Thursday, December 29, 2005

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Nintendo DS

Finally! A game that has my attention for 3 days straight (although it should have been two, but I lost a save). What is it? A CSI/Law and Order game. Don't get me wrong, you won't be scientifically analyzing evidence or anything, but you get that fealing. Essentially, half the game is on the crime scene, talking to those involved and gathering evidence to use in trial. Sound simple, but it can be satisfactorily time consuming.

This game also reminds me of those old "Choose-your-adventure" books. Although it is possible to lose, the game does somewhat try to help you out.

In anycase, in the courtroom it is your job as a defense attorney to find contradictions in the witnesses' statements. It ends up becoming somewhat of a logic game. Thankfully, you can review evidence at almost any time if you forget anything. You'll definitely need it, as the four cases after the first are far from straight-forward.

For portability, the game almost lets you save at any time. The only times I noticed that it won't let you save is when you are specifically asked to show "decisive evidence". However, that is okay. This game is long, so being able to save almost anytime is excellent.

The game didn't seem to get old, although sometimes were frustrating. The frustrating times were when you are not sure where to go or who to talk to. In the courtroom, it is occasionally not obvious enough at what evidence you are supposed to relate to. The Judge will allow several stupid mistakes, but after that he will get annoyed and decide you have no case. Very interesting.

Apparently, this game is ported from a Japanese GBA title. The only case developed specifically for the DS is the last one, which is an addition to the original game. It includes Luminol spraying and fingerprinting with the trouch screen. My only complaint is that things like these were not available in the other cases, although they did adjust to the touch screen quite well for the other cases.

I recommend this game for a buy merely because it has a lot of gameplay hours in it. However, there is no replay value because of the length, and there doesn't appear to be different endings (not counting losing as an ending). I believe a game should have plenty of hours in it for the money, and this game fits the bill. Renting it may leave you unable to finish it!

Just for retrospect, a game such as Trace Memory is a pure renter because it can be beaten in a few hours or less with no or little replay value. But a game like Mario Kart or Tony Hawk are games that have replay value, as you can compete online or against friends.