Let me just preface this review by saying the Phoenix Wright games are among my favourite games of all time so naturally my enthusiasm for this Wii Ware port may seem rather inflated. For those unfamiliar with any of the Ace Attorney titles they are essentially point-and-click style adventure games based on the wacky Japanese court system. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney for Wii Ware is a direct port of the 2005 DS title which in itself was a port of a GBA game that never saw the light of day outside of Japan. Unfortunately for this Wii Ware version Capcom has done very little make the game feel unique aside from updating the controls.
“Ace” Attorney may seem like a misleading title because from the start of the game you’re placed in the shoes of a rookie defence lawyer, Phoenix Wright. Unfortunate circumstances leads to you running your own struggling law firm where you take on cases and represent clients who have been falsely accused of murder. It’s up to you to not only prove their innocence but to successfully convict the true culprit in the process. You do so by gaining information form other characters (such as the locals, people close to the victim, witnesses & law enforcement), looking for evidence in various locations and ultimately throwing down in the courtroom against rival prosecutors and fraudulent testifiers.
Cases tend to start off with you first accepting to represent a client and then visiting the crime scene or other relevant locations. There are usually more than one location available at a time so although the story is very linear you at least have the option to do things in your own order. There is usually a character in each location who you can talk to and gain information from, after which you can scan the background like a Point-and-Click adventure to look for any clues that may be present. Some characters may be hesitant or down right unwilling to talk to you, in these instances you’ll have to find a way to help them before they agree to help you. Once you have all the evidence and information you need it’s off to the courtroom where you’ll experience the true essence and the most entertaining part of the game.
While in court you’ll discover whether or not you’re truly cut out to be a lawyer. Your main objective is to look for contradictions in the defendants testimonies and expose their filthy lies! After you listen to their testimony you can press them on each part of it to make them elaborate further or present evidence that you’ve collected to prove that they’re lying. In the DS game you have the option to yell “Objective” in the mic to present evidence but as the Wii lacks a speaker this option is not available. Instead you can shove the Wii remote forward fiercely which is a neat addition but pointless considering it’s easier to simply push a button. Once you’ve pointed out a contradiction the defendant will revise their testimony but continue to expose them and the truth will eventually come out leading you further in your investigation.
Once your day in court is over it’s back to investigating where the process repeats. Although you’re practically doing the same things throughout the entire game the quirky characters that you meet and the excellent writing keep things from feeling repetitive. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a genuinely funny game and although it deals with some grim subject matters you’ll often smile and giggle like a school girl when reading some of the dialog. PW:AA is also blessed with having truly exceptional music that is worth listening to even independent of the game. While each of the four cases in the game are completely unrelated there is an overarching thread throughout which involves solving the murder of your mentor Mia Fay. Her little sister Maya will be by your side for to majority of the game to provide you with some much needed assistance.
As excellent as the core game may be I have to condemn Capcom for being extremely lazy regarding this Wii Ware port. Rather than update the game’s visuals for the big screen Capcom simply retained the resolution of a single DS screen and added a scrolling border to fill out the edges. Although the game looked pretty decent on the DS as you could imagine seeing it blown up on a TV doesn’t do it any favors. Likewise hearing Mr. Wight yell out “Objection” has always been a staple of the franchise however on the Wii his iconic yelling has been confined to the Wii Remote Speaker where it sounds muffled and uninspired.
Making it to the end of the final case will take players at least a dozen hours which is great value for a $10 Wii Ware title. An additional case is available to download for an extra 2 bucks but unfortunately I could not gain access to it in my build of the game. Despite Capcom’s sheer laziness on porting this game to the Wii there’s no getting over the fact that this is still a fantastic game with an excellent story and a tonne of charm. If you own a DS or iPhone you may want to skip this version and buy it on one of those platforms as this type is game is far more suited to a handheld device. However if you only own a Wii and have yet to play an Ace Attorney game this is definitely a MUST buy.