Please sign in or sign up!
  • Forget your password?
  • Want to sign up?
  •       ...blogs for gamers

    Find a GameLog
    ... by game ... by platform
    advanced search  advanced search ]
    GameLog Entries

    jp's Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (DS)

    [April 20, 2007 11:02:08 AM]
    So, I finished the 5th case. For a "bonus" case (it becomes avaialable after you supposedly beat the game and watch the credits) it was definitely a lot longer, more involved, and interesting that I expected.

    Surprisingly, it introduced new gameplay, letting you manipulate some pieces of evidence by rotating and zooming your view in. So, some of the clues required you to find clues in them... Very neat!

    So, what is worth it? Totally.

    I'm really surprised by how much I enjoyed the game as well as how involved I became with the courtroom drama. And all of this while playing without any sound!

    It's also been interesting to view this game as an evolution of sorts of the typical adventure game (including the text-based ones). These games normally fall prey to a problem wherein the player is trying to outwit/outguess the designer of the game. The solutions to puzzles seem arbitrary and the player often ends up going for the brute-force method of problem solution. Trying to use everything in your inventory with everything in the environment quickly gets out of hand. Also, many puzzles require you to guess ahead too far. The player doesn't really know what is expected of him and WHY he should perform some sequence of crazy actions in a specific order. In many cases you feel like you're working on a giant Rube Goldberg device where you don't know what the final goal is and you don't know if the little step you just did was in the right direction or not.

    I felt that Phoenix Wright largely solved this issue in a few ways:

    (1) The game is segmented in such a way as to limit the combinatorial explosion of options. In court, for example, you're usually "stuck" in a particular witnesses testimony which is maybe 4-5 "screens". When hunting down evidence, there are never more than 5-6 locations you can visit.

    (2)The game automatically "progresses" to the next step/stage when you've done all that you need to do. Sure, it's a more linear, but you never second guess yourself. If the plot isn't moving, you still need to do something, somewhere..

    (3) Clear goals, that are the same regardless of the actual case. For example, when you're in court you need to poke holes in the witnesses testimony. Always. The context and circumstances may change, but your end goal is always the same. If you get it right, the case moves you don't have to think in terms of long chains of elements-actions (no need to think of a Rube Goldberg device)

    I guess in some ways it's a simplified formula where the scope of your actions has been narrowed down and the narrative experience is structured more tightly. But it sure is effective! :-)
    read comments (2) read comments - add a comment Add comment
    [April 5, 2007 10:33:20 PM]
    It must have been after I solved the second case that I started to look around for the typical "settings" options you find in most games. In RPGs that have a lot of text, there is usually an option for "text speed" that lets you change the speed at which the text is "written" on the screen. The text usually appears one letter at a time, and if you read faster than it appear you might want to have it appear sooner...

    Phoenix Wright doesn't have that option. (I'm pretty sure)

    I was starting to get really annoyed about it, since I'm a reasonably fast reader and what not. Then it suddenly dawned on me why (I think) this game has no option for changing the text speed. I feel so stupid now!

    In Phoenix Wright, the speed at which the text is displayed is used to set the emotional mood, tone, and even personality of the characters who are speaking! When a character is excited, it appear faster. Sometimes it appears word by word... sometimes it takes a reeeeally long time, and it also seems to be "uneven". So, for a certain phrase..the first few words might appear sooner than the last couple.

    Isn't that clever? I had never really thought about it, until I realized that as I was reading, I was mimicking the speed at which the text appeared and this had an effect on how I was understanding the characters. I was no longer reading a "script", but rather, there was emotion... it was like a conversation!
    add a comment Add comment
    [April 2, 2007 10:50:47 PM]
    I finished it! Well, not quite... once you win the last (4th?) case, you get an extra one which I'm still in the middle of.

    I've been thinking a bit about narrative segmentation and whether or not it applies in the case of this game... I think it does...and here are some of the reasons why...

    Narrative segmentation is when a game's gameplay is broken down into chunks according due to some narrative reason. Usually, this comes together with some other form of segmentation, but I don't think that it's always the case. Phoenix Wright is broken into a series of cases. Each case is basically like a TV episode. Each is internally consistent, and there is some relationship to the other cases. For example, the cases occur in chronological order and events/characters that happen in an earlier case are acknowledged in later cases. So, if a certain character dies, that character won't re-appear later on. While the cases occur chronologically, they aren't evenly distributed in time. So, it's not like a new case is the "day after" from a previous case.

    Each case is also broken down in a way that could be described narratively. Basically, there are 2 phases. The first phase is one of investigation where you have to find clues and talk to people until you are "ready" for the next phase. The player never decides when he is "ready", this happens automatically when you have uncovered the necessary information or gathered the final clue. Basically, when enough plot points have been revealed, you are moved on.

    The second phase is the trial phase where you different witnesses give their testimony. Based on what you learned the previous day you have to punch holes in the testimony forcing the witness to amend it. You normally have to do this a few times for each witness.

    After that, you win. Well, sometimes the judge decides that in light of whatever you proposed, there is enough merit for further investigation, and you go back to do some more..with another trial day, etc.

    So, why is this narrative segmentation?

    (1) Player has no choice when advancing the game. It's decided for him, based on the plot.
    (2) The highest level of granularity is the Case, which has a relatively self-contained narrative, unique plot, and characters.

    Hmm.. I thought that list would be longer. Oh well, I need to think about this some more. (Oh! I just noticed that someone else put this game as a strong example in the game ontology!)
    add a comment Add comment
    [March 23, 2007 04:29:42 PM]
    A game about lawyers in court? It sure sounds like the craziest idea ever...but, perhaps unsurprisingly for some, it does work and I've really enjoyed my time with this game so far.

    What's the best? Well, it hasn't bee the gameplay, rather its been the reading. Whoever did the localization on this game should get a medal. Seriously. The characters and dialogue are funny enough that you can laugh while maintaining enough Japanese zaniness to make it doubly enjoyable without leaving you scratching your head and going, huh?

    I must admit that while I've secretly relished the though of interrupting a witnesses testimony by yelling "Objection!!!", I have yet to actually try it. I don't think I will.. but just the thought that I can is enjoyable.
    add a comment Add comment

    jp's Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (DS)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Tuesday 20 March, 2007

    GameLog closed on: Friday 20 April, 2007

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    It's fun. Maybe a little too much reading over actual playing, but its an entertaining read nonetheless. It grew on me and the more I played, the more I enjoyed it.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See jp's page

    See info on Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game
    1 : Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (DS) by davehansen (rating: 5)
    2 : Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (DS) by noopnomad (rating: 3)
    3 : Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (DS) by Refried Hero (rating: 5)


    games - logs - members - about - help - recent updates

    Copyright 2004-2014