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    jp's Phoenix Wright: Justice For All (DS)

    [April 15, 2011 05:34:30 PM]
    For some reason the Phoenix Wright games really drag out for me past a certain stage. They're fun, and funny, and all good...but I just wish they were shorter. This one is definitely interesting...well, the last case mostly (which I just finished earlier today, so I guess I should have written more about it).

    Ok, some general observations:

    In my experience so far, the game series has established a few "conventions" about what you're supposed to do and how things work. For example, you should always "press further" (when prompted) and always "hold it" to get witnesses to discuss their testimony in further detail. Also, when you need to present some evidence, you can always tell if you got it right because the music will stop...

    This game played with some of those conventions, which was a bit of a surprise. So, a few times the music would stop when I presented evidence...but no, I was wrong. (and I think the opposite happened at least once). Also, there was one occasion when the correct choice was to admit that you had no evidence to prove something (and then, fortunately, something out of your control happens that lets you proceed). Going against convention can sometimes be good (keeps you on your toes) but other times it doesn't work so well since it can be confusing and also seem arbitrary.

    I though the new "mechanic" of psyche locks was implemented in an interesting way. Now and then you run into a character who has a psyche lock - this shows up as a bunch of chains criss-crossing the character and some giant padlocks in front. The idea is that you have to "interrogate" the character and present evidence that will break the locks, thus unlocking some testimony that will help you progress in the game. A character with many locks is supposedly much harder to "break" compared to one with only one lock. I had assumed that each lock represented a clue/piece of evidence or something you'd have to present. So, when running into a character with, say, 5 locks, you'd have a sense to do a lot of investigating before trying to break them. The game isn't that consistent though (perhaps to avoid player's metagaming?), sometimes you have to present more than one thing before a lock breaks and at other times more than one lock breaks with only one piece of evidence. (this happened at least once for great comedic effect with a character that basically hates Phoenix Wright but is so desperate for something you have that all 5 locks break as soon as she finds out you have that item). So in the end, I'm not sure what the point of the multiple locks was other than to give you a sense of how "difficult" (stubborn?) the character was...

    Of all the cases in the game, the last one is definitely the most interesting since it directly addressed a minor issue I have with the series so far: as a defensive attorney, your clients are ALWAYS innocent. In the last case, although you start out convinced your client is innocent, after a while you discover that he is in fact guilty, raising the issue of what you should do. Interestingly, the game argues that what's most important is that truth and justice prevail. So, your job as an attorney is NOT to do what's best for your client! In the last case, Edgeworth (who finally appears!) basically works together with Phoenix in order to draw out the truth in the case while, in some sense, ignoring the difference between prosecution and defense. At some times, Phoenix has to do things that jeopardize his client because truth is more important. The game's narrative mixes things up a little as well (to save a friend you need to get your client acquitted even though he's guilty AND in getting an acquittal would result in an otherwise innocent person taking the blame), perhaps a little too much, in the sense that the "right" answer is obvious. You could make a strong argument that Phoenix should do his best to get the acquittal regardless of the additional circumstances (so long as he does not do anything illegal or improper to get the acquittal). Similarly, the prosecution should always try to get a conviction. Interestingly, in the series, the prosecution side has always been portrayed as "wrong", especially with those characters who favor the conviction over anything else (basically, Franziska, Edgeworth and Von Karma) and would stoop to nothing to obtain it. The last case definitely represents the series moving "forward" (with Edgeworth repentant on his former errors) with both sides (prosecution and defense) presented as a team that works together to ensure justice is done. Curiously, it is usually the judge who has no idea what is happening...even as he recognizes that something unusual is going on.
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    [March 28, 2011 04:44:46 PM]
    Oooh, surprise moment!

    So, my rules of thumb so far when playing these games are:

    a. When asked if you want to press further/continue questioning/etc, do so.

    b. During a trial, you should never give up (say, I don't have any evidence...or I can't prove X, or anything of that sort).

    The other day (in Episode 2 turnabout something or other) I had to, for the first time ever (I think), give up during a trial. Generally this results in a "game over"...but this time, a miracle occurred! Well, not quite a miracle..but basically I realized that I was supposed to give up (and the trial then carried on based on an NPC doing/saying something).

    So...hmmm... I think this makes it a lot harder to play the game...but I guess I'll have to see how it all plays out.
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    [March 24, 2011 08:06:02 AM]
    I'm not sure I'll have all that much to say about this one. The gameplay is now so firmly established that the value of the experience lies not so much in the surprise of novel and/or interesting gameplay, but rather in the story and the characters. Having played two(?) of the games in the series, I'm actually looking forward to seeing how old bit-players are worked in to make an appearance and what they'll get around to this time around.

    I've already finished the first "episode"... and I still don't really understand why they're always called turnabout.
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    jp's Phoenix Wright: Justice For All (DS)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Thursday 17 March, 2011

    GameLog closed on: Friday 15 April, 2011

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    If you like the others, you'll like this one. Felt a bit too long for me, but that's been the case earlier as well. The last case is really interesting.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

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    1 : Phoenix Wright: Justice For All (DS) by rsmithca (rating: 4)


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