“Phoenix Wright – Ace Attorney: Justice for All,” the sequel to “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney” is definitely more of the same: the same great writing, the same quirky trial plots and the same off the wall characters. In fact, the only thing missing is the extra fifth trial that incorporated more of the Nintendo DS's functions into the first “Phoenix Wright,” the surprise hit of last year for Nintendo’s incredibly hot handheld.
Like the original, “Justice for All” is an import of a Japanese Gameboy Advance game in which the player takes on the role of Phoenix Wright…an ace attorney. Through a first person point of view the player interviews witnesses, explores crime scenes and takes on wicked prosecutors in court through four innovative cases and all with the flick of the DS’s stylus. It’s a classic style, item finding adventure game with the added incentive of being incredibly well written. Thank goodness for that, because the trials are plenty long; if it wasn’t for the dashes of humor (like references to "The A-Team" and "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air") and exciting twists and turns they could definitely get boring. Yet they don’t, and every time Wright shouts out “Objection!” with a triumphant, case-changing piece of evidence you can’t help but to get more excited than you ever thought you could be about pretending to be a lawyer.
As an upgrade, game developer Capcom introduces psyche-locks this time around. While you are trying to collect evidence certain characters will lie to you and these lies will be protected by locks that can only be broken by presenting evidence that dredges up the witness’ secret. It’s a nifty gimmick, even if it doesn’t add that much to the actual game.
The other “upgrade” from the original is the life bar. Instead of just losing a point every time you mess up in court, you lose a chunk of your life bar; mess up too many times in front of the judge and you lose the case, and it’s game over. The bigger the mistake, the more life you lose. Not really a needed change but a welcome one now that it is here.
“Justice for All” is a lot of reading, and if you’re not into that than you won’t be into it, and while yelling “Objection” into the DS’s microphone is fun, the game seriously lacks any DS functions like its predecessor had. And god forbid the law actually worked like it does in the game; some of the logical leaps are beyond belief.
But they just add to the quirky, off-the-wall fun that the game presents. It’s simply a great time. So if you hear someone randomly shouting objection, make sure they don’t have a DS in their hands before you Wright them off as crazy.