Review: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials & Tribulations (WiiWare)

Phoenix Wrong

Capcom's Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series on DS has become a popular staple of the system over the past few years, combining a novel-style courtroom presentation with many of the unique gameplay functions of the DS system itself. The end product has been a very engaging gaming experience that allows players to feel like a part of an actual criminal trial process from start to finish. With the success of the DS releases, Capcom has now decided to bring the three handheld titles over to the WiiWare, albeit with very few changes and some extremely pixellated visuals, so Wii owners can enjoy the games as well.

The basic gameplay unfolds in Trials & Tribulations just as it did on the small screen of the DS system, but many of the gameplay elements have been altered to fit in with the Wii Remote and its motion-sensing capabilities. That means no more screaming "OBJECTION!" into the microphone of the DS, honestly one of the more enjoyable aspects of the portable releases, to be perfectly honest.

You're presented with an ongoing saga that unfolds through both testimony from various witnesses and a wealth of cutscenes played throughout the trial, all of which can be replayed any time you need to access them through your Evidence and Witness collections. You'll even be able to shout out your objections and contradictions, but this time you'll be using various buttons on the Wii Remote and the waggle function, which don't quite have the same effect as their DS counterparts.

As you proceed, you'll have to be careful not to make mistakes when presenting evidence to the judge as he has very little tolerance for mistakes and will remove a section of your Present Evidence bar each time you mess up. Run out of Present Evidence bar and the judge will find your defendant guilty and it's game over.

While there's certainly no denying that gamers who've never had the opportunity to experience the DS releases will likely enjoy the game itself, anyone who's played the portable renditions will likely find the gameplay changes a bit annoying at times and not offering up quite the same overall experience as those found on the handheld versions. You're still getting basically the same game and storyline, but you can't help but feel that some of the magic from the original DS release is missing.

Visually is where things in this package begin to take a seriously wrong turn. Not only did Capcom just basically blow up the resolution of the original DS release's graphics, they didn't even bother to do any type of touch-ups or smoothing in the process. So what you end up with is a very pixellated presentation of the original game's visuals and when you're used to seeing the smooth appearance of the many other Wii and WiiWare releases, it can be a harsh viewing experience for those not expecting it.

Much like the visual styling of the game, the music and sound effects remain intact from the original DS release as well, although this is certainly more than adequate from an audio standpoint and quite a bit more forgivable than the visual annoyances. It's difficult not to get a kick out of the attorneys screaming their objections out each and every time it takes place throughout the game.

Conclusion

It's quite easy to nitpick the inadequacies of these Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney releases on WiiWare given their shoddy transition to the big screen, but it's also worth noting that you are still getting basically the same game, you're just not getting it with the smooth coat of paint many might prefer. If you're one of the people who don't own a DS system (all four of you), this might be worth a play for you, but unless you're just a die-hard Phoenix Wright fan that has to have everything related to the series, you might want to pass on this half-hearted WiiWare attempt.