Game Review

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials & Tribulations Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

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.

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User Comments (37)

Discipledoctor

#1

Discipledoctor said:

Yeah, I loved the DS games, but the WiiWare ones...not so much. I really think the graphical work was the most lazy thing about them.

Bass_X0

#2

Bass_X0 said:

I started the Phoenix Wright series on the WiiWare. So whatever shoddiness present was completely lost on me back then (I got the first two on WiiWare). Even going back to play Rise From The Ashes recently didn't faze me (I played T&T on DS since I found it cheaper than it would be on WiiWare and also Ace Attorney Investigations) - I still quite enjoyed it despite now having experience with the DS games. Whilst I will agree that you shouldn't get the WiiWare games if you already own the DS originals, if you do want to play the Phoenix Wright games and cannot find the DS games for less than on the WiiWare then I will fully recommend you go with the WiiWare versions. The graphics aren't bad... pixellated and lacking in shine sure, but they're not bad bad. You'll get used to the graphics soon after starting the series on WiiWare and then you'll be taken over by the story which is the most important aspect of the games, not the graphics. It would still be great with 8-bit graphics.

irken004

#4

irken004 said:

Are those screenshots taken from a widescreen television? They look super-deformed!

WarioFan63

#5

WarioFan63 said:

Don't let those screens fool you. The game screen doesnt stretch out on a widescreen television. Just the background wallpaper.

JayArr

#6

JayArr said:

Someday, NintendoLife should review the DS versions of the Ace Attorney Series.

WaLzgiStaff

#7

WaLzgi said:

I never played the DS version of T&T so I give it a 9/10!!! :P

Bass_X0

#10

Bass_X0 said:

Yes. Would Corbie please check out the cost of buying the DS version and see for himself how much he is asking us to spend on the original over the $7 WiiWare version? For the sake of a slightly inferior direct port with no enhancements, price wise, the WiiWare version wins. Nobody should be able to hold the $25+ original as being the better value for money.

Noire

#11

Noire said:

In case you weren't aware, our very own theblackdragon is in this game. :3

Azaris

#12

Azaris said:

@bassXO you make a very good point however i'm sure ds versions will eventually drop to 10 dollars or less and if that happens you can be sure at only 3 dollars more people are gonna go for quality over price it's too bad dsiwares versions aren't availible...

Chunky_Droid

#13

Chunky_Droid said:

Hey WarioFan, long time no see dude

I'm getting this, as I lost my DS cart and I want to play it again, and nowhere in Australia stock it anymore :(

theblackdragonAdmin

#16

theblackdragon said:

@Bass X0: between eBay and Amazon, you can find all three games for at or about $5-10 below the original retail price. granted, there's those attempting to make some money off of their copies, but they're easily avoided. just because the game is cheaper as a shoddy WiiWare port does not automatically make the WiiWare port the better playing experience, and the DS games are still an excellent investment for fans of the series to consider -- not only can you carry the game with you and resell it for a decent price later on down the line if you wish, you also get to play them as they were meant to be played, with graphics appropriate to the DS console and their original fluid, intuitive controls. Capcom should be absolutely ashamed of the disservice they've done the AA series in these versions.

CorbsAdmin

#17

Corbs said:

Exactly Des. My thoughts exactly. Get the DS version, even if it costs you a bit more. You can only play the "value" card so far. :)

And Bass, it's $10. :)

EdEN

#18

EdEN said:

Since the DS carts are out of printint getting them could be a problem for those new to the series. I got all of them at launch so I'm set, but for the asking price it's a very good value on Wiiware.

Mario_maniac

#21

Mario_maniac said:

@14: The game was never stocked in Australia (unless someone traded in a US or UK version). This is pretty much the only game that Capcom has let me down on when it comes to releases in Australia.

Stuffgamer1

#22

Stuffgamer1 said:

@lz: Looking in all the wrong places, are we? Check here. You'll have to use the zip code search to find a store near you that has a copy, but at only $15 for the clearly superior version, I'd say it's worth the effort. And there are at least THREE stores that have it in stock within ten miles of my zip, so it's not as rare as you think.

@Corbie: Thank you for the well-written review, paricularly the fact that you didn't occuse this version of being outright crap like certain previous Ace Attorney WiiWare reviews appeared to do. I unquestionably agree that the DS version is worth the trouble of getting (I bought it at release, as I have with every series entry since #2 after seeking out the first when it was already hard to find), but I do expect, as I have heard from all those who've ONLY played the WiiWare versions, that they'll do in a pinch.

Starwolf_UK

#23

Starwolf_UK said:

Buying a DS version has the merit of being able to sell it in the future (if you would want to) and unless you're trading it to Gamestop you'll get a good proportion of the money back which would ironically make it cheaper than the WiiWare version. Still it is a bit of a shock for me that Gamestop are selling it for $15 as I remember when Trials Tribulations easily went for $30+.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#24

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

I own a ds, but will be getting the wiiware version. The PW ds games appear top hold their fairly high prices. The Maths is simple

Bass_X0

#25

Bass_X0 said:

their original fluid, intuitive controls.

Its a menu driven game. I've always used the D-Pad and buttons to play Phoenix Wright on the WiiWare as I don't see the point of using motion controls except for when you have to use them to turn evidence around which only plays a rare small role in the games. I've also never once used the Microphone on the DS versions to play the game. As far as I'm concerned, other than the previously mentioned evidence manipulation which does work better on the DS, the two versions play identically. Maybe I'm being "boring" for never using the gimmicks on either but I don't care, D-Pad and Buttons is the most convenient way. And LEGEND MARIOID, I saw T&T go for £13 on play.com so try there. Although I am a late comer to the Phoenix Wright series (first played them with the release of the WiiWare game but fell in love instantly - I kicked myself for ignoring them until then), they have become a special moment in my gamesplaying history. Despite them being completed, I wouldn't want to sell them. I'd want to keep them for that moment years from now when I get the urge to replay them again.

ejamer

#26

ejamer said:

I don't see why price is an issue for the DS versions. Buy the game, play it (in the superior format) then re-sell to make your money back. Ends up being cheaper than the WiiWare version in the long run. Games like this really don't have good replay value anyway unless you are very forgetful or really like the humor.

Also, I've seen Phoenix Wright games for under $20 at multiple stores: Zellers, Walmart, and GameStop. In fact I just checked online and there are multiple copies available within walking distance from where I live. This talk about WiiWare being a much better value is misleading -- there are affordable copies out there is you keep your eyes open, and (although the game is both playable and enjoyable on WiiWare) the DS version is clearly better.

outrun2sp

#27

outrun2sp said:

The wii versions are fine. Imagine if snatcher or policenaughts came out on the wii without upgrades.

Would you complain no.

7/10 deserved.

Guybrush_Threepwood

#28

Guybrush_Threepwood said:

Capcom should just produce new editions for the DS of Ace Attorney 1-3 instead of delivering those lousy WiiWare ports. Decisions like this make it just ridicilous when publishers complain about costumers buying used games nowadays. Even if the WiiWare port may be less expensive I would seek the DS version. Capcom just doesn't earn getting any money for those WiiWare ports.

theblackdragonAdmin

#29

theblackdragon said:

@Bass X0: when i'm talking about the original controls, i'm talking about the fact that you use the D-pad with your left hand and the buttons with your right, and you had the L and R buttons to work with as well. you don't have to think about which button does what when you want to do something, no matter which menu you're messing around in. by making it so that you have to hold the wiimote pointed toward the TV screen the entire time, the WiiWare version does not afford us that luxury -- in fact, it's awkward as heck.

Bass_X0

#31

Bass_X0 said:

Except for one puzzle in Rise From The Ashes, I never had to point the remote at the sensor bar. Because I played the WiiWare games while lying in bed, I usually had the remote under the covers. I always turned the motion controls off in the option screen. And as for remembering which button did what, I did briefly forget how to present evidence (with the minus button) when I first started playing. If someone's been swinging their remote around to present evidence and press a witness all the time then they've been playing the game wrong. Its not that the controls in the game are bad, just that the simpler and easier way is recommended over the gimmicky way. Just because its on the Wii doesn't mean a player has to swing the remote around solely because there's an option to do so.

GabboStaff

#32

Gabbo said:

Great review as always Corbie. I especially like the part where you review the game and not the price tag as some here would have you do ;)

Stuffgamer1

#33

Stuffgamer1 said:

@Bass X0: As I understand it, you DO have to hold the controller vertically, yes? I think that's what TBD really meant. I think it'd work okay with buttons if you could hold it NES style, but not the other way.

mjc0961

#34

mjc0961 said:

Eh, I already played the first two ports on WiiWare. I don't see the "blockier graphics" which aren't actually bad at all. The reviewer here seems to be greatly exaggerating how "bad" it looks, not to mention that the screenshots used in this review aren't how the Wii displays the game at all.

For the record, the screen isn't stretched like that: If you have a widescreen display, you just get more filler background: the actual game screen remains in its original aspect ratio, not stretched out and awful looking like in this review's screenshots.

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