|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Capcom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capcom||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 11, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Normally, graphics don't play a big role in my consideration of a game, but in an adventure, mood has a significant effect on the overall experience. Using crusty still images from a nine-year-old Gameboy game just isn't going to cut it. The colors appear washed out, and the illustrations are pixelated. If you're curling up on your couch or in for a long drive, the visuals of Phoenix Wright are perfectly acceptable when played on a handheld. Seeing them on a large TV screen, though, the visuals can be a shocking reminder of just how far along software technology has come over the years. Mind you, this isn't intentional retro styling on Capcom's part; this is simply a case of lazy porting.
It's the same story with the game's soundtrack. Nothing noticeable has been added or enhanced, and though the music does a great job of staying on task with the emotional weight of the story, it just sounds so dated. No voice work has been added, and the only thing you'll hear when characters exchange dialogue is the same tired text scroll and sound effects we've been hearing for years now.
Aside from the added text which explains how to use the Wii Remote to press witnesses, as well as the utterly senseless gesturing mechanic itself, there's nothing really new or improved about the game. Players, therefore, will likely find themselves asking, "What incentive has Capcom given me to buy this game again?" I'm still trying to figure that one out.
On the one hand, it's really hard to be critical of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney for WiiWare because the story and gameplay are still every bit as intriguing as they were on DS. You're also getting a fairly meaty adventure here. However, it's simply impossible to overlook the glaring lack of care put into bringing the game over to the platform; the whole premise of this port being on WiiWare feels inappropriate. Tack on the fact that Capcom wants you to pay an additional fee for content that should have been included in the initial download, and well, it's easy to feel disgruntled.
I'm sure a lot of fans feel as though this is a classic everyone should, at some point, check out. The truth is, the handheld version is more fun to handle, the screen size means the production values are easier to swallow, and since these days you can probably find a copy of the DS game for about the same price, there's really no reason to settle for this greatly inferior iteration.
As an aside, I do hope to see Phoenix eventually make a worthwhile appearance on consoles, one that lives up to the great legacy the series has now built up for itself. This one, though, isn't a crowning achievement for Capcom, and throwing your money at the game will probably only serve to send the wrong message to the publisher.
CCC Freelance Writer