By Tiger Chainsaw
After the success of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Capcom developed and produced a sequel titled “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All” in 2002 for the Game Boy Advance. Initially released for the Game Boy Advance in Japan, the second game in the title Ace Attorney series was ported to America in 2007 for the Nintendo DS. Again, you follow protagonist Phoenix Wright in his quest to defend his clients in ridiculous court cases. My wife played the Nintendo Switch HD version so the gameplay critique will mostly come from her in this review.
The story arc spans four separate trials as Phoenix Wright returns to the courtroom. In the first episode, Phoenix becomes the target of an attack where he is hit in the head causing him to lose his memory after he is diagnosed with amnesia. His first client is Maggey Byrde, a police officer who has been charged with murdering her boyfriend. Wright discovers that the real killer is a con artist named Richard Wellington, who is also the man behind the attack on Phoenix.
In the second case, things get a little supernatural. A surgeon who has a history of malpractice requests the help of Maya Fey, Phoenix’s old assistant who has become a spirit medium. During the channeling of the spirits, Maya kills him after a spirit possesses her. In an elaborate plan that involves Maya’s aunt, who is jealous of Maya’s skills an eventual seat to the town’s channeler, an ex-nurse named Mimi Miney confesses to the murder. I know, I’m confused just writing that, and my wife was left confused by that episode too.
The third case takes Phoenix to the circus. There’s a magician named Maximillion who has been accused of killing his boss Russell Berry. Phoenix comes to the rescue and uncovers the plot where Max, another circus performer meant to kill Russell’s daughter instead.
For the final act in the game, Maya is kidnapped and taken as a hostage until Phoenix proves that an actor named Matt Engarde is innocent who has been accused of killing his rival in acting. Miles Edgeworth, a friendly rival to Phoenix shows up in the final act after being presumed dead by suicide. Miles was a big part of the first game, so my wife was excited to see him back. Phoenix and Miles team up to keep the trial going until they can save Maya and get an acquittal. They are successful, and Maya is released before Miles tells him that he spent the last year searching for the true meaning of his life as a prosecutor.
Justice For All plays a lot like the first game in the series in which the user is given the task of defending a client who is accused of murder. The fun begins when Phoenix is able to interview witnesses, search for clues, and explore crime scenes to put together the truth (unless his client is guilty)! Capcom did throw in a new feature to the second entry, and that was the ability to unlock the interviewee’s psychological secrets. You would have to present evidence to get the interview subjects to unlock the secrets by proving that they are lying.
Like the first game, the characters are fantastic. Their personalities and traits are humorous, entertaining, and fun to peel back as you dig into the case. Most characters are over-the-top, which adds to the fun. My wife said that the difficulty of the second game was an increase from the first. Naturally, the cases get harder but if you didn’t play the first game, you might have more trouble uncovering the cases. It’s a bit more advanced, and there’s more to do when solving the case.
Once you have enough evidence, you’ll present it in court, which is a very lengthy process. Typically, the court takes recess two or three times before the case concludes, and the jury reaches a verdict. After the final case, my wife got impatient after the credits went for like 45 minutes with the characters talking afterward. I had to explain to her that that’s just what Japanese games/anime do E.I. explains everything in a wrap-up. She still was annoyed.
My wife beat the first Phoenix Wright and then needed a mental break from being an attorney. She picked the HD trilogy back up for the Switch a few months later, and it took her a solid month to play through the second game. When she beat the second game she thought she had beaten the entire trilogy, haha turns out she still has another game left. Her favorite case was the circus case because she liked how the lion sneezed and accidentally ate the guy. I don’t know what to tell you, she’s weird.
Phoenix Wright: Justice For All picks up where the first game stops and adds a few more features to the fun of solving court cases and defending ridiculous characters in ridiculous situations. It’s a bit more difficult than the first game but still has the same humor and characters that made the first Phoenix Wright a hit. The animations of the characters and mental breakdowns are good for a laugh, but it’s a challenging game that requires cognitive thinking skills. You should pick up the HD trilogy if you haven’t, it’s a must for lovers of crime or interactive graphic games. My wife didn’t care too much for the supernatural aspect of some of the cases but this game still rates very highly to her.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All scores an 8 out of 10.
Do you remember when Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All first came out? Were you able to solve all the cases? Who was your favorite character from the series? What case was the hardest to solve? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments.
If you’d like to own a copy of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All you can purchase a used copy of it for the Nintendo DS for $23 on eBay.