GAME NAME: Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies
GENRE(S): Adventure, Visual Novel
RELEASE DATE(S): October 24th, 2013
OBJECTION! That’s a term that has been winning over anyone who has played a Phoenix Wright game since it graced our DS machines almost 8 years ago. It’s a game that seems really odd to those who have never tried it and incredible fun to those who have. And now Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies, the sixth game in the series, has reached our shores, and it continues to shine in a genre that it has made its own.
For those that have never played a Phoenix Wright game before, here is a quick rundown. It generally takes two different formats. Investigating and court battles, but these are both far more complex than you can imagine. What happens is that there is inevitably a murder of sorts, which is shrouded in suspicion and mysterious terms (more so than your favourite Scooby Doo episode) and it is up to The Wright Anything Firm to find out just exactly what happened. The firm consists of three characters, all of whom are protagonists in the game. We have Phoenix Wright himself, his young associate Apollo Justice and new to the firm, Athena Cykes.
Between the three of them, the crime must be investigated so that they can defend their client who has been charged with murder, or various other criminal activities. The investigation takes place around the area where the crime took place. Whichever character you are controlling at the time can talk to various witnesses and examine areas of importance to look for other evidence that might be useful in the case.
Once you have gathered all the evidence you need and spoken to everyone about the crime, you will head to court to make an argument. Here you will encounter a host of different prosecuting attorneys who will stop at nothing to get a guilty verdict. Witnesses will give a testimony and it’s your job to press on certain details and look for inconsistencies in the testimony to prove your client’s innocence.
It all sounds a little silly, and it kind of is, but that’s the point. The game is very text heavy which means that the story is vital to the game’s enjoyment. Thankfully, it is done brilliantly throughout and lives up to the series’ popularity. In the game, you will encounter wild and whacky characters with some hilarious expressions and mannerisms. You will find names that will make you cringe at how lame they are, but still find it completely fitting, like the bomb disposal officer called Ted Tonate. I warned you it was lame.
In general, it all falls into place really well. Each of the cases within the game has excellent background and some brilliant twists and turns along the way. Deciding which evidence to provide to prove an inconsistency is tricky and requires a lot of thought to get right, but it just adds to the value and ability to get into the game and feel part of the crazy setting. And it doesn’t end there.
It isn’t just about talking, question and presenting evidence when needed. Not only do you need to solve what actually happened, but the way you do so keeps things interesting. It isn’t your run of the mill detective game, but rather your typical Japanese mash up of investigating. What I mean is, that each of the protagonists has a set of skills which helps along the way.
Apollo, who joined the series previously, has a bracelet which tightens around his wrist when someone’s reaction isn’t what it should be. It will pick up an eye twitch or something similar when someone isn’t giving the entire truth. Apollo can then focus through his bracelet onto wherever the twitch is happening and call the person out on it, and get updated, more honest information.
Athena also has a skill in that she can hear a person’s heart ‘speak’. Athena has a widget which allows her to focus on a person’s heart and how they feel about things at certain times. If something is out of the ordinary, such as a misplaced emotion, Athena can call the person out about it and get the reasoning behind it. A third mini-game of sort is with Phoenix who can use a Psyche-lock where he pushes the testimony to a degree until the truth is revealed.
All of these character specific abilities add variety to the game and, along with the general flow, mix it up well to keep things fresh and enjoyable. Because at the end of the day, as a Phoenix Wright game it all follows a certain pattern which leads you to realise that nothing is as it seems.
It is not a game that will appeal to all. As I mentioned above, it is very text heavy so if you don’t enjoy reading it isn’t for you. It also loses a bit of its effect in that you can’t really fail. Well you can, and hit a guilty screen, but then you can just try again and push evidence that you hadn’t tried before. It’s not an ideal way to play the game as it’s obviously far better to actually try work things out yourself, but if you lose patience, you can still get through the game this way.
That aside, there is very little to fault Phoenix Wright on. The narrative is excellent and contains intriguing situations and mysteries to solve. It is filled with bright, crazy characters that will keep you laughing through all of their whimsy no matter what the occasion. However, beneath all that humour is a game that can take itself quite seriously when it comes to solving the cases and protecting the innocent.
If you own a 3DS, Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies is well worth your time and money. It is a game unlike any other, and the team behind it continue to put out a solid experience containing some excellent story elements. It’s a game that has a place next to any of the more popular titles and one that is as unique as the very first Phoenix Wright game that released all those years ago. Also, you get to shout OBJECTION into your 3DS if you want, not that I did… well maybe a little.