Showing posts with label Phoenix Wright. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Phoenix Wright. Show all posts

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Phoenix Wright, from Nintendo DS to the Big Screen

Those of you who have been reading this sight for a couple of years, know that I am a huge Phoenix Wright fan.  The game series is a splendid addition to the procedural/detective game genre.  A genre that includes many great video games, as well as some of the best table top games ever created

At first glance, the game might seem a little strange.  It is entirely narrative, requires keen observation and logic skills, but almost no coordination.  It requires a skill set that is typically used in board/card game play and when used in those it tends to be in an "abstract" fashion.  Most video games that use this skill set -- exclusively -- also tend to be abstract.  Think Chess, Solitaire, and Minesweeper for examples of the kinds of games that have historically been observational/logical in game play.  Very rarely are these games narratively exciting.

Somehow, the Phoenix Wright game manages to be exactly that -- exciting.  Sure, the random "OBJECTION!" from time to time wakes up the mind in a brute way, but it is the engaging stories and humor that really make these games worth playing -- and replaying.  It should be noted that game designer extraordinaire did work on a "Harvey Birdman" game for the Wii that is more humorous, but similarly entertaining. 

Engaging stories and humor...hmmm...that sounds like a good combination for a film, and low and behold there is a Phoenix Wright film in the works.  The official trailer should be released November 5th and the film will be released in Japan on February 11th.  The film will be directed by Takashi Miike of 13 Assassins, Ichi the Killer, and Audition fame.

One might think that Miike is an odd choice for a humorous attorney film based upon a video game, but players of the game are familiar with how gruesome some of the murders in the game actually are.  One can only hope that Miike is able to balance the gore, humor, and engaging narrative in the same manner as the games.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Capcom Announces Demo for Latest Entry in Ace Attorney Series

Ever since October of 2005 when Capcom released the first Ace Attorney game in the United States, I have been addicted to this wonderful series of deduction based adventure games. In that first game, players were put into the role of Phoenix Wright a wet behind the ears defense attorney who defended the innocent against an overzealous and often corrupt criminal justice system.

The games were a combination of good storytelling and appropriately challenging logic puzzles. Players are expected to keep track of clues as they listen to their clients and do their own investigations of crime scenes during a trial. Two game elements exist which add tension to the game play. First, the trials themselves only last three days. If you haven't proven your client innocent and found the real culprit within three days, then your client is automatically found guilty. Second, you can only make three mistakes in logic during the examination and cross-examination before your client is found guilty due to your own incompetence. There are no appeals in the criminal justice system of the Ace Attorney series, so the stakes are high.

In addition to being highly entertaining adventure games in the mold of classics like Secret of Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, these games fall into the noble genre of deduction games. Exceptional non-video game entries that fall into this genre include Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, 221B Baker Street (one of my wife's all time favorite games), Scotland Yard, Fury of Dracula, and Gumshoe. The board games differ in the amount of narrative content, but they all require players to use deductive skills in order to win the games. These games also vary in the amount that luck can play to aid the players, in the boardgames luck sometimes can give certain players more clues (or more important clues) than the other players possess. This is one of the drawbacks that board games in the deductive genre can fall into.

Thankfully, the Nintendo DS based Ace Attorney series doesn't suffer from this flaw. As a video games, the clues and their location are concealed by the magic of code and must be actively discovered by the person/people playing the game. The Ace Attorney game also requires the player to walk through all the steps of the logical process and the articulation of any logical proof. Even if you know the answer and have figured out the mystery, you must still walk step by step through the logical analysis in order to win the game. I think this is where the Ace Attorney games become more than just games, but valuable learning tools as well. While the information in the individual mysteries will never come into use in daily life, the critical skills developed by investigating the mysteries will. Given that the mysteries carefully balance learning with challenge, players don't tend to get frustrated that they cannot solve the mysteries. The first episode of each game is typically fairly easy to solve, but by the time you get to the final mystery things get quite challenging.

In the newest entry into the Ace Attorney series, which comes available on February 16, 2010, the players leave the court room for the crime scene as they take the role of Phoenix Wright's oft-time rival Miles Edgeworth. Instead of investigating previously examined crime scenes, as in the prior entries in the series, as Miles Edgeworth the players will be asked to start the investigation at the crime scene to find the clues which will be brought out in trial.

A prosecutor friend of mine once told me how Perry Mason influenced his desire to become an attorney and eventually a prosecutor. Perry Mason's ability to find out who the real culprit behind the murders on the TV show gave my friend the impression that attorneys where real life superheroes. They defended the innocent and made sure that the guilty were punished. At some point my friend came to the realization that prosecutors were the real Perry Masons of the world, they were the ones defending victims and prosecuting the perpetrators far more frequently than defense attorneys. Now the Ace Attorney series is walking down a similar path. The players have played defense attorneys fighting against an over zealous and sometimes corrupt Prosecutor's office. Now it is time for the players to take on the role of the most noble member of that office and bring justice to those who thought they could get away with murder.

I'm excited about the prospect and am grateful that Capcom has released a playable demo of the game, which can be played at the Gamespot website. Though all you have to do to play it is click on the image below.

Features :

  • Starring Miles Edgeworth, the popular rival of attorney Phoenix Wright
  • Gameplay moves out of the courtroom and onto the crime scene
  • New investigative style using the Nintendo DS stylus to uncover evidence
  • Several unique cases to solve with over 15 hours of gameplay
  • New technique, such as “logic” mode assists you in uncovering the crime
  • Unique dialog trees and interrogation techniques let you question witnesses to discover the truth