Impressions by Clark A.
Despite once being marketed as an opportunity to explore the life of a lawyer, the Phoenix Wright video games have always opted to be gleefully irreverent examples of legal drama. Educational software they are not, instead focusing on developing quirky characters through the adversities the legal system handily provides. The courtroom is this remarkably amorphous space wherein German teenagers crack whips at the judge, spirits are summoned from beyond the grave, and parrots are cross-examined, yet matters as extreme as murder are resolved in a satisfying manner. Exceptional suspension of disbelief is required not to toss the game across the room after the first case, but there’s a reason the original trilogy has been ported to half a dozen platforms over the years. Its ability to juggle supernatural elements with situations of gravity is positively uncanny at the best of times.
Now obviously things could go south, but so far Ace Attorney seems to strive for authenticity wherever possible. I say “possible” because, as far as visual novels go, the Phoenix Wright games can become fairly involved when Wright investigates crime scenes for evidence and witness interrogation (which, by the way, should tell you how accurate to the law this series is). A lot is based on player agency and such scenes can’t be emulated comfortably without a lot of bouncing from locale to locale and affecting the pace of storytelling. That’s fine, though, because the show’s writers seem competent enough to make it click based on a few early feats. Having some tweaks here and there also gives veterans incentive to tune in every week rather than watch an underwhelming, literal interpretation of a solid story.
– Anime Editor