Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney WiiWare First Look

We try out Capcom’s legal game in WiiWare form--now with more waving.

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Capcom gave us a surprise look at the just announced WiiWare version of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney at a press event last night. The game is a conversion of the first DS game for the Wii, which modifies the game’s presentation to account for a single screen and motion controls. We tried out the game, and although still a work in progress, it looks like Phoenix Wright’s first adventure is making a comfortable jump to the Wii. For those who aren't in the know about Capcom’s pointy lawyer, the Phoenix Wright series follows the ace attorney as he starts out defending a childhood friend on a murder charge, but he soon finds himself in a complicated mess. You’ll play as the smartly attired and sensibly coiffed hero. You'll guide him as he investigates, interrogates and objects his way to the truth...or at least a court victory. The WiiWare game should be familiar to anyone who played the game on the DS with some key differences.

The game’s transition to the Wii has resulted in some tweaks to the control, namely removing the second screen that shows off evidence and info you’ll use during a trial. The inventory screen will be something you’ll have to call up and toggle between during the game. In addition, the game will support motion control so you’ll wiggle the Wii Remote to press witnesses during cross examination and point, in suitably dramatic fashion, to present evidence. The controls were a little finicky in the work-in-progress version of the game we saw, but they seemed to work OK once we got the motions right. The only downside to the Wii conversion is the omission of the bonus episode that appeared on the DS version of the game. The episode is slated to be downloadable from the game--for a price--in May of next year.

The visuals in the game stay true to the original DS game, right down to the aspect ratio, which results in an onscreen border around the action. Unfortunately, the visuals come across as chunkier on a proper television screen. The game’s art style, however, retains its charm, although it would have been nice to see some updated art.

Based on this early look at the game, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is looking like a solid conversion of the fan favorite game on WiiWare. The addition of motion control is an interesting touch but doesn’t really add much to the experience. Thankfully, the core game is as appealing as ever, although we’ll offer a gripe about the bonus chapter not being included. If you missed out on the original game, this and the other upcoming installments are a fine way to get up to speed on the fun, eccentric series. The game is currently slated to come to WiiWare in January of next year with the bonus episode becoming available for download in May.

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