Justice For All is a fantastic sequel to the original armed with new, fun gameplay elements, and another great story.
There are four cases in this game, which is disappointing considering there were five in the first, but it doesn't make them any less compelling then they are now. Here's the story to each case.
Case 1: After waking up in the courtroom lobby from a long nap, you get knocked out cold by some rich-looking dude with a fire extinguisher. When you wake up, a female police officer is yapping away at him. What's she doing here? She's (obviously) been accused of murder. The victim? Her boyfriend, who was pushed off a nine-foot cliff causing a broken neck. She (also obviously) isn't guilty, and you have to prove her innocence. There's just one problem: you have amnesia. That blow to your head had a purpose, you know. In court, you face the wimpy mediocre lawyer, Winston Payne, so this'll have to be an easy one, and it is. It may be short and not very exciting, but it's not bothersome at all.
Case 2: This case starts off with a car crash, then you and your partner, Maya, in the detention center. It looks like May's life is at stake. But why? Well it starts off with a doctor who's been accused of the death of a nurse at the hospital he works at. He seeks you to be his lawyer and then you have to meet Maya at her spirit-medium training shrine, where she and the doctor will conjure up the spirit of the dead nurse. While there, he meets Maya's aunt, Morgan, remeets the afro-sporting, southern chick from the original PW, Lotta Hart, and a naive, modern-day college girl named Ini Miney (really?!), who's actually the dead nurse's sister. During the meeting, you, Lotta, and Morgan wait outside and gunshots are heard. You bust open the doors, and in there is Maya (actually the spirit of the nurse) with a gun and blood all over her boo-, I mean, costume. Right, costume, and the doctor, dead, stabbed and shot. And she's the defendant yet again. This is a tough case (especially since Manfred Von Karma's daughter, Fransika, is your opponent), but getting through it results in a bittersweet ending that's the most emotional one in the game and one of the most out of all PW cases.
Case 3: You, Maya, and Pearl (Maya's naive cousin who appeared last case) are at the Big Berry Cirbuc, watching the famous Maximilien Gallatica perform his feat of flight to the crowd. When the show ends, you mingle with your friends until you hear a murder had occurred. You and Maya investigate the next day and find out the ringmaster was murdered in the dead of night, force trauma to the head. The prime suspect was the "fabulous" magician, Gallatica, but as he says it, he didn't kill nobody, so you have to prove his innocence. But be warned: Von Karma is back, and she's more pissed at you ever since you snapped her perfect streak. The end is another emotional one, in which a tragic accident is the cause of all this chaos.
Case 4: The final, and most exciting, case starts off with a competition featuring all of the Japanese warriors TV characters. It seems that the Jammin' Ninja is going to win this, but out of nowhere arrives the Nickel Samurai; successor to the Steel Samurai. He is the winner yet again (this didn't make sense to me all 'cause I never cared)! After the show, you, Maya, Pearl, and Will Powers (previously the Steel Samurai) talk amongst yourselves. As you talk, a mysterious waiter approaches them, and tells Maya she has a call waiting. She leaves, and Powers finds a walkie-talkie at his feet, and gives it to you. They make their way to the plaza, where press conferences were to be held. Nothing's happening, and what's worse, Ms. Oldbag (the cranky, talkative, Edgeworth and Jammin' Ninja actor loving geezer) comes up to you, and says something about a murder that just happened after the show. The Jammin' Ninja actor (Juan Corrida) was killed, and the Nickel Samurai actor (Matt Engarde) is being blamed for it. Everything seems like another easy case, when all of a sudden, the walkie-talkie starts beeping. On the other end, some guy who calls himself De Killer says he's kidnapped Maya, and won't give her back unless you prove Engarde innocent. Why go that far for something you can easily do? Well, other than the involvement of a scandal, the return of a beloved character, lots of Mia Fey, and lots of tough choices, I'll say that not all of your clients are innocent.
Much of the gameplay is the same from the first. During investigations, you're given four (or two if there's no one to talk to) options to proceed. Examine let's you look around the area for anything suspicious or relevant to the case, Move gives you the option to move to any available location, Talk let's you talk to a person (if there is one) about any question you have for them, and Present let's you present evidence and items in your record to the person you're speaking with. Other than a few decision-making options that have little effect on gameplay and a brief metal detector minigame, that pretty much it, which is why investigating is the most boring part of gameplay. Whatever happened to the other options in the last game?
In court, you have to listen to testimonies from witnesses and present hard evidence in order to seek the truth. Witnesses will give their account of what they saw. After listening, it's time to cross-examine the witness. Many of their testimonies are tough to crack, so you're gonna have to press hard and present good, solid evidence. By pressing the witness, you question the witness about certain parts of their testimony. Sometimes, questioning them is the right thing to do, but it's never wrong to (unless they're unnecessary). Besides, you can't be punished for it, most of the time. Presenting evidence is harder to do. Many testimonies have holes in them, and by presenting the right evidence, those holes can be found. Be careful: one wrong slip of the tongue can lead to the loss of the judge's patience. Run out, and your client is found guilty. Outside of testimonies, you also have to prove certain facts with evidence, point out things in pictures, and locations in maps.
You'll also make important decisions that'll affect the attitude of the judge, your partner, and the entire courtroom. This is where most of the fun comes from. It's satisfying to get on the right track you want, making things go your way. But it's rather easy to lose that train of thought. Some contradictions are frustratingly tough to find, and sometimes make little sense towards the case. Also, by the time you realize that some testimonies are clean (having no contradictions), you're likely to have heard the guilty verdict at least 10 times.
The final element of gameplay is a new one. It's called psyche-locks. It's similar to some courtroom elements but it's easier to understand. Using a magatama giving by Maya and powered by Pearl, you're able to look into the hearts of some people and discover they have secrets to hide that's relevant to your case. By presenting evidence and items, you can uncover those secrets, and find out why they had to hide it. Like I said, it's easier to understand than courtroom contradictions, but it's less frequent than those, and it's shorter, so it's not as fun.
The AA series has been known for its great artwork, especially for the characters, and it's not different here. However, besides those and some nicely drawn backgrounds the rest is nothing special. The animations for the characters are good for a chuckle or two but they tend to get stale and tedious and some backgrounds could use a change or two. The audio and music is also a mixed bag. The sound effects are nonetheless flawless just like the last game (though they too get a little stale after a bit), and most of the music sets the tone well. However, the new versions of certain themes, such as much of the courtroom themes, feel unnecessary. There was nothing wrong with the pieces from the first game, but who can blame them for trying something new?
As most sequels are, they don't surpass the original, but many of those are still fun to play. Justice For All is a great example. You'll be done in about 12-14 hours, and you'll be misty-eyed and heartwarmed during the fantastic conclusion. Afterwards, if you feel you don't understand the cases, or you want to play them again, it won't hurt. JFA may not be as great as the first, but it sure is worthy to be in anyone's DS library.
Replay Value: 8/10
+ Exciting story with nice twists, new and old (yet very amusing) characters, and a good conclusion.
+ New gameplay elements add to the simple, yet challenging, formula.
+ Excellent sound effects and awesome music
- Many things from the first are missing here.
- Some of the correct paths are frustrating to find.
- The new music is nothing special, and neither are the graphics.
FINAL WORDS: I forgot to note about the save feature. You can save at any time, just be careful when you decide to.