Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney • WiiWare • Capcom • www The 2005 DS debut of Capcom's Phoenix Wright franchise was a minor gaming landmark in finally introducing the West to the 'visual novel'. And while it may not have necessarily opened the door as widely for other adventures of its type, it quickly lifted the franchise to cult hit status, with two direct sequels and two more spin-offs. What it lacks in action oriented play -- as the genre name suggests, you spend the majority of your time simply watching its text-heavy courtroom drama unfold, only interjecting (or, you know, objecting) to point out flaws in witness testimony -- it makes up for where it counts the most: with its intricately constructed murder mystery scenarios, and a surprising amount of comic timing eked out of two-frame animations and a genuinely at-times-hilarious script. The new downloadable WiiWare port of the game might be a no-frills affair (it appears to be running in what is presumably an official DS emulator), but it's a perfect introduction for anyone that missed out on the handheld debut -- and one of January's most unmissable game releases.
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