A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that because the game takes place in a courtroom and deals with crime as its subject matter, players will be exposed to mature topics including death (by electrocution), theft, assault, poisoning, and jail. Due to the game's anime cartoon style, none of these are rendered especially graphically. Fairly advanced reading and reasoning skills are essential to fully grasp the nuances of the game's dialog and to pick up on important clues to solve the case.
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What's it about?
PHOENIX WRIGHT ACE ATTORNEY: TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS is the third game in Capcom's popular courtroom simulation series starring defense lawyer Phoenix Wright. In Trials and Tribulations, Phoenix has five new cases to solve as he attempts to prove the innocence of his falsely accused clients. In the investigation phase, Phoenix and his team gather evidence and background information by speaking to witnesses and searching the crime scene for clues (achieved by tapping objects of interest with the stylus). In the trial stage you listen to witnesses' testimony and can press for more information, cross-examine, or present evidence in order to strengthen your case.
Extremely well-suited to the Nintendo DS, the Phoenix Wright series eschews traditional video game action sequences in favor of a completely menu-driven system in which players use the DS stylus to engage characters in conversation, investigate crime scenes, collect and present evidence, and finally present a case before the judge.
Is it any good?
This game isn't the best entry point into the Phoenix Wright series, since it makes a lot of references to events and characters that have appeared in past games. If you're already familiar with the series, however, Trials and Tribulations delivers more of the same investigative problem-solving and dramatic courtroom scenes that you've grown to love.
Trials and Tribulations is as compelling as any TV courtroom drama, provided you don't mind scrolling through the endless dialog boxes that make up the game's narrative -- or starting over again at the beginning of the trial if you make too many mistakes along the way, such as presenting the wrong evidence or asking the wrong question. Players can get even further into the spirit by shouting "Objection!" or "Hold it!" into the DS microphone at the appropriate moment (instead of just tapping the appropriate dialog box with the stylus). In short, Trials and Tribulations lives up to the Phoenix Wright moniker by delivering another satisfying courtroom adventure that emphasizes reading and problem-solving.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether they enjoy games driven completely by dialog and clicking through menus or whether they would have preferred some action elements as well. In what ways does the game introduce conflict without resorting to combat? If you could be a lawyer, would you choose the prosecution or the defense?
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