Video Game Lawyering

15 01 2008

This Weeks Obsession is Lawyering Video Games. It of course all started after Christmas, I used a gift card to buy “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations” for DS, and I just got into it, when I discovered there was a “Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law” game for the Wii which was coming out in a few days and I vowed to buy since I really liked that show from Adult Swim. Then the night before I was going to get it I had dinner with my friend Jim, and we exchanged Christmas Gifts. He had gotten me “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All” for DS, the game that preceded the one I bought, so before I could continue with “Trials” I had to beat “Justice”. Then the next day of course I bought “Harvey Birdman” and because I like things that are hilarious, I dived right into that. So technically I’m in the middle of 3 lawyering games. And they are all developed by Capcom, based off the same basic game system, the only difference being “Birdman” is more animated, comedy based, and fully voiced.

The Phoenix Wright Games for the DS were originally GBA games that never made it over here, and have been translated over to DS. They are anime styled, and a bit quirky. Basically its your job to investigate a case, gather evidence, interview witnesses, and when your in court cross-examine, which makes up most of the gameplay. Basically during Cross-examination a witness gives testimony, and you present evidence to try and poke holes in parts of their testimony, then they revise their testimony, poke more holes till they freak out and reveal the truth, with a lot of yelling of “Objection!”, “Take That!”, and my favorite “Hold it!”. Its a lot of text boxes, and many repeating locales. But its fun, and interesting, a lot of it is simple logic, sometimes devilishly hard. Its almost like a puzzle game.

The Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law game for Wii/PSP/PS2 is based off of the Adult Swim show of the same name which I highly recommend. In which washed up hero Birdman has become a lawyer who defends other Hanna Barbara cartoons in wacky zany law cases. The game was devoped by Capcom who did the Phoenix Wright games, so the setup is similar but in Birdman visual style. The presentation is top notch, looks perfectly authentic, you are playing original episodes of Harvey Birdman. If you love the show it is a must own, and is hilarious. There are so many animated parts to it its pretty crazy, the game is fully voiced by the cast of the show (Gary Cole, Peter MacNicol, Lewis Black, etc) with the sad exception of Stephen Colbert, but the replacement is competant. This game is much shorter and easier than the Pheonix Wright games, but gives me hope for when Pheonix Wright hopefully will come to the home console, fully voiced and more animated. This game I feel will only appeal to Birdman fans, especially because if you havn’t seen the show I feel you won’t get the joke, since they don’t spend anytime introducing the characters at all, they just toss you in, they don’t even play the theme song(which is awesome), but do closing credits at the end of each “episode”.

In closing I currently own every lawyer game out there, until “Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney” comes out in February, which will be the first of the Ace Attorney games to be made fully for the DS, and will make it more dynamic and interesting, they only hinted at it in other games.
In case you couldn’t tell, I’m obsessed!

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