I’ve alluded to the Ace Attorney series here quite a lot recently, but you’ll find something concrete over on Virtual Bastion: my take on the second game in the series: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Justice For All. I this game!
After what seems like f-o-r-e-v-e-r, I’ve finally completed Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice for All. Much like with the first game, I find myself in awe of the experience. I know that “awe” probably isn’t a word applied to many visual novel games, but there’s something pretty special about Ace Attorney, and I think it revolves around storytelling and character. As ridiculous as the games’ cases are, and as illogical as the case logic is at points, the game succeeds in crafting elegant stories despite the madness. And the same can be said of the games’ characters. As wacky as they can be, each of them is imbued with plenty of charm and heart, even the bad guys.
As I recently made known over on Virtual Bastion, my time with the famed Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney came to a thrilling close. In my wrap-up post on the game, I offer up some final thoughts on what it was like to tackle not only this game but my first visual novel game. No objections here; Ace Attorney was one hell of a crazy fun ride!
Well, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Believe it or not, and despite all things Mass Effect: Andromeda, I have been slooooowly winding my way through the final chapter of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, a game that I picked up on a whim a few months back. And I’m pleased to report that I made it through! Yes, I literally rose from the ashes in “Rise from the Ashes,” the game’s final chapter. And wow, what a finale it was! I don’t know how I’m going to put my experience with this trial into words, but I’m already typing, so here goes…and spoilers ahead!
Why Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney? And why now? Considering how far gone my gaming preferences generally are, those are good questions. Here I make a roundabout attempt to answer them, and no others, on United We Game.
Do you know where I was when Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney was first released in 2001? I sure don’t recall. Even if I could remember, it probably wouldn’t matter much anyway because I never had the system it was on, the Gameboy Advance. And if that wasn’t on my radar then, then Phoenix Wright and his ace attorney-ing wasn’t either. Over the next several years, the name “Phoenix Wright” would flit in and out of my ears. Once I got a Nintendo DS, I do remember someone asking me if I was going to get “that new Phoenix Wright game.” Well, my man of the hour was, if not Mario, then Professor Layton. His puzzle-y stylings were enough for me. I didn’t need some “law and order” game gumming up the works. Truth be told, it would be a…
Before I saw that first commercial for New Super Mario Bros. (NSMB) on the Nintendo DS, I can honestly say it had been years since I thought of a side-scrolling Mario game. I mean…like, SNES years. As most of us know, that system provided to the world some of the best Mario games around. And then Super Mario 64 was released, and it changed everyone’s perceptions of platform gaming, Mario, and even Nintendo. In the Mario cannon, I guess…what, 2002’s Super Mario Sunshine would be NSMB.’s closest relative. So why wait four years, not just to give the world another Mario game, but to give the world another 2Dside-scrolling Mario game? And not just any 2D side-scrolling Mario game, but a complete retool of the original NES Super Mario Bros.?
Indiana Jones pretty much tops my list of favorite fictional action-adventure heroes. Besides the fact that he’s been put into motion by Harrison Ford, his dual life as a stalwart professor and swashbuckling archeologist, makes for some fine entertainment….as well as plenty of um, eye candy. But I digress…
Indy’s adventures have been translated into video games since the Atari 2600, to varying degrees of success. We didn’t meet in game form until the 1990s when I played a Shareware demo of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. It was a very pretty point-and-click games that I…well…don’t remember very well. But I’m sure it was plenty fun. Fast forward a decade and some to the release of the LEGO Indiana Jones series, and I’m in blocky, archaeological heaven!
After I completed the LEGO games, with my Indiana Jones high back in full swing, I decided to explore some other Indy titles. However, unlike a good archaeologist with a nose for finding just the “right spot,” I started at the wrong spot. A very wrong spot –LucasArts’ (RIP) Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings (2009).
Sometimes I have trouble functioning in space. And not “space” like deep, dark, S-P-A-C-E! But rather the confines of three dimensions. To be even more specific, I have a seeming inability to visualize things in three-dimensional space. It’s one of the reasons I never became what I thought was my first ever dream job: a fashion designer. While I never had any problems conjuring up clothing designs on paper, translating them into actual items was another thing entirely. I also have the same visual block when I’m, say, moving things around in a room. If someone tells me, “we’re going move the sofa here and the table here,” I simply can’t picture what the room will look like. Draw it out on a floor plan however, and I’m in much better shape to visualize the end results.
Would you believe that this is leading to a discussion about a video game? I promise you that it is. Because the game that’s bringing forth all these strange memories is Picross 3D.
Hmm. That is a question that never plagued me. Never bothered me in the least. But the easiest answer I can give to the purists is that we didn’t have the NES when the original Metroid was released in the mid 1980s. Yep, being behind the times from the start, we were just getting into the Atari 7800 around that time. Sure, we eventually got an NES, but by then, Metroid was off the mainstream game map. And since we didn’t have a Gameboy either, Metroid II: Return of Samus never made it into my hands either. So there.
I don’t even know why I’m mad at nothing, because Super Metroid is all that matters anyway, and there’s no arguing with it as one of the greatest games of all time.
After my Metroid Prime fiasco, I detoured away from the series. I played some other games, fell in and out of countless game loves over a few years, and started aimlessly wandering other cities and galaxies hoping to find a kindred soul…another Samus. Though I made some friends in those other places, I just couldn’t get her out of my mind. And I knew I had to make things right. But I feared the “new” Samus, the one that had been brought to life through the glories of 3D technology. We really tried to get along that one time, and I was the reason things fell apart. And I couldn’t bear being the reason a second time.
But when I got my DS, I knew salvation was in my corner. For there were two Game Boy Advance games that I knew would bring us back together again: Metroid Fusion (2002) and Metroid Zero Mission (2004).