Before playing Phoenix Wright 5, I replayed the first four games in the series. And it’s an excellent series, one that I’m glad I replayed!

The fifth game in the series is a good game, too. It’s changed mechanically, though: they dramatically reduced the number of situations where it was possible to be stumped about how to proceed. Which is something that, on the whole, I think the series was good about, but it was nonetheless an issue: I think they balanced that quite well in the first game, but even so there was one place in the first game where I got stuck and needed to look up help, and I seem to recall that happening on my first go through that game as well. And, in later games in the series, there were more places where I got stuck. So, while most of me thinks it’s a little too streamlined this time, part of me realizes that just one bit of frustration outweighs a lot of streamlining. I still wish they’d let me look around in the environments more (no more stepladder conversations?), but still: a helping hand is appreciated.

This game handles the cast of characters a little differently: three lawyers, each of which has their own special mechanic. The new mechanic that Athena adds is fine, and I appreciate the fact that the judge never penalizes you for mistakes during the new mechanic, but still: my sweet spot there was the second game, the Magatama was the added mechanic that fit in best with the gameplay. (And this game really misused the Magatama mechanic, unfortunately.) With the first game only a little behind the second game in that regard: the core gameplay of investigating and cross-examination is very solid. The cast of characters is also okay but not great: I miss Maya and ghost Mia and Pearl, the detective has nowhere near the soul that Gumshoe had, and of course no other prosecutor begins to compete with Edgeworth.

It’s the first 3DS game I’ve played; I tried out the slider, and then I stopped once my eyes started hurting. I think that was just me needing a new glasses prescription, but I’m really not sure.

So: it’s a Phoenix Wright game; but it’s not one of the best in the series, and is arguably the worst in the series. But, it turns out, the worst in that series is still just fine for me.

I’m curious to see how Layton versus Wright is. Maybe I’ll replay Edgeworth 1 before that? (Liesl’s doing that right now, she seems to be enjoying it.) Heck, maybe I’ll even give Edgeworth 2 a try; my guess is that my Japanese isn’t quite good enough for me to really enjoy that game, but who knows.

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