After playing the second Phoenix Wright game and being left in utter awe still at the tense storytelling of the last case in Justice For All, I knew I had to get my hands on Trials and Tribulations immediately afterwards. Lo and behold, I did! Through the magic of borrowing it from a friend, I quickly went to work at the game.
One of the things I noticed, which sets the bar for the next game in the series, Apollo Justice, is that now most of the cases, rather than just the case at the end, have something to do with the main characters. The storyline in this game is just as superb as the rest of the series, in my opinion. There is a lot of fun ping-ponging as to who did what, and it does get a little confusing at times, as it becomes a lot to take in all at once. The humor balances out with seriousness (as it needs to be serious sometimes!) and the characterization is really good, especially with the main characters. The plot will keep you guessing right up until the very end.
The artwork is once again well done. Phoenix Wright always has consistently well-done graphics, regardless of whether it has to or not. This game is no exception whatsoever. All the sprites have been done beautifully once again, and some are even quite hilarious (and disturbing—just wait till you get to the third case….).
The sound also takes a turn for the better in this game, at least in my opinion. The sound effects are just about the same as ever, so no real complaints there, but the music seems a lot more fitting this time around, compared to Justice For All. It does retain a bit of the whimsicalness of the music from Justice For All, though I think it works better in this one.
Once again, the replay value depends solely on you. If you’re the kind of person who likes to read the same book several times, then you’ll get a lot of replay out of this game. If not, you probably won’t pick the game up again for a long time afterwards, if at all. It’s also fairly linear, so it’s not like you’re going to get multiple paths to get to multiple endings or something. (Personally, I think that might not be a bad idea if executed correctly.)
Overall, Trials and Tribulations is a lot like Justice For All and the first game of the series. The basic similarities are there, but there are enough new people, a new prosecutor, and new little tricks to keep you guessing and wondering what’s going to happen. Capcom seems to have really mastered the story of this franchise, and it keeps me going back and wanting a whole bunch more. The changes, while many, don’t warrant mentioning simply because doing so would really spoil a lot of the game, and with me being psycho about spoilers, I’m not going to do that. I will say, pick up Trials and Tribulations after you finish the first two games. You won’t be disappointed.