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Phoenix Wright Spirit of Justice review (3DS)

We review Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice, the sixth game in the Phoenix Wright series – which is now (terrifyingly) a decade old. Can this latest installment for Nintendo 3DS provide the same over-the-top action as previous titles, while shaking up those tried-and-tested game mechanics? Here’s our full Spirit of Justice review.

Spirit of Justice sees everyone’s favourite impossible-haired attorney, Phoenix Wright, travel to the seemingly back-in-time kingdom of Khura’in. He’s there to catch up with old psychic sidekick Maya, but immediately finds himself thrust into the heart of an outdated legal system where defendants are sent down according to the spectral visions of the pouty priestess rather than actual hard evidence.

This rather cool hook immediately freshens up the been-there-done-that gameplay, without risking disappointing existing Phoenix Wright fans. You’ll still be cross-examining and searching for inconsistencies in the courtroom, but now you’ll also have to pick apart these mysterious visions, which show you the victim’s final moments before death. What they saw, what they heard, what they smelled; you’ll have to flick through this animated video and pick out anything that doesn’t quite add up.

The stakes are raised in Spirit of Justice too. Losing a case before simply meant humiliation, but in Khura’in they really, really hate lawyers. To the extent that if Phoenix’s client is found guilty, he’ll suffer the same punishment, simply for having the nerve to defend them.

This anti-attorney attitude of course fits neatly into Spirit of Justice’s back story, and the game does a solid job of drip-feeding you little hints of what’s really going on in this mysterious kingdom. The cast of characters is as hilarious and colourful as ever, and without spoiling anything, some old faces make a welcome return. Even new characters will prove very familiar, including the rather biased judge who seems determined not to listen to any form of evidence – until Phoenix shows him the error of his ways.

Outside of the courtroom you’ll once again be exploring environments in full 3D, on the hunt for clues to help your case. This really helps to break up the dialogue-heavy court scenes. Like previous Phoenix Wright titles, Spirit of Justice could pretty much be described as an interactive novel – there’s a lot of text to get through. Thankfully most of it is absolutely ridiculously bonkers as before, and you can skip through by changing the game settings if you’re really in a rush. But if you’re not the patient type or you’re after fast-paced action, this isn’t going to polish your bell.

Phoenix Wright fans will definitely love Spirit of Justice as much as previous entries in the series and if you still haven’t screamed ‘objection!’ on your DS or 3DS, this is as good a place as any to start. You don’t need to have played earlier games to get on with this latest title.

You can grab Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice from UK stores and the Nintendo e-shop right now.

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