Generally favorable reviews - based on 53 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 53
  2. Negative: 0 out of 53
  1. Character reactions are exaggerated, heck, they’re waaaaay over-exaggerated, the main setting is a courtroom and it is - *gasp* - adventure. In fact, to label Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney as ‘kooky’ would be an understatement, but somehow it works.
  2. While the oddball stories are played for laughs, the constant plot twists and surprises are as effective as those of any John Grisham novel.
  3. Everything about Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is surprising, from its intricately staged murders and clever humor to its mere existence. Any gamer looking for a good mystery book or a good laugh cannot go wrong with this instant classic.
  4. 90
    You'll oftentimes be surprised at some of the things characters say during the game and may even find yourself laughing out loud at some of the antics encountered during court proceedings.
  5. Proof that even lawyer games can be fun. Addictive, challenging and inventive; Capcom have struck gold once again.
  6. With its charming gameplay, excellent use of the Nintendo DS features, truly funny dialogue, intricate plot, and personable cast of characters, this "soon to be a classic" title offers plenty of gaming enjoyment.
  7. When a game has this much attention to detail, when the script fizzes along with such humour and throws in plot twist after plot twist during the courtroom battles, it's easy to forgive the linearity.
  8. If it’s a great story with likeable characters (with the notable exception of Phoenix’s slightly annoying assistant he picks up shortly into the game) you want, then Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney will sink its claws into you and not let go until the judge’s hammer comes down on that final case.
  9. 90
    Whenever a game of such craftsmanship actually gets a release in Europe, you would be a fool not to grasp it tightly and treasure its unique and original interactivity.
  10. But while there's little appeal in tackling Phoenix Wright's cases again, this is a unique, lengthy, deep and absolutely gripping game. Highly recommended.
  11. The defense and prosecuting attorneys aren't merely suits with expensive educations, they're presented as warriors fated to opposing sides due to their professions.
  12. On the charge of being an excellent adventure game on the DS, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is declared guilty as charged.
  13. Though the game is heavily text-driven and there's little replayability, it's a bright, rich, and lengthy adventure that could hardly have been improved upon otherwise.
  14. 88
    All-in-all, though, Phoenix Wright ends up winning my heart with its charm and overall presentation. The characters are certainly lovable and the stories are far from boring.
  15. A refreshingly original adventure. It feels like a comic book and the story centres around courtrooms. There are some mildly annoying repetitive elements, but nothing too distracting. [June 2006]
  16. The game nails its sound scores. Though the soundtrack of the game is sometimes lacking and old-fashioned, it is reminiscent of old SNES and NES titles and feels mood appropriate at all times.
  17. I can only hope this game does well enough for Capcom to bring the other games in this series to the U.S. [Oct 2005]
  18. The scenarios are both challenging and interesting and there’s even some CSI-like crime scene investigating.
  19. Appeals to that mystery-solving personality that’s in all of us and truly is one of the most innovative titles to appear on the DS this year.
  20. Despite the half-done feeling of chapter five, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney remains the sort of game that I live for. It's intelligent, creative, and never ever loses its sense of humor.
  21. A great way to show off the DS’s innovative features, and it is also a great game with a humorous story.
  22. A very engaging experience packed with fun and interesting characters and puzzles that really make you think.
  23. The game seems earmarked to become a cult hit...and with another game on the way in Japan, I can only see the series getting better.
  24. Because it is so linear you may not play it over and over, but the unique nature of the game and the humor may get you to give it another go.
  25. Once you have beaten the game, there is no need to replay it, as there is no extra content unlocked by doing so. It would be like reading a book over and over again, which could get boring.
  26. I only hope that enough Americans will appreciate Mr. Wright so that we can get our hands on the other two titles in the series.
  27. Wackier than Ally McBeal, but in a good way. Addictive and amusing lawyerly hi-jinks. [Apr 2006, p.38]
  28. Keeps its legal-eagle fantasy flying much of the time - it's a welcome DS addition. [Nov 2005, p.109]
  29. 80
    Engrossingly fun to play. [Nov 2005, p.132]
  30. It's like being cuddled by fun.
  31. 80
    If you don't mind using your brain as you play, then approach this bench. Court is now in session.
  32. Since the storyline is very linear, there's not a lot of replay value to Phoenix Wright, making it best served for a long trip. Even so, only the player most determined to resist Mr. Wright's charms will be able to object to the game's finer points.
  33. 80
    Capitalizes on humanity's inherent love for a slightly aggravating puzzle that we secretly relish.
  34. 80
    The minor issues are nowhere near big enough to take away from a game that sucks the player in with its originality and keeps them well and truly locked in until the judgement is made in the final case. Simply put, it’s brilliant. [JPN Import]
  35. Such a refreshing game. The cases are really well thought out and will get you thinking, the sound effects and graphics are top notch for a 2D image-based handheld adventure.
  36. 80
    If you can live without the slightest bit of action and can forget anything you know about the law (suspension of legal belief is definitely required) then there's a lot for you here to enjoy.
  37. Deeply amusing, dramatically fresh, and incredibly novel.
  38. The diverse characters and humorous outbursts that occur in the courtroom are enough to make Phoenix Wright an enjoyable experience and what helps keep the player interested into it.
  39. This game is different, has a great style, and will give your brain a workout. If you like mystery novels or courtroom dramas, you gotta take this case.
  40. It might be a little stiff, but the game is just plain fun to play thanks to some outstanding writing that’s just plain lacking in many other games.
  41. 80
    A truly wonderful adventure game, thanks largely to an excellent script and memorable cast of characters.
  42. With heavy amounts of text and progress based upon your brain reflex as opposed to your trigger finger, Ace Attorney isn't a game for everybody; but for those looking for a stylish and original experience, make sure to check this out immediately as it will probably surprise you.
  43. For those out there who got a DS because they wanted new experiences, I think that this cart is your chance. [Oct 2005, p.154]
  44. 78
    The game's script is worth the price of admission by itself; intriguing characters, unique situations, and well-written and humorous dialogue keep the interest level high all the way through the multiple chapters.
  45. The unique cast of characters and entertaining story makes Phoenix Wright worth playing, once. After you've seen all the plot turns and twists the game loses its appeal. [JPN Import]
  46. 75
    The game has no real replay qualities too, but this game is so long that it doesn’t need it.
  47. The difficulty is low due to the puzzles being about as tough as a play through the board game clue and the replayability is nonexistent. It's a great unique rental for sure but not one I would rush out to buy.
  48. What's great about Wright is that, unlike most other games, it really gets you thinking critically, and not just within the rules of the game. [Nov 2005, p.160]
  49. 73
    If Capcom could just get some better scenario writers; someone to weed out the contradictions of their own storylines, and someone to make this a little less "out of left field" and a bit more logical progression towards the truth, this could be fun for a larger audience.
  50. It's the strength of the stories that helps carry what would otherwise be a fairly linear and uninteresting concept. A niche title, then, but one that those looking for something unique should enjoy with relish. [Dec 2005, p.118]
  51. It too often asks for a mere nod in the right direction rather than a considered gambit, filling in the incriminating details itself and leaving the player yearning for more active involvement. [Christmas 2005, p.110]
  52. It certainly isn't the first case of a game holding its player's hand too tightly, but thankfully it's a difficult one to dismiss or, indeed, to adjourn.
  53. A great presentation and even better writing can’t compensate for the fact that the game practically plays itself. This is a good comic book, but a below average adventure.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 165 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 44
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 44
  3. Negative: 4 out of 44
  1. Dec 30, 2012
    The series of Phoenix Wright, even if with few additions and almost no upgrades, always shows new cases and new ways to think out of the boxThe series of Phoenix Wright, even if with few additions and almost no upgrades, always shows new cases and new ways to think out of the box for resolving the cases (not a lot, but still helps). Of course, the series ia also fun to play and great to follow, with a roster of unforgettable characters...and villains too. The game plays as a mix of an adventure game and...sort of quiz game...I think. I have no proper words but the point is that both parts mix very well and they are both fun to play, especially since the story (or stories) behind the game are well thought and will make you think of how to solve the cases. Honestly, my big complains is that out of 5 missions, 2 are rather short and very simple, almost kid-friendly (the first case is literally a tutorial case, while the second is almost impossible to lose). From case 3, the game ramps up in difficulty and become a lot more enjoyable, and the last 2 cases are probably THE single best cases of the entire series (Trial and Tribulation cases are close...but only these are remarkable at their best). Graphics are simple and clean (and oldish, since I heard it was from a Gameboy Advance game), but funcional, and...I really have nothing else to mention, because the flaws are almost non-existants. Maybe the game should have had more endings, and maybe the game should have been more open (you won't go forward until you trigger the right event, which is either the discover of an item, talking to a person, or showing items to a person). Except these, I have almost no complains at all, since it's also very long to play (I think it's gonna last you at least 10 hours, but there's no counter). One of the strongest adventure game on the DS, and possibly one of the best games of the console: must at least try once but if you love adventure game, it' s an instant purchase. Full Review »
  2. Sep 20, 2012
    Every game in this saga is EPIC and PERFECT. The story is great and the characters are memorable. The OST is just delicious. Every case isEvery game in this saga is EPIC and PERFECT. The story is great and the characters are memorable. The OST is just delicious. Every case is very original, and there is a plot full of secrets and twists that you discover through every game. Full Review »
  3. Dec 9, 2010
    I'm going to be honest. This game is a masterpiece. I don't care if the game does half of the thinking for you, but the fact that withI'm going to be honest. This game is a masterpiece. I don't care if the game does half of the thinking for you, but the fact that with increasing difficulty and requirements to be able to think beyond a simple contradiction to shove some evidence up the prosecutor's throat makes the game beyond fun. This game just won't let me shut the DS off, of course until I get to a save point. Full Review »