Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Byte: If something smells, it's probably the Butz.

I'm well into the fourth episode of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on DS at the moment, and I have to say, I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a game this much. It's not just the fact that this is one of those rare games that I've actually had to fork out my own precious money on, rather than rely on a free review copy, but I've really found it very, very difficult to put down.

I'm not even a fan of the adventure game genre, but this has absolutely capivated me, from start to finish. There's just something about the writing, the characters and the plotting that's just a joy. There are some wonderful one-liners in the script (such as the one above in the post heading) and some great references, including a TV kid's show director who speaks in L33T, and how a fan of The Steel Samurai should testify in one of the cases because the Steel Samurai's motto is "For Great Justice!" (See: All Your Base Are Belong To Us)

The use of recurring characters is great, and there's a real sense of continuity between cases, thanks to an intricate backstory, and there are so many twists and turns in the court scenes, most of them will take you by surprise, even though you're meant to be running the show as the defense council. It's also a bonus to be able to use the microphone on the DS to yell "OBJECTION!" or "HOLD IT!" at a witness when you take issue with their testimony. Though you should probably best save that particular piece of functionality for when you're playing the game on crowded train, or in a particularly packed pub.

The only problem I really see with the game is a lack of replay value. The first case is quite short, and is essentially a tutorial, taking around an hour, giving you an idea of how to conduct cases in the courtroom. The other cases take a couple of hours each, so that still gives you around 10 hours gameplay, which is okay value, when you consider the quality of the writing. It's a close call between an 8 and a 9 out of 10 from me. I should the game completed by tomorrow or Thursday, so I should have a review ready by the end of the week.

I'm also rather enjoying Animal Crossing. It's one of those insidously addictive games. Very subtle. Not an in-your-face-raaaaaaaaaggggghhhhhhhhh-give-me-adrenalin kind of game, but a simple, slow-burner, that entices you back day after day, because it runs in real-time. Because every day there's another fossil to dig up, bugs or fish to catch for the Museum curator, and there's more gossip to exchange with your neighbours.

I've almost paid off my mortgage to Tom Nook now (only 6000 bells to go), and I'm ransacking the garden of Angus (the Scottish cow - you can tell he's Scottish, because he goes "macmoo") to bolster my own garden, in anticipation of the Garden Festival competition on Sunday. Angus has been giving me attitude about how he's going to win and how my garden is rubbish, which I feel gives me ample justification to sabotage his efforts. He's a rude little bugger. I think you can probably expect more Animal Crossing anecdotes from now on. Batten down the hatches!
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