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Grim's Game Reviews

Chris

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Had a Game cube, stopped using it and sold it after a week of using it....contollers were garbage and weirdly shaped and the mini discs were antiquated when the other consoles could play cds and dvds.
They were better than the N64 controllers at least :TI: I liked my GameCube, but it's best games imo were Nintendo exclusives which has been a thing since for all their systems, anything that came out for multiple systems were usually better on PS2 and Xbox
 
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They were better than the N64 controllers at least :TI: I liked my GameCube, but it's best games imo were Nintendo exclusives which has been a thing since for all their systems, anything that came out for multiple systems were usually better on PS2 and Xbox
Even nostalgia can't make me disagree.....64 controllers were the drizzling shits.
 

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GameCube controllers are fine. They're a little weirdly shaped but they have very good grips and the buttons are all responsive.

Zero is a point of contention for Capcom and Resident Evil fans in retrospective, following it, the series would go more towards an action oriented direction so it can be theorized that Resident Evil Zero is the death of classic Resident Evil.
 

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CastleVania
(Akumajou Dracula)



Original Console: Nintendo Entertainment System

Original Release Date: September 26, 1986

Developer: Konami

Plot: Every 100 years, Dracula returns from the grave to wreak havoc upon the nation of Wallachia, along with the rest of Europe. However, each time Dracula rises, history has shown the monster-hunting Belmont family has always put a stop to those plans. The year is 1691, and Simon Belmont, is the current holder of the Vampire Killer whip, the Belmont family's ancestral morning star. The haughty Belmont has waited all his life to have a chance at adding a new chapter to the Belmont family name, and in his eagerness, traverses to Dracula's Castle alone. It is up Simon to put Dracula back to the grave, where he belongs, or else the world is doomed. 7/10



Gameplay: CastleVania is a side-scrolling platformer based in the backdrop of a Gothic horror aesthetic. You play as Simon Belmont in his quest to rid the evil that is Dracula from the world. To do so, you are aided by an upgradable whip known as the "Vampire Killer" and several sub-weapons that require hearts to use. Hearts serve as ammunition for your sub-weapons, which range from Holy Water, Boomerang Crosses, Throwing Axes, and much more. You are only allowed to carry one type of sub-weapon on you at all times and they too are upgradable to allow a three-shot, tripling your output and potential damage with them.

Each stage is also unique and increasingly difficult as you continue, requiring quick thought and incredible reaction to get through all in one piece. I think the hardest stage in my opinion is the subterranean level. It has bats flying at you from every which way and there are some jumps that require precise timing to get without being hit, and even then it works out only 60% of the time thanks to enemy spawns. It's definitely one of those "NES Hard" games, but I think it is treated as harder than it actually is. With a little patience and lots of practice, you can breeze through this game without getting hurt much at all; for the most part CastleVania is a memory puzzle, knowing when and where enemies will show up is half the battle.



I suppose the reason for people remembering it as more difficult than it actually is is for the amount of damage enemies can lay upon you in later stages. The damage output of enemies is based on a level-by-level basis, making some enemies like the Medusa heads and bats more dangerous thanks in part to their unpredictable pattern of movement. While it is true that you have only a limited amount of health in the game, there is a way to get it back thanks in part to several pieces of meat hidden in the walls of Dracula's Castle... which is just as weird as it sounds, yes.

Another complaint I hear a lot of the time is how Belmont himself moves about in a very "stiff" way. His jump arch is also locked disallowing him to change directions or slow down mid-jump. It's different than say, Super Mario Bros. as you can plausibly slow down your jump for more accuracy in that game, but not so here. If you have a horrible jump, you need to pray an enemy hits you so you can bounce back into a safe platform. That's another problem I hear people talk about as well; getting hit knocks Simon back a few feet from his original position and sometimes it can get him killed by falling into a pit. People like to gripe about it, but I think it's perfectly fine and adds to the tension of the situation.

With all that said, I think CastleVania's gameplay is standard fare if not just a tad more difficult than other games for the time. Compared to other games in the series, it's a little barren but the controls are responsive and work well enough. While people like to complain about everything regarding Simon, it becomes a standard bearer for the series and I think the hate for it is quite overblown. It's a fun romp nonetheless. 7/10



Visuals: The visuals for CastleVania are actually fairly stunning for 1986, with the comparative Legend of Zelda coming out the same year. Utilizing a brighter aesthetic by mixing orange and blues, sprites pop out more and the backgrounds are all gorgeous colors. It may not exactly be what people are expecting for a "horror aesthetic", but the juxtaposition of bright colors and horrible monsters strangely works enticingly well for CastleVania. Not to mention in 1986, CastleVania looked to be the most graphically adept game for the NES by a country mile, far outstripping it's competitors that year; we would see much better looking games in later years, however. The visual fidelity is still great today. 8/10



Audio: CastleVania's music is something to behold. It's home to some of the most classic songs of the NES era, the likes of "Vampire Killer", "Wicked Child", and "Walking on Edge" having made their introduction here. The music is all rocking with great melodies and they give off an awesome atmosphere to them. I cannot say enough good things about Konami when it comes to music in the NES era, because they were the kings of creating great music. 8/10


TL/DR Summary: If you're into classic horror cinema or a fan of NES games, CastleVania is an absolutely must buy. For more casual gamers, one could very well steer clear of the early CastleVania games for the Metroid-Vania style games that come later on in the years following. CastleVania is still considered a classic and one of the most important games of all time, even in 2019.

Final Grade: 7.5/10
 
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Becky Two-Belts

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I'd hate to be in the Belmont family and be like wait, he's not going to rise after his 100-year nap on my watch is he? Damn it.

I have to say a whip is a pretty neat vampire killing tool. I dig it. I'm probably mostly scared of that floating Medusa head, though.
 
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Grim

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I'd hate to be in the Belmont family and be like wait, he's not going to rise after his 100-year nap on my watch is he? Damn it.

I have to say a whip is a pretty neat vampire killing tool. I dig it. I'm probably mostly scared of that floating Medusa head, though.
Yeah the Medusa boss is a pretty big "WTF" moment if we're honest, definitely comes outta nowhere.
 

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CastleVania II: Simon's Quest
(Dracula II: Noroi no Fuuin)



Original Console: NES

Original Release Date: August 28, 1987

Developer: Konami

Plot: Seven years have passed since Simon Belmont's battle with Dracula ended, but the scars of battle have returned to Simon. An old wound has long festered and caused weakness and malaise in the Belmont's body. Whilst walking among the graves of other fallen Belmonts, Simon is approached by a mysterious woman who tells him of the curse that Dracula laid upon him during their fated battle years earlier. Simon must now venture forth on a final quest to begrudgingly resurrect Dracula one last time and put him down once again, to rid himself of this curse. 8/10



Gameplay: Simon's Quest takes a completely different route than its predecessor, CastleVania. It has an RPG-esque feeling to this game, with it's many paths to take, multiple villagers, and broad spectrum of exploration, all within a 2D Side-Scrolling Platformer, I might add. Before I go any further, one thing must be said: Simon's Quest is a mixed bag; Some people like it, some people don't.

New to Simon's Quest are actual NPCs to talk to. Some of them are helpful, some of them are not... Despite what people say, it actually adds depth to the game: Some villagers want Simon to beat Dracula once and for all, others are still living in fear of Simon's potential failure. Others in later towns hate Simon outright and tell him to leave. This part of the game is quite ill the way it was implemented. For one thing, the people that do help you give you hints that are ridiculous and somewhat unclear without the Redacted version of the game (or Nintendo Power Issue 2). However, we aren't talking about that version.

Different to the original CastleVania, Simon now instead of needing hearts to use items, he must now collect hearts to purchase upgrades and certain items. To put it plainly, the first set of items you need to buy in the first town are a whip upgrade, a white crystal, and holy water. The holy water is your most important weapon in the entire game. It helps reveal invisible pitfalls, breaks blocks down in certain areas, and on top of that, it does do a modicum of damage against opponents. As you go, you will also receive certain items on site, such as a flame wall (which by chance happens to be the best weapon against Dracula) and a diamond that ricochets off the walls.

New is a day and night transition every so often in the game. This actually has an important role to the game, as this is something of a timer. Depending on how many days pass, you will receive one of three endings: Good, Bad, and Very Bad. Enemies become stronger at night as well. The day and night transitions are not implemented all that well and can be cause for frustration among avid players. If you happen to be in town at night, you are completely unable to enter any buildings, wasting your time as you wait for day to come.



Speaking of enemies, they grow stronger as you enter a new area, and by the end of the game, your dinky little leather whip will take over 20 hits to destroy ONE enemy. This gives an incentive to level up your whip as much as possible: because the stronger your whip is, the less time is wasted, and the better ending you get. The enemies don't really have much diversity in this game, as most of them are re-used and just recolored to show differing strengths. Unlike the original as well, the enemies aren't placed in frustrating areas... they basically are food for grinding, which is a mess. The bosses too... What the hell were they thinking? Seriously, Death is balls to the wall hard in both CastleVania and Dracula's Curse, but in Simon's Quest he is so dumbed down that you can literally walk past him and not even have to fight him. There are literally three bosses: Death, Carmilla, and Dracula, and none of them are all that hard. Thumbs down in my book here.



To collect different parts of Dracula, you have to enter the 5 manors scattered throughout the map, purchase an Oak Stake from a merchant inside, and throw it at an orb, then trek ALL the way back out, all in pretty much one sitting. You can take a minimum of three deaths before getting a game over, however you can still hit continue and be left with all your items you had. The kicker is you lose ALL your heart progress, meaning you start at literally ZERO hearts. All that hard work wasted, man...

Overall, the gameplay feels flawed, but not entirely bad. There are its positives, and its negatives, and thus is sums out to a moderately enjoyable experience if you're willing to look past the flaws. 6/10



Visuals: The Visuals in Simon's Quest took a small downturn from the outstanding and eye popping awesomeness of CastleVania! For one thing, Simon doesn't look as aesthetically pleasing as he was in the first game, and this is in part due to the muddy color palette choice of Simon's Quest. The original game incorporated lots of blue and orange, as they complimented each other. However, this game used lots of green and red. Unfortunately, the colors are dark and washed out. It just looks awful: at first glance. Then it starts to appease the eye in this strange way. It's as if the color choices for this game make sense, they were going for a more serious tone with this game. Wallachia looks dreary, unkempt, and brutally horrific thanks in part to the aura that Dracula still emits, even in death. I actually don't mind the color choices even if they are not the best for the NES. 7/10



Audio: Easily the best thing about this game is its music. Simon's Quest brought us arguably three of the most appreciated pieces of music in the entire CastleVania franchise: Silence of the Daylight, Bloody Tears, and Monster Dance! It also has literally the shortest soundtrack of the entire franchise as well, which seems like a bad thing, but the music is so damn good you won't mind a nick. Seriously, the first three CastleVania games have probably the best soundtracks of the games, and there's a good reason why. It's Konami for pete sake, lord and rulers of video game music! 8/10


TL/DR Summary: Simon's Quest isn't a perfect game by any means, nor is it all that great in the grand scheme of things. However, it was a unique attempt by the developers to try something new. After all, Nintendo tried something different with Zelda 2, and we all know how that worked out! This game is a classic despite it wasn't so flawed, and it's a fun romp of experimentation that would later go on to be perfected in Dracula's Curse and games like Symphony of the Night and onwards.

Final Grade: 7/10
 
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CastleVania III: Dracula's Curse
(Akumajou Densetsu)


Original Console: NES

Original Release Date: December 22, 1989

Developer: Konami

Plot: The year is 1491. A legendary vampire named Vlad Tepes declares war against all of humanity in the nation of Wallachia. Reviving dark gods and sending forth an army of darkness upon the innocent people, he goes mad with power and blood lust.

The Holy Catholic Church called out to arms, and sent an army to stop Tepes, or as he called himself, Dracula. But the effort was in vain, as soldier after soldier is slaughtered and cut down where they stood. Not one man returned alive. Seeing that their efforts were futile, The Vatican was forced to turn to the legendary Belmont family, known for their exploits in ridding the world of evil. However, they were feared for their powers and had been excommunicated and placed in exile by the same Vatican decades earlier. The Pope called forth a search for one of the last living Belmonts and eventually found him, a young man by the name of Trevor.

200 years before Simon Belmont, Dracula and mankind's battle begins... 9/10



Gameplay: Dracula's Curse takes what was established BOTH in CastleVania and Simon's Quest and makes an odd mix of the two that really work. For example, in CastleVania, you are working towards one goal only, no need to backtrack because the game is always moving forward. In Simon's Quest, you have branching paths, that lead to a new area, but backtracking is almost a necessity. In Dracula's Curse, it mixes the two in a way that really works well. CastleVania III gives you options and still manages to keep the game moving forward. This in my opinion is a very smart move, as it makes this the most unique CastleVania game out there, and yes, I know, I'm leaving out the N64 games... because they suck.

Another interesting aspect of Dracula's Curse is the addition of multiple characters to choose from. Yes, Trevor Belmont is your constant character throughout the game, but with the addition of a partner, you can easily switch out the two in order to fit your needs. Trevor's weapon of choice is the Vampire Killer whip handed down from generations of Belmonts. It can be upgraded twice for larger range and power, and he also is capable of using sub-weapons. The sub-weapons of choice are: Throwing Dagger, Holy Water, Boomerang Cross, Stopwatch, and Throwing Ax. The only way to use the sub-items are by collecting hearts, which are in candles and dropped by enemies. Stock up on them, and be sure to use the right weapon for the right boss. Just saying, here's a helpful hint: the Cross works best on Death.



You have Grant Danasty, who wields a dagger (THROWING dagger in the Japanese version) and can climb walls and ceilings, and he can change direction mid-jump, He's also twice as fast as Trevor. Grant in my opinion is the best novice friendly character, as his abilities can be made the most of and genuinely are the most useful throughout the game. Got a shit ton of enemies but don't feel like fighting them? Just switch out Trevor with Grant and climb your way out of the situation. The only sub-item that Grant can use is the Throwing Axe, but really, it's not needed, you've got an equally effective weapon (if you're like me and prefer the Japanese version).

The second partner you can get is Sypha Belnades, who is a spell-caster of sorts. Physically, she is slow, weak, and can die the easiest of the three partners, BUT, it's counteracted by the fact that her special attacks do the most damage of any other in the game. Her Fire spell makes mince meat of Dracula himself. Her other two spells, ice and lightning, are pretty interesting. Her ice actually can freeze enemies on the screen (and their projectiles, so be careful) and her lightning attacks are pretty damned strong. Overall, Sypha is perhaps the hardest character to get a grasp on, based on just how weak she is on the surface, but if used right, she's incredibly effective and deadly.

The final partner that Trevor is able to take with him is none other than the son of Dracula himself: Alucard! Gamers who are familiar with and have played CastleVania: Symphony of the Night should almost be able to recognize this guy for his handsome looks and devilish charm. Unfortunately, he's my least favorite character to have. He's not a bad character by any means, but... he doesn't have an edge like the other two do. He's gigantic, seriously; he has a larger hit range for damage than the other three, and his attacks are just plain awful. The only reason most people choose him is his ability to turn into a bat and use up a ton of hearts. I ask why? You have Grant, just climb! So yes, out of the three, I suggest you let Alucard rest until Symphony of the Night, when he's decent.



I'll make no bones about it. This game is HARD. It's genuinely is one of the hardest NES games around, and rightfully so. The worst thing about this game can only be the stairs. They are so awkwardly placed that you're bound to either die on them, or at the very least take some amount of damage. The boss fights are legendary for their difficulty, and actually, in the Japanese version of the game, they're fairly neutered, which is really, saying a lot! No, it's not because the enemies are weaker, or the level designs are better, no no no. It's three key differences:

A.) Dracula's Final Form is more balanced.

B.) Grant has a throwing dagger, and thus has a longer range than in the NTSC and PAL versions.

C.) Alucard's Bat mode doesn't take up nearly as many hearts as the other versions.

D.) Enemies give damage based on type, not level (like in the original CastleVania).

With this in mind, it's a little easy to see which version is preferable in the gameplay department, but both give off a slightly differing experience. 9/10



Visuals: While this may be the NES, sometimes the graphics go way beyond our expectations. CastleVania always goes beyond that, and this game shows it so well! These graphics are great, but by no means the level of Sweet Home, but it gets pretty damn close. The enemies are well drawn incredibly, the colors pop out at you and complement each other very well, and overall it's very pleasing to see. A bonus is in Akumajou Densetsu, which thanks to the VRC6 chip allows for slightly improved visual fidelity and features, such as lightning effects and cloud movement. It's a nice touch that brings me back to play it all the time. 10/10



Audio: Oh my god, we as Americans were severely robbed. Yes, the NTSC and PAL soundtracks are good, wonderful even, but compared to the Japanese soundtrack, which had the VRC6 chip implemented to give it extra channels. The NES didn't have the hardware to support the extra channels, so instead we had a reworked soundtrack. THIS right here is the major difference when deciding whether to play Dracula's Curse or Akumajou Densetsu. The Japanese soundtrack is beyond belief. I am absolutely proud to say, that the music for the Japanese version (which is what I'm going off of only) get's the highest grade I can give it. 10/10



TL/DR Summary: Akumajou Densetsu or Dracula's Curse, the choice is yours. If you want a balls to the wall hard game that will take up most of your time, you most definitely want to try this. The game is very high on my list as personal favorites, however, this is by no means a perfect game. With it's frustrating mess of stairs, neutered difficulty in the Japanese version, Alucard being incredibly weak as a partner, it falls just shy of the "Perfect Score". However, it's most certainly worth playing and is easily the best of the original CastleVania trilogy.

Final Grade: 9.5/10
 
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Ib



Original Console: Windows

Original Release Date: February 27, 2012

Developer: Kouri

Plot: Ib, a nine year old girl, is taken to the local art museum by her parents to examine the works of recently deceased artist, Guertena Weiss. With her parents permission, she wanders off on her own, and is distracted by one of the more abstract works of art by Guertena. While she's trying to understand the painting, a power outage suddenly occurs in the museum, causing an abrupt evacuation. Ib is accidentally left behind as the doors lock. By herself, some strange paint splatters seem to lead her to a large painting of the deep sea. She is able to step into the painting, entering an alien world of Guertena's works. There, she meets an young man named Garry, and a girl roughly the same age as Ib. Together, they must venture through this strange world and find a way to escape. Along the way, they'll learn more about themselves, and who they are. 8/10



Gameplay: Ib is a top down horror adventure game, much like Misao and Mad Father, but unlike the other two, this is much much longer and more puzzle oriented, rather than jump-scare oriented. The game is more about the journey, and not the destination, but is also a great character study and a very good psychological horror game. First off, the game controls are simple to understand, with the WASD keys moving Ib and the other characters, and the space bar your general action button. Your health bar is also pretty clever; it's represented by a rose that wilts as you take more damage. You can replenish your health with vases; there are two types: ones that are one-time use, and endless vases. There's also plenty of save points, so you can work at your own pace without worrying about having to restart a good portion of the game.

The game's biggest attraction has to be the horror aspect, which is played very well. It utilizes some great psychological scares, along with some classic jump-scares and fake outs. You'll probably (I hope) not be screaming in terror, but I think you'll appreciate the creep factor on display. It's a properly creepy game, which is a big plus in my book. I'd much rather be creeped out and have the game build tension all throughout than be terrified for a singular moment in time.



As the story unfolds, you get the chance to learn more about the characters you're going to meet. There are prompts which allow you to choose what to say, and It actually drives the story forward and can have long-reaching implications for the rest of the game. Yes, there are multiple endings, which add so much replayability to the game. All the endings, much like Clock Tower, depend on you meeting certain conditions throughout the game.

Another thing of note, and one of the big gameplay mechanics, is switching between characters during a segment where the group gets split up. Much like the train segment of Resident Evil 0, the characters are helping each other out even though they aren't necessarily together. It's a nice break from the usual puzzles, and becomes more multi-layered, giving this game a lot more credit. It certainly gives more variety than many of its contemporaries, and is essentially like Corpse Party. Overall, the game is a basic RPG maker horror game, with a great story, likeable characters, good psychological horror, and enough gameplay elements to keep you interested all the way through. 9/10



Visuals: The game looks very much like the original Corpse Party in graphics only, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It looks like a throwback to old DOS games, and I like it a lot. The characters are well designed (Ib looks seriously adorable), the monsters look truthfully menacing, and the environments are a spectacular menagerie of settings like out of an avant-garde film. There's a lot of dark blues, and browns to accentuate darkness, with red being the usual color for something scary. It mixes dark colors with bright and vibrant ones to just create such a beautiful yet frightening scene that you simply can't look away. The paintings are also really nicely drawn, and you'd just like to look at them and observe them. Simply stated, the game is lovely, and it can be quite scary at the same time. 9/10



Audio: The music in this game is really nice, they help set the tone and scene for whatever is happening and I adore the "All Alone" theme for one of the endings. There's also one of the wandering around themes I like. The sound effects aren't bad either, they're really nice too. Some strange sounds that'll get you wondering what the hell it is. Classic horror gaming 101, build tension with sound effects. It works best inside the game and it is really creepy when done right, which the game nails down. Unfortunately, it's not the most memorable of soundtracks save for two of the songs and that's quite a downer. 7/10


TL/DR Summary: Ib is really a very underrated game that doesn't get as much attention as it deserves. It's a classic psychological horror story with a gorgeous look and an interesting cast of characters and environments. It's also completely free making it even more worth your time if you are into deeply analytical horror.

Final Grade: 8/10
 

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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
(Gyakuten Saiban)



Original Release Date: October 11, 2001

Original Console: Gameboy Advance

Developer: Capcom

Plot: Phoenix Wright is a rookie defense lawyer in California who just recently passed the BAR. Court proceedings in the United States have changed tremendously over the last few years, with trials now only taking a maximum of 3 days for the sake of speeding them up, as jails began to be clogged with criminals. This led to an abuse of the system where innocent people began to be convicted of crimes they didn't commit, and for some prosecutors to forge evidence in their favor. Phoenix became a defense lawyer to seek out an old friend who recently became a prosecutor himself. His first case is defending his best friend, Larry Butz, convicted of murder. With his mentor, Mia Fey, at his side, Phoenix not only successfully defends his friend, but discovers the true culprit at the same time.

Mia and Phoenix decide to celebrate by meeting at the office and going out to eat later that night. When Phoenix goes to the office that night, however, he discovers the murdered body of Mia. Besides Mia's body is her sister, Maya Fey. She is arrested by Detective Dick Gumshoe on the spot and Phoenix, bound by a duty to his mentor, decides to defend Maya. Their story begins here... 9/10



Gameplay: It's finally time to run through my #3 favorite all-time series! The Ace Attorney series has always been one of my favorite franchises in gaming, right behind CastleVania and Resident Evil. I'm pretty much gonna say right here and now that this game is fucking great. Great controls, hilarious dialogue, incredibly intensity, and just enough mystery to keep you on your feet.

Right off the bat, the game is quite dialogue driven, but that doesn't make it boring in the least. In fact, it probably has some of the best dialogue you will see in gaming. The dialogue had been very well localized for North American cultural references, and god-damn do they work! Each character has very specific dialogue, and you generally have a very good grasp of who is who, even the lovable judge has some funny dialogue at times. All I can say is the dialogue right off the bat is perfect.



Then comes the actual trials, where the game is really centered around. In the case, you basically listen to the testimony given out by the witnesses, then you cross-examine. In cross-examination, you can choose to press them on a statement made, or present evidence on a contradiction in the testimony. Pretty simple, but things get really subtle as the game goes on, making it really hard to object without making faults. If you make five faults, the case is over and you lose. Simple as that really. The cases are splendidly done and masterfully crafted to be quite intense and engaging. You want to win because you want to see your client innocent, because he IS innocent! Isn't that a drive you can get behind? Oh, can I also say it feels really good to make witnesses freak out?



The whole second part of the game is Investigation Mode. In this mode, you are investigating crime scenes, going around talking to witnesses, and finding clues. This mode is why it is indeed an adventure game. It feels like a quest to collect evidence and prove their innocence! Plus the funny dialogue continues even in this mode. As you get farther into the game, cases become harder and harder to investigate, which makes a lot of sense.

This game has a great system that would continue to be used throughout the series, but in my opinion, none of them had the perfection of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. In my opinion, the gameplay became more and more muddied with more mechanics being introduced (with the sole exception of Phoenix Wright vs. Professor Layton) in every game afterwards. 10/10



Visuals: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney has in my opinion a splendid array of visuals. Every character is drawn to minute details, their actions, and how they portray themselves are awesome. Phoenix just looks like that lovable dope, doesn't he~? The scenes are well made, and everything looks and feels great. Perfect visuals, and there is nothing wrong with it for me! 10/10



Audio: This is probably the high point of Ace Attorney. The music is simply gorgeous. It ranges from soft and melodic, to pulse-pounding and intense, all the way to completely ballistic! This music exemplifies why music in a game is extremely important when telling a story as well! All the music gets my personal stamp of approval, especially Cornered. 10/10


TL/DR Summary: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is one of the few games that fully gets me grasping the story being told and thirsty for more. The whole lore behind the series is also extremely complex, making it a lot to digest! This game is worth the buy in the Trilogy version soon coming out for Switch and already on 3DS. In my opinion, the series starts off on a high and only gradually declines in time, but they are still an amazing series of games worth playing.

Final Grade: 10/10
 
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Just West of Parts Unkown
It's got an incredible cult following including me. You should definitely check out the Trilogy of games for the Switch or 3DS if you ever get the chance.
Switch is gonna be my next big purchase after finally get enough money to replace my shitty laptop so I'll try to when I get one a couple years from now :side:
 

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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice For All
(Gyakuten Saiban 2)



Original Console: GameBoy Advance

Original Release Date: October 22, 2002

Developer: Capcom

Plot: Months have passed since the thrilling conclusions of the DL-6 Incident and the SL-9 Incident. Maya Fey has returned to Kurain Village to finish her studies as a spiritual medium and head of the clan. Phoenix Wright has taken to selecting very few cases since Maya's departure. Perhaps most shocking of all, is the "death" of Miles Edgeworth, who disappeared after the harrowing events of his murder trial. Things have indeed changed for Mr. Wright, and like deja vu, things will fall back into place.

After receiving a call from a local doctor, Turner Grey, who wished to visit Maya Fey at Kurain Village to speak to the spirit of a recently deceased nurse and clear his name of malpractice, Phoenix relents and takes him. After meeting with Maya once again and talking to the head trainer of the village, Morgan Fey (Maya and Mia's aunt), and catching up with Lotta Hart again, they prepare to channel the dead in a locked room, Dr. Grey and Maya alone. Gunshots are heard and when Phoenix busts the door open, they discover a gruesome scene: Dr. Grey dead and Maya transformed into the spirit of the nurse. Morgan ushers the group out of the chamber and deals with the spirit herself.

Maya is arrested and believed to be the culprit of the murder, everything tying to her. However, Phoenix knows that Maya can't be a murderer and takes the case for himself, scrambling to find all of the evidence he can before the trial. Along the way, he meets Maya's niece and Morgan's daughter: 8 year old Pearl Fey. Pearl agrees to help Phoenix (whom she believes to be Maya's "special someone") uncover clues to this mystery and clear Maya's name once more. It will not be easy, as a Von Karma stands in his way to getting the truth. It'll take Phoenix all of his wits and cunning to get out of this mess, but it's only the beginning... 10/10



Gameplay: For many people, Justice For All is the redheaded step-child of the series, as it's place between more esteemed colleagues, Ace Attorney and Trials and Tribulations, leaves it oft forgotten. For many, this is an interesting look in how future games would play out, and it is also by far the darkest game the series has to offer, dealing with many topics such as: familicide, revenge, suicide, psychological abuse and even torture.

Justice For All is an important part of the Ace Attorney series, as it gave us two enduring additions, Psyche-Locks and the ability to use character profiles as evidence for objection. Thanks to the power of Maya's magatama, Phoenix is now capable of interrogating witnesses and suspects in a more thorough manner; this leads to some witnesses having "Psyche-Locks", a mental barrier that shows the witness is either withholding information or outright lying, leading to Phoenix to have to use evidence and character profiles to unlock the needed information to continue. These Psych-Locks also replenish Phoenix's penalty bar upon completion, but for every wrong answer, empties it more and more, making it a gamble on how to proceed. Luckily, it isn't the end of the game when working through Psyche-Locks.

Other than that, the game is just as the first game. I honestly don't mind the Psyche-Locks too much and I definitely appreciate the ability to use character profiles instead of just having them as a reference. Justice For All is a good look at how to have improved the Ace Attorney series without muddying it with weirder mechanics. It's an excellent sequel that is incredibly enjoyable and it helps set the foundation for Trials and Tribulations with much of its story, such as everyone's relations to one another. It also has probably my favorite final case of any Ace Attorney game, "Farewell My Turnabout". It's definitely an equal to the first game in all conceivable areas. 10/10



Visuals: More splendid goodness on the part of Capcom in this game. I think my favorite character designs this game are Franziska Von Karma, Pearl Fey, and Matt Engarde. The settings are also nicely designed, some of them having traditional Japanese flairs to them, such as Kurain Village, others a vibrant setting like Berry Big Circus. There's no shortage of gruesome scenes either and it does not hold back on showing us darker scenes, and I appreciate it. 9/10



Audio: The music in Justice For All is something of a point of contention. It's the most divisive soundtrack in the series as it generally has some of the best songs of the franchise, but much of the soundtrack is considered "weak" in comparison to others. I think the soundtrack is perfectly fine and hardly that weak. It's tonally more grounded in the sense of tensity and darkness. My favorite tracks are probably "Core 2002", "Objection 2002", and oddly, what many consider the weakest cornered theme, "Cornered 2002". I get there's just a few stinkers in there, "Congratulations, Everybody, Again" and "Eccentric", but there were some in Ace Attorney as well. 9/10



TL/DR Summary: For some people, Justice For All is a weak-point in the series. For me, it's one of the best in the series with some of the best cases. It's another stellar entry to the Ace Attorney series, and its inclusion in the Phoenix Wright Trilogy coming to Switch makes it even more worthy of a purchase. It's probably my second favorite game in the series.

Final Grade: 9.5/10
 
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