The Phoenix Wright Dilemma On iOS

I realize I'm a bit late having just found out through Tested that the Phoenix Wright HD Trilogy was released on iOS like a month ago but it delving into what this release is about has finally pushed me enough to write something. This will be part personal anecdote, part open inquiry into what the hell is up with Phoenix Wright on that platform.

For those that don't know, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, the DS port version, has been on iOS for more than a year now (probably two at this point) and as soon as I got my iPad 3 I knew that both that and Ghost Trick awaited me. I decided even then that I would go with Ghost Trick first since it was a one off game. After a bit of hemming and hawing as I do with game purchases sometimes, I bought it. While I knew I would like it, I didn't expect to love it and to the point where that was my 2011 game of the year (despite playing a year late).

Throughout and even before playing Ghost Trick I had the idea to also jump onto Phoenix Wright but for reasons I hope I can explain, I hesitated. In fact, I never did. It was $5, more than a fair price, cheaper in fact than Ghost Trick's $10, and by all accounts a classic game worth playing. Those facts were undeniable but one part was always nagging me which is that I had no idea if the remainder of the series would be coming down the line. I knew then and now that the character and story is a core to why you play those games and I felt disappointed at the idea of getting into Phoenix Wright but stopping only after the first game.

Call it being selfish or skeptical or both but I took a wait and see approach to whether Capcom would follow through. They nailed it with Ghost Trick and everything I've heard about the DS port sounded like it was a proper reproduction of that experience on iOS which made it that much more of a bummer being stuck behind my own stingy skepticism.

At some point down the line my reward would come because I learned that not only were the second and third games ported to iOS in Japan but Capcom would release them in the US app store as a trilogy. I was all but assured that whenever those games were coming (despite worrying announcements of multiple delays) I would buy the first three games in one fell swoop and enjoy the hell out of them.

Upon hearing the news that the trilogy was released I scrambled to my iPad to confirm and I quickly downloaded the free app (that worked similarly to Ghost Trick). Quickly I also checked the other version of Phoenix Wright to see if that was still around...and it was. Confused I compared the two and that was when I realized things had gotten a lot more weird and confusing for Phoenix Wright on iOS.

My feelings on this situation is entirely predicated upon one important assumption: that the ideal and desired scenario was playing as best as possible reproductions of the DS versions on my iPad in lieu of not owning a DS. I say assumption because, given the first release, I expected more or less the same out of 2 and 3 and would be more than happy with that. Also, I would be down with that assumption proving false if an HD remake of those games were crisp and great (as Dual Destinies looks like it does). Unfortunately for Capcom and fans of the series, almost every review I've read mentions either apathy or negative critique of the new art. I personally agree and in numerous comparisons, I find the new art a disappointment and kinda cruddy. Which is where the whole dilemma comes in.

What happens with Phoenix Wright now? A great HD remake notwithstanding, all I and presumably others wanted was just localized versions of Justice For All and Trials and Tribulations. The kicker is that DS ports already exist of 2 and 3, but only in the Japanese app store. I also can't help but feel somewhat responsible as a consumer because I didn't put my money where my mouth was with the DS port. On the other hand, there's no guarantee my sale would have made the difference or have sent any specific message to Capcom. The issue is probably one of creative management as for why an HD remake was decided upon and released.

Regardless of my feelings on the matter, the franchise is kind of left in an awkward positions, especially as fan reception is specifically against both the art and some technical issues. Does this mean Capcom will address that in reaction and finally port the english translation of the DS versions? Will there be a DS graphics option later or will Capcom simply wipe it's hands and say "well we tried" and leave it as it is? The latter option I feel is the one that worries me because as someone who definitely won't be playing the HD version, that almost all but guarantees I won't be playing more than just the first game on iOS.

The problem is ultimately solved with monetary brute force and just buying a DS XL and the full franchise but I don't want to do that, at least not yet. If I must be honest, I'd quicker buy the carts cheaper down the line and get an emulated version when a good enough DS emulator hits the market. Still though, I don't want to resort to that when Capcom has been doing some things right, which is what makes me feel bad for everyone involved, fans and creators alike.

Anyone else in the same boat? (Sorry for the super long post, but it's kinda been years on the backburner).

2 Comments
2 Comments
Edited by selfconfessedcynic

@bacongames said:

If I must be honest, I'd quicker by the carts cheaper down the line and get an emulated version when a good enough DS emulator hits the market. Still though, I don't want to resort to that when Capcom has been doing some things right, which is what makes me feel bad for everyone involved, fans and creators alike.

I bought the original on iOS then did the above a number of months ago as I didn't know there would be a release of this collection.

It's all very moral grey area, but the games emulate just fine right now - though carts can be difficult to find. I'm sad to hear that people don't like the new art, but I believe in voting with your wallet so even though I'm pretty fine with it, go with your gut.

As for Capcom, *shrug* - I personally just purchase the games I want in the forms I want them and leave it at that.

ED: That said, I'll be buying a 3DS for AA:DD

Posted by DEFE

I played the first one on my iPhone before the HD trilogy was released, and eagerly picked up the second game for my iPad when that came out. I had the same misgivings about the art when I first started. The characters that I was used to seeing in the DS art style seemed a bit...off. Mia was perhaps the worst offender. However, after the first two trials I had ceased to notice. The art all seems fine to me now, particularly for the new characters that I haven't seen in any other way. I'd recommend just soldiering on and seeing how you feel after some time. Better than spending more money on a different version.

As for Capcom adding a DS graphics option, I'm sorry to say that there's probably no chance of that. I really am enjoying the HD version though. I think you'll get used to it. Best of luck, regardless.