Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney proved to be a surprise hit for Capcom, so it was no surprise that the masterminds behind the first game conspired to bring a sequel. Following the same path as the 2005 remaster, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice for All is the second game in the series, first released in Japan on the Game Boy Advance in 2002 and remastered for the DS in 2007. So, is this return to court good, or is it guilty of being atrocious?
Justice for All reunites gamers with Phoenix Wright in his second year in his law career as he squares off with newcomer prosecutor Franziska von Karma, daughter of a former prosecutor and devout follower of his mantra to secure a perfect win record in court. There are no shortage of crazy cases; your first case requires you to find your client innocent while suffering from amnesia, no less! From there, you'll defend your former aide, Maya Fey, from allegations of murder following a botched spirit channeling, and even return to the glitzy world of pop culture by solving a murder case surrounding the cast of a circus.
Not everything is as it seems in JFA's cases, as you may find yourself sympathizing with the perpetrators of each case, and the final case brings it's fare share of startling, but not wholly unexpected twists. The final case, too, serves as an ultimate turning point for Phoenix's character development as he wrestles with the question of what's most important: finding his clients innocent no matter the circumstance, or unveiling the truth no matter how damning it is.
Ultimately, while the first Ace Attorney instalment brought a bonus case to round its length to five cases, Justice for All pales in comparison with only four, though JFA compensates the paltry case length with longer and slightly more difficult cases.
Basic gameplay in JFA remains largely the same as its predecessor; investigate the crime scene to gather evidence and clues, then stand in court to cross-examine witnesses and not only gain an aquittal for your client, but discover the truth by bringing the true perpetrator to justice. A small, but noteworthy addition to the gameplay is the ability to present character profiles alongside evidence during investigations and in court, adding in another facet to consider with the logic the game requires of the player.
The big addition to gameplay, though, is the Psyche-Lock mechanic. During investigation, certain witnesses may have locks placed on their heart that protects the truth. Using your usual logic and evidence, you can rebut the witnesses' logic and break their locks, thereby unlocking the truth. While on paper this seems like a nutty idea, in practice it's a really fun mechanic that just adds to this series' charm.
While gameplay may seem a tick different, the graphics and sound design all maintain the same level of quality as its predecessor. While several tracks from the first instalment's soundtrack return, newer tracks add to the game's comedic, dramatic, and tense moments.
Overall, Justice for All's plotline lacks in comparison to its predecessor. However, the already-engaging gameplay is made all the more fun with the new Psyche-Lock mechanic. Couple this with the eye-catching sprite graphics and the wonderful chiptune soundtrack, and you have a worthy sequel. Ace Attorney alums will be delighted to return to the world of law with this title.