Lately, I’ve been going back and enjoying some games in the Phoenix Wright series, which I personally like to call Perjury Gaiden. Because it is a good series of games, there are lots of videos about it, and I’ve picked some of my favourites here, which will be best enjoyed by people who’ve played Phoenix Wright. Each one showcases a different part of why the series is amazing, from dialogue you might not have bothered to find in the game, to the various adaptations it’s gotten in other media.
If you’ve never played these games, here are the Cliff’s Notes: They chronicle the exploits of a rookie lawyer who everyone constantly and ruthlessly roasts for his lack of expertise and whimsically spiky hair. It’s a hilarious and engaging courtroom drama full of comedic gems, engaging characters, and some mystery sleuthing. The writing and localisation are done with great care. It is a good game.
If you haven’t played, there are spoilers in these videos. Think of this post as my not-so-thinly veiled attempt to get you to just go ahead and play it.
First off, here’s one of my personal favourite aspects of visual novels: a bad ending. Bad endings in video games provide the unique experience of tickling your sense of schadenfreude while also making it clear how deeply responsible you are for whatever messed up shit you’re watching. This one, from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney − Justice for All, happens if you mess up at a pivotal moment in the final case. It is wildly melodramatic, set in greyscale. All this to say, there are, you know, stakes, I guess!
Ramping that up even more, YouTuber Ephraim225 did an entire playthrough consisting of incorrect choices and poor decisions. It includes a lot of entertaining text you don’t see if you play the game the right way, so it’s definitely worth a look if you’re a perfectionist like me, or if you’re a perfectionist who’s not like me, meaning you didn’t reset every time you did do something wrong.
Here is a real-life lawyer watching the first episode of the Phoenix Wright anime to give it a grade for legal realism. (By the way, there’s a Phoenix Wright anime and a live-action movie, which do a great job capturing the magic of the games, from the story to the ridiculous and charming character designs.) The lawyer in this video isn’t fully versed on the aspects of the Japanese legal system that the game is satirising, but some of the commentary is still pretty hilarious.
In the spirit of digging more into the adaptations, here’s a pretty hilarious scene from that live-action Phoenix Wright movie of antagonist/deuteragonist and prosecutor Miles Edgeworth. In this scene, his fancy-pants haughtiness gets played up for laughs. It also gives a great idea of the tonal whiplash common in the series, which is almost always used to excellent effect.