Adam's Rant: Phoenix Wright's Debut in UMvC3 Is Horrible and Disappointing

By Adam Ma on October 16, 2011, 7:37PM EDT

While fighting games have made an impressive push in recent years due to some extremely popular high level competition and memorable tournament personalities, the fact remains that a large majority of fighting game purchases still go out to casual players. People who buy these games don't necessarily have the skill to compete against the best of the best, or even the best of the mediocre, they pick them up for different reasons: to see epic mashups between characters they've followed for years, or to enjoy the loose story modes that tie many of these titles together. It's the reason why most recent releases have all made sure that their titles have included beginner move sets for people who want to experience as much of the game as they can. Casual players look forward to things that top tier players may not pay close attention to and often times drive demand for which new characters ought to be included in a series. So why Capcom decided to do such an absolutely horrible job at implementing Pheonix Wright into the game is a frustrating and embarrassing mystery.

Where do you even begin with something like this? The voice acting that everyone seems to be freaking out over is a good start, but perhaps that's just an overreaction by a rabid fan-base. Mr. Wright didn't really say much in his other games outside of "Objection, Take That," or "Hold It;" so it's understandable that when you actually give him a sentence or two to say, it may seem a little bit off from what anyone may have originally expected.

A bit of disappointing voice acting work isn't really enough to ruin a character altogether, but when fans are expecting to see their favourite character fight, one would think that actual punching and kicking moves should be a part of the action. Kicking ass and looking cool while doing it is a major part of the fun, and when the rest of Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom's cast have been pulled together from a wide variety of fighters, all of whom have their own unique mechanics to bring to the table, you can understand why Capcom have had trepidation about adding Phoenix Wright as a character to begin with. Pheonix Wright may very well be the worst character to ever be included in a fighter, since his entire series is unique in the sense that there are no other games like them. Part text adventure, part mystery and puzzle solving, the Ace Attorney series doesn't even have conventional move controls. On one hand it means that Capcom have absolutely nothing to work with, but on the other it means that Pheonix is an open book; in a game that's meant to represent some of the wackiest characters across two similar-but-different industries, having Pheonix Wright adapt any fighting style for fun would have been more than accepted by fans. Unfortunately Capcom decided to do the opposite.

All of his moves are based around him looking for things, striking a pose, freaking out or calling in side characters, and none of them flow smoothly together. Just from watching the gameplay video for a few moments I am reminded of the Mugen system of tossing in characters that weren't from the same series into a neutral game to fight one another. Compared to the smooth combos that other characters are capable of Pheonix looks clunky and half hearted, boasting a move set that is supposed to be goofy and lighthearted but comes across as lazy and half-assed. His secondary mechanic of searching for clues looks to be as weak a tie-in to his game as powering up from hitting an opponent with Objection; and coupled with the fact that fans have been demanding the character to make an entry into any Capcom Vs it's easy to see why his current state would be a disappointment to most.

That's not to say that he won't be a competitive character, Seth Killian has already shown off some proof that Mr. Wright is an extremely competitive fellow, though whether or not he can keep up with the rest of the community won't be seen until the full release of UMvC3. Even still the lack of respect that Capcom seems to have treated the character with is extremely unsettling, given the amount of attention that other non-fighting game characters like Chris Redfield or Dr. Strange have received. It's just another nail in the coffin with a developer whose fans already are wary of doing business with. Having all the hype for such a notable character boil down to gameplay that feels so disconnected from the rest of the MvC theme is a disappointment on multiple levels. It reeks of a quick cash grab, something that could have been more easily accomplished by just cutting and pasting Pheonix into the game. Too bad someone else thought of that idea first.

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