First, there are some people who are not going to like this game. I need to acknowledge this first (look back to my review of Phoenix Wright I, as it was called out as a terrible game by some).
If you really don't want to read a novel when you play a game, stay far away from Phoenix Wright. I would say, however, to give it a chance. Far from just being an ebook with pictures, there are plenty of aspects to this emerging series that make it far more enjoyable than that. Perhaps if you didn't play the game with preconceived "hardc0re, 7337" notions of what games *should* be, you might enjoy it.
Okay, now to the review. Needless to say, I think PWII is awesome. But it is not without some faults, so let's address those. Akemi Kimura's music is generally delightful, but certain themes are overused and even recycled (for instance, the "circus" music is reused for other characters). I also think it's a little silly that they "force" the game to be in America, when the original story
(and much of the artwork) clearly indicate a Japanese origin. That said, I understand the business decision to make the game "American" for gamers in the States. It's just a personal gripe. Finally, an inclusion of the Japanese dialogue would be a nice bonus: a chance to practice my Japanese reading.
One last gripe: For a game where reading is paramount, there are an alarming amount of typos, mostly in the middle two cases (including some annoying personal pronoun issues). There seemed to be about a half dozen or so that I noticed. Granted, they are easy to discern and don't obfuscate the plot, but c'mon now... the localizers are friggin' paid to get it right!
That said, PWII mostly gets it right, and in a big way. Again, the actual gameplay is simplistic, but you really don't play these games in the same way as Halo 2. The added "Pysche Lock" feature (not in the Japanese original) is a nice touch, and does help give structure and less tedium to the non-courtroom sections of the game. There is no "new" case, like in the original (which had an original, American release only fifth case). However, the cases here tend to be longer, especially the final fourth case. As with the first, the over the top anime art style is often hilarious, and a large part of the series comic effect.
Yet the most important aspect of these games is, of course, the story. At first, as I played through the first few episodes, I was somewhat dissapointed, and felt that the game was a bit of a letdown over the last title. However, by the start of the third case, it began clear that there was a much bigger story arch going on, and the game really picked up after that. The fourth case ties up everything that is hinted at in the first three cases, and is a real dramatic tour de force, with several surprising plot twists that keep you guessing. Finally, the return of most of the favorite characters from the first game tie it all together.
So, my grade for Phoenix Wright: Justice For All is an easy, big fat A.
Now go out and buy this so we can get PWIII in the States!