This year I decided to replay all the Phoenix Wright saga, in preparation for DGS2, the only one I haven't played. And what better place to start than the beginning?
Even with the standarization of the health bar system made in the Switch remake, PW1 is definitely the odd one out of the series. Excepting the 5th case (which was made years later specifically for the DS edition) PW1 is a lot more subtle than the wacky sequels. The cases make more sense, the killers' breakdowns are much more subdued, the judge isn't a total tool, the world isn yet full of fake countries and mysterious japanese villages smack dab in the middle of LA, and Edgeworth is, though arrogant, much more professional than the rest of the prosecutors that will come later. Some mainstays of the series, like the Blue Badger or the Steel Samurai, are introduced here, so one gets the feel this game was simply setting up an universe for a long series.
All this makes PW1 probably the one with the least personality but the most pleasant one to play, as you don't have to make giant leaps of logic to win your cases, nor it requires a serious amount of suspension of disbelief to handle the schizophrenic localization. It's very much a GBA game at its core, though, and it shows - until the last case, which as already explained was made to showcase the DS touch screen capabilities.
My Score: ★★★★★