Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney was one of those franchises that I never got around to playing during the time of their original release, but in the time since it has become one of my favorite franchises. Having now played the games on every portable platform it’s come to, I wasn’t sure how invested I’d be in a tethered version on the PS4 and Xbox One. After having played through these games again on console, I’m happy to report that not much is lost on the lack of portability.
In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy, you step into the blue suit of rookie lawyer Phoenix Wright, as he goes from novice legal practitioner to legend of the bench. Ever at your side is your trusty assistant and spirit medium in training, Maya Fey, who is equal parts indispensable and completely unhelpful. Together you’ll investigate crime scenes, defend your client in court, cross-examine a wide range of larger-than-life characters, and argue with Maya about the difference between ladders and stepladders.
The Ace Attorney Trilogy is a visual novel, which means most of the time you’ll be reading dialogue and enjoying a story rather than aiming down the sights of a rifle or mashing buttons. Since the level of interactivity in visual novels is much less pronounced than in other video game genres, these kinds of games live or die by their storytelling and characters, and luckily that’s where the Ace Attorney Trilogy excels. The wacky characters and over-the-top storylines may seem shallow at first, but beneath the surface lies some very complex characters, shocking revelations, and gut-wrenching tragic tales. When everything finally comes to a head by the final trial of each game, you’ll find yourself pumping your fists in joy, blindsided by emotional moments, and impressed by how well everything comes together.
The Ace Attorney Trilogy offers three different games: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Ace Attorney: Justice for All, and Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations. Enough has been written about these games already to fill a library, but the short version is that they’re all great. The first game serves as a great introduction to the franchise and will make you fall in love with Phoenix Wright, Maya Fey, and Miles Edgeworth in its brief runtime. Justice for All serves as the dark second chapter of the trilogy, and though some of the cases can be a bit irritating (I’m looking at you, Turnabout: Big Top) the final case in the game completely redeems the game and then some. Finally, Trials and Tribulations ends the trilogy on an incredibly strong note, by wrapping up all the loose ends and being the strongest game overall. All three games are tremendous titles that I have very few bad things to say about, and having them all in a single, $30 package is a hell of a deal.
On consoles, the Ace Attorney Trilogy looks better than ever, having been given an HD facelift that makes Wright and company look sharper than they ever have. In addition to the obvious graphical changes, there have also been some small quality-of-life changes that modernize some of the more irritating elements of the old versions. Most noticable is that a little check mark now appears over areas that have already been investigated, which greatly reduces the amount of blind clicking around that occurs in the old version, causing you to have to re-read the same dialogue boxes over and over again. Overall, the Ace Attorney Trilogy feels more modern, sleek, and user-friendly than any version I’ve played, which is awesome news for returning players looking for some nostalgia and newcomers who might have been turned off by older versions. There are also achievements/trophies, which is awesome for people like me who might want their love of Ace Attorney to be documented. Really the only thing that I can say is worse than existing versions of the game is that you can’t take the experience with you when you leave the home, and even that could change in the future if Xbox’s device-agnostic approach continues.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy
The transition from portable devices to consoles hasn’t hurt the quality of the Ace Attorney Trilogy, which remain some of my favorite games of all time. Phoenix Wright and company are deserving of the big screen, and this game is well worth your time if you haven’t gotten around to playing it elsewhere.