Published on April 14th, 2019 | by Zorbz0
REVIEW – Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy
Summary: OBJECTION! TAKE THAT! These are a few words you’ll be hearing quite a lot in this trilogy of the original Ace Attorney games. Make sure to have your investigative and interrogations skills at the ready.
Concept: Phoenix Wright is a defence attorney who has completed his studies and starts off the first game taking on his first ever case. Throughout the games you see his confidence build as he progressively takes on much tougher cases defending the innocent. There’s plenty of humour thrown in and the dialogue can actually be quite funny and definitely helps uplift the mood, even when it’s to do with something as serious as a murder case. The games are all essentially visual novels and it’s the writing that will either keep you invested or send you packing early.
Graphics: There’s not much in the way of visuals for the entire trilogy as it is essentially just still images placed on some generic backgrounds. The sprites have been cleaned up to suit a more modern display but beyond that not much was required to spruce this title up. The aesthetic is a very manga inspired choice and some of the characters do have quite quirky designs and expressions, however without any full motion animation and the use of the same backdrops and sprites throughout the 3 games, it really doesn’t feel distinct enough to set them all apart. This was one of my main issues with the trilogy as it never felt like 3 separate games but more so expansions on the first title.
Gameplay: The Ace attorney games are essentially visual novels, jam packed with text, text and more text. A word of caution, if reading isn’t your thing then steer clear of this trilogy as there’s no voice over work except for the few famous words Ace yells out during court cases.
You start off each game midway through a trial which serves as the tutorial level where you learn how to interject and provide evidence to stump the witnesses and swerve the case in your direction. The court moments are a lot of fun as it really gets you thinking ‘what evidence will counter their claim’. Unfortunately some evidence, although relevant, will simply be dismissed by the judge, so there are some minor frustrations, but besides that it’s a good test of skill and gets you revved up when you see the prosecutors’ case start to crumble. Outside of the courtroom is where the monotony kicks in and you are going through mass chunks of dialogue trying to find clues and gather information to be used for the next case. This all plays out by selecting a location which displays as a still image as you navigate a magnifying glass around for clues. There’s no skill required to do this and it down right becomes a bore. Again if you’re not into visual novels then definitely avoid.
Sound: To be honest there’s not a whole lot going on in the sound department. The music and sound effects fit well enough but there’s no tunes that are particularly amazing and the only voice overs are as I said previously, a few words said by Ace and the occasionally Objection yelled from the prosecutor. Unfortunately to me a game like this doesn’t stand the test of time, especially with all the amazing Telltale games (R.I.P) over the past years setting the bar for interactive story telling.
Awesomeness: Replayability is a bit of an issue with the type of game the Ace Attorney series are as a whole. Once you know which evidence is required to foil the witness’s testimony, there’s not much going back as you’ll likely remember what you did to overcome each case. Sure, over time you may forget, but it just feels to me like a one and done game upon completion until maybe a decade later when you want to dust them off. Now for people who really loved the story then it may well be something they want to revisit often but for me personally I can’t justify it.
Final Word: The Phoenix Wright trilogy is definitely not a series for everyone and so I hope people know exactly what they are getting into before jumping in. If you’re a fan of visual novels then definitely give it a look, but if reading isn’t your thing then I highly recommend steering clear of these games.
Out of 5 Bugs!