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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy review
by Bessi Þór Sigurðarson

So it only took me about 4 years but I got through every episode. 👍

Really enjoyed playing through this trilogy for the first time. It really feels like everyone talks about the Ace Attorney and it enjoys an iconic status within the gaming landscape, but it seems most people know *of* it yet barely know how it plays. It's funny that the thing most people know the series for, "OBJECTION!", is pretty much the most exaggerated part of it, in this trilogy at least (some character quirks aside).

Now I have played the trilogy and it's definitely a fun bunch of point-and-click/visual novel games but they do have some problems. The writing is really good overall. With 570,000 lines written in this trilogy, it has some excellent mysteries, fun, memorable characters and character dynamics, the twists (memorably translated as "turnabouts") are really creative and well thought-out, although there's quite a few jokes that don't really land but I nevertheless appreciate.

My primary problem with the games is that they tend to have some glaring faults with merging its linear visual-novel style with engaging gameplay. Throughout 30-40 hours of gameplay, pretty much only 1 new game mechanic is introduced after the initial loop of the first game (investigation, trial etc). The mechanics tend to be somewhat brutish, often failing to grasp the nuance needed for solving a particular mystery, you need to present the single particular piece of evidence at the right prompt (which often aren't nearly as apparent as you'd expect). The difficulty is practically non-existent and the developers seem to have never thought of how to appropriately implement it; either you save-scum a bit, which doesn't really make the gameplay rewarding, or you fail and go back to a half an hour before and replay the section the exact same way you did before, but without the challenge of having to discover what evidence is relevant at a given moment, so it's more of a chore than anything.

These are very much extremely linear games, offering nearly no replay value and their leniarity often being detrimental to the point that it directly degrades the pacing of the games. Often you find yourself rather randomly going between areas of investigation, just hoping there's someone there who's suddenly appeared that you can talk to. And you'll often experience characters disappearing out of existence since you had the clever idea of talking to person B before A, rather than the other way around, i.e. in accordance to its leniarity. I recognize this is a component of its genre, but it certainly means the games come off as engaging playable comics, essentially, but fail to be engaging as games *at points*.

If this series of games would want to elevate themselves to the highest possible level, these core mechanics of investigation, witness examination, lawyer business, would have much more depth to them with the story adapting to the player, rather than the player adapting their self to the story. 

If you like solving mysteries; investigative intrigue within a linear game context with witty writing and plenty of heart, I'd definitely recommend these games. However if you're looking for something with depth to its gameplay, these are not the games for it.

Finished: March, 2022
Playing time: ca. 45-50 hours
⭐⭐⭐1/2 / 5 

Other reviews7

9.5/10 - My favorite Point And Click series!! I love this games, and i already finished it many times. I love the character designe, the story, the characters, the soundtrack, everything in this game is almost perfect.
«Can’t stop playing»
Translated by
Microsoft from Norsk
While this is one of my all time favorite game series, and I’m thrilled to play HD versions in my phone, I noticed in the last case of the first game that the info about the characters in “profiles” are all over the place. No names match the pictures. It also happens that profile info or other evidence info replace info about new evidence as it is received. Is this possible to fix?
Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
The Game has taken over all 3 Phoenix Wright Series and I just find Class. Thus, anyone who doesn't have a Nintendo DS can play the Game Series. However, there is only one Thing: The Graphic. The HD graphics are a bit unusual for me, so I wanted to ask if you can continue this Game into the pixel graphics (that is, the Classic ones). Me and other Players would be very happy.
Translated by
Microsoft from Swedish
Three very good games. There is no reason at all not to download and play the first two cases for free and if you like them, it is very worth it according to me to pay for the rest. While The story is very good, however, I would complain that there is no way to get the text to go faster. It's pretty slow and The way to get it going faster is if you hold the button, but you usually miss the text. Still Easy 5/5
Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
Super Game with great Storytelling And the Game element as a Lawyer to act invesigative is great. Finding The Contradictions and getting closer to the Truth is satisfying and triggers feelings of Success. I do not think it is a Mistake that the German Language does not exist. Good English should & you have to master these days. Those who cannot speak English have not been paying attention at School or have not additionally appropriated it themselves.
Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
I just wanted to evaluate at first, but I still wanted to make a brief Statement here. As the Manufacturers of large (old) titles increasingly move more and more to produce Expensive AND risky AAA games and prefer to produce mobile Games I find it very bad in Cases Capcom extremely bad that they don't even think it is necessary to use the most commonly spoken Languages Incorrect (in addition to German would also be French or similar), no now you don't want to save only because you don't produce AAA Titles that might not be bought, now you also save on the (at least) German Texts. The most incomprehensible thing is when some Games Have been Ported and there is already a Language File, but one is probably only too stingy to pay license doors to the Translation company. Companies are said to have already broken down ...