I love loud things. I love silly things. I love plot twists so bonkers that they’d make Hajime Isayama sweat. So it’s a bit of a surprise how little of the world of Phoenix Wright (the Phoenixverse?) I’ve played over the years. While it’s not quite the best jumping on point for brand new players, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy is a pretty good place to start for those who don’t object to objecting for dozens of hours.
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy combines three previously 3DS and mobile-only games — Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice — into one complete package with DLC that rounds things up to sixteen episodes of masterfully quiffed sleuthing. I managed to play Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney as part of a preview for the compilation, and all the evidence points towards this being another ace compilation from Capcom.
With Phoenix Wright himself taking the stand as a defendant, you must play as the young, unsure Apollo Justice in his first day on the job as a lawyer. As a visual novel, gameplay is fairly simple, though you do have much more input than in some of its peers. You will be looking at a wine bottle for maybe a bit too long, pressing witnesses to pick apart their testimony, and trying to tie everything together to paint a picture of what really went down to free the uncomfortably beanied-up Wright. I was completely enthralled by wild revelation after wild revelation, from fake Russians to hidden cards and everything in-between.
It’s easy to see why Phoenix Wright has such a devoted fanbase. Its characters are charming, the often slapstick, goofy humour always lands, and the stakes feel pretty high, even if you can reload to earlier in the case if you keep chasing the wrong avenues. The answers you’re looking for are often a little “outside of the box”, but we’re not talking about The Witness levels of mental challenge here. Realising that a victim was facing entirely the wrong way was a real “a-ha” moment for me, and Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy is absolutely packed with them. Imagine how a case will play out and the game will almost definitely subvert those expectations.
It’s not just the games that may make Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy a pretty compelling package for dedicated fans and potentially even newcomers. The Orchestra Hall allows you to change the background music to whatever you like, the Art Library lets you dive deep into the origins of manat designs, and the Animation Studio is fun to recreate the trilogy’s more iconic scenes with new animations.
While I still have a lot of investigating to do thanks to each game racking up at least 25 hours of gameplay, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy seems like the perfect game to dip in and out of, a palate cleanser from action-heavy games that’s easy to get lost in. I won’t object to playing more of it before it releases on January 24th, 2024 for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.
A Steam key was provided by PR for the purposes of this preview.
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