This will be my fourth Ace Attorney Trilogy Playthrough.
I already know I love the Phoenix Wright games. In fact, I’d go as far as to say they’re the greatest visual novel games ever made. But playing the game on PS4, admittedly, I was a bit worried.
I appreciated the intimacy of playing these games on my 3DS, hidden under a duvet, tapping my way through the frankly absurd, but entertaining twists in each case.
Playing them on a big screen, using my Dualshock 4 as a substitute initially seemed unnatural. But after The First Turnabout was in my rear view mirror, I was hooked all over again.
I know most of the story beats off by heart and the solutions have started to come second nature to me, so for the purposes of this review I took the time to appreciate the assets and performance.
The way Capcom have reconstructed 2001 assets to suit modern TVs and more powerful systems is genuinely impressive. The hand-drawn visuals are so much more enlivened, like increased facial expressions and the spread of blood.
Capcom have also updated the UI, changing the font and size, allowing the words more room to breathe while making the backgrounds suitably transparent. It’s a good look.
In the three Ace Attorney games, you’ll play as rookie attorney Phoenix Wright. Taking advice from his tutor, Mia Fey, Wright starts his budding defense career helping his old friend, Larry Butz.
But the great thing about Phoenix Wright is the continuity between these seemingly seperate cases. Sometimes it’s a piece of evidence which plays a role in another case, sometimes characters will reappear.
And then there’s the Prosecution, including Wright’s infamous rival, Miles Edgeworth. The character development Capcom have invested in the ‘baddies’ as much as the side cast adds so much more suspense for crunch moments in addition to intrigue.
Who is the enigmatic Godot? What secret is Edgeworth hiding? Why is Franziska Von Karma holding such an intense grudge?
The premise is simple, you try to help your client by defending them in a court of law, interrogating witnesses and getting a vital No Guilty Verdict.
Evidence gleaned from crime scenes can also be used to prove innocence with a court record and find contradictions in witness testimony. Get it wrong, though, and you’ll lose favour with the judge.
A deteriorating life bar in the top right will show how you’re doing. Once it empties, it’s game over and you’ll need to restart from the most recent checkpoint.
Interestingly, Ace Attorney games also get new mechanics in the second and third games, including a Psyche-Lock system which lets you ‘unlock’ the heart of your witness and discover their inner truth.
Some cases tread the line of absurdity and intrigue better than others. Some feel padded out and overly lengthy. Some are absolutely unforgettable.
It is an absolute joy to revisit Ace Attorney Trilogy all over again. And while many will see the Switch version as a preferred option, playing on PS4, seeing the glorious detail while earning trophies, was a surprising pleasure.
The PS4 version is superb and finely polished as never before. While these stories may be over fifteen years old, they can still put you on a timeless rollercoaster of emotions that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
Now about porting the rest of the games across…
Ace Attorney Trilogy is available from today on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch
Review code kindly provided by Publisher.