Even if you haven’t played Ace Attorney, you’re definitely familiar with the series; it was one of Capcom’s last hurrahs before the company started choking on its own bile and forgetting Mega Man existed. These games pop up on “Best Of” lists for a reason and have long been considered one of the defining series for the Nintendo DS. These days they’re also available on iOS, but when it comes to value for your money you can’t beat Ace Attorney Trilogy on 3DS.
It’s highly unlikely that you haven’t played one of these games in one of the several forms they’ve appeared in. Stranger things have happened, though, so: the Ace Attorney in question is Phoenix Wright, a defense lawyer who takes on some of the toughest and most bizarre cases around. The games are separated into individual cases and the high point of each is generally when Phoenix uses his deductive powers, evidence or plain dumb luck to turn a seemingly inevitable defeat into victory.
The games are basically visual novels that push the player’s own observation skills; by picking up on minute details it’s possible to lead Phoenix and his clients to a sweet, sweet Not Guilty verdict. The writing trends toward the comedic, particularly when it comes to groan-inducing puns, and the supernatural factors into quite a few cases in some way or another. Phoenix himself isn’t a super-powered lawyer a la She-Hulk or anything like that, though he gets the odd bit of ghostly assistance from his spiritually-gifted assistant Maya fairly often. Instead, your wins will stem from picking apart testimony and presenting evidence at the appropriate time to blow alibis apart and dredge up the truth.
Back In The Day ™ there weren’t a lot of games quite like this one. That’s not the case anymore, so if you don’t have strong nostalgia for the series you’re going to be missing out a little because visual novels aren’t the new hotness they used to be. If you’re after the latest, greatest versions of these games, then this is what you want. Everything’s sharp and gorgeous. Detective Gumshoe’s stubble has never looked more stubbly, that’s for sure.
The gameplay remains entirely unchanged, though, so what you’re getting is the same three games that have been around for quite some time now. Whether or not that’s worth the price is going to come down to you. A lot of people have a lot of good memories when it comes to this series. That can go a pretty long way. The fact that these are solid visual novels helps too, though there’s quite a few solid visual novels these days.
In other words, Ace Attorney Trilogy up to you. I hadn’t played past the first game before trying this collection out and I thought the experience was great. It’s also a fantastic value, given that GameStop is still engaging in highway robbery by asking around $20 each for these ancient games. Basically: give them a shot. Oh, and if you haven’t seen the Japanese Ace Attorney live-action film (from infamous director Miike Takashi) yet, you might want to do so. It’s a masterpiece.