I’ll admit, I was late to the Ace Attorney party. My first foray in the series was the 2013 downloadable title Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies. I don’t remember why I’d originally downloaded it. It might have had something to do with a flight or a trip and needing a way to pass the time. And boy did that time pass. I blazed through the zany but engaging plot and the solid gameplay sold me on the experience. I followed up by purchasing the crossover, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. While I didn’t enjoy that game as much, it didn’t lessen the series for me. Which brings us to today, where I’ve recently downloaded the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trilogy from the Nintendo eShop. Did Capcom do enough to bring these titles to glory on the 3DS?

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  • Despite being over a decade old, the gameplay in the series has changed surprisingly little. Though the original title doesn’t carry the same trial gimmicks as Dual Destinies and seemingly the upcoming Spirit of Justice, the core mechanics are solid as ever. Pairing that with clever stories keeps these games on par with (and in some people’s opinions even surpasses) their sequels.
  • Capcom did a great job updating the looks and optimizing the gameplay for the 3DS touchscreen controls. It plays the same as the Dual Destinies does, which is great if you want to marathon the series like I’m trying to do.
  • The cleavage in a lot of early character design is insane, sometimes distractingly so. I get that many of these characters are supposed to be caricatures of personalities and stereotypes, but damn...
  • The story lines are zany and fun, but every so often the things you’re asked to deduce are annoyingly complicated or contrived. Similarly, there are situations where you’ll know exactly what the contradiction in a statement is, but the game wants a specific and often contrived piece of supporting evidence. There are even times when the game offers choices of “I have evidence” and “I don’t have evidence” that feel like trick questions.These moments were frustrating and often took me out of a usually pleasurable experience.
  • It often forces you to recall minute details, some given from early stages of an investigation. It requires a focus and attention to detail that takes an ordinary text adventure and turns you into Matlock. Some problems can be real head scratchers, which makes being able to close the game and come back to it later great. There’s no shortage of ‘Aha’ moments that will make you feel like a genius. Pro-Tip: Just because you played Ace Attorney doesn’t mean you are an attorney.

The Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trilogy on 3DS is great, either as an introduction, or for those looking to experience the full series. It takes a great series and optimizes it for modern audiences, making it line up perfectly with new entries in the series. If you plan on buying Spirit of Justice this fall and want a primer on how great the Ace Attorney series is, don’t hesitate in buying it.


Full disclosure, the original price is a totally fair $29.99, but I lucked out and got it on sale. If you’re interested in purchasing after this Hot Take take a look in the eShop, because chances are it still is.

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Edit: It’s not. :(


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JpSr388 is a casual(ish) gaymer, hardcore Nintendo fan, designer & writer. He writes about what he cares about, and is always good for some opinions. Find his sexy ass on Twitter here. Or keep on the lookout for more editorial, QuickDraws, Hot Takes and reviews here.