You don’t know how to get into all the Ace Attorney games? OBJECTION! In 2024, there is simply no excuse not to play through the entire Ace Attorney catalog — every mainline game, as well as The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures and The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve, is now available on modern consoles, recently completed by the release of the Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy, out now on multiple platforms. Every major game in this fantastic series is easily accessible, and in the case of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy, available in an impeccably presented package.
The presentation of the Apollo Justice Trilogy is where I want to put my main focus in this review. The games included have been reviewed by many others before, and there is a lot to the trilogy’s extras that are worth honing in on. That said, here are a few basic thoughts on Apollo Justice, Dual Destinies, and Spirit of Justice.
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is one of the greatest additions to the Ace Attorney series — a game that could have very easily failed as a follow-up to the tight original trilogy. The perceived ability, the story, the characters, and how it builds itself around the incident that cost Phoenix Wright his attorney badge are all brilliantly executed. Apollo Justice easily ranks in my top three AA games.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies stumbles quite a bit in trying to return to the feeling of the original trilogy. Too much is introduced too fast, Apollo is given a weird and unnecessary character arc, and all three attorney characters feel shoved into a game, trying and failing to give them all the attention they deserve. Athena and her Mood Matrix are a fun addition, but her extensive backstory could have been pushed to her second appearance. It’s not without its merits, but it doesn’t rank in my top three of the series.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice is the return to form Dual Destinies was aiming for. Sending Phoenix to a different country and splitting the story worked wonders, putting its main focus on Phoenix tackling the Khura’in legal system with fun side-cases for Athena and Apollo, all of the plots coming together nicely at the end. The return of Maya and the Khura’in spiritual techniques work as a nod to the past but with new twists that complete the package of Spirit of Justice.
As a package, this trilogy is nearly perfect in every way. All the games have been given a fresh coat of paint at the base level: Apollo Justice has brand new art, the resolution has been bumped for it and the 3DS titles, and all three games have been given updated aspect ratios. On top of this, the UI has been upgraded to fit the new resolution. Everything is smooth and clean, especially the new art and animation for Apollo Justice, which has a lower resolution for the Switch’s handheld mode — not a downgrade; it makes it feel like the sprite animation of the original DS release.
These basics alone would have been enough to make the trilogy a great collection, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Included for free are the DLC episodes as well as extra character costumes for Dual Destinies and Spirit of Justice. Additionally, the general game UI has seen some small, but very nice additions, including customization of visuals and gameplay. There is now an autosave (a very welcome addition), separate save files and a very well-polished selection screens for each game—allowing you to freely choose which game or episode you wish to play. All nice little touches that make it a comprehensive collection of these games.
But wait, there’s more! Where the Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy shines is in its extras. Alongside the three games is a museum section, which features the Orchestra Hall, the Art Library, the Animation Studio, and the Accolades section — the latter being a simple collection of achievements you can unlock. The rest of the museum, however, is delightful. The art gallery is extensive, featuring key art, dozens of character designs, and concept art from all three games. The art from Apollo Justice was particularly appealing to me, bringing me back to the days of looking up these images on Court-Records.net, an Ace Attorney fansite still running to this day. Seeing the design process for characters like Athena Cykes and Simon Blackwell was just as wonderful and insightful as the art process behind these games.
My favorite part of the trilogy museum was the Animation Studio. This function lets you view the character models in all three games, cycle through their animations, play their voice clips, and even view the breakdowns of the witnesses. This is a delight. I used to love holding onto a dialogue box just to see the idle animation of the character, wishing I could see the longer sequences or hear the pixelated “OBJECTION!” over and over whenever I wanted. And now I can — it feels like this feature of the trilogy was made personally for me… Was it, CAPCOM? Both this and the concept art in the art library are also fantastic ways to show just how much work goes into these visual novel games — though they appear simple, they are anything but; a lot of stellar design, art, and animation goes into them.
Rounding out the museum is the Orchestra Hall, a music selector for all the games’ soundtracks that go the extra mile with an adorable chibi orchestra consisting of Phoenix, Athena, Apollo, and Trucy playing instruments. They didn’t need to add the adorable visuals; it could have just been a track selector, but they did! This is what makes the Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy so wonderful — it was made by people who love the games, love the Ace Attorney series, and wanted to give this trilogy a proper presentation.
Comparing this to the original trilogy, there are many more bells and whistles. Small things on paper, sure, but I could write a whole review on just these features where the previous trilogy had none. That should say something! Do not miss out on picking up the Apollo Justice trilogy; it’s the perfect way to complete your Ace Attorney collection, with lots of extras and features that will delight long-time fans and give newcomers a look into all the talent and creativity that goes into these games.
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy is available now for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, XBOX, Windows, and Steam.