Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy review for 3DS

Platform: 3DS
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Nintendo was in a weird place when the DS was released. Did we ever figure out what DS stood for, anyway? Does that definition hold water when you put a “3” in front of it? What kind of game company puts its flagship handheld under the lens of such sudden scrutiny? Geez, Nintendo, you’ve got a lot of issues.

Not that I’m trying to hide anything. If anyone here is guilty of anything, it’s that Phoenix Wright wasn’t more pushed onto players by internet forums and various media outlets. If that were the case, then it would have been apparent that it was such a charismatic game. One which some people would have played when it was new. Instead of ignoring it. Not that I’m one of them. Whoever they are.


Fine, nosy reader. Have it your way. Of course I’m guilty, but what’s it to you? Oh, nothing? Well then, what I meant to say was that I’m glad to finally get my hands on not one, but all three of the original trilogy of Phoenix Wright DS games in the remaster for 3DS. Technically, Phoenix Wright was ported to the DS as a Gameboy Advance game, so we’re in third-generation territory here, but it’s not like you knew any better before reading that sentence. I didn’t before I read Wikipedia. Not only has this trilogy remaster provided me a means of catching up on a long-avoided franchise, but one which does so in the most faithful recreation of each game as it was upon release.

In fact, the only update seems to be cosmetic, to support the higher resolution of the 3DS screens. A bit of detective work indicates that the ability to move through the text-heavy games at the user’s own rate (rather than watching letters patiently appear as the original script determined) shows a hint of usability was injected for user consideration. Other than these adjustments, newcomers and veterans alike will find the trio of games in their original form, for better or worse.


To me, preserving the sound effects, animations, and design of the Phoenix Wright games is equivalent to perserving their charm. The music is catchy, yet fuzzy from older hardware, and the simple visuals give exactly the information that players should be paying attention to. Players will also find that a Japanese language option is available, as well. It’s surprising that there’s no 3D element included in a port of the series to hardware that’s made its namesake in the technology, but a feature that in no way detracts from the experience in its absence. In so many words: who cares if it’s not there?

What we’re left with is a fascinating collection of games from a time where Nintendo was introducing players to visual novels, and doing so by way of some wonderful logic puzzles that are as rewarding to solve as they are fun to tackle. While I’ve played through the first 20 minutes of the first game several times over the years, it wasn’t until I committed to playing past the first case that I was treated to the thoughtfully designed games that followed.

I’m still mesmerized by how a collection of games based on taking the helm of a lawyer manage to make me feel more like an ace detective than an attorney, but with the detective work and keen eye to detail that the games rewarded players for putting effort into, it’s easy to find yourself on top of anyone’s world when poking holes through a faulty testimony — no matter what the inherent discipline may be. This is a series that I find myself surprised not just buy how much I’ve enjoyed discovering it, but by how well it holds up to the decade of praise that fans have attributed to it since its premiere.


It’s faithful, it’s intelligent, and most of all, a well-designed trilogy that respectfully stands the test of time from when it premiered. So what if we’re playing an adventure game in the shoes of a lawyer? These were the kind of ideas that complimented an avante garde console like the Nintendo DS when western players were being introduced to new ideas at the dawn of a new generation. Sure, Capcom is the king of releasing games in iterative fashion, but I couldn’t be happier that we’ve been given a chance to revisit the Phoenix Wright games, and broken down to $10 a title, it’s easy to recommend the trilogy to anyone with a 3DS and an itch for cool little games that have as much thought put into them as they ask of those who delve a little deeper.

Grade: A-