Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy review for PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Platform: PS4
Also On: PC, Switch, Xbox One, 3DS
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No

I can?t help but feel like I?m missing out on something by playing the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy on PS4 rather than on a handheld. It got its start on the DS, after all, and even if there?s nothing bad about the game on a console, it still feels like the sort of experience that would be better on the go.

A lot of the core gameplay would feel a little less cumbersome, for starters. Take searching through static screens for clues. It?s not exactly difficult to move the magnifying glass around the screen with your thumbstick, but I nonetheless suspect it?d be a lot more intuitive to do it with a touchscreen or a stylus. On a similar note, as fun as the courtroom scenes are (and I?ll get to them further in a moment), I can?t help but imagine how much more enjoyable they?d be with, say, a second screen where you could see all the evidence currently in your possession so you could know exactly when you bring it up.

Further, the whole experience — presented as it is in a relatively episodic fashion of alternating investigations and court cases — feels like it was made to be played in short bursts here and there, rather than over longer periods of couch gaming. That?s not to say that you can?t play it for hours on end, nor does it mean that the game?s overarching story won?t catch and hold your interest, but I found that the longer I played in one go, the more repetitive it began to feel.

It?s also worth noting that the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy doesn?t do anything here that its three games didn?t do on their original release. True, they have a fresh coat of paint (apparently left over from the games? re-release on iOS a couple of years ago), but that?s about it. Otherwise, the games are more or less the same as what you would?ve played in their original incarnations.

Not that that?s a bad thing. Indeed, those original games became famous for a reason, and it?s plain to see why here. The characters all have personalities, and don?t feel (too much) like the cutouts that often seem to populate visual novels. It?s also fun to try and piece together the clues you find to figure out what happened, even if it occasionally leads to some annoying trial and error when the game?s internal logic doesn?t match up with how you?re thinking. Plus, of course, pressing witnesses and presenting evidence with ?Hold it!? and ?Objection!? will never get old — which is a good thing, considering how often you?ll hear both during your many hours with these three games.

And make no mistake, notwithstanding my complaints about playing the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy on PS4 instead of DS (or, say, the Switch, for which it?s also available), it is worth spending many hours with the game, particularly if you?ve never played any of them before. It?s got a tonne of fun, engaging content stretched out over its three games, and it?ll quickly be apparent why they garnered such a following on their original release. Not every game can feel so enjoyable decades after the fact, so for this one to do just that is probably a sign that it?s worth checking out.

Capcom provided us with a Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: B+