There's a special place in my heart for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. It's a game that changed my perception on what a video game could be, turning what's little more than a visual novel into one of my favorite series. Hearing that the original trilogy is being remastered and re-released with brand new graphics was music to my ears, but part of me wondered if the strong feelings I had for the games would remain the second or third time around. Thankfully, these games are still as entertaining as they ever were, even when I know what's about to happen next.
Right off the bat I will say that this game makes the best use of the 3DS's 3D capabilities that I've seen yet, with crisp layers of graphics making a really cool 3D effect. I have never turned the 3D effect on and left it on throughout my playtime like I did here; it's truly that awesome. Even without the 3D, the new smooth HD visuals quickly become the way I now envision these older games; without looking at screenshots of the original releases I couldn't even remember what those old games actually looked like.
This trilogy, which includes Ace Attorney, Justice for All, and Trials and Tribulations, is the best way to explore the best of what Phoenix Wright has to offer all in one fell swoop. They're the three strongest games in the series, with the best stories and best character development Phoenix can offer. All of the catchphrases ("Objection!", "Hold it!" and "Take That!") are intact, so those who have never dabbled in Phoenix Wright's brand of law need only download this set to fully appreciate it.
While greenhorn Phoenix Wright players now have a perfect entry point, seasoned veterans of the court may have a hard time wanting to relive the drama. There's no new cases to try or mechanics to experience outside of the Japanese language option, which of course is only worth using for those who know Japanese. These fifteen cases have been tried before following the same story arcs as they did before. If anything these cases are made easier by not having to present as much evidence during a trial.
I had noticed during one trial in the first game that after I presented a piece of evidence in an objection, the game automatically advanced the story with another piece of evidence right after it. I remembered having to present both in the original version, so I took a look at a walkthrough of the case in the original DS version. Sure enough, both pieces of evidence needed to be presented in the original game, but here it's only one.
This isn't really a problem, as beginners will be eased into the series through this method and that's fine, but purists may have an issue with the streamlined story approach as it lessens the overall difficulty. I don't recall this ever being mentioned by Capcom officials either, so it came as quite a surprise. Does it kill the entire experience? No, and some players might not even pick up on the same thing I did. However, those who prefer the pure experience will have to track down the original releases, which defeats the whole point of the convenience of this release.
Streamlined trials notwithstanding, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is a fantastic way to live or re-live the best Phoenix Wright games in the series. The captivating stories and kooky cast of characters are completely intact, all with a dazzling new coat of 3D paint that makes them look better than ever. Those who have never played the games before will have no objection from me should they decide to proceed down this line of questioning.
This review was completed with a digital copy of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy provided by the publisher for Nintendo 3DS.