Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy

Review: Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy

Capcom’s given the Ace Attorney series a second wind as this week’s Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy comes to modern platforms. This bodes well for the series, as it has been an afterthought for some time after hitting its peak years ago.  In the eight or so years the series has been dormant, fans have waited for news of a follow-up, and it seems more and more likely those wishes will come true.

For now, though, Capcom’s port of the Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy is excellent and will tide you over. The ports to consoles are not subpar and do a great job of bringing them to a new standard. If you like visual novels combined with courtroom adventures, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy is worth considering as your next series.

The collection comes with three games. Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice. If you’re wondering why each title features Phoenix Wright’s name and not that of Apollo Justice, I couldn’t tell you why Capcom went this route. It’s something I’ve wondered for ages now. I feel like it felt like a disservice to Apollo.

Hold It!

I recommend starting immediately and from the beginning of the series if you’ve never played a game in the Phoenix Wright stable. Phoenix is known for his ability to turn seemingly hopeless cases around and has a reputation for being a great defence attorney. Phoenix will be disbarred in the future, and the entire system will end up in disarray, a far cry from the justice system we know today.

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Our new protagonist, Apollo Justice, is a rookie prosecutor who teams up with Phoenix Wright, a disgraced shell of the man he once was. Together, the pair works to free innocent people wrongly accused and imprisoned due to forged evidence. The trilogy’s primary purpose is to reveal how Phoenix Wright was wrongly accused, what happened to him, and how the justice system no longer looks to help the innocent but instead puts them behind bars.

As ports of older titles, Capcom has done a great job updating their games for modern consoles. If you skipped Ghost Trick last year, this is your sign to play one of Capcom’s best games from the DS era. You can freely dive into any game from the start, and if you’re looking for nothing too complex, then Story Mode takes out a lot of the guesswork. Quality of life improvements make playing through the story a bit breezier with auto-advance, and a conversation log to keep track of who said what.

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The gameplay isn’t complex but requires your attention, and keeping up with the situation will be your best course of action. Sometimes, you’re asked to recall things and search through evidence to turn the tide of the hearing in your client’s favour. Each game is divided into episodes, and these, in turn, are divided into chapters. The crime is always presented at the beginning. There are investigation segments during which you move from one available area to another to conduct thorough searches for evidence to make the truth shine through.

When the process is complete, you’re automatically taken to a hearing, rinse and repeat. The secret is to search every part of the screen, flip through every item on the evidence list for clues, and evaluate every piece of information. Sooner or later, it would help if you arrived at a satisfactory resolution. You’re always welcome to save scum to victory, but it takes away from the engagement.

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Apollo Justice and Phoenix Wright Deliver Justice in HD

You’ll eventually also meet the new kid on the legal block, Athena Cykes – a firecracker of a sidekick with enough grit to rival a caffeinated espresso. Don’t get me wrong, passing the bar exam is a rite of passage in our world, but Athena’s got that extra dash of charm that makes her instantly likable. However, and there’s always a “however,” she tends to be the source of too much handholding in Dual Destinies.

Now, let’s talk about Athena’s party trick – she has a talking robot necklace that moonlights as a psychological analysis tool. It’s a bit like a tightrope walking over a pit of legal jargon – sometimes shaky, occasionally confusing, but undeniably intriguing. You’re tasked with pinpointing emotional inconsistencies in witness testimonies and navigating a sea of feelings that shouldn’t be there or should be there in just the right amount. It is not as straightforward as Apollo’s bracelet but spins up the courtroom drama with a neat little minigame.

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After binging on Dual Destinies, the best game of the bunch, Spirit of Justice, is worth checking out. Phoenix is on a holiday to support Maya’s latest spiritual adventure and ends up in Khura’in – a fictional land where the legal system is more chaotic than a pack of Gumshoe’s case files. Lawyers facing death sentences for losing a case? Now, that’s a country where you’d think twice before jaywalking. Suddenly, Phoenix finds himself knee-deep in murder, revolution, and more murder. The stakes? Well, they’ve shot up higher than the Objection! Finger during a courtroom showdown. Spirit of Justice takes us on a rollercoaster through deeper and darker themes – religion, politics, and foreign diplomacy.

Much of the work put into this remake focuses on remastering the artwork and sprites for a new generation. The resolution boost works but also brings blemishes to modern screens. Still, the optimized UI, the chat log, and small things to remove investigation redundancies are worth adding to the collection.

However, one big issue I’m disappointed in is the lack of framerate boost. The entire collection is stuck at 30fps, and there is no support for doubling the frame rate on Switch, and the resolution is locked. It’s a disappointing oversight from Capcom, and I’m confident the series could easily handle the frame rate bump.

Verdict

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy will make longtime fans itch for a seventh entry; frankly, it’s about time we see a new game. The package contains significant modern improvements to each title, and you’ll have a wonderful time with the Apollo Justice games. Bringing older games to modern consoles is a responsibility that publishers need to consider taking on. Newcomers might not understand everything, but this is a great time to experience the series from the beginning.

Recommended

[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: Switch

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy
Review: Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy
Liked
Enhanced visuals are excellent
The writing is fun, smart, and engaging
The cases are insane and complex
Didn't Like
Lack of 60fp