Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is Barmy Courtroom Fun

Phoenix Wright is back, and he’s as ludicrous as ever.

True, this isn’t the spiky-haired attorney’s latest outing, which remains an iOS and Nintendo 3DS exclusive. But Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is set to bring the anime-styled lawyer’s adventures (originally seen on the Nintendo DS) to a whole new generation.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Phoenix Wright, he’s a lawyer who lives in Japa… America, who, despite facing apparently insurmountable odds, always manages to prove his clients innocent; clients who, it has to be said, are as large and life as he is. Over the course of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy’s thirteen cases, you’ll encounter some wonderfully ridiculous characters including an amorous security guard (who becomes obsessed with your opposite number), a friend who changes his job at the drop of a hat, a deranged ventriloquist and more.

Part visual novel, part adventure game, Ace Attorney Trilogy does not accurately simulate any country’s legal process. In fact, the kind of courtroom tricks that Phoenix pulls would likely get him disbarred from the profession. But it’s the absurdity of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy makes it all the more appealing. Each case is split into two sections; an adventure section where you go around collecting evidence and a courtroom battle where you uncover the truth by picking holes in witness testimony.

Both are entertaining in their own right but it’s these battles where the game really comes into its own. There are no voiceovers in Ace Attorney Trilogy, barring the series trademark cry of “Objection” but the characters are so outlandish that the game doesn’t lose anything by making them mute. Seeing Miles Edgeworth (your first real antagonist) slam the desk as you demolish his witnesses never gets old; nor does watching the true criminal break down in the dock.

True, it’s not the job of a defence attorney to find the real culprit, but Ace Attorney Trilogy throws legal convention out of the window in favour of just being fun. Daft as the storylines are, the game has real heart; you’ll come to love many of Ace Attorney’s characters, particularly when you meet them again in later cases. Dammit, Maggie Byrd.. is it too much to ask that you stop getting arrested for things? And the puns… the puns are criminal in their own right; your first witness is called “Frank Sawhit” and the game keeps throwing more wordplay at you.

Whether you played the original games or not, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy promises to be packed with the ludicrous legal shenanigans that the series is famous for. I’d tackled them way back in the day and, while this new incarnation doesn’t seem as smoothly animated as it was on the Nintendo DS, the graphical facelift that the series has been given helped draw me back in.

You’ll get your day in court when Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney hits the Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and PC on April 9th. We’ll have a full review of the game on that day, too.