I remember playing Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney when it originally came out in the early 2000s, on an original grey DS. It was a unique experience at the time, with the dual screens, touch screen capability and the visual novel gameplay style.
Fast forward to now and what was once a novelty is pretty much commonplace.
In the nearly 20 years since Phoenix Wright first burst onto the scene, the realm of visual novels have barely changed. Sure, they’re much more prevalent and readily available now (thanks to indie publishers and developers) but the gameplay style hasn’t really evolved that much, if at all.
Thankfully, that means the games in the Ace Attorney trilogy are just as good as they were when they released on the DS.
What is Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy?
Ace Attorney Trilogy is a compilation of the first three games in the Ace Attorney series, brought over to the Xbox One. Part visual novel, part puzzle game, you’re playing an attorney who’s out to defend his clients in court cases.
You interview suspects, investigate locations for clues and then when the time comes, go to trial and try to prove your client’s innocence via a series of cross examination logic puzzles from the clues and testimonials you’ve gathered during the investigation phase of the case.
Everything’s done via menus and cursors, which might make the game seem boring to those who aren’t into visual novels. The loss of a second screen doesn’t hamper the game in the least as you can easily access your inventory and other menus with just a press of a button.
Investigation sections could have done with a speedier cursor but that could easily be addressed in a future patch. It’s nice that it glows gold whenever there’s an item of interest so you don’t need to have to waste your time clicking randomly to see if you missed out on anything.
The best part of the games are undoubtedly the courtroom trials, when you’re scouring testimonies and trying to find holes in them. Mess up with your question too much and you’re screwed.
If you’ve never played the games, you’ll definitely love how much the game twists and turns, getting even more fiendish and devious with its logic puzzles as you advance the cases.
If you’ve played the games before, it’s sad that there’s really no incentive to replay the game in this form.
Content is replicated as is from the DS games, meaning everything is unchanged. Unless you’re an achievement maniac, there’s really nothing to draw back the original fans, other than nostalgia.
Technically, the game’s been improved in a number of ways.
The visuals are all spruced up in HD now but apart from that, the game is strikingly similar to its DS roots, with its limited animations and voices.
It’s a shame because we certainly could’ve used better animation for the characters. That’s not to say the art style is bad (it’s not), rather more could’ve been done to really make the port stand out from its humble origins.
Other than the visuals, text also seems to appear faster on the console version but it could just be my memory playing tricks on me since it’s been years since I played the original games.
The frame rate’s also been beefed up, especially in areas with scrolling. There’s no judder or screen tearing or slowdown like in the DS versions, which isn’t really a surprise considering the horsepower in today’s consoles. Plus, the DS hardware wasn’t that impressive to begin with, even back in the day.
The bottom line.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is definitely a great collection of games…if you’ve never played them before or are just in it for the nostalgia.
In porting the games over to the consoles, Capcom’s done some minor tidying up but nothing that makes the game a MUST play, especially if you’re not a hardcore fan.
If you’re new to the series though, you’ll find a lot of content to keep you busy. The cases are good, the puzzles are awesome and the new streamlined interface and general improvements make this the definitive version of the games to play.
However, I definitely have an issue with the asking price. It’s SGD$38.90, which is a tad high, especially considering that there’s not much improved over the originals.
Sure, you get 3 games but Capcom could’ve went a step further and included ALL of the games in the series (not counting the spin-offs) without much effort at all. Instead, they chose to stop at the first 3, leaving the 3 more Ace Attorney games in the wind.
Nothing new content wise but some technical and visual improvements make the port worth playing, especially if you’re new. Sadly, it’s also a tad pricey and the collection could’ve benefited by having more games in it too. Might want to wait for a sale before you buy.
– 3 classic games in one package.
– Minor technical and visual upgrades.
– Excellent stories.
– Nothing new content wise.
– Cursor is slow moving.
– Should’ve added in more games for the price.