Capcom’s Phoenix Wright series – or at least the first three games – have finally arrived on PC today, remastered and bundled together as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy. Two parts visual novel, one part point-and-click adventure and one part pun dispenser, they’re minor classics and it’s great to see them find a new home. Playing as pointy-haired anime attorney Phoenix Wright, players must scour crime scenes for clues missed by bumbling detectives, and defend the innocent from a series of prosecutors, including long-time rival Miles Edgeworth. See the trilogy trailer below.
While originally released as separate games, bundling the first three Phoenix Wright adventures together as a trilogy makes a lot of sense. Each game is structured like a TV season, with five (four in the last game) mostly self-contained cases, each a couple hours long. B-plots unite them into a larger narrative. Each of the three games links into the next, making for some very compelling (if low-intensity) play. The puzzles are relatively simple, featuring some basic point-and-click adventuring as you build a case, and spot-the-contradiction challenges in the courtroom.
What the games may lack in difficulty, they make up for in drama. A great soundtrack, a great sense of escalation in each case and raising stakes over the course of each game defines the series. It may be nonsensical anime courtroom antics, but it’s hard not to be swept up in the moment when you finally crack the case and punch through with a spirited ‘OBJECTION!’ as the music swells. The music and audio have all been updated to modern spec. The originals were for Nintendo handhelds, so they’ve swapped out sprites for arguably too-clean line art, but I reckon it looks like a good remaster.
If there’s one thing I could grumble about, it’s nothing to do with the PC version, but rather some bizarre choices made during the trilogy’s original localisation. Despite obviously being set in Japan, with a story revolving around the nation’s notoriously prosecution-favouring court system, Capcom stoically insist that the English version is set in America. An America with a lot of Shinto shrines, apparently. That odd, continuing quirk aside, the translation is excellent and absolutely packed to the gills with RPS-worthy puns, with character names being especially groan-worthy.