Capcom has once again opened its locker and has remastered another of its hits. Originally debuting on Game Boy Advance in Japan, and later in the west on the DS, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is making its way to PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. What we have here is basically three games in one - a trilogy if you like - following the story of a young attorney called Phoenix Wright, who turns out to be ace. So, that's the title deconstructed, but let's take a look at the evidence to see what's really going on.
For those who missed them the first time, it's an episodic, heavily narrative-based point-and-click visual novel (well, three of them split into fourteen cases) that follows the story of Phoenix Wright, who is thrown in at the deep end from the off. Across the first three entries in the series - Ace Attorney, Justice For All, and Trials and Tribulations - this snazzy young lawyer with a haircut like a porcupine is forced to defend a variety of characters. His first ever case has him defending his best friend after he's framed for murder. Not a great first day at the office.
The first chapter in Ace Attorney eases you in quite gently, with your boss, Mia, giving you hints about what to do and when. It's a good way to teach you the ropes, which basically involves choosing dialogue options, pressing witnesses, presenting evidence in the courtroom, and so on and so forth.
While the basic premise is quite simplistic, you have to really listen intently to the testimonies of the unreliable witnesses or murderers to be able to pick them apart, and press or present at the right time. In the next episode, you basically take a more hands-on role and become a detective. Something happens to your boss from the first episode, and during your days in court, you must solve the resultant mystery.
Often, before the court starts, you get to see who commits the crime in a cutscene. The game is at its best, however, when it doesn't let you know what happened previously. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy makes you rely more on your common sense and intellect, pushing you to use them correctly, rather than just finding every item and that alone being enough.
You need to search for clues that can be found at various scenes and speak to witnesses to build a case for the defence. You head to locations like detention centres, murder scenes, and your office on a regular basis, while there are other case-specific locations like movie sets and hotel rooms to explore.
One thing that we found frustrating is that when leaving one place to head to another, you had to select from a list where to go. What irritated us is that sometimes, if it's another room in the same location, you had to move to each adjacent screen before you got to your final destination. For example, on the movie set, you select the entrance, open the list, go to the crew area, then select again before you finally arrive at the dressing room. It feels a bit laboured to make three clicks when one would have done the trick.