Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy Preview – Advanced, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

There’s never a better time to get into Ace Attorney. Developer-publisher Capcom has spent the last few years remastering and re-releasing every game in the series, and with the Apollo Justice Trilogy, you can now play every main game on modern consoles. And even if the three games in this collection don’t vary story-wise, we can comfortably say that once you get your hands on them, they’ve never been better.

The collection includes three games: Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice – with their respective DLCs. The games really feel like a coherent trilogy in the first three ways in the series, but you still need to play them in order. And while Apollo’s name is only in one of the titles, he’s a central, playable character in every game.

As mentioned above, these games are remastered, not remastered, so if you’ve played them in previous forms, you have more or less an idea of ​​what to expect. The main audience for the collection is people who don’t get a chance to play these games on other platforms or people who want to revisit them with new graphics and quality of life features. Along with the revamped UI, the game includes an auto-advance setting that automatically scrolls through text, no button mashing required. Personally, this is a huge highlight for me, and since you can use the history button to catch any text you’ve accidentally missed, it’s my style of play – especially if I’m eating or doing something else with my hands. For those who want even less input, there’s also a story mode, which automatically progresses through the entire story, solving puzzles and investigating.

The trilogy also comes with a new museum mode. In addition to the Orchestra Hall where you can listen to songs on demand and the Concept Art Gallery, there’s an Animation Studio feature that lets you cycle through every character animation the game has. I don’t see people spending a lot of time in the animation studio, because there really isn’t much to do, but it’s fun to be able to rewatch some over-the-top animations from my favorite characters. It’s certainly not a game changer, but it’s a nice touch for those with a deep appreciation for the series, and it’s exactly what I think should be included in a remaster like this.

Finally, for those unfamiliar with the games in the trilogy (or they’ve gotten rusty in the years since their release), here’s a refresher course on the games and my impressions after spending time with them.

The first game, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, takes place seven years after the events of Ace Attorney 3 and introduces Apollo Justice, a young rookie lawyer mentored by Phoenix Wright and his daughter Trucy. While the general structure of all three games in this remastered trilogy is the same (50% investigation and 50% trials), Apollo’s debut is more familiar to fans of the original trilogy. I first played this game on mobile a few years ago and it held up well from what I played in the remaster. Aside from the hero, the main differences between this and the previous games are Apollo’s ability to “sense” signs that witnesses are lying and the ability to view more evidence in 3D space – only available in specific instances in the previous games.

Speaking of 3D, Dual Destinies and Spirit of Justice marked huge visual leaps for the series. Originally released on the 3DS, they were the first games in the franchise to be set entirely in 3D, with new, animated models for the characters and environments. While I’ve always lamented the loss of the previous pixelated style (Trucy, in particular, always looked odd in 3D), it’s a pretty smooth transition, and in the remastered trilogy, the art looks better than ever. The games reintroduce Phoenix as a playable character and add a new attorney, Athena Sykes, who can use her new Mood Matrix mechanic to analyze emotions in the middle of a trial. Athena is a fun character that rounds out the group well, but the mood matrices are generally my least favorite of the minigames. Meanwhile, Spirit of Justice introduces the Seances system, which allows you to replay the moments leading up to a murder victim’s death.

From the games I’ve played, both in their original and remastered forms, these three games are pretty good but not at the pinnacle of the series. I’m eager to reevaluate that opinion when the full game comes out on January 25th early next year.

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