After the success of the unique three Ace Lawyer video games, collection creator Shu Takumi was prepared to finish Phoenix Wright’s story. However the world wasn’t carried out with these surprisingly intriguing lawyer video games, and so he had to determine make a brand new recreation with out re-treading previous floor. Thus, Apollo Justice, pointy-haired greenhorn lawyer, was born – and Phoenix was unceremoniously disbarred. The next three video games, now serialised because the Apollo Justice Trilogy, function Apollo’s model of Phoenix’s story – however due to that pressure between Takumi’s desires and the gamers’ wants, Apollo by no means fairly will get the highlight all to himself.
We start with Apollo Justice: Ace Lawyer, set seven years after Trials and Tribulations. In that point, so much has occurred, and the acquainted angles of Wright’s face are buried behind stubble, grime, and a deep sense of ennui after having misplaced his legal professional’s badge. However Apollo Justice, our new foremost character, is not going to surrender that simply, and joins the Wright Something Company (previously often called the Wright & Co. Regulation Workplaces) hoping to make an actual distinction to the authorized occupation. Sadly for him, he is entered his profession throughout the Darkish Age Of The Regulation, the place cowboy prosecutors and manipulative murderers will cease at nothing to get the outcomes they need.
Like Phoenix’s Magatama, Apollo has his personal secret energy, and it is far more carefully tied to his backstory: a magic bracelet that lets you sluggish time and catch folks’s ‘tells’ – the unconscious muscle twitches and actions that spotlight their lies. Not like the Magatama, that is nearly fully utilized in courtroom to journey folks up throughout their testimonies, including a brand new aspect to a well-trod function of the Ace Lawyer video games.
Our first case sees Phoenix himself getting accused of homicide, and units up this new recreation’s intentions as a darker, sadder model of what got here earlier than, in addition to our previous good friend’s barely jarring heel-turn into Dangerous Boy Phoenix. A slow-ish second case, Turnabout Nook, deftly combines three separate mysteries – a theft, a hit-and-run, and a homicide. However Turnabout Serenade and Turnabout Succession, our third and closing circumstances, are expertly crafted tales with robust gimmicks – reviewing live performance footage, and time-travel (of a form) – whereas turning the tone into one thing far more sinister.
However with solely 4 circumstances and no DLC, Apollo Justice is over fairly rapidly, after which we’re on to Twin Destinies, our second recreation. The largest and most welcome change right here is the artwork, transitioning from the 2D sprites of the final 4 video games to detailed 3D characters and backgrounds, with some genuinely spectacular animations accompanying incredible writing and localisation, in addition to fully-animated and voiced cutscenes for every case. The circumstances themselves are extra bombastic than ever, together with a number of precise bombings, defending a killer whale, and a two-part homicide case that may genuinely blow your thoughts.
Nonetheless, Twin Destinies’ story suffers from a reasonably extreme identification disaster, because it flounders to seek out as compelling a foremost character as Phoenix and his sidekick, Maya. The result’s that Apollo and Trucy largely get sidelined and left in plot stasis, however Phoenix by no means fairly seems like the principle character, both – extra like a substitute instructor filling in.
New sidekick Athena Cykes is a spunky teenager, however that is hardly a singular high quality in a world the place passing the bar is one thing that most individuals do earlier than they will drive. She’s likeable sufficient, however she’s sadly additionally the supply of most of Twin Destinies’ over-tutorialisation, making you are feeling rather less heat in the direction of her as she re-explains be a lawyer to you for the eighth time. Sure, thanks, Athena, however we have been successful circumstances when you have been nonetheless consuming paste.
Athena’s gimmick – for each lawyer will need to have one – is psychological evaluation by means of a speaking robotic necklace. It is shaky at greatest, and complicated at worst, asking you to seek out emotional inconsistencies in witness testimony by stating the sensation they should not have, or ought to have, or have an excessive amount of or too little of. It is by no means as easy to grasp or fairly as hard-hitting as Psyche-Locks and Apollo’s magic bracelet, though it is nonetheless enjoyable to have the courtroom circumstances damaged up by a minigame.
After blazing by means of Twin Destinies’ 5 circumstances and its meaty DLC, we’ve Spirit of Justice. After Twin Destinies raised the stakes to the ceiling, it was arduous to see the place Ace Lawyer would go subsequent, so it made sense that Spirit of Justice passed off in a very new (and completely made-up) nation referred to as Khura’in, the place the authorized system is in shambles and legal professionals are put to demise in the event that they lose their case. Phoenix’s easy vacation to assist Maya on her newest non secular journey – for Khura’in is the house of spirit channelling – rapidly devolves right into a nightmare of homicide, revolution, and extra homicide. And identical to that, the stakes have as soon as once more been raised, tackling deeper and darker themes like faith, politics, and overseas diplomacy.
In the meantime, again dwelling, Apollo and Athena are coping with their very own separate, however associated, issues – specifically a brand new prosecutor who simply occurs to be from Khura’in. And right here, lastly, is the place we get some again story for Apollo, which was first teased in Apollo Justice after which largely discarded for Twin Destinies. By setting the story in two locations on the identical time, lastly Apollo and Phoenix each really feel like they’re within the highlight, and it is pleasant to see the grown-up variations of Trucy and Pearl Fey get display screen time, too.
Similar to Twin Destinies earlier than it, Spirit of Justice additionally amps up the visible high quality, with much more detailed animations and anime cutscenes. The character designs are as various and artistic as their pun names are groan-worthy. “Pees’lubn Andistan’dhin”? Actually? It is a good factor you are lovely, as a result of in any other case we might be very indignant at you, Spirit of Justice.
Put all collectively, this trilogy is a worthy follow-up to the Ace Lawyer originals. There’s a slight dip within the center, and your mileage could range on whether or not or not you benefit from the extra gimmicky circumstances, however the wealth of beautiful artwork, unparalleled writing, and sheer quantity of story makes this properly well worth the worth of admission. Throw within the DLC circumstances (however be ready for essentially the most gimmicky murders of all) and the small however mighty upgrades to the remaster – the “notes” system that allows you to hold observe of your actions to date, the “seek the advice of” and “story mode” choices that allow you to cheese the tougher elements, plus the additional artwork and achievements – and you will see that this remaster has carried out these wonderful video games justice.
We genuinely cannot consider how fortunate we’re that these video games exist, not to mention that they have been lovingly polished up for the Swap. That is a number of the greatest writing you may discover on the console, and it is a steal for all three video games plus extras. A few bumps right here and there are to be anticipated with such a wealth of content material (three video games, DLC, and extras), however they barely depart a dent on the brilliance of this well-written and fantastically illustrated trilogy.