Game Review: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations

So this is the third game in the Ace Attorney series and the final installment of the original trilogy. If you’ve read my previous reviews, you’ll be familiar with the setup by now. You are a lawyer, a crime has been committed, and your job is to investigate and expose the lies in witness testimonies.

This time, however, you’ll be playing as two characters: Phoenix himself, and his mentor, Mia. Other than that, gameplay is pretty much unchanged from the second game. The Psyche-Locks make a return appearance, and serve to break up the investigation portions a bit, and of course you still have to press or object to witness statements, as usual.

The other major difference between Trials and previous games (particularly Justice For All) is that this game is a bit easier. I only found myself completely stuck a few times, and even then, I was on the right track. Still, if you played the previous game and found it a bit too hard, this one eases up on the player a bit (the fourth case in particular was very easy for me).

By now, everyone should be familiar with the quirkiness of the casts of each of the Ace Attorney games. You have your regulars, like Maya, Pearl, and Detective Gumshoe, and new faces (most notably, a new prosecutor, Godot) including a couple that you just have to see to believe. Seriously, Jean Armstrong is an effeminate French chef who wears pink, carries roses, flirts with male characters, and constantly misgenders himself (and is misgendered by) other characters (or is he?). I should note that his name in both the English and Japanese versions is gender neutral, but since he’s French in the English version, I assume his name is meant to be read as the masculine version. Stereotypical? Yes. Something that I’ve pretty much come to expect from Ace Attorney where every single character is stereotyped to some degree and is informed by Japanese culture where gender and sexuality are treated differently than in the West? Yes.

Once again, the series gets very, very “flashy” with it’s graphics (especially when Furio Tigre is introduced with at least 30 seconds of “flashy” text that practically has “epilepsy trigger” written all over it), but my other criticisms, that the games are very short, is not so much an issue here. The game is still pretty short, but the cases are much longer, plus there’s no circus case, i hated that case. Gods that case was annoying. Oh, and I really liked Godot, but he can be a bit sexist at times (also he will make you crave coffee, I don’t even drink coffee and I wanted to try it). The one other thing I didn’t like was the music, not that the music was bad, but I felt the trial music really didn’t inspire the same sense that I had a witness on the ropes, the lack of a good “Cornered” theme (my favourite track from the original) was very disappointing.

Overall, there were some really great twists and turns in this installment (including two “holy shit!” moments for me that happened within a couple seconds of each other) and it’s basically a more refined version of the second game. I can’t wait to play Apollo Justice and Investigations!

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