Phoenix Wright 3 wraps things up nicely

Phoenix Wright 3 box artThere really is very little to the Phoenix Wright games, but I can’t get enough of them. In essence the gameplay basically boils down to tapping through screen after screen of dialogue for about 25 hours, occasionally interspersed with the odd section where you’re required to make some leap of logic, but really it’s more like an interactive novel than a game. And that’s no bad thing: as I pointed out in my last post, big RPGs or action games aren’t really suited for handheld gaming, but a bit of light reading is exactly what I want when I’m heading somewhere on the bus.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations is the third game in the series, and it carries on the tradition set by Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All of having far too many subtitles for its own good (in Japan it goes by the rather more economical name of Gyakuten Saiban 3, or Turnabout Trial 3). Why on earth didn’t they just go with Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 2 and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 3? It seems the unncessary subtitle is a gaming trend that’s here to stay, unfortunately. I’m playing through El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron at the moment, and the less said about that ludicrous subtitle the better.

Phoenix Wright Trials and Tribulations screenshot 2

Anyway, going back to Phoenix Wright, the third entry in the series turned out to be a pretty satisfying game in that it ties up a lot of the loose ends from the previous two entries, as well as providing a fitting end to the saga of the Fey clan. Not only that, you also get to play as Mia Fey and Miles Edgeworth in a couple of sections, which provides a nice change from stepping into the shoes of the blue-suited one. I won’t bother going into all of the plot details here, but suffice to say there are more outrageously complicated murder trials involving needlessly convoluted set-ups and deviously complicated backstorys, culminating in one uber-trial that seems to involve pretty much every character and plot point from the whole series. As I said, a satisfying ending.

Phoenix Wright Trials and Tribulations screenshot 1

It’s great to see a few more intriguing and bizarre characters introduced as well – Godot, the coffee-swilling masked prosecutor, is a particularly brilliant addition. I was also surprised by how attached to the main characters I’d become by the end of the third game, which I think is testament to the generally excellent writing and translation throughout the series. I spotted a few spelling errors along the way, but the dialogue made me laugh out loud on many occasions, and it’s certainly never boring. I still have a bugbear about the frankly bizarre decision to ‘set’ the game in America when all of the locations and characters are so obviously Japanese (see my previous review), but it’s easy enough to ignore this strange filip for most of the game.

All in all I had a blast with Phoenix Wright 3, and I can’t wait to get stuck into the sequel, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. Here’s hoping Ace Attorney 5 makes it over to the West sometime soon as well…

[As cross-examined by Justice Lucius Merriweather.]


  1. As a both a huge Phoenix Wright and Professor Layton fan, I cannot wait for the PW Vs. PL on 3DS! This just further makes me want to replay both series.

  2. I’ve played through two and a half Layton games and I just can’t get into them at all. PW I love, even while acknowledging that the 3rd case of the 2nd game is awful and Apollo Justice is terrible. (I got Apollo Justice out my house as soon as I finished it, it was SO bad.) I loved the 1st and 3rd game completely and though the ending of the Edge-worth spin off was dragged out to a stupid degree, I loved that game too.

    I don’t mind where they’re set considering the game is so unrealistic that I consider them ‘other-world’ anyway.

    1. Apollo Justice is sat on my shelf to be played as soon as I finish Phantom Hourglass, although judging by your comment I might be in for a bit of a disappointment! Still, probably better than Layton…

  3. I have played every game in the Ace Attorney series, including Investigations and its sequel. Of all the games in the series, this one is tied for second-best along with the original. My favorite game in the series is the sequel to Investigations, dubbed Prosecutor’s Path by fans. It may not have been localized, but a really good fan translation was released last year.

    1. I haven’t played the Investigations games, but I’m keen to give them a go. I really loved Trials and Tribulations, but I think my favourite Phoenix game is the recent Dual Destinies because it did such a great job of bringing in a few new gameplay tweaks while keeping the spirit of the previous games. The story was great too – unlike the fourth game, Apollo Justice. I’m looking forward to the latest entry, although there’s no word on whether it will reach western shores just yet.

      1. I say go for it. The first Investigations may not be as good as Dual Destinies, but it’s a lot better than Justice for All and Apollo Justice, which I consider the weakest entries. The former had the worst episode in the entire series (Turnabout Big Top). Sure it had Farewell, My Turnabout, but that was really the only good thing about that installment (other than Reunion, and Turnabout setting itself up for one of the series’ best episodes). It doesn’t help that it had the weakest soundtrack in the series by far. Meanwhile, the latter had the worst finale of any Ace Attorney game (Turnabout Succession). There were some things about it I liked, but it was extremely anti-climactic in how it ended with your decisive piece of evidence getting blown off. After that, it was basically like the game was saying, “Yeah, we know you didn’t exactly win this case, but we don’t want the bad guy to get away with it, so take this consolation victory free of charge.”

        Anyway, back on the subject of Ace Attorney 3, it did wrap up things quite nicely… However, there’s one tiny plot thread introduced in the very first game that remains completely unaccounted for. Can you guess what it is? If you play the second Investigations game, you will see what I mean by this, though play them in order because the sequel doesn’t pull any punches; even the first case has a ridiculous amount of twists and turns.

  4. I’m intrigued now… I’ll have to give Investigations a go to find out! Is it something to do with Mia Fey? Interesting…

    1. In a tangential sense, it has something to do with her, but not quite.

      If you want, here are some hints. Feel free to disregard them if you want to go into the games blind.

      To be honest, I don’t think the writers initially intended for this detail to be a plot thread because I don’t believe it was ever mentioned in the third game.

      Ace Attorney 3 did wrap up the loose ends of all the named characters… What about the unnamed ones?

      Lawyers on the side of justice are usually good when it comes to avoiding bad clients.

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