Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney − Trials and Tribulations (known as Gyakuten Saiaban 3 in Japan) is the third game in the Ace Attorney series. Players take on the role of Phoenix Wright, a defense attorney known for taking on seemingly impossible cases. While the game focuses on a few specific cases, the overarching story of the Phoenix Wright franchise spans the length of the series, involving obscure characters from large families and intricate webs of lies, plots, and murder. The nature of the series remains generally lighthearted, something that's reinforced by its playful, anime-inspired visual style, but the nature of the crimes committed can be cold and downright disturbing. While the game's legal acumen is highly dubious, its aim seems to be more about producing comedic or stereotypically dramatic courtroom moments. Ace Attorney 3 makes light use of the DS touch screen, allowing the player to examine crime scenes and inspect evidence and character profiles. The top screen is used more for storytelling purposes, displaying various dialogue and conversations between characters. During these sequences the lower screen becomes a selection menu, displaying a series of questions to ask witnesses and further your investigation in search of evidence to use in defense of your client in each chapter.
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Best Ace Attorney game (and maybe visual novel) ever released, and not many will think otherwise. The weakest case is still an 8.5/10, with the rest being nothing more than absolute tens. It is a perfect conclusion to the og trilogy, bringing all the previously established characters together in an espectacular finale.
This review contains spoilers
After the first case in Justice For All being pretty pants in comparison to the one in the first game, I was pretty nervous about this one but not only is the concept for this case genius but the entire mystery that is set up is an overarching mystery that'll be present throughout the game.
Starting off with the concept, taking a look into the past with Mia's first trial (well it's not really her first but you know what I mean) is a great way to give another tutorial since it makes sense that Grossberg (always nice to see the man behind the slaughter once again) and being able to play as Mia was a nice surprise. Not only that but we get to see a peek into character lore like how Mia met Phoenix, what Mia was like as a rookie lawyer, what drove Phoenix to start becoming a lawyer, how Payne lost his hair, etc.
Unlike the previous first cases, the way this one unraveled had me engaged from start to finish because it felt like something they were setting up to be an overarching mystery and I was right. For the first time it didn't feel like a filler case because I felt like there had to be a reason for it to be a flashback. Dahlia is a fantastic villain to hate; I could feel her bitter rivalry with Mia the first time they clashed. Unlike the weasel from The Lost Turnabout, I felt like Dahlia's presence was of severe importance to the story.
Overall for a first case it really blew my socks off for how everything aligned so well here. Trials and Tribulations is off to a great start.
After getting pumped from the fantastic first case, the second case left me mixed. I find the concept interesting, I loved Andrea Andrew's return, Luke Atmey is hysterical, Larry Butz's involvement was a meme and there was other aspects I really liked. Godot's introduction was amazing because he comes out of nowhere which is the entire point of his character. I don't really have much to say on this one to be honest other than "I like it" but it felt weird all of a sudden for the game to slip back to the same decent quality Justice For All brought, especially after that amazing first case. I wasn't all to fond of the defendant either.
The worst case in the original trilogy because it's the only one where I was truly perplexed by how absurd some of the plot points where. You're telling me this big muscular tiger man fooled everyone in the courtroom with a fake cardboard attorney badge and a similar hairstyle? They went through all that trouble setting up a time, disguise and more just o produce a witness with that old man? I am aware Ace Attorney has it's satirical moments but since this is a major plot point, I start to question the actual levity of it which takes me out of the immersion. At least all the absurdities Luke Atmey did I didn't fully question. I don't feel like the idea of a phony Phoenix Wright is pointless because I think they did it to establish the fact that Furio Tigre is willing to disguise himself but it still feels like wasted potential.
I feel like this should have stuck with the concept of Phoenix losing a trial and then getting a second chance. Though it might have been hard to pull off, I feel like maybe it could then proceed to Pheonix getting a second chance due to new discoveries, then he could recap the case to himself so the player knows what has happened so far. While not perfect, I think this would lead into some interesting scenarios like what would happen if a defense attorney didn't have access to opportunities to carve a path towards the truth (missing a potential piece of evidence for example). It could have also gave Godot another reason to bash Wright even more.
Overall this filler case is carried by Godot, the humorous writing (this case is unironically and ironically one of the funniest cases), some interesting individuals and banger music (Furio Tigre theme slaps). Whilst having some really wacky and interesting character moments, I recommend turning your brain off for this case.
After a decent second case and a sort of mediocre but enjoyable third case, I was feeling a little disappointed with Trials and Tribulations due to hearing a lot of people say this is the best in the trilogy. I was surprised to learn that the fourth case here wasn't the final one in the game which made me interested and as soon as it showed Phoenix looking at Mia's first case, I jumped up in excitement. A look into the past once again shows Mia's actual first case which sheds light on how Mia encountered Dahlia, Edgeworth's first time prosecuting, Godot's first time as a defense attorney (which took me by surprise) and more.
My third favourite in the entire series.
This was a massive toss up between this and the first game but I believe this is the best one due to how every story beats are brought together perfectly in the game's first, fourth and final case. Even the second and third case still shined through the characters we already know. The music is also a massive improvement over Justice For All.
I adore this game. This is where the series peaked and then suddenly somehow plummeted with the sequel trilogy. It has episodes but those episodes have a really good and hooking over-arching story. The character development from the last game was really shot up a notch and OMG GODOT I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. As much as I adore Edgey and FvK, I adore Godot so much and he is one of my favourite antagonists so so much. 10/10