Published on February 24th, 2024 | by Gareth Newnham

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy Review

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy Review Gareth Newnham

Summary: No objections here! Apollo Justice Trilogy presents a tight case for replaying these superb courtroom adventures.


No objections!

The Apollo Justice Trilogy is a little like the last Star Wars trilogy. You can see a creator desperately trying to pass the baton onto a new cast of characters, but the fans just won’t let them for good and ill.

However, unlike the last Star Wars trilogy, which was a jumbled mess, the Apollo Justice Trilogy presents a focused continuation of the Ace Attorney series that is well worth your time and attention.


After the success of the original Phoenix Wright trilogy, where do you go without just giving players more of the same? The logical (read easy) next step is to make a next-generation style game, pass the baton onto a new set of characters, and go on from there. However, the problem Shu Takumi had is that Phoenix Wright is just too damn likable to be left behind for a new protagonist. The result is that although this latest collection is called the Apollo Justice Trilogy, its plucky new protagonist never feels like the star of the show.

The trilogy opens seven years after the events of Trials And Tribulations, with Apollo Justice. Phoenix has lost his attorney badge and now works as a pianist and card shark at a shady dive bar. After Phoenix is accused of the murder of a rival poker player, he is defended by rookie defense attorney Apollo Justice, whom Phoenix then takes under his wing (and leaves his teenage daughter Trucey with, for reasons).

If the lawyering doesn’t work out, Apollo could always join Phoenix at the poker table as he has the uncanny ability to pick up the tells, small twitches, and ticks of witnesses when they’re uncomfortable or lying, adding a neat extra twist to cross-examinations.

Apollo Justice is a fairly short adventure in the Ace Attorney series, containing only four cases. However, what is there contains some great twists to the formula and some great set pieces that include reviewing concert footage in Turnabout Serenade, which sees Apollo investigate a death at a rock concert and flitting between the past and present in the final case, Turnabout Succession, that also ties the whole overarching mystery that weaves its way through the game, perfectly.

Next up is Dual Destinies, the first game in the series to shift from 2D sprites to 3D character models and backgrounds, as well as beautifully animated and fully voiced cut scenes.

It’s a big step up, and hard to deny that when it first hit the 3DS back in 2013, it was incredibly impressive stuff. But when compared to the fantastic glow-up the sprite work from Apollo Justice has been given in the collection, it loses a little of its luster.

Though the game’s five cases are some of the wildest in the series, which see Apollo and Phoenix defend a killer whale, litigate several bombings, and take part in a two-part murder trial that will have you teetering on the edge of your seat.

Dual Destinies also introduces new sidekick, Athena Cykes, a spunky junior attorney with a gift for psychological profiling that, with the help of a tiny robot, can decern the emotional inconsistencies in witness testimonies. Sounds like a cool power. However, it’s not as straight forward as Apollo’s tells, tasking you with figuring out whether a witness is feeling the wrong way or being too emotional, or not emotional enough. As a result, trying to figure out what’s wrong and what the game wants can be a little tricky at times.

Dual Destinies’ biggest problem though is that its dual protagonist setup means that for large parts of the game, Apollo feels sidelined, and Phoenix feels.like he’s there to fill in gaps in the plot rather than a major player in his own right. It’s still an enjoyable romp but never quite hits the highs of the previous entries.

Finally, there’s Spirit of Justice, which sees Phoenix travel to the land of spirit channeling, Khura’in, to support Maya on her latest spiritual journey. But this being Ace Attorney, what starts as a simple holiday for Phoenix turns into a nightmare as he is sucked into legal battles in a country where lawyers are executed along with their clients if they lose.

Meanwhile, back in the States, Apollo and Athena are drawn into a series of cases against a new ruthless prosecutor from Khura’in.

Not only do the visuals look even better in Spirit of Justice, but the narrative also does a much better job of weaving together and balancing out Apollo and Phoenix’s narrative threads so that the duo feels like they’re on a more equal footing and both stars of the show in their own unique ways.

It’s also great to see Apollo’s backstory get fleshed out, as well as see what happened to Maya’s relatives Trucy and Pearl.

On the whole, The Apollo Justice Trilogy is another well-constructed collection of some of the best adventure games available on any system. The combination of beautiful art, devious logic puzzles, and sharp writing make it more than worth the price of admission. While small quality-of-life improvements like the notes system that helps you keep track of where you’ve been and the consult and Story mode that lets you bypass some of the game’s trickier puzzles if you get absolutely stuck are welcome additions.

Final Thoughts

The Apollo Justice Trilogy is a worthy successor to the original Phoenix Wright trilogy, and it’s fantastic to have a way once again to play this trio of superb adventures on modern hardware. With some great extras, all the DLC, and subtle but impactful quality-of-life improvements for fans and newcomers alike, The Apollo Justice Trilogy is one court date you can’t afford to miss.

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