An Introduction to Ace Attorney


It is a very rare occurrence when a series catches my eye, so much so that I go out of my way to track down every last game in the series and finish them at a rapid pace. And by rapid pace, I mean in the span of about a week. What game series could have me in such a tizzy? Possibly one of the most random yet amazing games that involves you playing as a defense attorney. Capcom’s one and only Ace Attorney series.

Like most people, you’re probably wondering just what in the hell the series is. The short explanation is that it’s a visual novel type game. By interacting with objects and events, you propel the story-driven game onward. The long explanation can be broken down into two parts.


Each and every Ace Attorney games is broken into four to five cases. Each case will have an investigation portion that occurs immediately after you find out who your client is. Almost every case you will be attempting to defend someone accused of murder charges, and almost every time you’ll know immediately that your clients, who are usually quite the characters, are innocent. Investigations consist of running around the crime scene, interviewing witnesses, and pretty much going anywhere other characters tend to lead you. The game will not continue onward until you’ve found all the evidence you need for the trial. However, most trials usually recess at some point, whereupon you will return to your investigation in order gather even more evidence. Usually you will end up investigating places roughly three times per case. Each portion of the trial will yield some new info that you can usually utilize to uncover the truth.


aceattorney2By far my favorite part of the game, this is where the Ace Attorney games shine. I already stated that your clients are normally pretty out there, but the judge as well as each and every prosecutor you go up against are characters themselves. Even some of the witnesses will have you trying not to laugh. Hey, it’s a Japanese game after all. The courtroom plays out with a witness’s account. It is then up to you to “Press” the witness’s statements to make sure you get all the info there is out of them, and then “Present” evidence contradicting the correct statement. Sounds easy, but I can assure you some cases will have you staring at statements, trying to determine just what piece of evidence is correct. If you choose incorrectly the judge deals out a penalty. Too many penalties and you’re shit out of luck. You lose the case and must start from your last save. My trick? Save often, especially if you are unsure. But when you do chose correctly you are rewarded with one of the most rewarding moments in a game in my opinion, that fabulous moment when Phoenix Wright (at least in the games starring him) points and yells “OBJECTION!”

On a side note, I became obsessed with screaming “objection” at people during arguments, and my phone eagerly yells it every time I receive a text message.

So where should you begin? To be honest, playing the games in a specific order isn’t completely necessary, although you will miss out on some allusions to previous cases and games if you begin in the middle. However, my first Ace Attorney game was actually Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, which is the fourth installment. Although Phoenix Wright does appear he is not the main defense attorney.

If you really aren’t looking for the entire story line, however, I would say that the best game to play is actually the most recent and most updated. Available only as a Nintendo 3DS download, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, is quite possibly the best in the series. Partially due to the updated graphics, anime cut scenes, and finally some real voice acting, the game flows a bit easier than the previous games.  You also get to play as three different defense attorneys, including Phoenix, who has recently gotten his attorney’s badge once again. The explanation as to why he lost it in the first place is undertaken in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney.

One thing will be lost, however, if you start with this game. Perhaps one of the most satisfying parts of Dual Destinies is the return of so many beloved characters from previous games. Certainly the return of Phoenix Wright as a playable lawyer was enough, but Capcom did not stop there. A few other lawyers return, and one has a very interesting past interwoven with Phoenix’s. I could hardly contain my excitement when the man of the hour, the number one prosecutor that gave Phoenix so much hell in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Mr. Miles Edgeworth returns.

aceattorney4If you’re willing, however, to start from the beginning, and deal with some frustrating parts asking yourself “where the hell am I supposed to go,” and “what the hell am I missing here,” then playing Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All, and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations will let at least fill you in on a good chunk of the story. Playing as Phoenix, you will begin at his first case ever, watch his friendship unfold with Maya Fey, and learn all about the love/hate friendship between Edgeworth and himself. Each game wraps up nicely, however, the third game of the series will finally pull together a lot of loose ends from the on going story. The best part? Despite being semi-difficult to track down for the Nintendo DS, the entire trilogy is available on iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches for a decent price.

If you become addicted to the series, just like I did, then you may even want to check out the two spin-offs. Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, which takes place several years after Trials and Tribulations ends, stars the up and coming Apollo Justice. Phoenix Wright was disgraced during a trial and lost his attorney’s badge, however, it does not mean he does not appear in the game. In fact, him and his adoptive daughter, Trucey the magician, work very closely with the young Apollo.

aceattorney3Lastly, if you really want to get fancy and get the ultimate Ace Attorney experience. there is always Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth. For the first time you get to be in a prosecutor’s shoes. Taking place soon after Trials and Tribulations, this game doesn’t have much of a connection to any of the other games. Miles has come quite far from his original attitude on being a prosecutor. He no longer is simply seeking to win, win, win, instead, he is far more interested in uncovering the real truth, so that no innocent being finds themselves in jail, even if they really do seem guilty at the start. Several previous characters will make their return to help him out, but it is the first game Phoenix Wright does not appear. Unfortunately the second installment never made its way overseas.

Although the Ace Attorney series may seem strange at first, I can assure you there is something very addictive about each and every one of these titles. Perhaps its because the games make you legitimately analyze and think things through, or maybe I just like really odd Japanese games, but I can at least say that they are worth taking a look at. More than likely you too will find yourself fighting the urge to yell “Objection!” at people during arguments.



About Emily Horton

Emily is just your average twenty something girl who discovered her love for gaming at the age of three or four, all thanks to her older brothers. Mario, The Lion King, Aladdin, Zelda were her first loves, but Pokemon, Final Fantasy, Tales, and pretty much all Japanese games eventually fell into that category. She has an unhealthy obsession with Pikachu, hoodies, her 3DS, t-shirts, plushies, and purses. She may also fancy herself as an excellent lawyer due to number of times she has played through the Ace Attorney series. Outside of videogames, she is a Disney, Harry Potter, and Tolkien fanatic, while also recently discovering that she is now a hardcore fan of Supernatural thanks to Netflix allowing her to watch eight seasons rapid fire. She has elvish writing, the Deathly Hallows, a rather large Tinkerbelle and a large Yuna from Final Fantasy X all tattooed on her body, with only more geeky stuff to be added. Currently working on her own fantasy novel, she hopes to publish it eventually once all the kinks are worked out.

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