We're a mere three cases into the original Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on PlayStation 4, so we're not quite ready to give you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help us Shuhei, the jury is still out. But we have seen enough to allow us to make a pretty compelling opening statement before we render our final verdict on 9th April.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is a bundle of the first three Phoenix Wright games, originally released in Japan on the Game Boy Advance starting back in 2001 before finding a larger audience after a worldwide release on the Nintendo DS in 2005. The games have been ported to home console before when they were converted to the Wii, but this release marks the first time you'll be able to play the series on PlayStation in glorious high definition.
For the uninitiated, the Phoenix Wright games see the titular (order!) lawyer taking on cases and defending clients against increasingly overwhelming odds, while dealing with a gaggle of bizarre and frequently amusing supporting characters. These visual novel slash adventure games feature two distinct gameplay styles: first, Phoenix Wright needs to investigate the case which means interviewing witnesses and finding evidence; second, he needs to argue his case before a judge in court, cross-examining testimonies and pointing out contradictions in the prosecution's stories.
One of our biggest concerns we had going into this was how three games originally released on handheld consoles could handle the transition to the big telly in the living room, and the answer, thankfully, is rather well. The artwork – be it character designs or background locations – ooze personality, and while there's not much in the way of animation, that's not unusual for the genre. The lack of voice acting is a constant reminder that these games hail from a time long since passed, especially since many modern visual novels are fully voiced, so prepare to do some reading.
Fortunately, we're loving the writing so far. Visual novels do have a tendency to sometimes, well, go on a bit, so not being bombarded with exposition is certainly refreshing, and the quality of the dialogue is so high that reading hasn't started to feel like a chore. Throughout the three cases we've played so far we've been left chuckling to ourselves numerous times thanks to a deadpan rebuke from the judge or a wacky comment from one of the charming and likeable supporting characters. Of course, the quality of the writing could nosedive towards the end of the game, or in the later titles in the series, but so far, we're having a blast.
Frankly, we can't wait to delve a little deeper into the zany world of Phoenix Wright, and to see how the rest of his adventures hold up on PS4. For existing fans of the franchise, or newcomers interested in the prospect of taking part in some courtroom hijinks, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy looks like it could be well worth keeping an eye on – it's certainly winning over this jury.
Are you looking forward to Phoenix Wright's first case on a PlayStation console? Raise your objections in the comments below.