The Ace Attorney games are terrific. They are twisty turny soap opera courtroom dramas with surprise witnesses, last-minute objections, and edge-of-your-seat turnarounds.
You play as Phoenix Wright - a rookie lawyer with a string of accused murderers on his plate. Your job is to defend your clients by poking holes in the prosecution's case, finding inconsistencies in witness testimony, and scouring crime scenes for evidence.
It's largely about reading, but be sure to pay attention because you'll need to know the case backwards to find those elusive lies and slip ups.
As a game, Ace Attorney could be accused of being a bit talky, a little hands-off, and sometimes a tad abtuse in what it expects of you. And there's the common complaint of figuring things out before Phoenix, but getting reprimanded for showing decisive evidence too early.
But all that fades away when you meet these characters. They're charming, duplicitous, cowardly, inept, and full of heart. Each is unique, and given an interesting personality.
And they're all written - then painstakingly localised into English - with razor-wire wit.
And then there's the money shot. When you've pinpointed an inconsistency in a witness's damming testimony and you present the decisive evidence. The soundtrack cuts out, only to be replaced by a high-tempo, heroic tune as you smugly destroy the prosecution's case. Damn, it feels good.
Anyway. The Ace Attorney games are good is my point. The first three - Ace Attorney, Justice For All, and Trials and Tribulations, the ones in this 3DS trilogy - especially. But how does this port treat those classic games?
Well, it uses the same the blobby redrawn sprites of the iPhone and iPad version - but they look way more acceptable when presented on the lower resolution screen of the Nintendo 3DS. Generally, it look closer to the original games than the iOS one.
Sadly, the games have a slightly washed out look that makes the backgrounds appear slightly desaturated and leave our heroes looking a little gaunt.
It's in 3D. The character sprites pop out from the background and the text box is further into the foreground still. A little perfunctory but it makes sense considering the source material and, hey, Capcom's put more in effort than Nintendo.
The audio uses the same tinny, lo-fi music of the GBA and DS games. This could have used a revamp especially when most of the songs have already been rerecorded for more recent Ace Attorney games and - beautifully - in that Professor Layton crossover.
Still, this trilogy offers two things you won't find in the original games. One is the ability to play it Japanese - not much use if you don't speak the language. But the other is the option to speed through the slovenly text crawl by hitting the A button.
This is a miracle that reminds us of the true reason behind Christmas. Ace Attorney has lots of dialogue. Reams of its. Hundreds of pages of it. Being able to read it at your actual reading speed is fantastic.
This is a good, but not perfect collection of three incredible graphic adventures. It's got slightly washed out graphics and low-fi audio, but the sped up text speed and widescreen backdrops makes this is a recommended purchase for AA fans and newbies alike.