Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy Review – Ultimate Detective Fantasy

Courtroom drama has never been this exciting.

Overall
4
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals and Performance

Verdict

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney trilogy is a fantastic collection that bundles together 3 very good titles in one package.

Pros

  • Updated Graphics And Audio
  • Complex Murder Mysteries
  • Fantastic Music
  • Charming Characters

Cons

  • Minor Visual Bugs
  • Weaker Narrative Than Previous Entries
  • Some Trials Can Hinder Pacing

It felt amazing returning to the world of Ace Attorney with the Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney trilogy. Its charming characters, complex overarching mysteries, and intense courtroom drama feel just as fresh as it was during the series’ debut in 2001. Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy includes the sequel trilogy centered (partially) around the new protagonist, Apollo Justice, and I’m here to discuss a review of his story. 

  • Developer: CAPCOM 
  • Publisher: CAPCOM
  • Release Date: January 25, 2024
  • Game Length: 60 hours
  • Time Played: 62 hours
  • Editors Note: Our writer played the game on PC and has over 100+ hours across the Ace Attorney franchise from the past entries in the series.

When talking about a release of this sort, it is important to set a distinction between what you’re actually reviewing, the quality of the re-release, or the games themselves. I think that in both departments, the Apollo Justice trilogy delivers a very respectable collection.

Story And Setting

Apollo Justice Ace Attorney Trilogy Story
Story. (Image by eXputer)

The Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney trilogy starts with the fourth game in the Ace Attorney franchise, which is the titular “Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney.”

As the name suggests, Apollo Justice places you in the shoes of…well…Apollo Justice. A rookie defense attorney thrust into a complex murder case involving former protagonist “Phoenix Wright.” 

The second game of the collection, Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies, places another new main character in the spotlight, Athena Cykes. While both Apollo and Phoenix play an important role in the story, the central plot revolves around Athena as she faces her past trauma. 

Most Ace Attorney games follow a similar structure. An overarching plot is set up — usually in the very first episode — that is slowly built up over the course of 2-3 episodes until it explodes into a crescendo during the final episode. 

A Courtroom Mystery

Apollo Justice Athena
Athena Cykes (Image by eXputer)

For a visual novel, the story and characters can make or break a game. Fortunately, the Apollo Justice trilogy deserves exceptionally well on this front. Each game in the trilogy offers an intriguing set of murder mysteries that you slowly untangle with each evidence presented, each testimony unwrapped. 

However, it’s a shame that the quality of the stories here isn’t as consistent as the previous Ace Attorney re-releases.

As much as I enjoyed Apollo Justice, I was particularly disappointed by certain aspects of its story, primarily the fact that the main man, Apollo, rarely gets the spotlight in his debut title, and the game builds up to an ultimately flaccid conclusion.

I would argue that for a newcomer, it’s better to start with either the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney trilogy or The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles

Apollo Justice in particular has many fantastic moments that I will remember for a long while.”

But I think the parts of Ace Attorney I enjoy the most always stem from the characters and writing, and fortunately, the Apollo Justice trilogy delivers splendidly. 

Gameplay

Apollo Justice Investigations
Dialogue. (Image by eXputer)

Being a (semi) visual novel, Ace Attorney has you talking to a lot of people all the time.

Whether it is through witness testimonies, the back-and-forth with the prosecutors, or interrogating witnesses during the investigations (the more I play these games, the more apparent it gets that these are just detective games masquerading as a courtroom drama), you will be doing a lot of talking. 

Thankfully, the Apollo Justice trilogy does not disappoint in this department at all.

Ace Attorney utilizes some neat tricks in the way it delivers dialogue. The games frequently use text scroll speech, screen shakes, and flashes to convey the tone of speech and voices. Moreover, character designs and their specific portraits also help a whole lot in developing a proper voice for each character. 

Apollo Justice Characters
Characters. (Credit: eXputer)

And when you throw in the series’ usual snappy writing and multitude of charming character interactions, there’s something truly special.

Playing through the trilogy, I felt a childlike excitement examining every little thing so I could see all the fun character interactions. It’s why I’m not particularly bothered by the problems present in the stories. 

Crime And Punishment

Apollo Justice Ace Attorney Trilogy Trials
Trials. (Credit: eXputer)

Each case in the series is divided into two halves: The investigation and the trial. 

The investigations typically center around collecting evidence by examining environments and interacting with characters, while the trials are about using the collected evidence to break down witness testimonies. 

Investigations are where the detective side of Ace Attorney comes into play. While they can sometimes feel boring in comparison to the trials, the contrast ends up making the trials feel a lot more exciting.

During investigations, players will have to go from place to place in order to talk to people of interest involved in the case and present them with evidence to unlock new dialog options. 

Apollo Justice Ace Attorney Trilogy Minigames
Minigames. (Credit: eXputer)

Sometimes, the game gets really freaky and lets you do something spicy, like a mini-game in the middle of an investigation. You’ll be charged with collecting and matching footprints or spraying luminol on something to see blood traces.

Many of them show up once in the game, only to never show up ever again, and I appreciate it. They’re small and simple additions that spice things up every once in a while without overstaying their welcome. 

The trials are where the games really shine, though. It’s where every part of the game comes together all at once…if you don’t get stuck.

At their best, they feel like an explosive payoff to hours of build-up as you battle it out with the prosecutors; at their worst, the trials feel like a slog that slows the story down to a crawl. 

At their worst the trials feel like a slog that slows the story down to a crawl.”

There’s no feeling worse than being at the cusp of a story revelation and constantly finding yourself presenting the wrong evidence because the game wants you to present something hyper-specific at a particular part of the testimony.

When the game starts ramping up, though, when you’re finally about to corner the culprit, and you hear that Cross-examination theme rising in tempo as you prepare to slash the culprit’s final statement, that’s when the Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy is untouchable. 

History Lessons

Apollo Justice Orchestra Hall
Orchestra Hall. (image by eXputer)

Apollo Justice also includes a museum where players can find a huge number of extra goodies for Ace Attorney fans.

At the Orchestra hall, you can listen to every single track present in the trilogy, as well as orchestral renditions of various tracks throughout the series. There’s also an illustration menu where you can find character artwork and other illustrations from the trilogy.

Unfortunately, the Orchestra hall lacks notes from the composers that you could find in a similar feature present in The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles. 

Apollo Justice Animiation Studio
Animation Studio. (image credit: eXputer)

Perhaps the most interesting feature in the collection is the “Animation studio,” which lets players create their own Ace Attorney animations. From what I tried, it felt really seamless to use, and I’m very excited to see what other fans will create using this feature. 

Visuals And Performance

Apollo Justice Graphics
The Visuals. (image by eXputer)

Much credit has to be given to Capcom for the visual uplift in these re-releases. Players coming from the last two Ace Attorney re-releases can expect the same treatment from the Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney trilogy. Higher quality music, higher resolution, sharper visuals and portraits. 

I don’t think every game in the collection benefits from this, though. Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies, in particular, look rather ugly because of the higher resolution, especially the character portraits. 

I also encountered a bizarre “problem” while playing Apollo Justice from this collection. If you have a sharp eye, you may have even noticed that the character portraits in Apollo Justice have very slight pixelization on them.

Apollo Justice Animations
Animations. (credit: eXputer)

The only reason I didn’t really consider this a major problem was because I actually prefer this look to an extent. The pixelization lands a weird kind of charm to the visuals, and I think that’s an unintentional but neat little bug.

As for performance, it’s a visual novel. I never experienced any performance issues in my entire time playing this collection on 2k resolution and Anti-Aliasing turned on. 

Verdict

apollo justice review
The Verdict. (Image by eXputer)

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney trilogy is a fantastic collection that bundles together 3 very good titles in one package. While, as a whole, they do not reach the same quality as Capcom’s previous offerings, especially The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, this is still a must-buy for every Ace Attorney fan that is well worth the $49.99 asking price.

Whether you’ve played it on the DS/3DS or if you were introduced to the series with the re-releases like me and want more Ace Attorney, this is a collection you can’t afford to miss out.

This has been my review of the Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney trilogy. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles:

This is box title
Get This Game
If you enjoy visual novels, murder mysteries, or puzzle games.
Dont Get This Game
If you dislike reading too much, or if you want something quick and fast-paced or if you hate having fun.
Do I Need To Get This Game
If you’re a fan of the Ace Attorney franchise and want more Ace Attorney then the Apollo Justice trilogy is a must-buy.
Alternative Games
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy
  • The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles.
  • Danganronpa 1,2, V3
  • Paradise Killer
  • L.A Noire
  • Return of the Obra Dinn
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Moiz Banoori is the brains behind eXputer. Having worked at various Video Game sites, with 8 years of Content Writing Experience and a Journalism Degree at hand, he presently monitors teams, creates strategies, and publishes qualified pieces through his aptitude at eXputer. Feel free to get in touch with him on his gaming profile at Steam and PSN.

Experience: 8+ Years || Manages Teams, Creates Strategies, and Publishes Guides on eXputer

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