Review: The end of the Phoenix Wright trilogy? OBJECTION!!
When one hears the words "visual novel" what does one think? Perhaps a dating sim where your entire objective is to score with the girl of your choice? Maybe you think of an extremely linear game limited to reading and making choices. While these are characteristics of the genre, that's not all there is. These games are about presenting a great story to the reader through the video game medium; and the Phoenix Wright trilogy characterizes this in every way.
For those unfamiliar with the trilogy, players take on the role of the now-seasoned veteran defense attorney Phoenix Wright as he attempts to prove the innocence of his clients by investigating clues and presenting evidence in court. Along with Phoenix, a colorful group of characters, including the endearing Maya and Pearls, rounds out the cast as they join him on his never-ending quest for justice.
Although the first two games in the series limited players to using Phoenix as the main defense attorney, Trials and Tribulations has a few surprises in store for Ace Attorney veterans?most prominently playing as Phoenix's mentor, Mia. As expected, a lot of characters have returned for the third game; so for those who have a short-term memory I highly recommend going back through the first two games. While the new characters aren't as fleshed out as the old ones (with a few notable exceptions like Godot and Dalhia) they have a few personal traits that makes them stand out from the other one-trial wonders from before.
Similar to the previous games, Trials and Tribulations takes players through the dramatic process of finding evidence via investigations and pressing witnesses during trials in order to seek out the truth. Additionally, the game is mostly text-based so gamers should expect to do a lot of reading throughout.
Returning from the previous game is the Psyche-locke system, which plays a much more prominent role in this game than the last. As you attempt to break down your witnesses in order to get better testimony out of them, you'll be forced to present the most trivial of items to them in order to advance. While this makes the game redundant at times, there's something to be said about knowing that you managed to break them down into a pile of helplessness.
Since the game was a direct port from the original Game Boy Advance version, the more intuitive features from case 5 of the first game are sadly absent. While including these may have added an extra layer to the already finely-tuned gameplay, it's completely understandable considering the amount of time that would have been required to completely rework the game. As such, the game isn't hurt at all by its non-inclusion.
Graphically, the game hasn't changed since its first appearance back in 2005. The same sprite-based graphics and still backdrops that we've become accustomed to throughout the series have carried on into the third game, while the iconic Objection balloon remains unchanged. While hardcore Phoenix Wright fans may enjoy it, other more casual fans may object to seeing the same old-same old.
Music-wise, the series has always been renowned for its intense courtroom battle music and character themes. Listening to the music, you can tell what any moment or any character is like. From Godot's jazz-inspired theme to Maya's Ballad, each of the tracks captures their moment perfectly.