3DS; £24.99; Capcom

The Ace Attorney series is a hard sell for the uninitiated. Combining the already niche genres of visual novels and point-and-click games in a text-heavy, anime-styled courtroom drama? If the series found itself in an elevator pitch it’d most likely be thrown down the shaft from the very top floor.

And yet, through the virtue of some stellar writing, nuanced language localization and character design, somehow the Ace Attorney Trilogy succeeds in blending richly funny storytelling and unexpected emotional depth while also managing to include and contextualize a prolonged sequence where you cross examine a squawking parrot named Polly in a court of law.

Following (literally) the trials of rookie defense attorney Phoenix Wright, the original Ace Attorney trilogy has been remade for the 3DS with re-drawn, high-resolution graphics while adding a subtle, but effective comic-book 3D layering effect. While the designs pale in comparison to the animated visuals of the series’ excellent last outing Dual Destinies, the static character sprites that served the games well on the DS are as quirkily amusing as ever with only a few prosecutable jarring redesigns (most notably the Judge and his cardboard beard).

 

Aside from the graphical alterations, the first game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and its two sequels Justice For All and Trials And Tribulations are carbon copies of the DS originals. For those that have solved the mysteries of the DL-6 incident and helped your loquacious assistant Maya Fey tackle her destiny as a spirit medium, the trilogy’s foundation of legal court battling and crime-scene investigation will be instantly familiar, yet here they are packaged together in a collection that easily clocks in at over 80 hours of gameplay.

Some individual cases out of a total of fourteen turnabouts do fall flat however, and the trilogy’s middle chapter, Justice For All, isn’t nearly as involving or climactic as its superior siblings. But if you can excuse these small niggles and the series’ rigid logic when deciding when is the ‘correct’ moment to present a conclusion you’d figured out ten minutes prior, the jury finds the Ace Attorney Trilogy guilty as charged of committing multiple counts of grievous narrative charm.

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