Top 100 Games of All-Time: #77

Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations

Release Date: October 23, 2007 (NA)

Platform Played On: DS

2018 Placement: #83 (+6)


What It Is:

The third in the Ace Attorney series and the end of the original Phoenix Wright trilogy, Trials & Tribulations is (in my humble opinion) the best game of the entire series. It has the best rival prosecutor (Godot), the second best villain (*spoiler*), and the best overall story arc through all five cases of the game. It runs as a perfect conclusion to the original trilogy because it has a very personal, satisfying case as its finale that really hits home. While it never quite hits the high of taking down Gant in the first game, it is by far the most solid overall entry of the series and extremely worthwhile.

If you’re not familiar with the Ace Attorney games, it’s a mostly visual novel style game where the actual gameplay is divided into two sections: investigation and court room battles. Investigations are similar to point-and-click adventures where you go around collecting evidence – but don’t worry, the game won’t let you miss any. You’ll always have whatever you’re supposed to going into the courtroom, where you use evidence to prove or disprove statements by witnesses until you corner the guilty party (to awesome, intense music). The satisfaction of nailing a villain to the wall with evidence is second-to-none in these games.

Why It’s Important To Me:

While Phoenix Wright is not a pure visual novel, I do credit the series as being my gateway drug to those types of games. Playing the Ace Attorney games on my DS back in the day was a thrill a minute. I would often accidentally stay up super late because a case was hitting a climax and I wanted to finish it out. Much like a good book where I just have to keep reading so I can see how the story ends, the Phoenix Wright cases pull you in and then amp you up with fantastic music as you unravel each villain’s story.

Trials and Tribulations I had the most emotional reaction to because of the final case. I don’t want to spoil anyone who hasn’t played it, but at a certain point you realize where the case is going and you hate it, but it’s also so goddamn compelling and Phoenix’s ultimate pursuit of the truth is infectious. This entire game is the gameplay of Phoenix Wright at its peak. Not too over-done, not too complicated. Just enough puzzles to make you really think about the evidence you have and how you’re supposed to take people down. And the humor is top-notch on top of it.

My Strongest Memory:

“Why don’t we go for the unlimited penalty?”

The final case of this game from top to bottom…is so good. The perfect story, the perfect villain, the perfect murderer, the perfect musical cues. I still get chills thinking about the final face-off. I’m not going to say anymore or spoil it if you haven’t played, but…it’s so worth it.

Why it’s #77:

It’s great, it’s amazing, it’s a top notch visual novel w/ detective gameplay. The music is glorious, the story and characters are engaging and wonderful. Honestly I will always speak high praise for the Phoenix Wright series and tell everyone that it’s a great starting point for these sorts of games since they keep you involved with what’s going on with the puzzles and not just a passive party. Anyway, Trials & Tribulations is a top-notch game and if you haven’t played it yet and have any interest in puzzles & visual novels, you really should.