Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice Review (Nintendo 3DS)

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Capcom’s Ace Attorney series has done a great job of keeping the series fun and interesting over the years, especially for a game that has featured the same core concepts since 2011. It’s not the most exciting game, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can play the text-heavy-based game at your own pace since it plays more like an interactive novel than anything. It goes back and forth between being silly and serious, but then again, that’s one of the quirks fans have enjoyed about the series from the start. Now it’s time to return to the courtroom and seek out the truth in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice.

One thing that has really made the series enjoyable is how Capcom hasn’t strayed away from the games simple beginnings. Sure it’s seen a few upgrades including very impressive visuals and character designs as the series has gone from the Nintendo DS to the 3DS, but if it isn’t broke, why fix it? You still have your courtroom features where you need to find the inconsistencies in testimonies with the help of evidence. You must find your defendants not guilty while somehow finding out who the true suspect is via trail and error. Sometimes even the most basic answer might be incorrect.

Over the course of the game’s five episodes, you take on the role of Phoenix Wright, Apollo Justice or Athena Cykes. While Phoenix has always been a funny and enjoyable character, Apollo has really started to shine more especially in Dual Destinies. Athena, on the other hand, falls flat in this game as her chapter feels like it should have been added as DLC rather than part of the story. It really didn’t add anything interesting to the game aside from giving an excuse to bring Simon Blackquill back for a short amount of time. Other than that, the rest of the game is really well done. It ties in an excellent story that has quite a darker tone, further delving into the series with a huge emphasis on Apollo’s past.

The one thing the game lacked was any innovation. Sure previous installments haven’t added anything big outside of Apollo’s ability to perceive or Athena’s Mood Matrix, but I wasn’t a huge fan of Spirit of Justice’s Divination Séance where you would see the last moments of a victim’s life. It was an interesting idea but one that felt a bit flat as your job was to find inconsistencies, whether through sight or sound. One thing I’ve liked about the more recent entries is the investigations. They’ve always been simple where all you really do is talk to certain character and seek out clues, but with the introduction of searching for fingerprints, I would have loved to see a bit more involvement added.

Playing the Ace Attorney games have always rewarded players with a sense of accomplishment when completing each of the game’s episodes without any help. There are moments where you may find yourself lost and confused. I’ve found myself stuck many times and not knowing how to proceed. There are times where the game will give you hints, and even then in the later chapters, it can still be hard. When you finally succeed, you just feel that sense of pride and accomplishment.


It’s easy to get lost in the game thanks to the over-the-top characters that appear in the various chapters. Not all of them work, and even some of the puns used for their names may fall a little flat, but it’s something the series has been known for and has worked well for it. It’s nice to see characters like Maya Fey, Pearl Fey, Simon Blackquill and even Edgeworth return, even if it’s only for a short time. It’s a game that takes almost 26 hours to complete and well worth the time. It may be a game you may only play once since it doesn’t offer any real replay value, or at least until you’ve forgotten all the correct answers and come back to maybe a year or two later to enjoy again.

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Chris Del Castillo
Chris Del Castillo 2588 posts

Growing up Chris watched a lot of the original Saturday morning cartoons and developed a love for arts and animation. Growing up he tried his hand at animation and eventually script writing, but even more his love of video games, anime and technology grew.