The Best of Ace Attorney
Ace Attorney is fantastic, a visual novel/adventure game series with excellent stories, memorable characters, and some of the best humor in the industry. It currently consists of five main-series games, three spin-offs, one crossover with the Professor Layton series, and a sixth main-series game due out this September.
While every Ace Attorney game is worth playing, and the series is best experienced in release order, let’s take a look at the three best Ace Attorney games.
3. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is where it all began, and it’s still one of the greatest. While it lacks the clear overarching plot later games would have, the first Ace Attorney game features five enjoyable cases. It puts players in the shoes of a rookie lawyer named Phoenix Wright as he tries to defend his wrongly-accused clients. With wacky witnesses, a spirit medium assistant who can channel her dead sister, and a ruthless prosecutor, it quickly sets up some of the most enjoyable storytelling in the series.
The fourth case is where the story really shines, and the fifth case (a newer episode not available in the original Japanese GBA game) raises the stakes even higher. Some of Ace Attorney’s brilliance comes from how it can be absurd and hilarious, but also serious and emotional. This dual nature comes out strongly in the final cases of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, and helped it create an excellent foundation for the rest of the series to build upon.
2. Gyakuten Kenji 2
It’s debatable if a game most of us are unable to play should be on this list, but Gyakuten Kenji 2 (also known as Ace Attorney Investigations 2) is held in such high regard by fans who have played it, it is impossible to overlook. While the first spin-off, Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, was released worldwide, its sequel never left Japan. Nevertheless, many fans feel it has some of the best writing in the series.
Gyakuten Kenji 2 follows Miles Edgeworth through a series of interconnected cases, including a flashback case starring Gregory Edgeworth. Fans of the series will be especially interested in that case since it leads to one of the most important events in the first game’s backstory. While that’s exciting, it’s only one part of an excellent plot.
Capcom still has no plans to localize Gyakuten Kenji 2, but since it’s considered one of the best Ace Attorney games of all, we can only hope they eventually change their minds.
1. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials & Tribulations
The original trilogy of games concludes with Trials & Tribulations, and it was an incredible note to end on. It is the first Ace Attorney game to introduce a cohesive plot that spans multiple cases, and it ties up loose ends from the first two games in a spectacular fashion.
Trials & Tribulations begins with a flashback case where you play as Phoenix’s mentor, Mia Fey, when she was a rookie attorney herself. From there, it only gets better. The game’s surprises are too good to spoil, but suffice it to say there are many unexpected moments that should delight fans. It also features one of the most dangerous and downright evil villains to ever appear in Ace Attorney.
The series has continued past the original trilogy, but if it didn’t, Trials & Tribulations would have been an conclusion. As it stands, many players feel it is still the best game in the entire series.
These are our picks for the best three Ace Attorney games. But while Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Gyakuten Kenji 2, and Trials & Tribulations might stand above the rest, the others are still fantastic as well. Which Ace Attorney games do you consider the best?
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice, the sixth game in the main series, is due out on September 8. Could it claim a spot among the best of the best? We’ll know soon enough.