Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy Review - No objections!

A grueling investigation on a classic remastered

Character pointing
(Image: © Capcom)

TechRadar Verdict

With this much care and love being put into refining this trilogy for modern audiences, the time is now for audiences to put some Justice on Apollo’s name, and thrust him out of Phoenix Wright’s shadow into a much-deserved spotlight.


  • +

    A high-quality remaster

  • +

    Plenty of interesting bonuses for fans and newcomers alike

  • +

    Witty characters elevate an already-engrossing story


  • -

    Unbalanced requirements in select moments

  • -

    Stories can veer too far into the fantastical

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Review info

Platform reviewed: PC
Available on: PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4
Release date: 26th January 

The Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy is, in many ways, a fresh chance at stardom for its titular character. For all the Ace Attorney has endured with audiences for over two decades, Phoenix Wright and its initial cast remain the face of the franchise, taking the limelight from any newcomers wishing to usurp the beloved star.

 Following the critical and commercial success of the original trilogy of legal drama-esque visual novels headlined by the beloved icon, Shu Takumi and his team took the bold decision to set the character aside for a fourth mainline entry in the series in 2007, centering the action on all-new plucky upstart Apollo Justice.

Pushing aside your beloved headliner for someone new runs the risk of alienating a fanbase, and it’s difficult to determine whether this decision was a successful one. While this new entry was certainly a critical and commercial success upon release, many clamored for the return of Phoenix Wright and co. beyond the supporting roles they’re given here, by the time the fifth entry was finally released six years later, Wright was back on the cover and in the driving seat for proceedings in future titles. Apollo was now being overshadowed in what was supposed to be his own trilogy.

Phoenix Wright remained the franchise star, and Apollo was overlooked. It didn’t help that, until now, it was far more difficult to play these games compared to the seemingly endless releases offered to the original trilogy in the following years. By comparison, the Apollo Justice trilogy received just a single port to mobile devices in the mid-2010s, with the games otherwise stuck on the now-obsolete DS and 3DS.

However, good things come to those who wait, and the long-awaited remaster of the Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy provides a platform for these characters and stories to be reintroduced to audiences and judged on their own merits. Importantly, without the pressure of following up a beloved trilogy for a fervent fanbase. And with a remaster like this, Mr Justice should have no problem making new friends with modern audiences!

Same old attorney 

Woman frowning

(Image credit: Capcom)

On the surface, not much has changed with this new release. The Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy brings all three entries in the trilogy together in a single collection, remastered with all-new visuals to cater to modern HD and 4K displays. To accommodate for the loss of the second screen from Nintendo’s former handhelds, gameplay when examining evidence or interrogating witnesses has been adjusted to work with just a single screen. Beyond that, the experience and story remain largely unchanged, and there are no new storylines or cases included either.

Best Bit

objection speech bubble

(Image credit: Capcom)

No matter how many times you play an Ace Attorney game, finding the right moment to shoot an objection in the heat of a court trial never gets old. Doing so at one particular moment towards the end of the final episode of Apollo Justice is one particularly strong example. 

The 14 cases (plus two what-if scenarios previously released as DLC) included in this collection across three games chart the story of Apollo Justice, an up-and-coming attorney who eventually trains under the guidance of Phoenix Wright at the Wright Anything Agency during an era of wavering trust in the courts. Mr Wright lost his attorney’s badge for seven years for his use of falsified evidence, leaving him to make a living as an underground gambler while his young daughter put on magic shows to make ends meet. Apollo’s judicial debut marks the start of his search for Justice and a chance for Wright to turn his life around, while they work with other defense attorneys and detectives to drag their clients out of ever-more-precarious mysteries and legal jeopardy.

Even compared to the original trilogy, already known for its at-times larger-than-life storylines involving spirit mediums, the interrogation of a parrot, and the rather eccentric prosecutors you come to face, be prepared for ever-more outlandish mysteries this time round. Without diving too far into spoilers, by the end of this trilogy, you’re performing seances in ancient kingdoms (and that’s just the start!) as Apollo seeks his reason for defending and pursuing the life of a public defender.

 Fresh coat of paint

Woman dressed up

(Image credit: Capcom)

Even at its most outlandish, this legal drama-but-anime approach to storytelling provides some of the tightest character-driven writing you can find. The story is constantly twisting and turning while keeping the player involved as you investigate crime scenes and use evidence to turn the tide of the case in the courtroom and save your client from life in prison. Picking out contradictions in testimony remains as tricky and satisfying as ever. Taking advantage of new techniques to pick apart testimony keeps things fresh, even if it is at times frustrating to work out, which is the statement to hurl the correct piece of evidence you need to progress the case toward the solution you’ve already begun to piece together.

If this offered nothing more than a chance to enjoy the humorous, engrossing writing of this tightly-packed trio of visual novel classics that’s barely aged a day since its original release, this would be an easy recommendation. What’s most impressive is the effort made by Capcom to enhance the experience and give these games the greatest chance of success.

Compared to the remaster of the first trilogy, this is a stark visual upgrade over the original release of these games. The first game in this collection, Apollo Justice, first made its debut on the Nintendo DS, with this remaster retaining its sprite-based look. These have been cleaned up to an even higher standard than what we saw for Wright’s trilogy, with sprites redrawn and backgrounds enhanced to ensure they hold up on modern displays. The result is a joy whether experienced on a crisp portable display or blown up on a large TV or monitor.

Later entries, originally released on Nintendo 3DS, saw a shift in style where animated 3D models replaced flat character sprites. These have also been given some love for the remaster and look great, offering a greater degree of expression without looking out-of-place juxtaposed against the game’s still-2D backgrounds. For all three titles, you have the option of playing these titles in order or revisiting a favorite episode or scene via the episode selection menu.

Case closed

Person shouting

(Image credit: Capcom)

Although there’s nothing new in terms of story for long-term fans revisiting the games, there’s plenty of bonus content fans will appreciate. The Orchestra Hall is a music player collecting over 170 tracks, not just from the trio of games included in this collection but also from special orchestra concerts performed across Japan in celebration of the series. You even have chibi renderings of the characters performing along to the music. A special art gallery filled with concept art for all three games is another welcome inclusion.

Accessibility features

Characters on stage

(Image credit: Capcom)

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy offers an autoplay feature that should ease strain from repeatedly pressing buttons in order to advance text, as well as to disable bright screen flashes. There’s also a story mode for those who don’t wish to participate in cross-examinations and investigations and only wish to experience the story of these games. 

Perhaps most exciting of all is the Animation Studio. Through the likes of the sadly defunct Twitter bot @AceCourtBot and other glorious recreations, fans have had plenty of fun over the years creating original goofy courtroom shenanigans starring these beloved characters. This suite of tools provides the character models and animations, background music, and vocal shouts of objection necessary for this fervent set of fans to go wild with crafty shenanigans at the character’s expense. Expect many all-new high-quality fan edits in the coming months.

It all comes together for a collection crafted with care for a forgotten protagonist in a beloved series. While you can make the argument, that there’s nothing new being offered here for long-term fans, this is easily the best way to play an oft-overlooked trio of games from one of the most consistently-inventive visual novel franchises around.

For more stellar titles like this, check out the best single-player games and the best story games available to play right now.