GAME: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations
CASE: Bridge to the Turnabout Turnabout
CONSOLES: GBA, DS, Wii, iOS, 3DS
And here we go.
This case marks not just the end of the game, but also the trilogy and, at one point, the entire series. This was intended as a grand finale, solving the mysteries of this story and bringing closure to the arcs of characters from all three games.
The initial premise sees our heroes visiting a mountaintop temple retreat, partially for Maya and Pearls’ spiritual training, partially because Phoenix wants to investigate a familiar-seeming woman. This case returns to the story of Dahlia Hawthorne, as seen in both the previous case and the first case of this game.
I was amazed at how much of this case I’d forgotten in the decade since I last played. Starting it up this time around, I was disappointed to see that it would once again revolve around this woman who was only introduced recently.
What was impressive was how this case unfurled to involve not just this most recent set of mysteries, but characters and plots from the whole series. Edgeworth, Larry and Franziska Von Karma all make fan-pleasing returns, which impressively feel like legitimate additions to the story rather than shoehorned in cameos.
More significant still is how the case ties into the largest thematic and narrative elements of the trilogy. This case is the final chapter in the tragic, Shakespearean drama of the Fey clan. All the loose ends are tied up, characters grow, and the whole thing is resolved excellently.
This, of course, ran the risk of ending up feeling less like Phoenix’s story and more like Maya and Mia. While this is the case for some stretches, the plot and characterisation do a good job of stepping beyond that by the end. Phoenix and Godot’s rivalry comes to a head in a satisfying story of Phoenix finally stepping out of the shadow of his mentor and proving himself as a defence attorney in his own right.
Before that, though, this case is a riveting story with fantastic moments for all of our beloved characters. The relationships between most of the primary cast are explored and tested, the little romances are played with, and the twists and turns are handled brilliantly. I don’t know how much was obvious just because I’ve played before and how much was well signposted, but even when I’d reached the conclusion in advance, proving it in a court of law was challenging and satisfying.
I also have to commend Capcom for letting this case wrap up in two days. Previous finales have been extensive, three-day affairs but this story is incredibly tightly-paced, and seeing it dragged out would have killed it. And if any absolute dweebs might have felt short-changed by a slightly shorter game, they had the previous flashback case to satiate them. They’ll probably be too busy complaining that this 3DS point-and-click isn’t in 69fps 420K though.
When I finished this back in the day, I remember feeling disappointed that this was my farewell to these characters. This time around, I know there are further games to look forward to but I’m actually happy the series will take a break from Phoenix and crew even if it is temporary.
While each individual case was enjoyable, this was ultimately a familial tragedy and that story comes to a perfect close. Maya and Phoenix are both free to pursue their own destinies on their own terms, and whether they end up a happy couple or successful in their fields was never the point, it was about reaching this point.
I look forward to seeing Phoenix return, as is appropriate for his namesake, but I’m actually quite happy I’ll be spending some time with Appollo Justice first.
Pun of the week: The humour isn't laid on too thick this time around, but the fake name "Elise Deuxnim" is brilliantly on the nose.
A stunning, gripping, emotional conclusion that manages to provide a satisfying ending for just about every character and plot. Truly masterful.
(Yes, I know about Phoenix’s role in AJ, don’t @ me)