As the series that sparked my love for the visual novel genre, I hold Capcom’s Ace Attorney series in high regards. Having completed every game in the franchise that made its way to the States (and one that didn’t, thanks to fan translations), I can confidently say that I’m a bit of an expert on the subject.

After the release of the remastered trilogy spanning the first three games was received well on the 3DS, I felt it was only a matter of time for Apollo Justice to receive the same treatment and lo and behold, here we are.

The package includes the full Japanese version of the game as well for those interested but given that I don’t speak Japanese, I didn’t find much use for it.

MSRP: $19.99
Platform: 3DS
Length: 20~ Hours

The fourth entry to the venerable Ace Attorney series released in 2008 in the States and was the very first title in the franchise to star rookie lawyer Apollo Justice instead of Phoenix “Nick” Wright. Apollo was very much like Phoenix in his first outing as a bit of a doofus that bumbled through the case, often turning things around in the last minute. Equipped with what he calls his, “Chords of Steel” and hair that resembled a horn of some kind, Apollo and his magician-in-training sidekick, Trucy took to the courtroom for the first time with impressive results.

While I would not rank Apollo Justice as my favorite game in the series, I found the individual cases to be fun and interesting in their own way. Apollo’s unique ability to perceive telltale signs of deception replaces Phoenix’s psyche-lock ability and introduces a twist to the tried and true formula. The new and old faces that made their appearance throughout the game were all welcome sights, and characters like Ema and Trucy became new favorites that would go on to make appearances in future titles.

For those unfamiliar with what the Ace Attorney series is all about, I would say that they’re visual novels focused on solving mysteries which play out during investigations as well as in the courtroom, where the player is tasked with finding inconsistencies with a witness’s testimony using evidence to hopefully bring the truth to light.

The cases are often filled with twists and turns, many of which are as shocking as they are entertaining, as you interact with a cast of impossibly eccentric characters- it’s quite a joy indeed.

I will however note that the games were most certainly designed to be enjoyed best in the order that they were released and I highly recommend everyone play through the original trilogy before delving into Apollo Justice.

While the visual upgrades are obvious, there are some more quality of life upgrades that are not as easy to spot.

As for what was truly “remastered” for the release on the 3DS, the most obvious are the visuals as the character sprites look sharper and more vibrant than ever. Using the 3D mode on the 3DS offers a visual effect of the text, character sprites and background being in different layers and makes for a neat effect, albeit not my preferred way of playing due to my limited ability to perceive 3D properly.

The music and sfx sounds have been implemented in their uncompressed state thanks to the increased storage space resulting in a crisper sound, especially when using a decent pair of headphones.

There were also some notable quality of life updates including but not limited to the ability to skip all text from the very beginning without having to see it first which was a nice touch for someone like myself who was playing through the game again. Saving the game during trials was easier as well, as I could simply press one button to go into the save screen instead of pretending to quit the game first and when I did fail, I could simply choose to retry from the previous event instead of having to reload an old save file.

While these upgrades are all welcome, when I think of “remaster” I think about efforts like Spike Chunsoft’s “999” where they not only upgraded the visuals significantly, they added full voice acting, going the extra ten miles to make the remaster feel far more than a simple port with better visuals.

Given the sheer amount of text presented in Apollo Justice, I would have settled just to have the voice acting during the all-important trials, but I fear we’ll have to wait and see if the switch Ace Attorney game will be the first to get the VA treatment that I so desire.

Ema is a nice girl, just don’t take her snackoos away from her.

Apollo Justice for the 3DS isn’t leaps and bounds better than the original with only a handful of meaningful updates to justify its re-release, but it stands as the definitive way to experience the classic misadventures of Apollo and Trucy.

Fun Tidbit – I have high hopes for the Switch Ace Attorney game that is supposedly in development now. We’ll see in 2018!

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Story and characters are every bit as interesting as they were in 2008
  • Easily noticeable visual upgrades
  • Modern quality of life updates
  • How about some voice acting, fellas?
Written by
Jae has been a gamer ever since he got a Nintendo when he was just a child. He has a passion for games and enjoys writing. While he worries about the direction gaming as a medium might be headed, he's too busy playing games to do anything about it.