This trilogy caught me completely off-guard – I’d never think I’d like a game that is essentially a Japanese novel, but here we are. Consisting of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Justice For All, and Trials & Tribulations, this lawyer series has become a favourite of mine, and it’s many twists and character moments will stick with me forever. There are 14 cases over the three games, but how would I rank them all?
I’ll abbreviate each game that the case is from, e.g. (JFA3) would mean “Justice For All: Case 3”, and the other games are Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (PW) and Trials & Tribulations (TT)
Anyone have any objections? If not, we’d better get on with it …
14 – Turnabout Big Top (JFA3)
Case 3 has a reputation for being the worst cases of their respective games, and this one is no exception. The circus premise gets old really quickly, and most of the characters are extremely annoying. This is the only case in the original trilogy that is remotely close to “Bad”.
13 – The Lost Turnabout (JFA1)
The opening case doesn’t have to be anything special, but the amnesia plot and simple storyline are almost insulting. Not a bad case at all (none of them really are), but not a promising start to the game (Justice For All would end up being my least favourite of the trilogy).
12 – The First Turnabout (PW1)
A slightly better opening case, and in fact it opens the entire franchise in a decent way. Nothing too special, but a decent introduction.
11 – Recipe for Turnabout (TT3)
Another case 3 that takes the award for worst case of its game, but to be honest “Recipe for Turnabout” is still good fun, even if the imposter premise is a bit unbelievable, and the characters are too weird for their own good.
10 – The Stolen Turnabout (TT2)
The case immediately before “Recipe for Turnabout”, and I hold both in a similar regard. They’re not bad, but after you’ve completed them once there’s no need to replay them.
9 – Turnabout Sisters (PW2)
When first playing this game, nobody was expecting the victim in this case to be who it was – an that unpredictability is a great foundation for the franchise. The actual case isn’t too special, but it’s a great narrative choice.
8 – Turnabout Memories (TT1)
This is a detective / lawyer game started in a great way – an actual intriguing plot that still acts as a tutorial but is good in itself and links to the rest of the game brilliantly.
7 – Turnabout Samurai (PW3)
A case 3 that I actually like quite a lot, the plot goes in many fascinating directions, and uncovering all the mysteries is so unbelievably satisfying.
6 – Turnabout Beginnings (TT4)
I had a lot of questions after the opening case “Turnabout Memories”, and this case answered most of those queries. The answers we got were incredibly emotional and heartbreaking, and the ending to the case is one of the most shocking we’ve ever had.
5 – Reunion, and Turnabout (JFA2)
For what it’s worth, I’d consider this to be the best non-“finale” case. The murder at the centre of the story is easily one of the best, and there are some great character moments.
4 – Rise from the Ashes (PW5)
The DLC case from the first game that acts as a sort of extended finale, the final courtroom battle is up there as some of my favourite moments in the franchise.
The first half of the case lets it down, as the mystery hasn’t quite been revealed in full, and the investigative work can be a bit tedious.
3 – Farewell, My Turnabout (JFA4)
Now we’ve reached the proper finales of each game, and each one packs an emotional punch in an incredible way.
The worst of these amazing finales has to be the one from Justice For All, but that’s only really because the other two finales give me goosebumps to this day.
2 – Turnabout Goodbyes (PW4)
Having Edgeworth as the defendant is one of the best narrative choices the production team ever made, and that central conflict between Edgeworth and Wright is what drives the plot forwards.
Von Karma is one of the best villains in the series, and the final battle of wits against him is something I’d never thought would be topped. I’d have to wait until the final case of the final game for that to happen …
1 – Bridge to the Turnabout (TT5)
Maybe I’m a bit biased because it’s the final case in the final game, but the emotions that went along with this case are feelings I haven’t had while playing a game for years.
This case is perfectly set up via previous cases in the game, and Godot is probably my favourite character in the series due to this case alone. His final confrontation is chilling, and it almost brought a tear to my eye when it was all over (and lawyers can only cry when it’s all over).
Aaaaand that’s the list. Check out some of my other lists below:
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