Ace Attorney Series – Pursuit Themes Ranked

I’ve already made a list ranking every single case from the Ace Attorney games, so it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the series. One of my favourite aspects of the Lawyer / Investigation / Visual Novel fusion of games has to be the outstanding music – there are so many iconic tracks, but in this list I’ll primarily talk about the Pursuit Themes.

What is a Pursuit Theme? If you didn’t know, it’s the song that plays in an Ace Attorney game when you finally have the criminal dead to rights, when your epic showdown is reaching its dramatic conclusion. Of course, an epic finale to a case needs some epic music, so the pursuit themes in general are some of the best tracks in the entire series. How would I rank them all?

As a side note – I’m going to mention a few other tracks from each game that deserve a listen, since it’s my list and I can do what I want. You can check out some of my other lists here:

Good

8 – Cornering Together (Spirit of Justice)

Call it a recency bias, but I don’t find “Cornering Together” to be very memorable. It still makes the “Good” tier, but the rest of the pursuit themes just seem so much better.

Some other tracks from Spirit of Justice that deserve a mention:

  • Cross Examination – Moderato 2016 — A nice cross-examination theme. I prefer the slower moderato version, for how it builds tension.
  • Divination Séance – Last Sights — A genuinely creepy track that adds to the other-worldly nature of the divination séance.
  • Confess the Truth 2016 — Not my favourite “Confess the Truth” theme, but there’s a certain darkness to its tone that adds to the spookiness of some of the cases.

That’s it really, the “Trial / Court Begins” is nice but similar to Dual Destinies, so there aren’t many other stand-out tracks. This might be my least favourite soundtrack in the series, which is a shame.

7 – Caught (Trials and Tribulations)

My favourite Ace Attorney game, but if I’m being brutally honest this is one of the worst Pursuit Themes. It’s definitely not bad at all, in fact it’s quite upbeat and thrilling. A bit like “Cornering Together”, this one just pales in comparison to the others.

Other tracks that are worth a mention:

  • Courtroom Lobby / Trial — Possibly my favourite set of mood-setter tracks since the original, I love the sense of finality the Trial track has in particular.
  • Cross-Examination – Moderato 2004— Really makes you feel like you’re about to uncover something terrible in the witness’s testimony.
  • Telling the Truth 2004 — Pure drama, which is exactly what a trilogy-ending track needs.
  • Dahlia Hawthorne – Distance Traces of Beauty — One of the most spine-tingling, chilling character themes in the series. What seems like an innocent melody actually holds an immense darkness hidden within, much like the character of Dahlia.
  • The Fragrance of Dark Coffee — Godot’s theme has a real shout of being my favourite track from the entire series, and it’s definitely my favourite character theme. It’s truly mind-blowing how Godot’s character development from cool dude to tragic figure can both be represented simultaneously by the same song. Genius.
  • Reminiscence – The Scenery Seen from Dusky Bridge — Not necessarily a stand-out track on its own, but coupled with powerful storytelling (I won’t spoil it) this becomes an immensely sombre track.

Great

6 – Questioned (Justice For All)

We’re jumping straight to “Great” Pursuit Themes, and I think “Justice For All” gets a lot of undeserved hate for its soundtrack. It isn’t as good as the original, but it does well in its own merits.

This Pursuit Theme is packed with drama and tension, and it also helps that I can vividly remember some of my epic courtroom battles with this music playing – so I guess nostalgia plays a main part in me putting this in “Great”.

Other tracks that are worth a mention:

  • Courtroom Lobby / Trial — Straight away, Justice For All’s lobby music sounds a lot more daunting than the original’s, immediately letting the player know that this game was an entirely new and unique experience.
  • Cross-Examination – Moderato — Sticking with the daunting vibe, and I actually think the “Moderato” is the most intense. This track is in 27/16 time, so there’s a fun fact for you music maestros out there.
  • Psyche-Lock — At first glance this might not seem like a mention-worthy track, but I think it has that perfect video-gamey Ace Attorney flair that made breaking Psyche Locks so rewarding.
  • Kurain Village — There are a lot of daunting tracks in JFA, but this one is just downright creepy and I love it. It’s clever in the way that it makes you realise maybe all is not what it seems in Maya’s seemingly innocent home town.
  • Reminiscence – The Fire Carves Scars — A track packed with trauma, and it perfectly reflects the emotionally devastating revelation in Case 2.

5 – Wanting to Find the Truth (Investigations 2)

This game truly shocked me with how good it was. I don’t like this pursuit theme as much as the one from Investigations 1, but there’s a lot of good on display here.

Other tracks that are worth a mention:

  • Miles Edgeworth – Objection! 2011 — A great Objection Theme to get you pumped up.
  • Reminiscence – IS7 Incident — A heart-breaking track from one of the most devastating cases in the series (in terms of the shock twists and the impact it had on the entire Ace Attorney lore).
  • Logic Chess – Endgame — A real mind-boggler that sounds like Edgeworth’s brain has shifted to maximum overdrive.

That’s it for Investigations 2 – a bit like its predecessor, I don’t find many of the tracks to be that interesting.

Amazing

4 – Overtaken (Apollo Justice)

I’m not a big fan of “Apollo Justice”, but there’s no denying that its soundtrack is a banger. There are way too many fantastic original tracks here then should be possible from a sequel, and you can tell they went all out to make Apollo’s first outing a memorable one.

Other tracks that are worth a mention:

  • Courtroom Lobby / Trial — Not much to say really, this is a great introductory track to any case.
  • Cross Examination – Allegro 2007 — This is less “Show me the truth!” and more “Am I ready for this truth?”, and I love it.
  • Tell the Truth 2007 — Quite tame compared to other Truth Themes, but still decent.
  • Thrill Theme – Suspense — Actually one of the most suspenseful tracks in the series, it has such an unsettling vibe that I love.
  • Perceive – Surging Eyes — An eerie, experimental piece of music that perfectly sums up how otherworldly and odd Apollo’s perceive ability is.
  • Klavier Gavin – Guilty Love — An amazing rocker of a character theme that is perfect for Klavier’s over-the-top musician persona.
  • Ema Skye – Scientific Detective — Lots of fun, and instantly lets us know that Ema will be a bubbly companion.

3 – Keep Pressing On (Dual Destinies)

So much energy in one song, this track is the only caffeine I’ll ever need. This was another one of those soundtracks that I completely forgot was amazing, and I especially love the bombastic approach and orchestral arrangements.

Other tracks that are worth a mention:

  • Courtroom Lobby / Trial — Very grandiose, almost Church-like.
  • Cross Examination – Moderato 2013 — Great Examination theme, I like how the Moderato (slower) version sets the tone of the courtroom shenanigans.
  • Objection! 2013 — Up there as one of the best tracks in the series. The updated instrumentation works wonderfully with the tone of Dual Destinies, and if there was ever going to be a “theme song” to the series I would want it to be this.
  • Investigation – Opening 2013 — I love it when an Ace Attorney game has a good investigation theme, it almost makes some of the boring / drawn out sections worth it.
  • Thought Route – Synaptic Resonance — Possibly my favourite addition in the game (other than the updated graphics) is the “Thought Route” section, which concludes each case in a brilliantly dramatic way.

2 – Lying Coldly (Investigations)

The pursuit themes in the main Phoenix Wright games are always like “Hell yeah! I’ve almost failed loads of times, but I’ve finally caught the criminal and I’m gonna deliver the final blow in this epic showdown!”.

“Lying Coldly”, however, perfectly encapsulates Edgeworth’s arrogance – it’s the sort of track that boasts his superior intellect, almost as if he knew he would win the whole time. Also, the little piano licks are to die for.

Other tracks that are worth a mention:

  • Miles Edgeworth – Objection! 2009 — Similarly arrogant like the Pursuit theme, this is like saying “Gotcha!” in song form.
  • Confrontation – Presto 2009 — One of the few songs to get a presto version (even faster than allegro); I just had to mention this insanely quick track.
  • Investigation – Middlegame 2009 — You would hope a game about investigating had a good investigation song, and luckily this is pretty good – After all, I’m always up for a bit off bass.

All-Time Great

1 – Cornered (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney)

Even though the original Pursuit Theme that started it all would automatically qualify as one of the best, I genuinely believe that the series peaked early in this category. The memories I have of taking down criminals with this song playing will stick with me forever, and its partly why this soundtrack is unparalleled in the Ace Attorney series.

Other tracks that are worth a mention:

  • Courtroom Lobby / Trial — You’ll notice a common theme in this game, but I think this is the best Courtroom Lobby / Trial theme in the series.
  • Objection! 2001 — As much as I like the 2013 update, there’s something so quaint and charming about the song that started it all. It’s no wonder this track is like an unofficial theme song to the franchise.
  • Questioning – Allegro — An amazing cross-examination theme to get the blood pumping.
  • Telling the Truth 2001 — Actually fairly underwhelming compared to some other tracks, but the memories of this song in action will stay with me forever.
  • Turnabout Sisters Theme — The most upbeat track in the series, and probably the one that fills me with the most nostalgia. I’ll always remember the fun adventures I had with Phoenix and Maya, and this track is a substantial reason why.
  • Reminiscence – The DL6 Case — This track evokes pure tragedy, which is precisely what was needed for such a sombre revelation in the game.
  • Investigation – Core 2001 — For my money’s worth, this is still the best investigation theme we’ve ever had.
  • Reminiscence – The SL9 Case — Whilst the DL9 theme was tragic, this one just fills you with sadness. “Rise from the Ashes” is probably a bit too long, but you can’t deny the profound impact discovering the truth has on you.
  • The Detective From the Wild West — Quite a funny track when paired with the strange detective Jake Marshall, and it’s character / theme pairings like this that give the series its charm.
  • Swimming, Anyone? — Damon Gant is one of my favourite Ace Attorney characters ever, and I love this theme to bits. Easily one of the most imposing character / theme combos we’ve had.

Aaaand that’s my list. This was a fun one to make, as I really like the Ace Attorney series, and the music in it is some of the finest in all of gaming. You can check out some of my latest blog posts below:

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