Phoenix Wright Games & Cases – Overrated / Underrated

About ten years ago, I first stumbled across a little game called “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney”. Over the decade since, my love for the franchise has only grown and grown.

When you’re a fan of something for so long, you’re bound to develop a spicy opinion or two. Time to ruffle some feathers and say which cases / games are overrated and underrated!

Before we begin, you can check out some of my related blog posts below:

Phoenix Wright

The First Turnabout – OVERRATED

It’s such a shame to say, but “The First Turnabout” doesn’t hold up that well as an Ace Attorney case. It did its job at the time, and I was certainly intrigued to see where the story would go, but in hindsight it’s lacking in every way.

The characters aren’t particularly interesting yet, the murder itself isn’t complicated at all, and the contradictions are so mind-numbingly easy that a five year old could do it.

Turnabout Sisters – OVERRATED

The very first Ace Attorney game has probably the weakest opening in the series – I liked the Mia twist in “Turnabout Sisters”, but my love pretty much ends there.

The characters are once again annoying and forgettable, and the murder plot feels way too grounded and simple compared to what the series would become.

Turnabout Samurai – UNDERRATED

People tend to think that “Turnabout Samurai” is the weakest case of the original game – while the investigations segments could be a little tedious, this was exactly what I wanted Ace Attorney to be.

The murder is far more zany and unique, and the characters (who, admittedly, are quite annoying …) certainly leave an impression. It’s not perfect, but I consider it to be the first true Ace Attorney case.

Turnabout Goodbyes – PROPERLY RATED

It’s no exaggeration to say that “Turnabout Goodbyes” single-handedly made me fall in love with the franchise.

Having Edgeworth as the defendant was a masterstroke, and they replaced him with an equally intimidating antagonist in Manfred von Karma. The contradictions are excellent, the new characters are fantastic, and the plot twists left me gobsmacked.

Rise from the Ashes – PROPERLY RATED

People like to moan about the length of “Rise from the Ashes”, but I think that gives it a grand scope and the emotional weight it needs.

Ema Skye is a brilliant new companion, and the conspiracy theory that you unveil – with Edgeworth’s help – leads to arguably the greatest final trial in Ace Attorney history.

Overall Verdict – OVERRATED

As much as I hate to say it, the original game hasn’t aged all that well. The investigations are a little sloppy, and whilst the final two cases are magnificent the first two are tedious and impossible to replay.

Justice For All

The Lost Turnabout – PROPERLY RATED

I’m not a fan of amnesia plotlines, and I hate when media uses it to enact a sort of reset to the status quo (in this case, justifying the tutorial). To nobody’s surprise, I’m not the only person that thinks this.

Everyone’s in agreement that this case is stupid from start to finish, and it’s easily the weakest tutorial case in the franchise – some even go as far as saying it’s the worst case overall, and they’re not too far off.

Reunion, And Turnabout – UNDERRATED

“Reunion, And Turnabout” has seen a sort of resurgence in the fanbase in recent years, but I still think it’s one of the best middle cases we’ve seen.

The murder is intriguing, the Kurain village setting is awesome, and I love the character twists and motivations.

Turnabout Big Top – PROPERLY RATED

Other than “The Lost Turnabout”, there aren’t many original trilogy cases that receive as much distain as “Turnabout Big Top”.

It’s full of annoying characters, stupid logic, a soundtrack that does your head in, and most of the plot twists fall hilariously flat. This is my least favourite case in the series, and I doubt anything will ever top it.

Farewell, My Turnabout – UNDERRATED

It was only when replaying “Farewell, My Turnabout” that I realised what a masterpiece it is.

I used to rank it as the worst original trilogy finale, but the plot, tension and pacing are all handled expertly well, and I may even have it as a top 3 case overall these days.

Overall Verdict – UNDERRATED

Justice For All gets a lot of hate as being the awkward middle child of the trilogy, and those two awful cases don’t help, but “Reunion, And Turnabout” and the finale do more than enough to make the whole package worthwhile.

Trials & Tribulations

Turnabout Memories – PROPERLY RATED

Especially when compared to the other two opening cases of the trilogy, “Turnabout Memories” is a fantastic way to kick off Trials & Tribulations.

Having the whole case be from Mia’s perspective was a genius move, as not only did that add another layer of backstory and mystery but it also served as a clever way of justifying the tutorial (although when you find out that this was her second case, that argument falls flat a little).

The Stolen Turnabout – OVERRATED

Luke Atmey is a great one-off character, and having the case revolve around a theft (at first) made for a nice change of pace, but the positives really end there.

The case is far too convoluted, with twists and turns that feel all over the place. Also, it was such a let-down when focus shifted from the theft aspect to a fairly by-the-numbers murder.

Recipe For Turnabout – UNDERRATED

Some people have this as the worst case of the trilogy – even worse than “Turnabout Big Top” – and I think that’s absurd.

For starters, the characters are much more whimsical and endearing, and I don’t find the Furio Tigre impersonation plotline to be immersion-breaking at all. It’s definitely the weakest case of Trials & Tribulations, but it’s still fun.

Turnabout Beginnings – OVERRATED

While at the time I loved “Turnabout Beginnings” for its final gut-wrenching twist and the trial-focused gameplay, I don’t think it’s aged all that well.

Terry Fawles is a really problematic defendant when you realise the age difference between him and his girlfriend, and the plot is quite bare-bones for a penultimate case.

Bridge To The Turnabout – PROPERLY RATED

The best case of the game, the best case of the trilogy, the best case in the entire franchise, and one of my favourite gaming experiences of all time.

I’m glad everyone loves this finale case as much as I do – the twists are exceptional, Godot really comes into his own, and the drama has never been more intense. The body pendulum is a bit naff, but otherwise “Bridge To The Turnabout” is flawless.

Overall Verdict – PROPERLY RATED

Trials & Tribulations is probably my favourite game in the series, and most fans would agree. It wraps up 14 cases worth of story masterfully, and there aren’t any cases that I dislike.

Ace Attorney: Investigations

Turnabout Visitor – PROPERLY RATED

“Turnabout Visitor” is one of the most unremarkable cases in the series.

It does its job as a tutorial, and Edgeworth as a main character is a nice change of pace, but the plot is thin and the overarching story isn’t developed yet.

Turnabout Airlines – OVERRATED

This case has all of the same problems that I had with “Turnabout Visitor”, so I’m not exactly sure why fans love it so much.

The airplane setting is kinda cool, and the characters are decent enough, but you can tell they don’t know what to do with the investigation format.

The Kidnapped Turnabout – UNDERRATED

Whenever I find rankings of cases or people talking about Ace Attorney’s lowest moments, “The Kidnapped Turnabout” always seems to get a mountain of hate.

This is definitely a weaker case, and the theme park setting is bizarre, but I love some of the new characters and the central mystery.

Turnabout Reminiscence – PROPERLY RATED

The only good case from the first Investigations, “Turnabout Reminiscence” gives us a glimpse of Edgeworth’s early years as a prosecutor.

I love how the events of this case tie back into the overall narrative, and some of the logic puzzles are complex in a fun way.

Turnabout Ablaze – PROPERLY RATED

This case may as well have been called “Turnabout Extraterritorial Rights”.

“Turnabout Ablaze” starts off well and almost serves as a great finale, but they fumble it with the final boss. Quercus Alba takes far too long to take down, and by the time I emerged victorious I’d lost all interest in the case and the game’s narrative.

Overall Verdict – PROPERLY RATED

People tend to rank Investigations 1 at the very bottom, and I’d have to agree. It was a bold idea to focus on Edgeworth and not have any trial segments, but it was a risk that ultimately didn’t pay off.

Apollo Justice

Turnabout Trump – PROPERLY RATED

We’ve had many great opening cases over the years, but “Turnabout Trump” may be the best opener of all.

It’s one of the most complex mysteries we’ve been presented with straight off the bat, and it does a great job of setting up grand questions whilst also providing jaw-dropping twists.

Turnabout Corner – OVERRATED

“Turnabout Corner” has always been one of my least favourite Ace Attorney cases, so I was surprised to find it had a sort of cult following.

The murder is uninspired, the characters are forgettable, and some of the plot developments (like the panty thief) are outright bizarre.

Turnabout Serenade – UNDERRATED

This case is regularly hounded as one of – if not the – worst offender in the “Case Three Syndrome” phenomenon … but I’ve always had a soft spot for it.

I love the musical approach “Turnabout Serenade” takes, and even if some of the characters were let-downs (and that video was way too damn long) I still had a good time. But yeah, not a great case overall.

Turnabout Succession – OVERRATED

Ace Attorney is known for its bombastic finales, and some fans have this down as one of the very best, but I’ve always thought it fell short of the mark.

It has nowhere near the same level of drama and jaw-dropping twists as in the other final cases, and the MASON system gimmick got old fast.

Overall Verdict – PROPERLY RATED

Like with Investigation 1, Apollo Justice is regularly dumped at the bottom of most people’s rankings. Sadly, I think the general assessment is mostly true – this is my least favourite game in the main series.

Ace Attorney: Investigations 2

Turnabout Target – UNDERRATED

After the first Investigations game was such a bore, I had my doubts going into “Turnabout Target” and the second game in general – but all of my fears were washed away within minutes.

The story is much more layered and heavy-hitting, the new characters are great, and Logic Chess felt like exactly what the investigation segments were missing. At long last, it felt as if this new Edgeworth-focused format was justified. One of the best opening cases in the series.

The Imprisoned Turnabout – PROPERLY RATED

“The Imprisoned Turnabout” is probably the weakest case of Investigations 2, as most fans would agree, but it’s still pretty great.

The new and returning characters all work really well, and the overarching plotline continues to grow in complexity and intrigue.

The Inherited Turnabout – PROPERLY RATED

The first Case 3 to officially break the losing streak, “The Inherited Turnabout” works on almost every level.

I love the parallel investigations between both generations of Edgeworth, and it was fantastic seeing Manfred von Karma in his prime again after so many years.

The Forgotten Turnabout – UNDERRATED

Ironically, people tend to forget just how excellent this penultimate case is – I even like it better than the finale on some levels.

I love what the writers did with both Kay and Edgeworth’s characters, and this is one of the rare instances of an amnesia plotline being used effectively.

The Grand Turnabout – OVERRATED

“The Grand Turnabout” does a great job of wrapping up all of the underlying mysteries, and the final confrontation with the twist villain is awesome, but I don’t think it compares to some of the series’ best closing cases.

Some of the twists get a little bogged down, and a part of me would have liked to see a more dramatic and definitive takedown of the villain. Still, this is a great finale that does the game justice.

Overall Verdict – OVERRATED

I love Investigations 2 and consider it to be the most consistent game in the series, but I don’t think it’s THE best like some fans would say. For a distinct five-case story it does brilliantly, but the disconnect from the main series – and the primary focus on investigative gameplay – hurt the overall experience a little.

Dual Destinies

Turnabout Countdown – UNDERRATED

I was surprised to hear that some people disliked “Turnabout Countdown” as an opening case – the explosion is the most dramatic opening we’ve had!

I also really like how this case fits in to Dual Destinies’ timeline, and how it wasn’t the first case chronologically.

The Monstrous Turnabout – OVERRATED

The “Monstrous Turnabout” is my second-least favourite case in the whole series, so I will always resent it more than most.

I like Blackquill as a prosecutor, I like the new 3D investigations, but my compliments end there. The murder mystery is stupid, the culprit is dumb, and all of the characters you meet are awful.

Turnabout Academy – PROPERLY RATED

Some people love “Turnabout Academy”, some people hate it, and I think both assessments are fair. Personally, I’m just glad a third case in the main series finally had some backbone to it.

The academy setting is great, the characters are all fun, and I love that Athena got her time in the spotlight.

The Cosmic Turnabout – UNDERRATED

“The Cosmic Turnabout” was the first time in the series that a case focused on setting up a grand mystery rather than resolving its own, and I don’t think people give it enough credit.

It’s a brilliant start to Dual Destinies’ endgame, with a fun cast of characters and some twists that’ll leave your jaw dropped.

Turnabout For Tomorrow – PROPERLY RATED

That brilliant set-up is immediately followed by “Turnabout Tomorrow” – not my favourite finale case, but still a damn good one.

I love what they did with Athena and Blackquill’s characters, and finally taking down The Phantom was an appropriately dramatic final confrontation.

Turnabout Reclaimed – UNDERRATED

The first instance of an Ace Attorney DLC case (not counting “Rise from the Ashes”, which was included in re-releases of the first game), and the best by far.

I really love the swashbuckling setting and the general silliness of the plot, and it ends with one of the most heart-felt and tragically sombre conclusions of any case.

Overall Verdict – UNDERRATED

Some people loathe Dual Destinies for how it retconned Apollo Justice and took the series back to its predictable roots, but I still had a blast with it.

The Great Ace Attorney

The Adventure of the Great Departure – OVERRATED

I’d heard many great things about The Great Ace Attorney before finally playing it, and I was marginally disappointed by its opening case.

It’s very tame and forgettable in comparison to some of the other bombastic openers we’ve had, and it wouldn’t be until the third case that we got some new trial mechanics to sink our teeth into.

The Adventure of the Unbreakable Speckled Band – PROPERLY RATED

Widely agreed to be the worst case of the Great Ace Attorney duology, “The Adventure of the Unbreakable Speckled Band” is a waste of time on nearly every level.

An investigation-focused case isn’t what I signed up for, and the plot is stupid – and ultimately irrelevant – when compared to others. At least Sholmes makes the experience worthwhile.

The Adventure of the Runaway Room – OVERRATED

Wait for case three!” many people told me, “That’s when this game gets good!“.

“The Adventure of the Runaway Room” is definitely a step up from the previous two cases, and I love the moral conundrum Ryunosuke is faced with, but it still feels emptier and less captivating than most Ace Attorney cases.

The Adventure of the Clouded Kokoro – PROPERLY RATED

The first proper case of the game, and it’s alright. It doesn’t do anything crazy, but it did enough to keep me playing.

Joan Garrideb is a widely despised character, but it’s actually Soseki’s antics that drive me up the wall the most – it was almost enough for me to veer towards “Overrated”, but I don’t see many people jumping to this case’s defence in the first place.

The Adventure of the Unspeakable Story – UNDERRATED

This was more like it!

The mention of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” was already enough to peak my interest, but the murder in the pawnbrokers – and the political fallout that followed – it easily the best plotline of the first Great Ace Attorney game.

Overall Verdict – OVERRATED

The pacing of the first Great Ace Attorney game is all over the place – I’d even go as far as arguing that it doesn’t get properly good until the very last case!

Spirit Of Justice

The Foreign Turnabout – UNDERRATED

Like with “Turnabout Countdown”, “The Foreign Turnabout” gets way too much hate as an opening case.

The game devs did a brilliant job introducing the player to a new country and some new trial mechanics, and the murder / culprit are more memorable than usual.

The Magical Turnabout – UNDERRATED

I’ve seen a lot of people call “The Magical Turnabout” the weakest case in Spirit Of Justice, and I find that baffling.

It was such a breath of fresh air to focus a case on Trucy and Apollo, and any story that delves into the inner workings of a magical show is always going to have that special spark.

The Rite of the Turnabout – UNDERRATED

Three underrated cases in a row – Spirit Of Justice is off to a fantastic start!

“The Rite of the Turnabout” provides both a fun return for Maya and one of the best climactic twists in the series. When the true circumstances of the murder were revealed, my jaw hit the floor.

Turnabout Storyteller – OVERRATED

A filler, forgettable case through and through, so I was surprised to find a lot of people loving “Turnabout Storyteller”.

Blackquill and Athena’s chemistry is pretty great, and the game is definitely having fun with its writing, but it was such a pace-killer before the final case.

Turnabout Revolution – OVERRATED

When “Turnabout Revolution” hits its stride, it’s one of the greatest Ace Attorney cases of all time. Unfortunately, its time in the spotlight is short-lived and delayed.

It gets off to such a slow start with the civil trial, and a lot of the plot developments were melodramatic and borderline ridiculous.

Turnabout Time Traveler – OVERRATED

We started Spirit Of Justice with three underrated cases in a row, so it seems fitting that the final three are on the other end of the spectrum.

Like with Dual Destinies, the devs decided to release a special DLC case – this time appeasing the fans with the return of Phoenix, Edgeworth and Maya. It feels very forced and unnecessary, however, and the stakes have never been lower.

Overall Verdict – UNDERRATED

Despite some of the negativity I’ve shared about the game’s latter half, I still feel that Spirit Of Justice is underrated within the fandom. It was a bold step in a new creative direction, and I’m intrigued to see where the story goes from here.

The Great Ace Attorney 2

The Adventure of the Blossoming Attorney – PROPERLY RATED

“The Adventure of the Blossoming Attorney” doesn’t exactly blow your socks off, but it does a far better job of opening its respective game than the first part of the duology.

Having Susato as the defence attorney was a fun way of justifying the tutorial, and even though the murder had a few plot holes it was still a fun continuation of the overarching story.

The Memoirs of the Clouded Kokoro – OVERRATED

I love how “The Memoirs of the Clouded Kokoro” ties back to the Soseki case in the first game, and Shamspeare makes for a delightful villain, but it’s a case that gets overshadowed by the latter ones.

At the end of the day, it’s just a simple, borderline filler case meant to plug a few holes in the story before the true spectacle can begin.

The Return of the Great Departed Soul – UNDERRATED

Maybe it’s recency bias, but “The Return of the Great Departed Soul” is already in my top three cases of all time – it may even be in first place in terms of pure consistency.

I love the Professor subplot, and the murder is one that blew me away over and over again. It also helps that this has the best investigation segments in the series – the science fair setting is incredible, and both of Sholmes’s dances of deduction are a delight.

Twisted Karma and His Last Bow – OVERRATED

I really love the finale of Great Ace Attorney 2, and I love how “Twisted Karma and His Last Bow” leads into that finale by extension, but on its own it has some problems.

It’s not a very satisfying case to play through first time around, as a lot of the questions remain unanswered by its end. That being said, it did a brilliant job of hyping me up for the final case.

The Resolve of Ryunosuke Naruhodo – PROPERLY RATED

“The Resolve of Ryunosuke Naruhodo” absolutely nails everything it sets out to achieve, and it provides one of the most perfect conclusions to any game I’ve ever played.

The Sholmes Ex-Machina stops it from being the very best, but the thrill-ride it takes you on – both in the courtroom and in the Sholmes / Mikotoba segments – was an experience I’ll never forget.

Overall Verdict – PROPERLY RATED

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles has generated a lot of buzz in the fandom, and that’s mainly down to the second game. It’s everything that Ace Attorney aspires to be, and I had such a blast playing through it.

Aaaand that’s my list! You can check out some of my latest blog posts below:

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