Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations

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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations
The main characters in Trials and Tribulations, from left: Godot, Mia, Phoenix, and Maya
Developer(s) Capcom
Publisher(s) Capcom
Nintendo Australia
Director(s) Shu Takumi
Producer(s) Atsushi Inaba
Artist(s) Tatsuro Iwamoto
Writer(s) Shu Takumi
Composer(s) Noriyuki Iwadare
Series Ace Attorney
Platform(s) Game Boy Advance
Microsoft Windows
Nintendo DS
Wii (via WiiWare)
Nintendo 3DS
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Adventure, visual novel
Mode(s) Single-player

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations, released in Japan as Gyakuten Saiban 3 (逆転裁判3?, lit. Turnabout Trial 3), is a visual novel adventure video game developed by Capcom. It was originally released for the Game Boy Advance and was later ported to Microsoft Windows. An enhanced version was released for the Nintendo DS. A Wii port was released in Japan, via WiiWare, on February 23, 2010,[6] becoming available in North America and PAL regions in May 2010.[7] The game centers on attorney Phoenix Wright as he defends his clients at trial.

Trials and Tribulations is the third game in the Ace Attorney series, following Justice for All. It was followed by Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, in which Phoenix occupies a supporting role.


The gameplay of Trials and Tribulations consists of alternating Investigation and Courtroom Modes. Both are presented in the style of a visual novel; therefore, both the gameplay and the storyline are heavily linear. Dialogue, however, is often interactive.[9]

Phoenix is given a magatama,[10] returning from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All, while allows him to see "psyche-locks" that represent barriers to information and require accumulated evidence to break.[11] The player is given a health bar, which is depleted when incorrect evidence is presented at trial or during a psyche lock. If the health bar reaches zero, the player loses. The health bar can be replenished by successfully breaking a psyche lock.[10]

During the Investigation phase of each case, the player explores the game world, using either the stylus or the D-pad to choose actions (examine, move, talk, or present). Information gained during Investigation Mode can be used as evidence during the Trial phase of the game. Furthermore, certain actions must be completed during each Investigation in order to proceed.[12]

The Trial portion of the game is similar to that of previous Ace Attorney games, consisting of listening to and cross-examining witness testimonies. In response to witness statements, the player is given the option either to press the witness or to present evidence.[13] Pressing will force the witness to expand on previous testimony, and may unlock new information. Meanwhile, evidence can be used to contradict witness testimony.[14]



Trials and Tribulations, like other games in the Ace Attorney series, consists of several cases and trials, called Turnabouts. In each of five Turnabouts, the player must defend their clients against murder charges. The player controls Mia Fey in the first and fourth cases, Phoenix Wright in the second, third, and fifth cases, and Miles Edgeworth in part of the fifth case.[15]


The first case, Turnabout Memories (思い出の逆転 Omoide no Gyakuten?), is set five years in the past. Phoenix, a university student, is accused of murdering a peer, Doug Swallow. Mia Fey, serving as the defense one year after her first case, discovers the real murderer, Wright's girlfriend Dahlia Hawthorne. Dahlia had attempted to use Phoenix to cover up a previous murder by giving him a piece of crucial evidence as a "token of her love". When she later attempted to retrieve it from him, he refused, and she made plans to murder Phoenix. She ended up killing Mr. Swallow after being caught in her efforts to obtain a murder weapon. She is eventually executed for this offense.

In the second case, the Stolen Turnabout (盗まれた逆転 Nusumareta Gyakuten?), half a year after the previous game's conclusion, Phoenix defends a man named Ron DeLite against robbery and, later, murder charges. Ron is initially charged with being Mask☆DeMasque, a master thief; Ron asserts that he is Mask☆DeMasque but did not commit the robbery. Phoenix unveils that the detective Luke Atmey posed as Mask☆DeMasque to pull off the robbery, clearing Ron of the robbery charges. However, they are shocked to find that Ron's alibi makes him the prime suspect in the murder of the CEO of a security firm that occurred at the same time. Phoenix proves that Atmey committed the murder, and then falsified evidence to create an alibi, allowing him to avoid the murder charge through double jeopardy. During the trial, Phoenix defends his case against a mysterious prosecutor named Godot, who drinks copious amounts of coffee and wears a strange visor over his eyes, and appears to have a vendetta against Phoenix.

In the third case, Recipe for Turnabout (逆転のレシピ Gyakuten no Reshipi?), Maggey Byrde, from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All, is once again accused of murder, this time of computer programmer Glen Elg. Phoenix, unaware of the case, is surprised to discover that people believe he had poorly defended Maggey in court. Requesting a retrial, Phoenix discovers that the murder was committed by a loan shark, Furio Tigre, in an attempt to get a computer virus from his victim that would allow him to pay off the mafia to whom he was indebted. Tigre had implicated Maggey as the murderer, and posed as Phoenix in court to cover his tracks. Ultimately, Phoenix proves Tigre's guilt by tricking him into identifying a piece of evidence he should not have seen if he was innocent.

The fourth case, Turnabout Beginnings (始まりの逆転 Hajimari no Gyakuten?), portrays Mia's first case, working alongside her fellow lawyer Diego Armando. She defends Terry Fawles in the murder of Valerie Hawthorne, his girlfriend Dahlia's stepsister. The three had coordinated a kidnapping, but Fawles was betrayed by the others, and Valerie framed him for the crime. He escaped from jail and attempted to meet with Valerie, but Dahlia murdered Valerie to silence her and framed Fawles again. Mia is nearly successful in clearing Fawles and implicating Dahlia, but he consumes poison and dies before the case is resolved. A few months later Armando sets up a meeting with Dahlia at the courthouse. Dahlia poisons Armando, apparently killing him. To hide the evidence, she passes the bottle she carried the poison in to Phoenix, who happened to be visiting the courthouse at that time, setting the stage for the first case.

In the final case, Bridge to the Turnabout (華麗なる逆転 Kareinaru Gyakuten?, "Magnificent Turnabout"), a nun named Iris is accused of murdering Misty Fey. Phoenix uncovers a plot to kill Maya Fey through the summoned spirit of Dahlia Hawthorne. To protect Maya, Godot kills Misty, who had been channeling Dahlia. Iris is charged with this murder, and since Phoenix becomes ill, he enlists the help of Miles Edgeworth and Franziska von Karma to initially defend Iris as he recovers. The trial eventually reveals that Iris is actually Dahlia, who was channeled by Maya into her body to prevent Dahlia from being channeled by anyone else while protecting herself. The entire plan was concocted by Dahlia and Morgan Fey (also revealed to be Dahlia and Iris' mother from a previous marriage) while both were incarcerated, again to displace Maya as the Master of Kurain Village and place her daughter Pearl in Maya's place. Dahlia is exorcised from Maya's body, and the real Iris is found safe, cleared of murder charges but responsible for other acts committed as an accomplice to Misty's murder. Godot is then revealed as Diego Armando, having been put into a coma by Dahlia's poison. When he learned of Mia's death, he blamed Phoenix for not protecting her. After witnessing Phoenix's care and defense of Maya, Godot ends his vendetta, considering Maya to be in good hands. Iris then reveals that she had posed as Dahlia while Phoenix was dating her, in an attempt to retrieve the evidence in the first case, preventing Dahlia from killing him to retrieve it.


In the weeks leading up to the North American release announcement, Capcom launched an official contest, in which competitors were asked to convince Capcom to release the game to that audience. A comic was provided, and participants were instructed to fill the speech bubbles.[16] Prizes included collectible figurines and lapel pins.[17] After the contest, Capcom revealed Trials and Tribulations as the North American release title at their "Capcom's Gamers Day" event.[18]

A DS edition of Gyakuten Saiban 3 was released in Japan on August 23, 2007; as with the previous Japanese DS releases in the series, the game features both Japanese and English text.[19] Trials and Tribulations was released for the DS in the United States on October 23, 2007. It has been reported on Capcom's official message board that the Japanese release's English Translation has many typos. However, a Community Specialist with Capcom stated that " will be quite pleased with the localization effort for the US version, versus the version you imported". The Japanese to English localization was undertaken by the well-known game localizer, Jeremy Blaustein.

The game was due to be released on March 21, 2008, in Europe; however, it was delayed, as the PEGI 12+ rating had not yet been confirmed. In an interview on the official UK Ace Attorney flash site, Ace Attorney producer Minae Matsukawa said that the game was "in the middle of localising right now" and that the developers were "looking to announce a release date in the near future."[20] On June 24, 2008, Nintendo of Europe confirmed a European release date of October 3, 2008, although the fourth game in the series, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, was released there prior.

According to Shu Takumi Trials and Tribulations was intended as the final game in the series. Stating that: "I felt that Phoenix's story had been told, and that the series should not continue. Knowing when to end a story is very important and I wanted to avoid dragging it out and having it become a shadow of its former self."[21]


Gyakuten Saiban 3 features music composed and arranged by Noriyuki Iwadare.


Eurogamer awarded the game an 8 out of 10.[13] Press Start Online was also positive, awarding the game a Silver Award.[22] The game also earned an 8.25 from Game Informer in issue 175.[23] IGN awarded the game a 7.7,[12] and later named it #23 on its list of the best DS games.[24]

Initial sales of the game in the United States exceeded Capcom's expectations, as total online orders through Capcom's store were more than double their presale estimations.[25]

British gaming magazine GamesMaster rated the game at 89%, calling it the best Phoenix Wright adventure in the series.[26]


  1. ^ 逆転裁判3 (in Japanese). Nintendo Japan. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  2. ^ "逆転裁判 3 PC (説明扉付きスリムパッケージ版)" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  3. ^ "逆転裁判3 Best Price!" (in Japanese). Nintendo Japan. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  4. ^ "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations at Nintendo". Nintendo America. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  5. ^ "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations Release Summary". GameSpot. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  6. ^ a b "Court Records · Wii Gyakuten Saiban - from Famitsu". 
  7. ^ a b "CAPCOM UNVEILS CLASSIC ACE ATTORNEY SERIES FOR WiiWare" (Press release). Capcom Entertainment. 2009-11-18. Retrieved 2009-11-18. 
  8. ^ Pitcher, Jenna (22 January 2014). "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney trilogy hits Japanese 3DS systems in April". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  9. ^ "IGN - Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations". IGN. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  10. ^ a b Frank, Jenn (2007-10-09). "1UP — Previews". Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  11. ^ Thomas, Aaron (2007-10-23). "GameSpot — Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations for DS Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  12. ^ a b Moriarty, Colin (2007-10-23). "IGN — Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations Review". IGN. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  13. ^ a b Walker, John (2007-09-11). "Eurogamer — Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  14. ^ Scott, Ryan (2007-10-26). "1UP — Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations Review". Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  15. ^ Capcom (2007-10-23). Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations. Nintendo DS. Capcom. 
  16. ^ Kietzmann, Ludwig (2007-02-15). "Hold it! Capcom now accepting pleas for the next Phoenix Wright". Joystiq. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  17. ^ McWhertor, Michael (2007-02-14). "Convince Capcom To Publish Phoenix Wright 3, Win Stuff". Kotaku. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  18. ^ Stern, Zach (2007-04-13). "Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations confirmed for America". Joystiq. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  19. ^ "GoNintendo News Blog". 
  20. ^ "Official Ace Attorney Microsite". 
  21. ^ Gera, Emily (14 March 2014). "Why Phoenix Wright creator did not want the series to continue". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  22. ^ "Press Start Online review". 
  23. ^ "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations". Game Informer. July 2007. Archived from the original on February 28, 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ Hinkle, David (2007-12-11). "Capcom apologizes for your Trials and Tribulations". DS Fanboy. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  26. ^ "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 

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