"It's only natural for living creatures to fight to protect their own lives. But what makes us human is that we fight for others. But who do you fight for? How hard must you fight...? That's the true measure of what human life is worth. We defense attorneys are warriors who are constantly challenged by that question. Even when the battle is over, and the bonds that connect us are severed... We always return... Time and time again." This line, spoken by the eponymous Phoenix Wright, explains, in a way, the nature of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations. But exactly what is the nature of the third game in this runaway hit Capcom series?
As you may have guessed, T&T reunites us with Phoenix Wright in his third year as defense attorney, continuing his success by seeking innocence for his clients and finding the truth along the way. A new prosecutor, going by the mysterious moniker of Godot, soon stands in his way, claiming that he has a score to yet settle with Phoenix. What follows is a search for the ultimate truth stretching from cases surrounding robbery, overturning a guilty verdict, and even looking back to past events and what they may hold for the future.
T&T is notable for putting us in control of Mia Fey, Phoenix's mentor, during her first court trials. While players are only given control over her for two of the game's five cases, they are no doubt crucial to the advancement of the main plot, and overall shed new light on a character that sorely needed more characterization.
As stated before, the game features five cases, and each of them feel fresh and varied. One case starts as a simple larceny case but soon turns into a murder case. Another involves overturning a guilty verdict, thanks to an imposter posing as our spiky-haired protagonist. While these cases obviously serve as filler between the main plot points of the game, they still serve to point out plot devices and characterizations that play into the final case of the game. And what a final case it is! Not only does it serve as closure to the story arc present in the past two titles in the series, it also reunites many familiar faces in the series for one stellar finale. Overall, the plot fires on all cylinders and rarely produces a dull moment.
Gameplay remains largely the same as its predecessors. You'll hit the crime scenes and investigate, talk to and present evidence to witnesses, and find out the truth by breaking people's Psyche-Locks and revealing their secrets. Unfortunately, T&T fails to bring anything groundbreaking to the table, only refining the gameplay further.
The same can be said about the graphics and sound design, though to the credit of the latter point, the game's soundtrack is sublime. As if the series' tunes weren't infectious enough already, you'd be hard pressed to not get Godot's moody theme, The Fragrance of Dark Coffee, stuck in your head, let alone all the other fantastic musical pieces in the game.
Overall, while gameplay, graphics, and sound design all serve the purpose of refining the tried-but-true mechanics and themes that made the series famous, they really offer nothing new. The story is really what this game's main draw is, and with five cases full of fun, diverse characters and engaging stories, dialogue and banter it closes Phoenix Wright's first trilogy on a satisfying high note. No matter if you're a seasoned courtroom veteran or an upstart amateur, you owe it to yourself to find out the true nature of what is undoubtedly the best Ace Attorney game in the series.