Phoenix Wright is one of my favorite game series ever, and there was a time when I considered going into law because of it. I quickly realized that I wasn’t cut out for law in the real world, but I still feel proud when solving the cases in the Phoenix Wright games. Each one is so carefully thought out and well-written, the characters are entertaining, and the way everything connects into one cohesive narrative is at times ingenious and thought-provoking. It makes me wish I could write just as good, but I can’t so I throw my money at Capcom instead with the hopes that they’ll continue to bring this wonderful franchise to the states (why do we have to beg you, Capcom? Don’t you want my money?).
Warning: From here on out are a ton of spoilers surrounding the Ace Attorney games. Read at your own risk!
10. Farewell, My Turnabout (Phoenix Wright: Justice for All)
“Farewell, My Turnabout” presents a lot of moral dilemmas for Phoenix when he is forced to acquit a guilty client in order to save the abducted Maya. It’s a crazy yet fun case that had me freaking out at every step of the way.
9. Turnabout Trump (Ace Attorney: Apollo Justice)
Back before Apollo made a name for himself, Phoenix had the entirety of “Turnabout Trump” figured out from the beginning – and he was on the defendant stand. While it’s a somewhat poor setup for Apollo since he’s simply doing Phoenix’s work for him, it’s still a fun, enjoyable case that proves that the first cases in the Ace Attorney games don’t have to be redundant or generous introductions.
8. Turnabout Succession (Ace Attorney: Apollo Justice)
“Turnabout Succession” showcases Phoenix, delving into his past and his search for decisive evidence over the course of seven years. With one crazy, jaw-dropping revelation after the other, it culminates into an epic finale that, in the end, leaves the ultimate verdict for the player to decide.
7. The Cosmic Turnabout (Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies)
“The Cosmic Turnabout” gives Apollo a huge boost in character development, and helps him to step out of Phoenix’s shadow. After the murder of his best friend, Apollo is determined to find the murderer, and the case is going in his favor until the courtroom is blown up. A compelling case with tons of character development, “The Cosmic Turnabout” is single-handedly responsible for endearing me to Apollo’s character, outside of my existing appreciation for him having the best Objection! and character themes in the game.
6. Turnabout for Tomorrow (Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies)
Having the stage built for it from “The Cosmic Turnabout”, “Turnabout for Tomorrow” ups the stakes as the Phantom is hunted down and reprimanded. From hostage situations to elaborate conspiracy theories and solving a closed-book case from seven years ago, “Turnabout for Tomorrow” is a great conclusion to Dual Destinies.
5. Turnabout Memories (Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations)
“Turnabout Memories” is Mia’s second case after a year hiatus, and her dynamic with her a younger, less mature Phoenix Wright whilst defending him leads to various comedic misunderstandings. Not only that, but through these interactions, it demonstrates Mia’s principle to believe in her client no matter what, and with implications of a first case gone wrong, Mia is determined to acquit Phoenix – especially after coming face-to-face with the first, main villain of the Ace Attorney trilogy once again.
4. Turnabout Beginnings (Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations)
“Turnabout Beginnings” explores Mia’s first case and reveals exactly how the villain escaped the clutches of law to commit another murder a year later. For the first time in the series, this is the case where the player loses everything – both verdict and defendant – and it’s extremely depressing. Despite the outcome, it’s great for establishing just how cruel the villain is and Mia’s own skills as a defense attorney.
3. Bridge to the Turnabout (Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations)
The missing piece of the puzzle that ties everything in Trials and Tribulations together, “Bridge to the Turnabout” is wrought with emotion and character development. It’s also one of the most insane, complicated, and confusing cases in the entire series. People are not at all who they appear to be, and with the inclusion of characters from first two games coming together for an epic showdown against the villain, “Bridge to the Turnabout” is an extremely satisfying case to solve.
2. Turnabout Goodbyes (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney)
Miles, the rival prosecutor and foil to Phoenix, is convicted of murder, a charge that doesn’t seem unreasonable with the incriminating evidence that is found. While Phoenix resolves to defend him, another case from fifteen years ago is brought to the surface when facing one of the most threatening and evil of the prosecutors in the entire series. Not to mention Phoenix takes interrogating a parrot perfectly seriously. “Turnabout Goodbyes” nabs the number two spot because of the exciting plot twists and the gradual revelation of the case from fifteen years ago, a case that was attempted to be kept behind closed doors in an earlier case.
1. Turnabout Sisters (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney)
Phoenix is determined to prove Maya’s innocence when she’s convicted of killing her older sister Mia. After facing off against Miles and finding Mia’s murderer, the murderer instead claims that Phoenix is the killer, which he can do with ease since he has all the courts under his thumb. Phoenix defends himself against the “witness” despite his reputation. Needless to say, “Turnabout Sisters” blew my mind and is the reason why I love this series as much as I do. While the other cases on this list may be more complex or tragic, “Turnabout Sisters” proved that the story doesn’t have to be simple, and it wasn’t afraid to take the risk of killing off the protagonist’s mentor. For those reasons, it earns the number one spot on my list of the best cases in the Phoenix Wright series.
Reunion, and Turnabout (Phoenix Wright: Justice for All)
A girl steals her dead sister’s identity after a freak accident where fourteen patients died because she screwed up the medicine (can you imagine that happening in a real hospital?). From there, she hatches an elaborate plot to pin the evidence against Maya for murder. In short, Maya has the worst luck out of everyone in the entire series – even more than the incompetent Detective Gumshoe and his infinite number of budget cuts.