Generally favorable reviews - based on 48 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 48
  2. Negative: 0 out of 48
Buy On
  1. 85
    The localization team at Capcom should be commended for writing dialogue that is genuinely funny. Basically, if you're a fan of the earlier Phoenix Wright games, you will laugh...a lot. Couple the comedy with Justice's engrossing story and you have a case that would be criminal not to take.
  2. AceGamez
    As much fun as Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is, it's just not the big leap forward that the series should have taken, as a number of little niggles conspire to lower the score slightly.
  3. Despite the mounting criticism, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is a decent enough game in its own right, and fans of the series can expect much of what they enjoyed in previous offerings.
  4. A long game coupled with the fact that it's incredibly immersive and addicting; excellent storylines really keep you playing.
  5. 80
    However, the sharp writing skills shine through once more, with a script full of intrigue, humour and mystery.
  6. Edge Magazine
    Yes, Justice’s new shriek adds a new trick to his repertoire, but besides this and a few new touchscreen forensic gizmos, this there is little change from the GBA ports. [Apr 2008, p.95]
  7. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    As much as I adore the gameplay, the story is by far the best reason to take this case. [Apr 2008, p.81]
  8. It's filled to the brim with brilliant ideas, and then barely uses them.
  9. It’s funny, unique, and breaks up the text scrolling with more varied activities. Even so, Apollo still has room to grow, and I’m looking forward to seeing what case he takes next.
  10. Phoenix Wright: You still have a lot to learn, kid. If you’re going to make it in this world, you have to pave your own path.
  11. The only severe flaw is that it ends too soon with only four cases and no option to download new ones. Still, it's a legal champion.
  12. Apollo Justice carries on the addictive game play of its predecessors. It is suited well to those who enjoy watching the many different crime and courtroom shows that are so popular on television these days, and also to those who enjoy a good story-based game that requires concentration and awareness.
  13. 75
    Phoenix Wright fans who loved the past games and want nothing more than another docket of crazy cases to tackle will no doubt love Apollo Justice. It's a solid distillation of the franchise formula and if you haven't yet had your fill, I wholly recommend the game, because you will no doubt enjoy it. But I personally couldn't get over how derivative the game felt.
  14. Despite what may be setbacks with the lack of true blue changes to the graphics and sound, Apollo Justice looks to be everything the Phoenix Wright trilogy was and more.
  15. Although the game has been made especially for the DS, not enough DS specific gameplay elements have been put into the game.
  16. To put it simply, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney takes everything that works about the Phoenix Wright series and then adds more. Longtime fans of the lawyer series will not be disappointed with the newest installment, but there’s so much fresh content that newcomers can jump right in and not feel overwhelmed by the game’s history.
  17. Games Master UK
    Not the leap in features we'd hoped for, but a fantastic debut for Justice nontheless. [May 2008, p.72]
  18. games(TM)
    Had Capcom pout a little more effort into overhauling the gameplay and graphics, while also preserving the magic of the original cast, Apollo Justice would have been more than just another sequel. [May 2008, p.116]
  19. A worthy successor to the Phoenix Wright series, even if the first outing seems a little too eager to hold on to the characters from its predecessor.
  20. Fans of the previous Ace Attorney games will appreciate the new touch-screen mechanics and improved presentation, but these changes don't do much to spice up the series' often slow and tedious pacing.
  21. 80
    The new DS-centric controls add a lot to the formula, though some other cool new features, such as forensic videos, are too sparsely used.
  22. Apollo Justice delivers the same winning formula we've come to expect, throws in some refreshing new twists, and leaves us satisfied yet still eager to see where the story will go.
  23. Apollo Justice is a likeable guy (because he is just a carbon copy of Phoenix Wright, to be honest) and even four games into the series, this still remains fresh, thanks to the clever writing and plots.
  24. 80
    While it may seem like Capcom's diving back into the well of a successful franchise, Apollo Justice is the first Ace Attorney game built from the ground up for the DS, and it succeeds in delivering just enough legal shenanigans that are serious enough--and silly enough--to entice both fans and rookies alike.
  25. If it's engaging storytelling on a handheld scale you're after, Apollo Justice serves up another ace for Capcom’s line of courtroom sims.
  26. Fans of Phoenix Wright can rest assured that Apollo Justice more the lives up to the role as an Ace Attorney.
  27. 83
    Apollo Justice surprised us. This may just be yet another of Capcom’s infamous rehashes, but it’s so much more enjoyable than most that it’s extremely hard to ignore.
  28. 85
    It's more of the same, then, but it's great.
  29. 65
    Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is not a typical DS game. However, those gamers who also enjoying burning away the hours with a good book will find plenty to like in this courtroom drama.
  30. Even though it still relies on a lot of the tried and true mechanics of the Phoenix Right-titles, Apollo Justice manages to add enough new DS-related features to keep this package feeling fresh while adding a great and engaging storyline to the mix. This is the best offering so far for newcomers, and fans of the Phoenix Wright titles are going to appreciate the improvements to the formula.
  31. 80
    Overall, though, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney has enough refreshing content and "legal good times" to keep you happily satisfied, with its well-integrated storyline, characters and touch-screen tools.
  32. Apollo Justice, while staying true to an original, winning formula, has some pitfalls that prevents me from recommending it to people not familiar with the series.
  33. n-Revolution Magazine UK
    Surprisingly ace. [Issue#21, p.80]
  34. Not exactly the dazzling reinvention we hoped for, but Apollo Justice more than holds his own. [May 2008, p.55]
  35. Nintendo Power
    With that said, the latest Ace Attorney game is an excellent continuation of the series, featuring more compelling mysteries to unravel and lots of memorable characters. [Mar 2008, p.86]
  36. Despite fears that a new stable of characters would prove less interesting than the established cast, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney manages to hold up to its predecessors in nearly every way.
  37. Since Apollo's adventure builds upon the Phoenix Wright trilogy and the original remains the best, playing the Ace Attorney series in order remains my recommendation.
  38. 70
    Despite these small problems, however, this is still essential playing for long-time fans, and for new entrants: buy this game, play it, and then get the others.
  39. Official Nintendo Magazine UK
    As great as it is, we can't believe we've waited two years for this. [June 2008, p.80]
  40. 70
    Another solid entry, but the series probably needed more then solid. Weaker characters are offset by new novelties, but it will still be worth a go for fans of the idea.
  41. Pelit (Finland)
    Quotation forthcoming. [June 2008]
  42. Play Magazine
    Plead nolo contendere, Apollo. [Mar 2008, p.65]
  43. Melodrama isn't enough to carry Apollo Justice, a game that feels considerably more weighed down by dialogue and little actual gameplay to speak of than its predecessors.
  44. 89
    All in all, if you've followed the series, there's no point in stopping now. Capcom has the formula down by this point, and they will only improve upon it as time passes.
  45. The latest chapter in the Ace Attorney series comes with fresh characters and an absorbing plot—as well as all the same old objections.
  46. Apollo Justice delivers an evolved version of the Phoenix Wright titles, but the overall experience has been shortened dramatically.
  47. A great entry point for novice attorneys, thanks to a new cast of vibrant characters.
  48. With hilariously well-written dialog, brilliant court cases, DS-specific features, pulse-pounding drama, catchy and moody music, and four cases, you will not want to miss this game.

Awards & Rankings

#9 Most Discussed DS Game of 2008
#88 Most Shared DS Game of 2008
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 93 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 68 out of 93
  2. Negative: 8 out of 93
  1. Aug 17, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. My expectations for this game weren't too high. I expected it to feel like any other Ace Attorney gane, and be a decent entry. I also have seen the scores on metacritic before playing, and now, after playing it, i'm shocked that the scores of AA1, JFA, and T&T are so much higher than Apollo. In short, this is my absolute favorite Ace Attorney game.

    I'll begin with the characters. I like Apollo Justice more than I djd Phoenix. He was more relatable: a quirky, nervous guy who goes through crap in the first few chapters. During his very first trial, he had to put his boss in jail, then was unemployed. After his first trail, he found out that Phoenix, his only chance at employment, made him present forged evidence.
    Trucy, on the other hand feels like Maya or young Ema Skye did, with one key difference:she's naive and says things without thinking to often dangerous people. When this happens, Apollo feels embarrassed by her, which also reflected how I felt when Trucy did said things.
    Speaking of Ema, she's back, as the detective. i really liked her in Rise from the Ashes, and do here, as long as she's not acting salty, as in this game, she's often a grump when you first talk to her.
    Phoenix still retained his hunger to bring justice like in the original trilogy, but this time, he is much more calm and collected. So much so that he almost feels like a different person. Thankfully, He regains his loud mouth and erect finger (no, not that finger) in dual destinies.
    Kristoph Gavin is extremely surpising. Before playing, I thought he was a goodhearted leader who killed someone without knowing. The opposite happened.
    Klavier Gavin is the first prosecutor who seeks the truth in their debut, not just victory. Personally, I was not a fan of this. The antagonist didn't feel like an enemy.

    Now, onward to the cases.
    Turnabout Trump is the ultimate first case. The witness is NOT the killer for once, and this case most likely took everyone by surprise. It was an amazing way to kick off the game.
    Turnabout Corner is a solid case. It felt like any other. It did a goid job of forming the characters
    Turnabout Serenade had some good twists, and was slightly better than solid.
    Turnabout Succession is amazing. It's courtoom action isn't all that great, but the investigations are, because all the plot twists are found out there, as well as the aftermath. You also play as Phoenix during his last trial, but the GBA bacgrounds conflicting with the DS graphics Klavier sort of bugged me. After this case, I found a few plot holes in Turnabout Trump that were never filled, but they were minor.
    I loved how almost all cases were connected. Corner wasn't, but it's more realistic. Too many coincidences turn my suspension of belief off. This game also has a moral delima, like JFA. The delima regards a broken justice system, and using unconventional methods to prove the truth.
    The ending is extremely satisfying. You find out that Phoenix set up the jurist system and knew from the beginning that Kristoph was the killer, and this was the only way to bring justice. Lamoir, a blind singer who suffers from amnesia, is revealed to be Trucy's mother, who "died" in accident. She also was with another man before Zak, who was Apollo's dad. This means he and Trucy are half-sibilings. A good plot twist is one that is impossible to guess, in my opinion.

    Finally, the gameplay. They removed the ability to present profiles. Oh well, no big deal. When you investigate as phoenix, you get to break the magical psyche locks again, and still a good amount kf times for one part. Ema's forensics and other things gave you little gimmicks to play with, but they're all case specific, which is fine, because it'd probably get annoying if you did them in every case. You can also examine evidence as 3D models, just like in Rise from the Ashes.
    And now, the main gimmick of this game: Apollo's bracelet. I really enjoyed it. Thankfully, you could only use it when you had to. Some nervous habits were easy to find, some difficult, and some awesome, like Kristoph's scar becoming a skull. I'd also like to say this game's music and graphics trump the previous titles'.

    In summary, I'm giving this game a 10/10 for improved graphics and sound, likeable and interesting characters, great new gameplay features that aren't oversused, and an excellent story with plot twists that are sure to shock you.
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 31, 2012
    I've heard rumors that this is one of the most hated of the series, mostly because it obviously lack the main character: Phoenix Wright.I've heard rumors that this is one of the most hated of the series, mostly because it obviously lack the main character: Phoenix Wright. However, as a fan of the series, I pressed forward and I was honestly surprise to see an actual good "sequel" of the main series, with still its good character roster and still good cases to play (I heard the last case is full of plotholes, but seemed ok for me and I personally liked it as much as the others), although they don't reach the quality of either T&T or AT. The graphics in this game have been slightly improved also, animations have been made anew and, surprinsingly, still feels timeless and I hardly noticed the changes (in a good way). The game adds instead of the psychic locks the innate ability to see their reactions through a zooming sight, in which you'll attempt to discover what's wrong with them after certain statements. Except that, nothing really goes wrong...well at a certain point. Even if I liked it, some points of the story aren't totally explained, like where are most of the old characters? What happened to them? Phoenix seems like he's been abandoned, and they were all good friends! Phoenix alone is a great character in the game (finally not a clumsy man like the previous games, although excusable in the first game), and both Apollo and Trucy are a great pair in this game, while I didn't really enjoy your new rival Klavier. It's not on par with other games of the series but it is still a good adventure game, although seemed a bit shorter because of only having 4 cases. Nothing really goes bad in here, but fans will ask questions that probably won't be answered until a "new" Apollo game will be released, and non-fans will surely like the game despite the small flaws and everything. It's worth a good buy in my opinion, so give it a good try: you might find it more enjoyable than you'd think. Full Review »
  3. Sep 20, 2012
    At first, I missed playing with Phoenix. But I changed my mind, because the game is as enjoyable as the Phoenix Wright's ones. More memorableAt first, I missed playing with Phoenix. But I changed my mind, because the game is as enjoyable as the Phoenix Wright's ones. More memorable characters, the OST is perfect, the story is great too. I enjoyed this game a lot. Sometimes I play the entire saga again, and never get bored of it. Full Review »