Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations, released in Japan as is an adventure/visual novel game developed by Capcom for the Nintendo DS video game console. It is the third game in the Gyakuten Saiban series (also known as the Ace Attorney/Phoenix Wright series), and precedes Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney for the Nintendo DS. The original version was released on the Game Boy Advance in Japan.
In the weeks leading up to the announcement, Capcom had launched an official contest to convince “Capcom to bring Ace Attorney 3 to America” On the day the final winner of the contest was to be revealed, Capcom lifted the embargo on their upcoming titles revealed at their "Capcom's Gamers Day" event, which included Trials and Tribulations.
A DS edition of Gyakuten Saiban 3 was released in Japan on August 23, 2007; as with the previous Japanese DS releases, the game features both Japanese and English text. 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 "...you will be quite pleased with the localization effort for the US version, versus the version you imported".
The game was due to be released on 21 March 2008 in Europe - however, the game was not released, as the PEGI 12+ rating had not been confirmed. However, in an interview on the official UK Ace Attorney flash site, Ace Attorney producer Minae Matsukawa confirmed that the game is "in the middle of localising right now" and is "looking to announce a release date in the near future. In the August issue of NGamer magazine, it was rumoured that a suicide scene in the game prevented it from coming over to the DS in Europe, although the facts are unclear. On 24 June 2008, Nintendo of Europe confirmed a European release date of October 3, 2008. This has resulted in the fourth game in the series, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, to be released before it.
This game is possibly the last of the series to feature Phoenix Wright as the main character, (because of the release of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney) and through its course it gives more details on the past of important characters such as Mia Fey and Phoenix Wright, while tying up the loose ends on the storyline set up in the previous games.
The gameplay in Trials and Tribulations remains the same as both previous titles, including the use of Psyche-Locks introduced in Justice for All. A minor change is that the player will take on the role of different people other than Phoenix Wright for certain cases within the game, but this does not alter the game mechanics. The game does not use any of the additional investigation techniques that use features of the Nintendo DS as introduced in the first Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney game's fifth case (created specifically for the DS port).
This game features both characters from the prior two games and new characters. Players will end up playing as Phoenix Wright in the present, and Mia Fey in the past. In the fifth case, players also temporarily play as Miles Edgeworth, after Phoenix gets hospitalized.
Five years later, Terry eventually escapes from jail, urged on by a note he received, and meets Valerie on the same bridge where the kidnapping occurred despite being hunted down. However, the meeting was a trap arranged by Dahlia and she ends up killing Valerie, setting the scene to place the blame on Terry. His case is taken up by Mia Fey in her first case, assisted by Diego Armando, the two also sharing a love interest for each other. Mia is able to nearly clear Terry of the recent murder and pin it on Dahlia, but Terry ingests a bottle of poison given to him by Dahlia and falls over dead. Diego catches up to Dahlia in the courthouse and tries to learn the truth, but she attempts to poison him as well, causing Diego to fall into a coma. Dahlia, knowing she had to get rid of the bottle necklace that stored the poison, turned to a student that happened to be in the courtroom at the same time, a younger Phoenix Wright, and feigned a love interest over him, giving him the necklace as a charm.
Over the next year, Dahlia asked her twin Iris to play as her to continue feigning her love for Phoenix in hopes of getting the charm back, but Iris could not, and in fact felt something for Phoenix. Dahlia then took it upon herself to try to poison Phoenix using cold medicine, but ended up killing another student by electrocution. Mia Fey, now with the help of Marvin Grossberg, successfully defends Phoenix and charges Dahlia with the murder. Phoenix is impressed with Mia's lawyer skills and vows to become a lawyer himself. Dahlia is sent to death row and eventually executed years later, but not before meeting her mother Morgan Fey, who is also in jail after attempting to frame Maya Fey for murder in order to allow Pearl Fey to become the Master of Kurain Village. Dahlia and Morgan develop a plan that relies on using Pearl's innocence to channel Dahlia's spirit after she is executed and to kill Maya, allowing Pearl to ascend as the Master. Dahlia is eventually executed.
Diego eventually recovers from his coma, but his vision has been significantly hampered by the poison, requiring a special visor to function. He learns of Mia's death, and though he blames Phoenix for not protecting Mia enough, vows to protect Maya from such harm. To this end, he becomes the prosecutor Godot. Because of his status, he is able to learn of Dahlia and Morgan's plan, and contacts Maya's mother, Misty Fey, who had long since disappeared after the DL-6 case several years ago. The two concoct a strategy to stop the plan, forcing Misty to take on the persona of Elise Deauxnim, a children's book author.
The plan is set in motion when Maya decides to visit Hazakura Temple for channeling training. Misty, as Elise, also goes to the temple. During the first night of Maya's training, Pearl attempts to follow the instructions from her mother, but before Pearl can channel Dahlia, Misty channels her first. Dahlia, in control of Misty's body, attempts to kill Maya, but Godot is there, and ends up killing Misty to protect Maya. During the incident, Phoenix is injured and is forced to rest up in a hospital. Iris is ultimately charged with the murder of "Elise", and Maya has gone completely missing. Phoenix enlists the help of Miles Edgeworth 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. Dahlia is excised from Maya's body, and the real Iris is found safe, cleared of murder charges but responsible for other act committed as an accomplice.
Filler Cases. Two other non-related cases are presented in the game. In case two, he defends a man named Ron DeLite, who is accused of stealing a treasured artifact (Sacred Urn) from a museum as the master thief Mask☆DeMasque. Wright manages to get an acquittal on the charge of theft only to find DeLite be charged again, this time for the murder of Kane Bullard, the CEO of KB Security. DeLite worked at KB before being fired a year before the current case. Wright is able to acquit DeLite of the murder by successfully pinning the murder on detective Luke Atmey, who had dedicated his life to bringing down Mask☆DeMasque. Atmey was originally fingered by Wright as Mask☆DeMasque during the theft trial, but the murder trial showed this to only be partially true; DeLite is, indeed, the famed thief, but was found out during his first heist by Atmey, who blackmailed him with his identity in order to manipulate his future heists and use him as a springboard for the detective's own reputation. Somewhere down the road, however, Bullard found out about this, and threatened to blackmail Atmey, in turn; Atmey then killed Bullard to keep his secret safe and framed DeLite for the murder, goading Wright into accusing the detective as being Mask☆DeMasque so as to give him an airtight alibi and avoid getting hit with the murder charges through double jeopardy (he planted false evidence showing him stealing the Urn at the time of the murder instead of DeLite, meaning if he was sentenced for Mask☆DeMasque's thefts, he couldn't be implicated for Bullard's death). Atmey is arrested for the murder just before the verdict for his supposed role as Mask DeMasque was given, and while it's now known DeLite is really the master thief, his acquittal of those crimes means he can't be tried for them again.
Later, Phoenix takes up and appeals a guilty verdict on behalf of Maggey Byrde. Byrde was convicted for murdering computer programmer Glen Elg at the Tres Bien restaurant she was working at, but her trial contained two glaring contradictions: none of the witnesses' testimonies sync with hers, denying seeing a second person with Elg or a CD between them at the crime scene as she remembers there being, and the "Phoenix Wright" that represented her was a fake - confirmed in the fact that, not only does Wright not remember taking her case, but the "Wright" that represented her was very much unlike the real attorney. By investigating the crime and finding relevant information, he implicates loan shark Furio Tigre for the murder. His motive: Elg was in debt $100,000 to Tigre due to outstanding gambling bills, while Tigre owed $1 million to the Cadaverinis, a mob boss family, whose granddaughter Viola got into a near-fatal car accident with Tigre and required a million dollars worth of surgery to survive. Elg, unable to pay, wrote a virus called "MC Bomber" worth millions for Tigre as collateral, but at the last moment won a lottery that would have paid off his debt. Tigre, needing the money, killed Elg for the MC Bomber virus, recreated the murder to provide a false witness to testify (made easier by the fact that the Tres Bien owner was himself indebted to Tigre), then impersonated Phoenix Wright to ensure that Maggey Byrde was blamed.
The five cases within the game are:
Initial sales of the game in the United States exceeded Capcom's expectations, as total online orders through Capcom's store was more than double their pre-sale estimations.
British gaming magazine GamesMaster rated the game at 89%, and called it the best Phoenix Wright adventure in the series.