The graphics in the game look amazing, and the fact that they were able to perfectly convey the same type of expressions and movements as the old 2D sprites in the Art Shift is awesome in and of itself. And if that wasn't enough it looks incredibly good in 3D and is one of the best-looking and best-animated games on the system.
Looks even better in the iOS version, with plenty of sharp, high-resolution textures and bright colors (you can actually see the "ripples" in the characters' eyes, something of a signature of Ace Attorney artist Kazuya Nuri).
The first time the player sees Revisualization, this will probably be their reaction. You thought the series had a penchant for Mundane Made Awesome before? You ain't seen nothing yet.
Any time our lawyers are trying to think outside of the box and reverse their logic. Most of the time, the player get this "Euréka!" moment as "Revisualization ~ Synaptic Resonance" starts playing. Not to mention the conclusions themselves would be outlandish from an outside perspective, but thought from the inside make perfect sense... you're almost reminded of Sherlock Holmes at times.
Simon Blackquill is not only a complete badass in nearly every sense of the word, but he manages to pull off character stunts in court where not only does the Judge not reprimand him for them, he even begins supporting them! The best example of this is threatening Phineas Filch to be punished by Simon's hawk if he should tell any more lies to the court.
Alternatively, psychologically manipulating The Phantom, allowing Athena to analyze his emotions.
When he breaks his chains, you can bet somebody's going to get their butt whooped.
Not only is Apollo's newlook incredibly badass, but how did he get it? By throwing himself in front of a falling chunk of debris to save Juniper Woods. This was while the courtroom was exploding, by the way. Looks like he jumped on Phoenix's Iron Butt Monkey bandwagon in the most awesome way imaginable.
It gets better. Apollo said to Phoenix before the first trial that he basically wanted to take a page out of Franziska's book and stand in court despite his injuries.
As well as the normal Objection, you now occasionally get one where the letters of it quickly appear in sequence, at which point you know the current protagonist is about to blow the whole case wide open.
Apollo has a minor, easily-missed, and very tear-jerky one that takes place in cases 1, 4, and 5: During Case 4, Athena's reaction after his outburst just before he quits the agency suggests that Apollo has shut out his emotions regarding Clay's murder so effectively that Athena didn't detect them, and he started doing it again after that outburst until he begs Nick to clear up the doubt inside him regarding Athena's innocence. She's clearly taken aback when she detects suspicion in his voice, and the way she speaks of his other feelings suggests she hadn't been hearing them before, and he adopts Kristoph's mannerisms when indicting her for Clay's murder in the following case. Oh, and, at this point he's shooting down Phoenix's theories faster and more effectively than even Edgeworth ever did, while Edgeworth himself just sits back and lets Apollo basically prosecute the case, casually tearing Nick's arguments to shreds, with little to no effort at all. It's actually easy to forget Edgeworth's even there, because he doesn't talk much while Apollo is on the stand, doing his job for him. Depending on who you are, you can also consider that Apollo is one of two people in the entire series who is able to concede that a good friend could possibly be a murderer. The other is Franziska during the second Investigations game, who had long since defrosted and accepted that her father was a terrible person to the point of never even mentioning him except to compare him indirectly to Blaise Debeste.
The pure and simple fact that the Dark Age of the Law was brought to an end by the same two men who's actions started it to begin with: Phoenix and Simon.
Not only does Phoenix Wright return, he does so via beautifully animated, 40 second long Suit-Up of Destiny. In a franchise where the smoothest we've ever seen him move is him slamming his hands on the desk.
When Athena goes Mama Bear on Gaspen Payne over his treatment of her childhood friend, Juniper (the defendant), and actually manages to get the Judge to side with her and tell Payne off. Given how difficult it is to get prosecutors in trouble for anything through most of the trials, that is awesome!
Phoenix Wright, at the threat of another courtroom bombing, not only doesn't run away, but also takes the time to prove that the bomb Tonate is holding to be a fake, and opens the bomb transport case to present the incriminating evidence to put Tonate behind bars!
The Judge also qualifies, refusing to leave and simply giving the reason that it wouldn't do for the one presiding over the case, cementing his position as a Badass Grandpa.
The appearance of Phoenix bursting into the courtroom exactly like how people like Gumshoe and Franziska used to burst into the courtroom to save his cases last minute- by pushing open the doors and crying "OBJECTION!", to help the blue-screening Athena recover her case.
It is entirely possible that "Fulbright" allowed it to happen as part of his faked façade, thinking it was something that could easily happen to the actual Fulbright.
In the first day in court, Blackquill interrupts Apollo before Apollo can even really start his first sentence, something that hasn't really happened like that since you went up against Manfred von Karma (despite the prosecution ALWAYS cutting you off). Apollo, unlike Phoenix, basically tells Blackquill to button it and let him finish, which he then does. The delivery was awesome.
Speaking of Apollo being in similar situations to Nick in a case, this case is very similar to The Stolen Turnabout, which was a bit of a mess towards the end when it came time to get the bad guy. Apollo however makes very neat work of this case despite the two cases being nearly identical. Pretty awesome for a guy with less than half as many cases under his belt as Nick had at the time.
Also towards the end of the case: The Reveal that the Great Nine Tails is NOT Rex Kyubi, but rather Damien Tanma. Easily one of the best "turnabout" moments in the series. We also have L'Belle's Humiliation Conga during his Villainous Breakdown. After how much of a constant Jerkass he was, it feels incredibly satisfying.
The ending is just as awesome: Now proven innocent, and with the citizens of Nine Tails Vale waiting outside, Apollo hands Damien his mask. Damien Tanma transforms into Nine Tails and leaps from a balcony to greet the people outside. He throws up his signature hand symbol and declares "Nine Tails Vale forever!" to roaring cheers.
At the end of the case, Robin Newman, Hugh O'Connor, and Juniper Woods all decide to work together to create a new future for the justice system, one where the ends never justify the means. Originally, their goals were all career-based, but they decide on a mutually-shared goal just as a big Take That! (pun intended, given this series) to Aristotle Means' "ends justify the means" philosophy.
There's also Robin standing up to Means while he's in full Sadist Teacher mode, pulling a Big Damn Heroes moment to invalidate his alibi during the final trial. That takes some serious guts.
Robin Newman is easily one of the bravest of the game's witnesses. Adding to what was said above, she clearly isn't intimidated by Simon Blackquill, her insults knock him off his game so much that he's doubled over his desk in shock, and she's just about the only character who meets him and doesn't get attacked with a sword or by Taka.
Near the end of the case, Means starts throwing chalk at Athena to try and distract her from connecting him to the crime, causing Blackquill to sic Taka on someone who deserves it for once.
The Cosmic Turnabout:
In-universe, the "HAT-1 Miracle" when Solomon Starbuck managed to survive and return to Earth, despite his rocket nearly being destroyed by Phantom's sabotage. This gets even better when you later realize that Starbuck's successful mission helps in taking Phantom down as well.
Phoenix' reaction to Blackquill is not unlike Apollo's back in the second case. Blackquill tries to be his usual intimidating, condescending self, and makes a memory-loss-due-to-old-age joke on Phoenix. Phoenix's response? "Watch as you get crushed by my years of experience, little boy." This is the guy who saved Miles Edgeworth, crushed Manfred von Karma, put away Chief of Police Gant, humbled Franziska von Karma, and proved worthy of Godot. He's not intimidated by this young punk, convict or no.
Turnabout For Tomorrow:
A minor, spoiler free moment: Trucy stopping Yuri Cosmos's scooter by throwing a single stage knife, a successful knife throw on his tires while moving. Phoenix notes that he should keep an eye on his daughter's magic tricks.
The Final Trials where Phoenix must face the now district chief prosecutor, Miles Edgeworth.
Phoenix: The defense was born ready!
Edgeworth: The prosecution is also ready.
You break Athena's black Psyche-Locks. You actually break black Psyche-Locks! Admittedly, she wasn't actually trying to hide anything so much as you had to hammer past her PTSD, but it's still massively impressive on your part.
This has, in turn, made Phoenix solving the DL-6 case and defeating Von Karma in the first game even more awesome than it already is; considering that DL-6 and UR-1 are very similar, and their respective defendants, who are just children, suffering similar traumatic experiences, this pretty much implies that Phoenix has already broken black Psyche-Locks, before he even got the Magatama, during the fourth case he has tackled in his career.
The build-up to that moment is just as awesome. The Phantomslowly begins to realise how screwed he is and starts a Hannibal Lecture about how emotions are pointless and humans can't really trust one another, but Wright and co. refute every point he tries to make. The Phantom finally loses his cool and breaks down, pleading to his employers to let him live. Wright, Justice and Cykes made a sociopath feel crippling fear and beg for his life on the stand.
Athena: You can't outrun yourself!
Apollo: Remove that mask and unleash your emotions!
Phoenix: Confront your guilt head-on...
All three: ...with your own, true face!
In Case 5, Athena pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment, allowing you to Mood Matrix Simon Blackquill's false confession. Even knowing she'll likely end up incriminating herself if she proves him innocent, she still won't give up on him, and finally manages to acomplish what she set out to do in becoming a lawyer, a day before his execution to boot.
After finding out Athena has a crippling phobia of courtrooms, suddenly everything they did in the previous trials becomes a lot more badass in hindsight. Ditto for Simon's Batman Gambit to find the Phantom, that's apparently been going on all game.
The case has multiple bad endings. This is not awesome because of the events that occur during them, but rather because, for what may be the first time in the franchise, the game acknowledges that if you've actually proven someone innocent of the allegations against them, they aren't suddenly going to be found guilty simply because you failed to find the true culprit afterward. And if someone other than your client is accused of the crime and you can't disprove it, it is that person who ends up declared guilty.
During the fifth case, Phoenix manages to prove that Athena never killed her mother and in fact, that "Phantom" is probably the one who did it. When the judge is about to give a verdict...OBJECTION! But it's not Edgeworth or Blackquill — it's Apollo coming to accuse Athena of the murder of his friend Clay. Apollo then gives his logic during his testimony. It's the first time Phoenix and Apollo are on opposite sides, and it's awesome.
And it gets even more awesome once Apollo is convinced of Athena's innocence; they take the bench together to bring down the true killer, with Athena joining them a little while later. This is the first time in the series that Phoenix has not one but two sidekicks helping him in court at the same time, which leads to the triple-objection-fingerpointing moment mentioned above.
One of the best parts of that moment where Apollo accuses Athena is that it looks like, at first, he's been on a long road to a FaceHeel Turn. Instead, he accuses Athena, lays out his logic, and begs Phoenix to prove him wrong. He knows emotionally that Athena isn't the killer of his best friend, but he also knows logically that she could have done it. Instead of letting that contradiction eat him up and sour the friendship he has with Athena, he instead accuses her and turns to his mentor to ask to be proven wrong. He's doing what he has to do, not because he believes Athena did it, but because he wants to believe she didn't. It's actually awesome.
When Trucy is one of the people taken hostage in the space Museum, she's put in front of a camera to convince Phoenix to cooperate. The first thing she does, when she's able to speak to him, is tell him as much information as she could find — how many hostages, how many robots keeping them captive, and so forth. She's pushed aside so she won't tell anymore, and shows no fear the entire time.
Also, while being a hostage she performs magic tricks to entertain the other hostages and prevent them from panicking.
Towards the climactic showdown, when Athena is using the Mood Matrix on The Phantom, he jams her Mood Matrix with one of his tools. Simon, not fond of "Fulbright"'s dirty tactics, sics Taka on him and prevents him from using his jammer so Athena can continue analyzing him.
Much less plot relevent but still awesome was when the Phantom was terrorizing the defense attourneys with another device, when he tries to use it on Simon, he uses his "blade" to effortlessly deflect it back.
Just after that moment, when Athena says that she can prove Fulbright is the Phantom by analytical psychology, Fulbright calls her out and says that no one is going to let that happen because emotions are not evidence. He then turns to the judge and demands that Athena be prevented from analyzing him. The judge takes a moment to consider, and then calmly says that Fulbright is correct: emotions are not evidence. However, he's personally witnessed Athena's skills be used several times to get to the truth, and while he can't accept the analysis itself, he's going to allow it to proceed in an effort to uncover the truth. In other words, the analysis itself has no legal relevance, but can unlock new avenues of inquiry that are legally relevant. That's right, the judge gets a CMOA simply by using logic.
Athena has one that is very reminiscent of Edgeworth from the first game. Both of them share some parallels, but the most magnificent of them were that the actions they took as children ultimately brought about the downfall of their parents' killers. Edgeworth who threw Yogi's gun which caused Manfred to be shot in the shoulder, which was linked to the gun used to kill Gregory Edgeworth, and Athena who managed to stab Phantom's hand and make him bleed on the moon rock, causing him to leave evidence of his existence. It is arguably minor, but those two actions helped bring to justice two of the series' most vile villains.
For that matter, the fact that Athena stabbed the Phantom at all is plenty awesome. An eleven-year-old girl walks into a room, sees her mother lying on the floor with something clearly wrong with her, and there's a strange man wearing an incredibly creepy mask. He goes towards her, almost certainly to kill her, and she has the presence of mind to grab a knife from a toolbox and stab at him with it until he runs. In short, as a child, Athena drove away one of the most dangerous criminals of the Ace Attorney series.
YMMV in Edgeworth's case. Technically, Manfred only killed Gregory after Edgeworth accidentally shot him, drawing his attention to the elevator and giving him a gun to kill Gregory with.
Manfred was waiting outside the elevator, and the power came on moments after he was shot. Even had he not been shot, he would have seen the elevator with three unconscious people inside, saw Yogi's gun on the floor, and would likely have taken it to shoot Gregory to avenge his soiled perfect record anyway. There would have been no witnesses, after all, the only difference would have been that there would be no evidence to incriminate him.
Also, Simon Blackquill's actions that came right after Athena stabbed the Phantom. To view this in perspective: a young man walks into a murder scene where everything points at a little girl going the matricide way on the woman that he considers his mentor, including the girl in full-Ophelia mode and all covered in blood. He can't know what actually took place, and it seems the kid is guilty... And what does he do? He decides to frame himself for Metis's death, clearly knowing how heartbroken he will be, and even seven years later he refuses to budge - nevermind being in execution row. All to protect Athena.Hoo. Lee. Creeeaaaaap.
The reveal that Bobby Fulbright is the Phantom. Yes, BOBBY. FULBRIGHT.
To elaborate, this scene is quite powerful. The slow peel back of all the facts that point towards the real identity of the culprit is given a very heavy and serious atmosphere. There is no music, the ominous sound of wind rushing through the open-air courtroom can be heard, and only some of the dialogue is given the "beep-de-beep" effects so as to truly let the weight of what is about to come forward sink in. Phoenix reflects on everything about the space center evacuation and zeroes in on one highly unusual aspect: the detective leading the effort was very insistent that the ladder in the robotics lab be the one used, even though there are ladders all over the complex. As he processes this he realizes there can only be one explanation: the person who requested this must be the one they're after. Cue a delayed "Take that!", the "Pursuit (Variation)" theme and the black-and-white fade in of Bobby Fulbright's face.
In the post-credits scene, Solomon finally successfully going back into space.
The Phantom's elaborate plan to escape the space center, which included a death-defying 20 foot jump from three stories high, just to avoid detection (which only worked because he didn't have the fear that would stop any normal person). You have to admit, no one besides Phoenix could have figured something like that out.
The entire case is one for Phoenix Wright. After eight years of disbarment, his reputation tainted by the forging incident, he reclaims his attorney's badge. What's the first thing he manages to accomplish? Prove everyone involved in the case he handled innocent! In fact, he momentarily holds the Judge on his Not Guilty verdict just to prove that the witness on the stand is also not the killer, and that Shipley's death was accidental!
The ending where basically everything good that could happen does happen. Even if it seemed improbable during the case, the best possible scenario for everyone involved in the case is what happens. Rarely can you say that you've had that much success in an Ace Attorney game.