5. The Resolve of Ryunosuke Naruhodo (GAA2-5)

Ace Attorney Top Ten Cases

Although the characters in The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles are not as well-known to AA fans as the series staples of Edgeworth, von Karma, Gumshoe, and The Man Known Only As Judge, it's still quite the shocker to find many of the recurring cast of Ryunosuke's legal life appearing in this tumultuous finale.

Since this is the final case in the most recent game, we'll keep this one spoiler-free, but suffice it to say that no one is safe from the gavel or the scythe in these latest Ace Attorney games, and this case does a fantastic job of bringing us to the end of all of the looooong threads in both Great Ace Attorney stories. What an ending!

4. Farewell, My Turnabout (2-4)

Ace Attorney Top Ten Cases

If we were in charge of staffing at the Wright office, we'd probably have let Maya go a long time ago. Mostly because she's always getting kidnapped or accused of murder, and that's just too much of a liability for one lawyer to handle. This case revolves around some incredible subversions of Ace Attorney storytelling: for one, your client is guilty, and secondly, your partner is being held for ransom — the ransom being that you need to get your client off scot-free.

Some of Ace Attorney's best characters are the ones who execute a perfect heel-turn, and Justice For All's Matt Engarde changing from simple-minded heartthrob to a brandy-swirling Bond villain is one of the all-timers.

How can you reconcile your need to save Maya with your need to always find the truth — which is that your client is guilty? With the help of your friends, of course! The stakes are high in this finale, and the tension is perfectly-pitched at every moment, with a cast of characters that are all painted in shades of grey. Who could have predicted that you'd end up siding with an assassin?

3. Turnabout Succession (AJ-4)

Ace Attorney Top Ten Cases

How did Phoenix lose his badge? Who was the guy that Phoenix was accused of murdering? How did Kristoph get away with it for so long? Who is Trucy? Who is Lamiroir?? Who is Apollo??? And what happened to the Gramarye family????????

This case answers all of the questions raised in the rest of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney in the most heartbreaking (and convoluted) way, bringing the game to a conclusion that's both satisfying and horrifying in equal measure. Ace Attorney games are at their best when they show the full depravity of humanity, and the hollowness of death with no real meaning behind it — and this case has that in spades.

2. Turnabout for Tomorrow (DD-5)

Ace Attorney Top Ten Cases

Justice for Dual Destinies! This case is the follow-up to the previous episode, The Cosmic Turnabout, and wraps up Dual Destinies with a colossal number of shock reveals. Much like some of the AA trilogy's best cases, the person on trial is your assistant... not Maya (for once), but Athena, your new ally!

This case concerns international intrigue, missing bodies, unsolved murders, heartbreaking losses, and at the centre of it all, the mysterious Phantom — a man incapable of emotion, whose crimes have affected the lives of everyone in court (except maybe the judge). It's one of the darkest cases in Ace Attorney, and is almost entirely derailed by someone bombing the court itself.

It's all supposed to represent of the "dark age of the law", which is a theme that begins at the end of Apollo Justice, continues all through Dual Destinies, and comes to a head in Spirit of Justice, tying together the three games as their own trilogy, separate to the first three games. And boy, it hits like a ton of bricks.

1. Bridge to the Turnabout (3-5)

Ace Attorney Top Ten Cases

You can't help but love a villain like Dahlia Hawthorne, and luckily, the writers of Trials and Tribulations knew that, too. She pops up over and over again across the game's five cases, seeming innocent and sweet at first, winning over most of the men in the courtroom and making all the women suspicious. Before long, the lawyers know her deal (even if they don't know exactly what she's done), and each subsequent case starring Dahlia becomes an incredible battle of trying to prove what you already know, rather than trying to work out the mysteries.

Of course, the culmination of Dahlia's story is the final case of Trials and Tribulations, in which she's done a damn good job of hiding her tracks, but not good enough to stop Phoenix Wright from untangling the truth from her lies. Her breakdown is one of the most horrifying and memorable in the series, and although Ace Attorney has gone to some dark places since, this was the first time it felt truly terrifying rather than just sad.

Honestly, Dahlia's final case isn't the most shocking twist in the series — we knew she was evil from early on — but this was the first time that the Ace Attorney cases set 'em up and knocked 'em down perfectly, and laid the foundation for many of our other favourite cases in doing so. That's why it'll probably always be top of our list.

Honorable mentions

Here are some of the cases that didn't quite make it into our top ten, but are worth celebrating anyway!

Turnabout Revolution (SOJ-5) — Spirit of Justice can feel like a weak link in the Ace Attorney canon, largely thanks to its exoticisation and othering of Khura'in, the temper-tantrum that is Rayfa, plus the occasionally-irritating Divination Séance, but the final episode of the game redeems much of that. The stakes are higher than ever as the attorneys get embroiled in a literal coup and a revolution in Khura'in. As in many of the best cases, everything is turned on its head by a simple re-examining of the facts — there's nothing like good old-fashioned logic to save the day for both Apollo and the entire legal system of Khura'in!

The Magical Turnabout (SOJ-2) — The mysterious Trucy finally gets some character development in this case, turning from an idiot child into a capable and talented woman. This is also Spirit of Justice's introduction to prosecutor Nahyuta, who admittedly is a bit annoying, alongside a cast of suitably wacky and interesting characters like Roger Retinz and Bonny de Famme. Plus, we get a little bit more of the Gramarye story that was begun in Apollo Justice, and you know we love a drawn-out mystery!

Reunion, and Turnabout (2-2) — This case is the foundation of a lot of Ace Attorney staples. Sure, it's not the first time Maya is accused of murder, but it's the first time you use the Magatama, plus the first appearance of Pearl and Morgan Fey, Franziska von Karma, and the mysteries of Kurain Village and its legacy. It's not the very first time we get a taste of the Fey family misfortune, but it's the first time we get to really dig deep into the messed-up dynamics of this magical family.

Turnabout Beginnings (3-4) — Although this case is mostly setup for the final case, Bridge to the Turnabout, it's worth its own honorable mention because it does two things very well. First, taking us back into the past, and letting us see baby Edgeworth and Mia Fey; second, in letting you come so close to the answer of who orchestrated this murder, only to have the vital witness commit suicide right in front of you, snatching the satisfying conclusion away in a horrifying pyrrhic victory.

Turnabout Reclaimed (DD-DLC) — Aw, come on, you have to defend an orca! Ace Attorney's animal characters may seem silly at first, but they often end up bringing some much-needed levity to a serious story. There's Polly the parrot from Miles' murder case, Missile the dog, and... well, no one liked Money the monkey from Turnabout Big Top. But Orla the orca is lovely, and so is this DLC case!

Rise from the Ashes (1-DLC) — Rise from the Ashes is too long, and it definitely has moments in which the tension dissipates thanks to its length, but overall this DS DLC case is still one of the best. That's thanks to its stellar cast of characters — a charismatic, manipulative villain, your uncooperative client, and a cool cowboy — as well as the discovery that this case was much more complicated than it seemed on the surface, leading Phoenix to dig into the long-forgotten past to straighten things out once and for all.

That's our top ten — and it was hard to narrow it down. And we're sorry that Ace Attorney Investigations - Miles Edgeworth didn't make it onto the list at all (forgive us, Edgey-poo!), but in case Capcom is reading this, that doesn't mean we don't still want the sequel to make it over to the west officially!

Now, the task is yours as well. Tell us your top ten, top five, or just unranked favourites in the comments below, and which cases you think we absolutely should have had in here, too!