Game Review: Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright

Professor-Layton-Phoenix-Wright-video-game

Did I say it would be all my writing? Technically this is my writing… But I have always wanted to do game reviews, too. Plus I just feel like some games aren’t given the credit and love they deserve. So, onward!

Warning: may contain spoilers. Story related or otherwise major spoilers are not intended, but for the purposes of a thorough-ish review I include some story bits.

Synopsis:
“Two of gaming’s biggest sleuths team up to solve the most puzzling mystery they have ever encountered. For the first time ever, the mind-bending puzzles of the Professor Layton series meet the courtroom drama of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Follow Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright as they are transported from London to the mystical city of Labyrinthia, where they must help Espella Cantabella, a girl accused of being a witch.”

Platform:
Nintendo 3DS

Gameplay:
Nice transitioning from one style of game to the other. Both are evenly included, providing a relief from one style at nearly perfect moments. Sometimes the puzzles or courtroom scenes would almost seem to drag, but then the switch would take place, keeping me interested. Courtroom scenes were sometimes longer in some parts than I might have liked. Had to take breaks in between, sadly.

Story:
Never have I been disappointed with a Layton game’s plot. Nevah. I have yet to play any of the Ace Attorney games, but if they are anything like this mash-up has been, I’m certainly interested. The story is smooth and only interrupted by the player if they want to stop and do some “side quests” (puzzles in this case). It’s believable and intriguing, easy to learn about the characters and their personalities, and provides plenty of things to keep the player guessing what will happen next. I often find myself discovering the answer before it’s revealed, and the best part is that I am sometimes wrong! 😀 Odd, maybe, but it’s because of the ‘obvious’ hints they give you that make you think it, only to prove you wrong. And it makes sense.

Graphics:
The combination of two games that have quite different styles made me wonder at first, but I enjoyed how it turned out. Ace Attorney characters are more detailed, anime-esque, while Layton ones are more like simpler caricatures, with silly and/or exaggerated features. Both were enjoyable to see for the character design.
Backgrounds and scenery were lovely. It’s always very detailed from past experience, and this game was, as well. There’s so much to look at it’s reminiscent of an “I Spy” scene, only not as chaotic and messy.
There are static images, 3D models, and cut scenes, all combined providing for a nice experience, like an interactive movie.

Music:
I always love the music on Layton games, as well. This is no exception. The accompaniment of Ace Attorney melodies was a nice touch! As well as the new/original music for this game.

Qualms:
Very few! I am 99.9% sure that Luke’s voice actor was changed for this one. While this isn’t a huge deal, as a long time fan of the Layton games, I found it super distracting. Every time he opened his mouth that was what I focused on (for the voiced parts, anyway). His voice was much more annoying this time…
Espella. Her character just seemed very flat to me. Considering she is one of the main characters for this title, it was a little disappointing. I found other characters, such as Barnham and Darklaw, to be much more interesting, and they had smaller parts.

Average Rating:
8.7 / 10

My Rating:
9

Overall…
Another awesome game! I love these ones that make me think critically but still provide a wonderful story to follow. Again, I have yet to play any previous Ace Attorney games, but from a Layton-fan standpoint, I was not disappointed. They always have a way of bringing in the fantastic, but still maintaining a realism that can’t be refuted. Logic at its best, but even fans of the mystical over the real would still love it. I loved the story, and I was always wondering what would happen next. Layton was a dapper, witty gentleman as always, and Phoenix was a cunning, goofy partner that provided something new to this series I’d become so familiar with.

I would not be sad at all if there was another mash-up of these two series. 🙂 In fact, I fully intend to hunt down some of the Ace Attorney games to give them a shot. Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright was a really fun play!

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