|Professor Layton Vs|
Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney
The story revolves around a mysterious girl named Espella who comes to London with a friend/student of Professor Layton named Mr Accidenti who gets into a car accident(is he a character that existed prior to this game? I feel he isn't). Espella meets up with Professor Layton and is being chased by witches. Professor Layton with Luke attempt to protect her and eventually do so, just to get sucked into a book Espella was carrying called the Historia Labyrinthia. Not long after, Ace Attorney Phoenix Wright(who's come to London on an attorney exchange program) is forced to defend Espella from an assault and theft charge. After successfully doing so Phoenix and his assistant Maya are also pulled into the same book Professor Layton and Luke were. Now our 4 leads are in a mysterious medieval town inside the book and must solve the mysteries of the world, how they got there and how to get out of Dodge. Trust me, the plot is REALLY hard to summarise and this is the best way I could do it without spoilers or waffling like Stephan King.
The game has adopted both play styles from both franchises. The Professor Layton style chapters have you exploring the town of Labyrinthia... unfortunately no David Bowie or Hoggle in sight. As you explore this Bowie deprived town you will talk to the locals, search for hint coins and solve various puzzles. Puzzle difficulty is something I do have an issue with though, mainly the difficulty curve. Seriously, Sarah would complain it's not fair(I got Labyrinth on the brain... sorry)! Some of the puzzles are hard early on while others later in the game some are a cake walk. Also, these chapters seem WAY too long.
The Ace Attorney style chapters on the other hand are my favourite to be honest. During these chapters you're in a courtroom attempting to prove your clients innocence. You'll be drip feed evidence during the case and you'll have to use your logic to find contradictions in the witnesses testimonies... and finding contradictions isn't going to be that easy either! Pressing witnesses to finding some contradictions and presenting evidence that backs it up is the name of the game. Unique to this game is having to cross exam multiple witnesses... all at once! During these cross examinations you'll have to not just find contradictions, but keep an eye out for the other witnesses reactions to statements made by the witness you're pressing. These are more challenging segments of the game, but the difficulty curve is properly executed.
The game can be completely controlled with nothing but the stylus(I recommend this personally) but there's a lot that you can just use the buttons for. Despite being a 3DS game the 3D adds nothing to the game and more over, the game automatically switch's audio from stereo to mono based on the console it's played in(2DS mono and stereo on 3DS). There's also only a very small amount of voice acting in this game and a lot of text which may chase away a lot of modern gamers. Unfortunately as I write this North America hasn't gotten the game yet and that sucks for them royally!
Now here's the funny thing, fans of either franchise may end up being disappointed by this game. Layton fans may be disappointed in the lack of puzzles. There are only 70 puzzles in total throughout this 40 hour game. Ace Attorney fans will have to wait what feels like an eternity to get to each court case. On top of that the investigation portions aren't in this game and while the witch trials are awesome, the contradictions are a little harder to work out with the dance magic... sorry magic(damn my love for that movie Labyrinth!) and medieval setting. Best way to look at this game is to think of it as a jumping off point for newcomers to get a taste of what both franchises have to offer.
God this review came out shorter than expected. This is not a bad game at all, in fact it's great! Yes fans of the franchises may feel a little cheated, but they can use it to convert people to the franchises it's based on. Erratic difficulty and more text then a Stephan King novel aside(again, I rag on him... I actually do like his books by the way), this game is a fun brain tester. Personally I preferred playing through the Ace Attorney chapters a lot more than the Layton chapters but still enjoyed the game as a whole. I don't think fans will hate this game, but they may be better off looking at this game as just a spin off that's more for newbies since it has no continuity with either franchise... at least not yet... you never know with Capcom. Regardless I say it's a great game that needs to be in everyone's 3DS library.