LAYTON MEETS WRIGHT
Released in Japan in November 2012, the long awaited 3DS crossover between the Professor Layton and Ace Attorney franchises is finally coming to the West with the awkwardly named crossover title Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Despite the game’s name, the two title characters are allies, not adversaries. However, does the crossover between these two beloved characters work?
The answer is a resounding “Yes”. Both franchises, though different in approach, bears striking similarities in terms of well structured storytelling, diversity in their soundtracks and the many quirky characters. This makes the crossover title between the Professor Layton and Ace Attorney franchises lose none of the charm of either series.
The best way to describe Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is that it is a crossover between a puzzle adventure game with an interactive visual novel. Make no mistake, this game is long and will take players over 30 hours to complete. You should expect plenty of dialogue and scrolling through walls of text in lengthy segments.
After a tedious opening act switching between the duos of both franchises, players will find themselves in the medieval town of Labyrinthia. This medieval setting is filled with many fantastical elements such as witches, knights, magic and even a storyteller capable of rewriting the future.
Throughout the adventure, players will alternate between playing the two signature duos of both the Professor Layton and Ace Attorney series. As Layton (who is accompanied by his apprentice, Luke), you’ll be wandering around town, talking to its inhabitants all the while solving many well crafted puzzles. As Phoenix, (accompanied by his assistant, Maya), you’ll be collecting evidence to present in the courtroom in the defense of his clients.
There is some degree of crossover between the two duos, whether it’s a collaborative effort between Maya and Luke in solving a puzzle or Layton and Phoenix joining forces in the courtroom. However, the game’s structure of solving puzzles to gather more information for the courtroom never really changes. As such, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney constantly plays like two separate games with their own distinct gameplay styles, being bundled together into a single package. However, the time spent between the two forms of gameplay is well balanced which ensures that the experience of either franchise doesn’t become tedious. Unfortunately, in the few instances that gameplay elements from both franchises attempt to merge, the experience mainly falls flat. As such, the game fails to deliver a new exclusive experience to the crossover title.
However, the crossover elements of the game are at their strongest when the two duos are interacting. The dialogue between Layton/Luke and Phoenix/Maya is well written and the relationships and partnerships built between the two duos are convincing. It soon becomes natural to see elements generally associated with either Layton or Phoenix to seamlessly transition into the other.
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney has really high production values, as evident in the game’s beautiful, fully-animated cutscenes and solid voice acting. All the while, the excellent design and implementation of touch screen controls of both franchises retain their high quality found in the standalone titles of both series.
Upon the game’s completion, players will be rewarded with bonus content that come in a variety of forms ranging from art to soundtracks and more. Make no mistake, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney provides a lot of content for players to enjoy throughout the entire experience of the game’s story and after its completion.
The Verdict: 8.0 out of 10
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney delivers a charming and enjoyable experience for fans of both franchises. While the game doesn’t feel like a crossover in terms of gameplay, the crossover elements are achieved in the game’s excellent writing and character interaction. Level 5 and Capcom have brought together two beloved gaming franchises and delivered a lengthy, fun adventure, with neither series losing any of their appeal in this collaborative title.
Andrew Lee is an Associate Writer for MONG and you can follow him on Facebook as he continues his never-ending quest to keep playing