Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Nintendo 3DS) Review

Review for Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

There is no denying just how stunning both Capcom's Ace Attorney and Level-5's Professor Layton series are, with the quality of both nary dropping a notch over the respective five and six mainline entries released so far. From Phoenix Wright's initial courtroom dabbling in Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright to Professor Layton's investigations during the concluding chapter of the prequel trilogy that ended late in 2013 - The Azran Legacy, the adventuring may have appeared completely different, but in essence these fantastic titles bore a common theme - uncovering the truth at all costs. That and lead characters that love pointing their fingers boldly forward to emphasise verdicts and deductions. Bringing two legends together does not mean the end result will be positive, however, so what fate awaits Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney?

Welcome to Labyrinthia, a mysterious place filled with medieval settings and witchcraft…This is the main setting of Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, and it is indeed a Curious Village where once Pandora's Box has been opened it looks like things could lead to a Lost Future (okay, enough of the weak connections!). Basically, Phoenix Wright and trusty aide Maya Fey are over in the UK as part of a legal exchange and swiftly become embroiled in the twisting and turning tale that surrounds this seemingly trapped-within-a-storybook location. Not alone, though, Professor Layton and sidekick Luke Triton are enlisted surreptitiously by certain folk within Labyrinthia to unravel the real happenings there and pull back the veil on what is undoubtedly one heck of a grandiose puzzle.


 
With the key team members of both the Ace Attorney and Professor Layton series working in tandem, the question was always going to be how well they would gel and if the two gameplay styles would synthesise properly. The splendid news for all budding attorneys and puzzle-solving gentlemen out there is that the two of them go hand-in-hand perfectly, like they were meant to be together all along.

Early on, players are introduced to the basic mechanics of the Professor Layton and Ace Attorney games - how to scour areas for hint coins and brain-teasing puzzles on the one side, whilst learning the best interrogation techniques to pick holes in shaky witness testimonies on the other. Then, as the game progresses, the usual batch of characters from the series start crossing over into new territories, with various permutations of character interactions taking place - Hershel Layton working with Maya, for instance, Phoenix Wright with Luke, and so on. The switch between Layton puzzling and Attorney shenanigans plays a big part in the action not growing tiresome, with the changeover of styles coming at the perfect time - normally just as the trekking around town, hunting down clues and solving puzzles starts to grate, it leaps to the trial scenario and vice versa. The timing of the hand-over was always going to be a delicate operation, but it is all navigated with expert precision.

Screenshot for Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

There are still times where the story seems unnecessarily elongated in places, and traipsing back and forth constantly in Layton mode or long-winded 'Pressing' of witnesses to squeeze more information from them can be off-putting during lengthy sessions, but in the long-run, there is so much enjoyment from the 25-30 hours contained in the main story that by the time the final credits roll, any lingering moments of aggravation from slower moments are long forgotten. The added humour and smatterings of references for long-term followers of both games also helps to make for a special experience and the story itself - whilst familiar to those that have played earlier Layton titles (no more said on the matter!) - holds enough draw and includes sufficient twists and turns to keep gamers locked to their 3DS systems for more hours than is probably healthy!

What is of particular note is the new additions included. Rather than lump two old modes together, Ace Attorney creator Shu Takumi is back after a hiatus from the series - and definitely with a bang - bringing along some new features to the traditional courtroom battles. Rather than merely focusing on one witness at a time, for example, numerous ones can be interrogated at the same time, listening to multiple people throw their two-penneth into the ring. On top of that, reactions from others to a particular witness' testimony can also be scrutinised for further details, with audible responses heard during key lines of testimony and a simple scroll across all characters revealing who has something to say in retort. As if that was not enough, though, there are also times where various elements of one specific testimony can be compared to see if a previous comment contradicts a new statement, adding whole new layers previously unseen in Ace Attorney's past. The usual 'Press' (for further information) and 'Present' (evidence) options are still there as before, but the new additions make for far more intricate and intriguing sparring sessions. On the Layton side, the only real change from the norm is that finding Hint coins (for helping solve conundrums) is now made easier thanks to the on-screen cursor sparkling at the appropriate time, whilst merely turning orange if a point of interest to investigate or blue when able to zoom in for a closer look - minor, but still a worthy addition hopefully carried forwards. Other than that, the level of difficulty on the puzzles side appears to have been toned down somewhat, most likely to appeal to the Ace Attorney crowd unused to overly taxing cryptic conundrums.

Screenshot for Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

The two long-running series - brain-teasing puzzles mixed into an adventure setting, and the finding clues and interrogating witnesses to uncover contradictions on the path of finding the real truth - might never have looked like they could work together in the past. However, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney shows how seamlessly the two gameplay styles can work together. The mix of modes is gripping all the way to the final credits, with not only the tried-and-tested gameplay back, but some great new features introduced for good measure.

Graphics

It should be remembered that this was actually released in Japan before the fifth Ace Attorney entry, Ace Attorney 5: Dual Destinies, so developing and tweaking Phoenix Wright, Maya and the courtroom settings into 3D obviously took a great deal of care and attention. What the artistic team has produced on its first attempt, though, is absolutely perfect and brings to life the already fantastic renditions of the much-loved characters that were previously 2D sprites. The Layton side is as impressive as ever, with lavish locales and some great character creations added in from the Capcom graphics team to add extra sparkle to proceedings. Some minor slowdown creeps in when 3D characters move around, but it only happens on a handful of occasions and does not interfere with the actual game.

Sound

From the beautiful score of the Layton games through to the stunning soundtrack that always accompanies the Ace Attorney releases, the music maestros at Level-5 and Capcom clearly had a great time piecing together fan favourites with a new twist, as well as composing some fabulous new tunes that evoke strong emotions throughout. Topping everything off is a sterling effort on the voice acting side - something expected from the Layton series, and great to see on the Ace Attorney side. Hershel Layton's courtroom exclamations are perhaps not as powerful as they could be, but they just about pass the litmus test.

Value

Whilst the mini-games people expect from the Professor Layton titles are absent, the main quest alone stretches to the 25-30 hour mark and is more than sufficient. Then there are added puzzles available as free DLC, all fully scripted by Capcom's Shu Takumi rather than being simple 'here is a puzzle, solve it' situations like in past Layton outings. The core game is more than enough value, but these added mini chapters are superb bonuses and packed with even more great humour on top of the new brain-teasing fun. Throw in some music, art and video extras and this turns out to be great value for money.

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

The culmination of this special coming together of the Ace Attorney series from Capcom and Level-5's Professor Layton world is a magical one indeed. Fusing together the fundamental elements of both titles for Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney works seamlessly and the combination of characters working as partners in each other's usual settings is truly joyous to behold. What is more, having Shu Takumi back on-board is definitely telling as some sublime new courtroom techniques are introduced that most definitely need to remain for future Ace Attorney titles, whilst Akihiro Hino's traditional Professor Layton game engine is as smooth as ever. Hopefully this is the first of many crossovers between Messrs. Wright and Layton.

Read and post comments

 Buy Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Nintendo 3DS) Buy Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Nintendo 3DS)

Buy Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on AmazonBuy Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on Shop To Buy Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on GameBuy Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on TescoBuy Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on The Hut

Share this Review Share this Review

26.05.2014

8

4813

Games you may also like...

Developer

Level-5

Publisher

Capcom

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (3 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Darkflame (guest) 26.05.2014 22:27#1

A few games behind but when I caught up I cant wait to play this!

Also I saw the Phoenix Wright movie recently - by far the best videogame IP movie yet made imho. I wish there was a tv series of it Smilie

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I know a few others on here have this - like Mush, and it appears SuperLink has it as well. I'm intrigued to hear their thoughts on it...

Darkflame - you mean the live action movie? I've not watched it...Is it really that good?

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Staff Member

Adam Riley said:
I know a few others on here have this - like Mush, and it appears SuperLink has it as well. I'm intrigued to hear their thoughts on it...

Darkflame - you mean the live action movie? I've not watched it...Is it really that good?

This was actually the first "Phoenix Wright" game I've played and I absolutely loved every minute of it. I'm a huge fan of Professor Layton, but playing this also made me an Ace Attorney fan. I'm eagerly waiting for Capcom to announce Ace Attorney 123 for Western release.

I also wouldn't object to another crossover like this. Smilie

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Wow, never played an Acr Attorney game...you've missed out! Some of them are much better than Layton adventures. You can still buy them on WiiWare, no? Or has that been shut down now? I haven't checked my Wii in a LONG time.

As for another PLvsAA, I wonder if it'll go ahead. The post-game DLC has all the characters meeting up regularly and implies the legal exchange is a somewhat regular event, so there's nothing stopping them doing it from a storyline basis. Although I wonder if it'd be cool to have Layton and Luke visit Phoenix in their country instead.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Staff Member

Adam Riley said:
Wow, never played an Acr Attorney game...you've missed out! Some of them are much better than Layton adventures. You can still buy them on WiiWare, no? Or has that been shut down now? I haven't checked my Wii in a LONG time.

As for another PLvsAA, I wonder if it'll go ahead. The post-game DLC has all the characters meeting up regularly and implies the legal exchange is a somewhat regular event, so there's nothing stopping them doing it from a storyline basis. Although I wonder if it'd be cool to have Layton and Luke visit Phoenix in their country instead.

I've always been interested in the series, but never had the money when they originally came out. You can still buy them on WiiWare and I could potentially buy the original DS games relatively cheap.

However, as Capcom announced a trilogy collection for Japan, I'd rather wait for that to get localised, which should happen, as it already has the English language included in the game.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Fingers crossed...I was really gutted they never localised Ace Attorney Investigations 2 Smilie They promised that if AA5 did well, they'd consider it. Well, according to Capcom's financial statements, AA5 exceeding its expectations, so...WHERE IS MY NEW MILES EDGEWORTH SPIN-OFF?! Smilie Smilie

From what I've heard from various devs, in order to release a DS game on 3DS eShop, all that is required is for an electronic manual to be added. Surely that can't be that costly!

EDIT: By the way, how many hours did you sink into this? I ended up with about 35, but I'm sure some of that was from leaving my 3DS on, lid open, by accident and walking away for a while.

( Edited 28.05.2014 17:54 by Adam Riley )

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Staff Member

Adam Riley said:
By the way, how many hours did you sink into this? I ended up with about 35, but I'm sure some of that was from leaving my 3DS on, lid open, by accident and walking away for a while.
Over 30 hours for me, not too far off your time, but I did do everything in the game, including finding all puzzles/hint coins.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Me too Smilie I loved how the magnifying glass sparkled when hovering over a hint coin, and moving from area to area showed how many coins there were and how many hidden puzzles could be found. It can be a real pain at times trying to find everything - especially if you think back to the first few games where you literally just had to randomly tap all over the screen!!

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Comment on this review

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.

Follow this topic Follow this topic

Keep up with new comments with the RSS feed for this topic, or subscribe via email above.
One Radio - Cubed3's Glass to the Wall
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Latest news and updatesSite Feed
Vote on our latest community pollNintendo Poll
Vote: Which eShop Games will you Download this Week (EU)?
Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom
Breath of Fire
Castle Conqueror EX
Horse Vet 3D
Ittle Dew
My First Songs
Persona Q
Pier Solar and the Great Architects
Pokémon Alpha Sapphire
Pokémon Omega Ruby
Pokemon Puzzle Challenge
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Talking Phrasebook
The Penguins of Madagascar
The Penguins of Madagascar
Thomas Was Alone
Member of the weekMember of the Week
This week's top member is RudyC3, awarded the most stars for great posts.
Online Play and ChatOnline Nintendo Play & Chat
General Chatroom: Click here to chat Wii U Nintendo Network Codes - Find other Nintendo Wii U users 3DS Nintendo Network Codes - Find other Nintendo 3DS users
Listen to our Nintendo Jukebox - Classic Mario, Zelda, Metroid songs and more Nintendo news and reviews on the move