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Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright

The best of both worlds.

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright is a game for the Nintendo 3DS that was released in Japan in 2012 and eventually released to the rest of the world in 2014. Having been a fan of both Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright, this game really peaked my interest. Even though their games are so different, they shared a fan-base and even before this game was in the works.

I've heard people say that they would love an official crossover with these two years before it even came out. Level-5, who produced Professor Layton and Capcom, worked with together with Phoenix Wright very well to make this game I think, as it not only highlights the strength of the two main characters but also introduces some nice new characters, like the damsel-in-distress Espella and Darklaw.

Price & Availability

Being a recent game and merging two popular video games together, this game should still be available in most shops and easy to get online from £20. I remember getting the game for about £25. The game is still on the higher end of the price range, so it's worth looking at second-hand copies, which should be a bit cheaper. Either way, fingers crossed, you should be able to find it at a good price.

Professor Layton

Professor Layton and his assistant, Luke Triton, are the ultimate tea-drinking and puzzle-busting duo of London. Layton teaches archaeology at the fictional Gressenheller University. He's a sophisticated character who's wit inspires many, including Luke, his young assistant who hopes to be a refined gentleman like him. His skills at solving puzzles are his claim to fame. He's commonly referred to as the typical English gentlemen, and I think there's a lot of truth behind it. Between you and me, I think he would give Christian Grey a run for his money.

Phoenix Wright

Phoenix Wright and his assistant, Maya Fey come to London as part of an exchange program. At this point of the game, he's been a lawyer for three years and has started to make a good name for himself. He's only lost one trial, which in a Japanese Courtroom is extremely rare. They have the guilty until proven innocent mindset. Phoenix manages to acquit clients only by the skin of his teeth. You'd think a man like him who's faced so many intense and stressful moments would be happy to be going away for a while.

But it's clear he is unprepared for the culture shock of British Life. He quickly finds that the trials are run differently. Whilst Phoenix appears to be stunned by the changes, his assistant Maya appears to embrace them.

Story

Layton and Wright are both pretty good at their jobs. They also share some very positive traits. They both have bright and cheerful assistants. They both want to help people out and will go to extreme ways to succeed.

The two men are introduced to each other in a strange town called Labyrinthia. I've seen the name used before but it's a really strange town. It's set in medieval times and the citizens are ruled by this great storyteller who writes out all the character's fates and they're meant to come true.

Everything the storyteller writes becomes reality and the town is being attacked by witches. So if the storyteller's words come true, why not just write the witches out of it? Because of this, I found it pretty clear that the storyteller was the main antagonist. All the brainwashing elements could have been executed a lot better without borrowing Harry Potter elements.

The storyteller is a pretty horrible character and I think putting people through all that is simply a disgraceful thing to do. He has no redeeming qualities or anything unique about him that makes me want to feel anything but pure disgust.

It's a really scary thought to have your life dictated in somebody else's iron fist. Then they have these witch trials and they're also messed up. As bizarre as the world is, the world building is really good. Phoenix and Maya end up being bread-makers in this town until they return to their senses and get back to the old day job.

The only thing I didn't like about the story is the ending, I thought it was really disappointing because all the build up and seeing what the character goes through and the final conclusion is just meh.

It's easy to give sympathy to Espella. First, she's accused of theft and the next she's accused of being an evil witch. The poor girl doesn't even get a break she goes so much torment that I'm surprised that she's still got her mental stability. It's easy to root her and hope that the guys will be able to save her.

Darklaw and Barnham are my favourite new characters from the game. I think their designs are so awesome and really suit the medieval themes but they've also got a touch of modernness in their personalities.

Despite hating certain bits, I thought the story was amazing and even though I disliked the ending, I enjoyed everything else.

Gameplay

The gameplay as a whole is pretty sweet. The gameplay is split into nine chapters and two prologues. Sometimes pacing becomes an issue though. The Phoenix Wright games are really fast-paced and edgy whilst the Professor Layton games usually have a relaxing pace. When the two are combined, it gives some really odd pacing.

The puzzles are fun and trials are engaging. Both of them really have that strong sense of peril. Sometimes it was so dark, I was surprised that it didn't go all Game of Thrones and kill everybody off.

Some parts being fast and others being slow can really jerk me off at times. I like the use of the hint coin system and how you can also use it in trials as well. I've found the controls quite easy to use and whenever I got stuck, I found it easy to seek help using guides. I didn't need it much until the end though. Overall, the blend of genres work really well and I like how it mixes things up a little bit.

Graphics and Sound

Both the graphics and the sound are very high in quality. The cut scenes are very nice and the music is very well done. I've always known that both games before their crossover had really good graphics and really good music and I think they stepped up their game in both departments. All the characters have brilliant designs and even though the Layton style stands out more, there's still this feeling of balance between the two franchises. Really cinematic, but people might be put off with the overwhelming quantity of dialogue.

Summary

Overall I think the marriage between the two franchises was a successful one. I like both the Professor Layton games and Phoenix Wright games for different reasons, and despite their differences in style and genre, they manage to pull it off really well. I still think the title is a bit misleading, even though both men do have a showdown in the end as shown in the trailer, it's more of them working together instead of a battle of wits.

New characters are nice but would have been nice to include more characters from the other games. The new characters aren't as engaging as the other characters, but I would still recommend this game to both Layton and Wright fans.

I find it sad that there are no multiplayer features available. I think it would have been really awesome if one character gets to play as Layton and the other Wright. Or if there were four players, include the assistants. It could even be a mini game. I think it's a shame the concept was never explored.

The game hits the spot in some elements but is a missed opportunity for others, but I still enjoy the game. My friend has borrowed it at the moment and she loved it as much as I do.

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Chloe Gilholy
Chloe Gilholy
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Chloe Gilholy

Chloe is a healthcare worker from Oxfordshire. She is the author of ten books including Drinking Poetry and Game of Mass Destruction.

See all posts by Chloe Gilholy