Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney finished - a review

Discussion in '3DS - Games & Content' started by nikkuchan, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. nikkuchan

    nikkuchan GBAtemp Regular

    Jul 6, 2011
    I was going to post this in the review section, but it seems I don't have the privileges to do that. Anyway, yeah.
    I finally finished this game, and if I had to sum it up in one sentence, it would be: "It was pretty fun, but WTF?" What started to be a crazy and potentially fun, camp-filled adventure turned out to be just a fairly satisfying one that was bogged down by an overly weird, forced, and just plain bad story. It's still fun though. I'll break it down into categories. I know the Japanese Ace Attorney all has different names and whatnot, but I'm going to use the English names for the characters.

    Graphics - 9: The graphics in the game are very nice. Everything is smooth, the backgrounds are colorful and unique and still look hand-drawn even though they are 3D. The 3D is also very good; the environments have some real depth, and the game definitely looks better with it on. Phoenix Wright and Maya look just like they did in the old games, just in 3D. All their faces, poses, and everything are in there verbatim, and seeing them in motion is a treat.
    Unfortunately, Layton doesn't transition into 3D as well. Luke looks fine amongst the game's other characters because he has a round face and whites in his eyes, but Layton himself just looks out of place. His cylindrical head and dot eyes make him look like a giant lego man compared to the more realistically featured characters. I didn't really care that much, but the thought kept coming back to me throughout the entire game.

    Gameplay - 8: If you played Layton, and you've played Ace Attorney, then you know how to play this game. Rather than mixing elements from each game together. The game is split into what you could call "Ace Attorney" sections, and "Professor Layton" sections. It's more or less like this: Investigations and explorations are done Layton style, where you click around, find coins, and arbitrarily solve puzzles, and the courtroom scenes play out just like any other Ace Attorney game, where you point fingers, yell, and get insulted. The characters themselves mix it up, with Maya and Phoenix doing puzzles, or Layton doing some lawyering, but the gameplay styles stay separate for 90% of the game.
    Also, it felt like the game was aimed at players who may not be familiar with one or the other of the original game series, because it never gets as difficult or as deep as either series' has gotten. The majority of the puzzles are simple, and many painfully easy, but they were still fun to do, and there were a few pleasant surprises. There are 70 puzzles in all, which is a fair amount I guess.
    There's a lot more hand-holding during the court cases, as well. Even during the last trial, there's a lot of strong hinting telling you what part of the testimony to attack, or what or when you should present something. Those "Eureka" moments when you finally figure out what to do after digging through profiles and testimonies are scarce, and they don't feel as rewarding.
    All that aside, the game plays as it should, and it does it well. Anyone who is a fan of either of these series would have a lot of fun going through the game, even if they don't have as tough of a time.

    Sound - 9: Not much to say here. The music is good. All the same courtroom music returns, and a whimsical little tune plays whenever Layton chimes in to explain things and prove how much of a genius he is. Everybody is voiced, including the Ace Attorney characters. For reference, they used the actors from the live-action movie. While Maya's voice is perfect and funny, Phoenix's is boring. It sounds like the guy is just reading lines. There's not much passion in his voice when he's screaming objections and attacking people with hard evidence, which is a shame because it could have been the kind of over-the-top hammy voice-acting I'd love. He may have a second chance with an English release and new voice actor, though. Everyone else is voiced by anime voice actors, so yeah, can't say much else.

    Story - M. Night Shyamalan meets crazy anime storytellers: This is the part of the game that hindered my progress the most. It started off wild and crazy, and great in how ridiculous it was, and if the story had just reveled in it's awesome horribleness, it would have been amazing, but no. Apparently somebody thought that they actually had a good story, because the game took the story too seriously, with lots of drama, suspense, and long, boring exposition.
    Here's the basic idea of it (without spoilers): A mysterious guest to the Layton home, and later a mysterious client to Mr. Wright, gets our 4 main characters sucked inside a storybook and into a walled off town called Labyrinth City, where everything is stuck hundreds of years in the past, magic exists, and everything that happens in the city is dictated by a man named the Storyteller who literally writes the town's future. On their quest to figure out what the heck is going on, Layton and friends get mixed up in the town's witch trials, and Phoenix Wright must partner his lawyer skills with Layton's knowledge to defend people who are accused of witchcraft.
    Seems like something they could've had a lot of fun with, but they didn't. Since the name of the game is figuring things out and explaining it, the explanations for the mystical goings-on of the town are about as far-fetched and stupid as can be. During the final trail, I couldn't play for more than about 15 minutes a time because the story became so silly it was exhausting and I'd have to take a break. Every time a new secret was revealed, my most frequent reaction was ".....really? .....seriously?" Then I would shake my head and close my 3DS. Seriously, it's THAT FREAKING STUPID. I also found it a bit silly that the group that's surprised to see that magic exists includes a kid who can talk to animals and a girl who can channel dead people.
    Another thing that ticked me off throughout the game was Professor Layton himself. He spends the whole game being perfect. He's always calm, always right, and what's more, it seems like he's an Olympic-calibur athlete and a master swordsman. Seriously, for most of the game he's already got things figured out, but just sits there quietly letting Phoenix Wright play attorney and giving everyone else a chance to learn a few things before he jumps in to tell everyone how he's had it all figured out hours ago. Why is Phoenix Wright even there if Professor Layton gets everything without any help? Phoenix has nothing but a hard time. He spends the whole game getting showed up by professor Layton and never getting a chance to be cool. Layton even lawyers better than him, for goodness sakes!! It's ridiculous.
    On a better note, Luke and Maya interact well, and they make a good pair, and I wish there was more of the two of them playing around.

    Replay Value - maybe: I don't think I'll every play through this story again. However, after finishing the game, a DLC option became available. I checked it out, and the categories were extra galleries, and extra episodes. Extra Episodes, hmm...? You mean, the could release more cases? Maybe do an actual Ace Attorney episode in the game's awesome 3D graphics? There's currently none available, but I'm very interested in seeing what comes out.

    Anyway, that's all. The game was fun and all, but it's not as good as the games in either of the respective series.
    ashxu and WiiUBricker like this.
  2. Arras

    Arras GBAtemp Guru

    Sep 14, 2010
    Honestly Layton has always been that way. In the Professor Layton games he could do pretty much everything and had most things figured out way before the player as well. Like the sword fight in part 2 and the movie.
  3. Midna

    Midna Banned

    Apr 13, 2008
    So you were frustrated with the plot twists, and Layton's perpetual awesomeness?

    ...You haven't played a Layton have have you? That sounds like a perfectly normal Layton plot, and an accurate portrayal of Layton from his own games.

    Phoenix and Layton are both takes on the Sherlock Holmes idea. But where Phoenix is a lucky, quick-on-his feet attorney who solves everything by the skin of his teeth, layton is an actual Holmes-tier investigator who has everything planned from the beginning, and figures out the mystery systematically ans as he goes, without saying a word.
    I guess you feel the two styles clash too much, yes?
  4. nikkuchan

    nikkuchan GBAtemp Regular

    Jul 6, 2011
    Nah, I like them both, but when they're both together, it felt like Layton was running the show and Phoenix was just kinda there. Phoenix's only real use was to stall for time in court waiting for Layton to come and save the day. He really had no shining moments in the game.

    It wasn't the plot twists, it was the idiocy of them. Really, if you are able to play through the game, you'll understand. It is so horrible that you would laugh, except that you just spent tens of hours playing through the game for such a lame conclusion.
  5. WiiUBricker

    WiiUBricker Insert Custom Title

    Sep 19, 2009
    This game is called Prof Layton vs. Ace Attorney and not Prof Layton pwns Ace Attorney. By making Layton dominant they really missed the point of the "vs". Thanks for the review.
  6. Ikki

    Ikki GBATemp's grumpy panda.

    Jun 1, 2010
    You pretty much described the game to be like I expected it. I watched some footage earlier and found Phoenix's voice awful and I figured they would mess up with explaining magical shit.

    I'm still going to get it if and when it comes out in the West though.
  7. Midna

    Midna Banned

    Apr 13, 2008
    ...You played the Laytom games, right?
    You're going to have a tough time convincing me that anything can match the "idiocy" of Layton plot twists. This game actually sounds like its plot twists will be a lot less unbelievable, given that it has a fantasy setting to begin with.
    Warning: Spoilers inside!

    It's the actor from the GS movie, FYI.
    soulx likes this.
  8. Zarcon

    Zarcon .:~Enigmatic Wanderer~:.

    Former Staff
    Nov 6, 2002
    Toronto, Ontario
    It kind of makes sense that Layton ran the show, Phoenix before Apollo Justice was basically a bumbling (although loveable) fool.
    The pairing was lopsided from the start.

    Phoenix from Apollo Justice (and hopefully PW5 onwards) is a much more competent fellow.
  9. nikkuchan

    nikkuchan GBAtemp Regular

    Jul 6, 2011
    You got the right idea. It's pretty much along those lines, and just as forced and bad as you could probably imagine. It's all just very anti-climactic. Maybe it's more standard fair for Layton, but a bad story is still a bad story. Also, aside from the ghosts and whatnot, Phoenix Wright has mainly dealt with real-world settings and much darker plots, and seeing him playing Scooby Doo in a whimsical little fantasy world is pretty odd, and the game is missing a lot of the tone that made the Ace Attorney games engaging.

    Anyway, I'd tell you how bad the plot is, but that would be spoilers. Hopefully you all can find out sometime.
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