When Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright was first announced two years ago, I remember squealing like a little girl who’s just learned she’s going to Disneyland for her birthday in excitement. A crossover between two popular franchises?! Sold! Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright has been worth the wait; it’s fun, addicting, and exciting.
The gameplay in each respective series (Phoenix Wright and Professor Layton) has never been complicated. The mechanics are very straightforward, and it’s no different here. Both game styles mesh together quite nicely, and the result is a fun game that’s easy to learn and continuously user friendly. My only complaint is how much the game holds your hand in Phoenix’s sections of the games (yes I know he’s an attorney and how it all works stop beating me over the head with it thank you), but besides that, the gameplay is fun and interactive. The new features implemented during Labyrinthia’s cross-examinations are entertaining and make solving the cases even more enjoyable.
The premise behind the story is interesting and is enhanced by the setting and behavior of the minor characters. Watching Layton meander through the town while trying to keep to the townspeople’s unusual behavior is rather fun to watch (even if it always comes back to puzzles), though I wish the same care was given to Phoenix as well. He and Maya acclimate to Labyrinthia all too well (for the unfortunate reasoning of amnesia), and I would have liked to see how they would have reacted to the new setting instead of conveniently fitting in.
The first trial was not nearly intense as the ones seen in the original Phoenix Wright series, and though it was a nice change of pace solving a non-murder case, I definitely enjoyed the second trial more. It ended on a rather intense, ominous note reminiscent of some of the cases in the original series. I appreciated the subtle changes added to Labyrinthia’s court system along with the variety it provided (the mentality of people in the Middle Ages was OBNOXIOUS, as has been reinforced to me yet again through this crossover). The puzzles help progress the story quite nicely, and are thoughtfully incorporated to fit the setting.
While I do have some lingering questions in regards to the direction the story is taking and how everything connects (like what’s stopping the Storyteller from nuking all of the witches if they’re such a problem), the foundation and setting is still compelling enough to keep me interested in where everything is headed.
Even though I still have a lot of questions about the story the characters still keep me entertained and coming back for more. Layton’s world may revolve around puzzles, but his quick thinking shines on several occasions and helps to offset his obsession with solving puzzles. Luke, as his apprentice, is similar, and their relationship is oddly professional. Sometimes I’d wish they’d drop the act and just speak to each other as friends once in a while. Which leads me to my next point; Phoenix and Maya’s dynamic is spot on and highly reminiscent of the original series. Where she’s spunky and food-loving, Phoenix is more reserved and determined, making for some great laughs whenever they’re in a scene.
Crisp and colorful, the transition to 3D – for both series – is done very well. The Phoenix Wright series already proved it could make the jump to 3D with Dual Destinies, and Layton’s transition to 3D is also done well. The animation is fluid and natural looking (there was only one instance when I noticed it slow down some), and the animated cutscenes are stunning and excellent.
The soundtrack is phenomenal, arguably one of my favorite aspects of the game so far. Each track is appropriate to the scene and memorable, and the remixed tracks from the original games are all extremely well done. In fact, I refuse to load my file until after the wonderful, epic orchestrated theme plays uninterrupted, that’s how good the music is.
So far, these last ten hours of the Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright crossover have proved to be very fun and smart, and I’m looking forward to completing it soon. Look forward to a complete review soon! (If I feel like being redundant).