Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney Is Beautiful But Hollow

By Ethan . September 13, 2014 . 5:00pm

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney is a mouthful of a title.  It’s a mouthful of a game, too. Layton X Wright (you’ll forgive me if I forgo the full title through the playtest) is literally two visual novels in one.  The amount of content is remarkable for the genre.  I’ve played the game all the way through to the conclusion now and my 3DS reports a solid 28 hours of play.

 

Did I enjoy those 28 hours, though?

 

Layton X Wright has absolutely delightful music.  Both original franchises feature great and distinct musical styles.  The crossover game not only provides a greatest hits lineup from the original games but also features original compositions that if anything outshine the imported tracks.  Where it would have been easy to just lean on compositions past and fan nostalgia to carry the soundtrack, this game goes above and beyond the call of duty.

 

Layton X Wright also looks fantastic.  The two franchises this game crosses have totally different aesthetic approaches, but somehow the characters from those worlds are made share a screen without clashing.  The best of both worlds have been lifted.  Rapid fire close-ups from Ace Attorney play well between animated cutscenes similar to those found in Professor Layton.

 

As far as crossovers go, Layton X Wright is the most literal interpretation of the idea as I’ve encountered.  The game is literally an Ace Attorney game and a Layton game cut into chapters and staggered between one another.  This is a great idea—rather than taking characters from popular brands and mixing them in some sort of totally unrelated type of game, this game ensures that people who enjoy solving puzzles as Layton get to solve puzzles as Layton.  That’s real fan service—making sure that people who are fans of the original games (and not just the characters) are served.

 

Layton X Wright is ambitious in a way few other crossovers are.  Far too often crossovers assume that just leveraging popular brands/characters will be enough to draw in fans and cut corners.  This game not only features higher production values than Ace Attorney ever has, but it meaningfully evolves the core Ace Attorney gameplay in a way that allows multiple characters to bounce off of each other as opposed to the traditional 1 on 1 witness interrogations those games normally feature.  It also features an entirely new story that has a fully developed arc and original characters and at it at no point feels like a throwaway excuse to get these characters interacting with each other.

 

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m avoiding the question I presented before:  Did I enjoy the 28 hours I spent playing this game? This kills me, but no.  Not really.

 

I really wanted to like this game.  I gushed over Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy in a playtest on this site previously, and my enthusiasm for Ace Attorney games is equally ardent.  Getting this playtest assignment was a dream.  And the game made a great first impression. I’ve done nothing but list positive traits about the game, and I could have listed more.  But eventually a problem arose and I just could not get over it.  One little problem that outweighed all the good and great things listed above.

 

Layton X Wright isn’t very well written.  As a visual novel, that’s pretty damning.  Normally if a game story is bad I can look the other way.  Maybe the combat is fun, or maybe the difficulty curve is just right for me to zone out while playing.  But a visual novel?  Can a visual novel EVER be good if it’s not well written?  Coming out of this, I have to say no. Without being too spoilerific, here’s a brief rundown of why:

 

  • Phoenix appears to have lost about 40 IQ points in the transition to the crossover game. He’s pretty dumb now, and frequently fails to make even the most basic cause/effect predictions.

 

  • You know that dialogue shortcut where character A says something and character B just repeats back a key word or phrase from the original statement?  That is SO much of the dialogue in this game.  Says Luke, “I think you’re a witch!”  Says Layton “… a Witch?”  It’s sloppy, and neither franchise has this issue in their regular games.

 

  • Moving the game into a fantasy setting had a terrible side effect.  Shu Takumi who wrote the original Ace Attorney games wrote this, and his fondness for convoluted mystery scenarios remains.  The problem is that since there’s magic, he’s free to make up literally anything he wants and just say it was a spell.  This leads to the most confusing and specific set of magic spells I’ve ever seen in a game, each clearly written with unusual traits designed just for the case at hand.  Fireball spells with exactly a 1 meter cast range, spells that require special rare reagents… it’s a mess to keep track of and bogs the game down.

 

  • The vast majority of conflicts in this game could be avoided if people would just tell each other the truth about what’s going on.  And they rarely have a good reason for not doing so.

 

  • It’s satisfying to nail a criminal in Ace Attorney because you know that once you’ve extracted a confession, justice will be done.  This game yanks that assumption out from under you and makes securing convictions infinitely less cathartic.

 

  • Luke Triton just feels like he’s along for the ride because he’s in the Layton games. He rarely gets anything meaningful to do.  When he does, it feels oddly out of character.

 

So that’s the long and short of it.  Layton X Wright is a wonderfully crafted game with devious puzzles and tons of content and I love both Layton and Wright individually, but they’re stuck in a dumb story and all the lavish presentation in the world can’t fix that.


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  • Fronkhead

    I thought this was a class act personally, and far better than the Takumi-less Ace Attorney 5. Endearing from start to finish.

    I didn’t have my hopes up for this given it being a crossover, but I really was pleasantly surprised. The court scenes were some of the best I’ve played in the series, in part due to their involvement with the main plot rather than being side stories, and the topsy turvy rules of their world. Takumi, tired of Ace Attorney, wanted to do something different, and it led to interesting cases where you had to think outside the box.

    The presentation indeed added a lot to proceedings: AA5 may have had great animation, but Layton Vs AA has the better camerawork and soundtrack. It brought real tension and grandeur to the courtroom revelations and battles, and the option to use hint coins ensured it never held back in presenting you with a few problems to solve.

    I thought the conclusion was a bit rubbish. While not a bonkers as say, the revelations in Layton games, it was awfully convoluted and the Layton puzzles were too a letdown, too few of them relying on logic. I don’t think I ever noted down anything.

    But best of all was how satisfying it was as a crossover: it was really endearing to see Layton and Wright (and their respective apprentices) interact with each other and combining Layton investigation with Wright court battles turned out to be a great match.

    Takumi’s writing in particular shone through in the script. All the characters behaved as you’d expect — particularly their interactions with each other. I don’t think Wright behaved any differently to how he usually would. Yes, he would miss the point a few times but it was par for the course: Takumi placed him in such helpless, unknown situations after all.

    And no one writes Maya and Wright better than Takumi. I missed that pair.

  • Andrew Boyce

    Honestly, this game has the tell-tale signs of something clearly edited. Remember
    when it was first revealed when the trailers seemed to show different
    things and Phoenix and Layton not liking one another at first? Alot of
    that is cut out. Though, I still think you get pretty much what anyone
    asks for. My biggest worry was Layton stealing the show.

    On the other hand, I find it odd to gripe about the other worlds rules and whatnot given the odd nature and what happens at the end, which explain why it had to be that way.

    One thing, Phoenix’s animation is obviously restrained cause Level-5 did it all. Surprised you never commented on that.

    Regarding Luke’s role in the plot, {Possible Spoilers} did you just forget the chapter where him and Maya go exploring at night, or get lost with Phoenix and Espella? The same could be arguably said about Maya, but why was that not commented on?

    This review is well written, but to me it strikes that the author may be criticizing things over other things that I believe are worth more of a look at. I didn’t even get to how much of the story was clearly altered as Phoenix and Layton are friends from the beginning they meet as the trailers did NOT lead us to believe, or the severe lack of puzzles and various smaller features from Phoenix’s end, but that would take forever, and some of them are nitpicks. Regardless, fair review.

    • Fronkhead

      I hate to be that guy who nitpicks, but Capcom provided the graphics, apparently, according to this revealing Iwata Asks about the game’s development and the struggles that were overcome when two companies with different, clashing cultures collaborate with each other: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Iwata-Asks/Iwata-Asks-Professor-Layton-vs-Phoenix-Wright-Ace-Attorney/Professor-Layton-vs-Phoenix-Wright-Ace-Attorney/1-Professor-Layton-s-Secret-Rival/1-Professor-Layton-s-Secret-Rival-850289.html

      Which makes sense: if you look at the scans for The Great Ace Attorney, you’ll see that that game looks like it’s using the same graphics as Layton Vs AA: particularly in court and when characters speak with one another (which reminds me of Layton). I guess Takumi’s team who worked on Layton Vs AA are behind that, whereas Yamazaki’s team that worked on AA5 are working on AA6.

      • Andrew Boyce

        Kinda glad you did nitpick, cause it’s all coming together for me. Maybe it was prototype Phoenix before AA5. I was under the assumption it was Layton cause the art fit it so well. Granted that could be because the art style of Layton was so simple and easy to do. It just feels like Level-5 animation for games.

        • Fronkhead

          Wouldn’t say it’s the prototype Wright: the “Wright” on Great Ace Attorney looks very similar.

          While AA5’s animation is better in terms of facial features and so on, I think Layton Vs AA was far more ambitious overall: the camerawork didn’t just try and recreate older games but with 3D visuals, for example. You really felt like you were there. Even the little details were well thought out: the camera follows the gavel for example.

          • Andrew Boyce

            Hm. Though perhaps that was because of Layton. AA5 didn’t need so many different angles cause the style held itself up on its own. At the same time, the Great Wright does remind me of AA5, but you’re right, it does look similar to this one.

    • rubin

      I don’t think anything was cut out, they just wanted to avoid spoiling the plot, which is something I really appreciate. And we do get some Layton vs Weight action in the game as you know, so nothing’s lost.

      • Andrew Boyce

        Go back and watch the cut scenes of the original trailer. None of those are in the game.

        • rubin

          Yes, and thats a VERY good thing. How lame would it be if they revealed the best moments in some random trailer, like some movies (especially comedies) do?

          • Andrew Boyce

            You’re missing the point though. My point was that editing it changed the flow of the narrative. Going in I expected what the trailers implied, which wasn’t much beyond Layton and Wright not being fond of one another at first. They didn’t have really big moments in the trailers, they just easily set the tone for the would-be game. Whether it was a good idea or not doesn’t change the fact that it’s a bit misleading or reveals its obvious edit points. Granted I’m satisfied with the results, I among others I am sure are disappointed about the change.

    • Ethan_Twain

      You know, the more I do this playtesting thing the more I realize that the biggest question in any playtest is “what to talk about”. I scrapped two playtests completely before this one came to be. I agree with most everything you talk about here, your observations are valid. We could also get into issues like tonal dissonance between the comedy of Ace Attorney and the earnestness of Professor Layton. Layton as a straight man totally doesn’t work :(

      I think what a person talks about makes a playtest as much a reflection of the writer as a reflection of the game under scrutiny. It’s obvious that I simplified matters in some areas that you would have gone more in depth on, but on the other hand you probably wouldn’t have done a bullet point list of complaints with the writing.

      Which is all a long way of saying I found your comment really interesting. It never would have occurred to me to look at, for example, specific character animations and how they’ve changed (or not changed) for this title. They just kinda looked the same as always pretty much to me.

  • JohnNiles

    As other people have said, this game should’ve been titled “Professor Layton guest starring Phoenix Wright”. Phoenix was basically a chump to make Layton look better, especially at the end. I blame it on Level-5 prioritizing their own creations.

    The setting made it very hard to empathize with the side characters, with logic going out the window in favor of mob rule. Despite the medieval setting, it reminded me of some 21st century real-world issues, which put me in a bad mood.

    The ending was full of ass-pulls and learning the real story behind Labyrinthia made my stomach churn. I just facepalmed and moved on to the DLC content.

    Despite having said all that, if you asked me if I would buy the game again if I had to redo the decision, I would say yes no matter how many times I was asked. It was a miracle we got this game in the first place, and I got what I asked for – Professor Layton versus Phoenix Wright.

    Let us hope the Meiji-era setting of the next game won’t suffer similarly from lack of 20th century investigative techniques.

    • Fronkhead

      “I blame it on Level-5 prioritizing their own creations.”

      Takumi would only work on the game if he was given full creative control, so I don’t think that was the case. https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Iwata-Asks/Iwata-Asks-Professor-Layton-vs-Phoenix-Wright-Ace-Attorney/Professor-Layton-vs-Phoenix-Wright-Ace-Attorney/3-Doing-Things-as-Takumi-san-Wanted-/3-Doing-Things-as-Takumi-san-Wanted–850390.html

      But yeah, the ending was bad, I think the game peaked at chapters 3/4.

    • Andrew Boyce

      I almost said that, but to me he does get his role’s worth with the trials. If it was really a Layton game with Phoenix Wright, Phoenix would not have so much screen time and the trial options, or at least them voided of anything from the original games.

      • JohnNiles

        I guess I can’t find too much fault with how it worked out. Layton is a swashbuckling, mystery-solving archaeologist; Wright, being a lawyer, focuses on individual cases. Layton’s “Objection!” was fantastic as well.

        For all the minor quibbles I have, I must admit the four primary characters interacted very well with each other. I also liked Espella and Barnham a lot. And I was fully emotionally invested right until the last trial started to fall apart.

        • Fronkhead

          Same here: the last trial built it all up until the moment where you finally understand what the game’s title is all about, and then it went downhill from there. Shame.

    • Fox

      lol, you’re kidding, right?

      There are hardly -any- “20th century investigative techniques” in the Ace Attorney games. Transposing the current games 200 years in the past actually makes them make MORE sense.

      • JohnNiles

        Fingerprinting, decent photography, voice analysis, luminol, videotape, ballistics, coroner’s reports – what am I missing? Some of these might’ve gotten earlier starts, but wouldn’t have been as good prior to the 20th century.

        • Chaos-Mafioso

          It’s funny how Fingerprinting in AA never works the way it should, except for pinning the crime on innocent people.

          Though, if it worked, the game would last less than half an hour.

  • “Fireball spells with exactly a 1 meter cast range, spells that require special rare reagents…”
    You could tell they were pulled out of thin air.

  • Jack

    I also have mixed feelings about this game, albeit for a different reason. This is pretty much my introduction to the Layton games, and I’m honestly not really enjoying his portions! Too many of the puzzle situations feel completely superfluous and kill the pace of the story. The puzzles themselves have yet to really impress me.

    Granted, I still have a ways to go in the game so maybe it changes, but I dunno! I can’t tell if Layton just isn’t for me or if his portions in this particular game aren’t that interesting. I’m enjoying the Ace Attorney stuff just fine so far, yeah the magic rules are silly and arbitrary, but Ace Attorney games don’t usually follow realistic logic anyways.

    It’s pretty much as you said: it’s two separate games that are served in alternating chunks rather than working together. I guess it makes sense, but if you happen to enjoy one of those games way more than the other, then the sections you don’t like are going feel like a slog. Every time I’ve switched to a Layton part I’ve had to take a break. I almost wish they had blurred the lines a little more just so the experience would feel more consistent.

    • Ethan_Twain

      I went back and played a little of Layton 6 after finishing this playtest, and I really was struck by the difference between native Layton gameplay and crossover Layton gameplay. It’s like… it’s like platforming in Super Mario Bros versus platforming in Rayman 1. The two games share pretty much the same mechanics and goals. Running, jumping, secret doors, nonsense settings… but one of them (Mario Bros) is just so much more tightly designed than the other.

      I’m not trying to sell you on Professor Layton games – they aren’t for everyone and it’s not really my place to shill for Level-5 anyway. But I hope that you won’t consider the Layton chapters in this crossover game as representative. So much of the charm, the sense of melancholy, the unflagging optimism about people… there’s a lot of Professor Layton that didn’t make the transition over into this.

    • Shippoyasha

      There are some levels of change of pace in Layton games overall as well, but I feel they have a tighter focus on puzzles and it doesn’t feel juxtaposed to the purely plot/investigation oriented gameplay in this crossover.

      Though I might be a tad biased because I’m a huge puzzle fan, I thought Layton series tends to be paced pretty well between the story/investigations and the puzzles.

  • AuraGuyChris

    They got lazy with it in the dialogue. Absolutely NOTHING changed from its European translation, which means the former Japanese-turned-American Nick is fine using European grammar. So is he a mess of accents?

    Makes you wonder why they delayed the game for too long. They just imported the game and didn’t bother changing the British voice for Luke, who now sounds like a squeaky mouse. And the least we speak about Maya’s grown woman voice, the better.

    • Thatguy

      Story of EU releases.
      Take NA version, delay it and release without changes in EU.

      • Morricane

        Still better than in the good old days of 8-32-bit gaming, when it was “Take NA version…and don’t release it”. :)

      • ReveurIngenu

        America is a bigger market than english-speaking EU, so it makes more sense to localize for Americans and import that to EU than to give Americans the EU localization.

        Not only that, but America being the biggest (in terms of money, power, etc.) and most influential country in the world, it’s normal to want American localizations. I mean heck, Americans even remake british shows and movies! That’s how much they need everything to be American!

    • Sean ‘Geg’ Reddie

      Um. But Luke IS British. His voice is better than the fake American voice…

      • AuraGuyChris

        Doesn’t mean I have to listen to his squeaky tone.

  • Fronkhead

    In Layton Vs AA’s Iwata Asks:

    Iwata: Oh my, the “real thing”, eh?! (laughs)

    Hino: After playing the game, I really feel able to say that. This is a game that Takumi-san got fully-immersed in the development of, and is therefore a “real” Ace Attorney game. The fact that people are expecting big things from it makes me happy.

    Wonder what Hino made of Ace Attorney 5…I was very disappointed with AA5.

  • rubin

    Well, I don’t agree, but tastes are subjective. I knew from the start that the game is going to have a very Laytonish plot and those almost never make sense anyway (especially the endings).

  • I agree with a couple of the nitpicks (why does Wright act dumber than he should? Is the extra dialogue really necessary? Blech at Luke’s VA and minimized role), while disagreeing with a couple others.

    The magic makes sense once you understand…well, the plot, so I don’t want to spoil it :) I think it’s a little more Layton than Wright, and more “new” Layton and Wright than Trilogy 1 of either. I wouldn’t recommend the game to anyone who couldn’t make it through DD or Azran Legacy. I wrapped it up this evening at 22 hours myself; seems I like it a little more than Ethan did!

  • Lazulis

    I finished in about 21 – 22 hours, and I don’t want to solve any more puzzles so I haven’t done the dlc stuff.

    I didn’t really like it. I LOVED the courtroom stuff with the multiple witnesses and stuff but…Feenie just seemed super clueless…I don’t really like Layton games because the stories of the ones I played had dumb plot twists. And this game had a dumb Layton plot twist. That one puzzle that had Feenie do a turnabout was nice. But why didn’t we have more of that???? Luke was just an animal translator basically. And the name puns. Jeez, they were never this bad or outright obvious. Foxy? Trodden? EMEER PUNCHENBAUG?

    Also do we ever get to see Barnham hug Constantine like Espella does Eve? CONSTANTINE IS SO CUTE.

  • Tonton Ramos

    You know what? I think this is satisfying…

  • Gaisaph

    This game was satisfactory and IMO was overall a better game than AA5, but there was a few things that still annoys me.

    SPOILER!

    -The witnesses- The witnesses were kinda lame and annoying. The only witnesses that had good personality and wasn’t dull was in the first case.

    -Humour- There were so less humor in the court scenes. I really miss those kinds of humor in Phoenix Wright. There were some, but I can only remember like what, 3?

    -Phoenix Wright is too pathetic- Yep there is one main problem right there. I understand Shu Takumi made him, but Phoenix Wright was extra pathetic than anything. It’s seriously just sad. I was hoping for him to have a badass scene like Layton, but nope, never happened

    -More Layton, More badass- See Layton had too much scenes compared to Wright in investigations and more. That’s my biggest gripe with the game. It’s not even a fair
    balance crossover at this point. At the end of the game it pisses me off so much when a certain someone said that Layton was wbrought to this world but Phoenix Wright was just unlucky and was brought into this world withou any merits.

    -Dark Scene- Throwing the witches into the fire was the most awesome thing that has ever happened. I thought it was the most darkest scene to ever happen into the Layton/Phoenix Wright game. But I was EXTREMELY disappointed once we know the secret.

    -Edgeworth- the voice acting was so awful. He sounds like a snot nose person. Even he looked really weird and was far more thin compared to the Phoenix wright game and his own.

    -Luke’s VA- Made me want to commit suicide

    That’s all I’ve got. I love playing the Layton game but I still love the Phoenix wright genre more. That being said, this game is waaaaaay better than AA5 has ever been. When I saw the cutscene with Phoenix and Maya together with that song, it made me tear up because we’ve never seen them together for such a long time!(even if this isn’t a canon game)

    • Sean ‘Geg’ Reddie

      Did they re-record Luke for the US release or are you on about the EU release?

      • Gaisaph

        I was talking about the US voice acting. The EU Release… I’m not sure but I’ve seen the video and it sounds the same as the US VA. I remembered playing the Curious Village, Diabolical Box and watched the movie, and it sounds different and not high pitched. You can try finding it on Youtube for comparison. It’s very easy to differentiate the VAs

        • Zoozbuh

          Both versions of this game had the UK/EU Luke (Maria Darling). They didn’t bother to re-record lines for the American release, as far as I know.

      • Zoozbuh

        For this game, both versions had the EU (British) actress for Luke. I personally prefer our Luke anyway, so this wasn’t a problem for me.

      • Nope, no re-recording of anything or no different translation. This is the same version that Europe got through and through.

  • Adrian Duran

    I love medieval Europe, but wasn’t too big of a fan of the setting, for various reasons.

    Also it’s funny some people call some of the sorcery in this game an asspull, when in Ace Attorney using spirit telepathy is seen as okay.

    • Seems to be how it’s used that’s the issue. I think the concept of Phoenix having to solve mysteries involving magic sounds like a perfect setup for comedy gold. It’s all in the execution though.

  • Smiech

    It pains me a bit to say this, but this review is rather spot on with regards to my thoughts on the game as well.

    As a huge Ace Attorney fan, I had high hopes for this game, and was overjoyed when it was finally announced that we’d actually be getting it in the west. And what we got was certainly high in quality. From the music, to the visuals, to the sheer amount of content in the game, it was all there, but when it came to my actual enjoyment of the game, it fell harder than probably every other AA game. But don’t get me wrong, I did still enjoy the game, it’s just that there were moments where I had to push myself to keep reading, and that’s something I’ve never really had to do in a AA game before.

    The game’s biggest problem, however, was definitely how its finale and conclusion played out. The final trial was awful. I hate to say it, but it’s how I feel. AA, at least to me, has consistently impressed me with how grand its finales are, but this trial was LONG, and it just dragged on and on. This is in large part due to the lack of actual player interaction in the trial, as Phoenix is essentially reduced to a spectator for large parts of the trial, and Layton takes the role of slowly explaining the situation to everyone. The usual tension, the flare, the fast pacing are all thrown out the window as a result. The only saving grace is there are some interesting plot twists and the story evolves quite nicely, but at that point it’s not even a court case anymore.

    The rest of the game before this, however, was actually pretty good, but not exceptionally so. Character interaction is also questionable at times, but at other times was surprisingly good, so that struck a strange balance.

    Ah. Well, at this point I’m beginning to ramble on a bit. Bottom line, I did enjoy the game enough that I don’t regret the purchase. In fact, as a cross over game, the result is actually quite impressive. Definitely worth the play if you’re a fan of either series. Just don’t expect the best from either series.

    • Ethan_Twain

      I’m with you on not being a huge fan of the finale, but that’s something I am absolutely not going to discuss at all in a playtest for obvious reasons. The issue with the finale in my mind was that none of the characters really acted in a way that surprised. Motivations and methods were just way too clearly telegraphed for the most part.

      Ace Attorney Investigations is kind of a black sheep and doesn’t get discussed a ton, but I felt like that game had a pretty great finale. It dragged on too long, but the Yatagarasu reveal and how the Wolf guy reacted to that reveal were really strong character moments. I thought a lot of that climax – it’s just a shame that the actual case dragged on another interminable 30 minutes after it :P

  • Zero_Destiny

    HHhmmmm you know, it might be random of me to say, but, I never really felt that Phoenix was all that smart of a character to be begin with, honestly. Now don’t get your pitchforks out, not saying he’s dumb. lol

    But my experience was that Phoenix was always an average guy. He’s very much on the same level as you: the player, and together you both unravel the mysteries. Phoenix always felt like an everyman character to me that we could relate to in an otherwise zany world full of amazing (and ridiculously young :O) prodigies, and “big wigs.”

    He was never really a super sleuth, and he always needed help from a myriad of other characters in the cast, and super natural aspects as well. It was kinda what made him fun though. If he were a super sleuth kind of character like you see in a lot of animes, like say, Detective Conan, with Jimmy/Shin’ichi, I don’t think the series would have had half the charm it does. Us as the players discovering things along with Phoenix was what gave it its thrill.

    Though, I honestly haven’t played this yet. ^^; It kinda sounds like the power struggle that happens in a lot of cross-over material though. It’s definitely very hard to make both characters look awesome, especially when both their talents seem to be pretty similar (finding the truth, and what have you). Guess Phoenix got the bad end of the stick in that regard. And maybe he went from everyman to idiot. lol I don’t know. ^^;

    But it does make me wonder if perhaps it has to do with distance as well. Playing as Phoenix makes his screw-ups not feel as bad. Mostly because you only have his character to play as, so you know Phoenix is gonna turn this all around in the end and win the case. Shifting out of his shoes and into another’s shoes though …….. can cause problems. If somebody else saves the day? Suddenly your perspective on Phoenix can be hurt a lot more. It’s a sort of catch-22 when you change your protagonist about. Sharing spotlight (even unequally) can have some averse effects.

    Maybe it was a bit of both. Games that change the perspective of who we play as, do seem to tend to polarize how some people few the other characters, I think. Cross-overs can be really hard to nail out too without just going into easy “give the fans everything they want fan service, and don’t challenge them” territory too.

    • shytende

      Well…
      Layton is a genius. So Nick have no real chance to shine against him to begin with.
      His role (and maya) is more of a comical character here.

      I don’t think it’s particulary him being dumb, but more Layton being too good.
      We’re used to see Nick fails, but Layton making a mistake would be really strange, so he get the short end of the stick.

      It’s a little annoying,but it’s unavoidable.

  • Morricane

    “[…]convoluted mystery scenarios remains. The
    problem is that since there’s magic, he’s free to make up literally
    anything he wants and just say it was a spell.”

    Umineko no naku koro ni says hello!

    • Yuki97

      Umineko was amazing though

      • Morricane

        Frankly, I felt the finale just fell apart in a huge pile of messy…stuff – the middle however was hilariously awesome :)

        • Yuki97

          Are you talking about the finale to the visual novel? Because it had a good ending. Erika was a good villain too. As well as Bernkastel (though she wasnt really evil just in it for the LOLS)

          • Morricane

            Yeah, the novel worked wonderfully as long as we had the dynamic of magic vs. mystery which got dropped in favor of all-out magic in the end. Episodes 3-6 were the best (arguably 4 was the most epic), but then the concept went down the gutter.

            It actually feels a lot like Ryukishi07 hadn’t it all planned out from the beginning and then was faced with a huge mess he couldn’t solve any other way anymore :)

          • Yuki97

            To be honest with you I liked the later chapters a lot more. With the focus on Bernkastel and Erika as villains instead.

      • Sion12

        Umineko makes no sense at all

        i mean i really like the character and their story and relation to each other but lets face it the plot and mystery is steaming pile of convoluted donut which make no sense at all and some part the writer out right lies to you to cover plot hole

        • Zoozbuh

          Completely agree with this. Granted, I’ve only read/played the first (question) arcs of Umineko, but it already seems like contradictory nonsense. After enjoying Higurashi so much from beginning to end, it was a let down that Umineko seemed to just say “fuck you, this story doesn’t need to make any sense! let’s throw out the rulebook” …Hopefully that makes sense.

          • Sion12

            lol if you only read first part and already felt this way then let me tell you it get worst, much worst.

        • Yuki97

          I read the visual novel, including chiru. And it was well worthwhile. Probably one of my favorite series of all time.

          • Sion12

            Funny enough, I really like this VN and everything about it but the whole concept of denying witch, which is downright retarded when you are talking in afterlife to dead people and other stuff like being revive.

          • Yuki97

            Actually they arent revived the witches are just toying with a tragedy that happened. Thats how they work. Tats why I think higurashi was also a witches game board.

          • Yuki97

            And I wouldnt say retarded, just different. Ryu writes his stuff differently. Its a lot better than 90% of the eroge shit you see out there.

        • Yuki97

          The visual novel BGM is also amazing. It has an astounding soundtrack.

        • BattlerArisato

          “Without love It cannot be seen”
          I liked Umineko and for me the mysteries makes sense, just try to think outside the (cat)box.

  • Shippoyasha

    As a long time Layton super fan, I feel this game may have some of the side effects from the way Layton games often can have very out of the left field plot twists and exposition near the end of the games. I still love the silliness of it all, but I can see why it juxtaposes heavily with something like the Ace Attorney series. This game is still a lovely effort and the journey to get to the end is still very much worth it as I see it.

    I’d definitely want a sequel that aims to improve upon the foundation this game has set on. I’d be pretty disappointed if this is the last we see of the crossover. Maybe next time, Layton can travel to Phoenix’s world.

  • Zeik56

    I remember being super excited for this game when it was first announced, but now that AA5 has come and went it feels kind of lackluster in comparison, and I don’t think the crossover elements are the only reason why. I know not everyone loved AA5 as much as I did, but this game just feels like more proof that Takumi is not the be all end all for great AA games. I’d be happier seeing him move onto other projects like Ghost Trick.

    But who knows, maybe that new Ace Attorney set in the past will capture the magic again.

    • Shippoyasha

      You shouldn’t be discouraged actually. This game is pretty damn good, even if some of the consistency isn’t quite there. I feel that they may be working out the kinks of two disparate tones of the series that’s all. It’s still very worth it to experience it if you’re a fan of either franchise.

      • shytende

        It’s a minor AA game, and a minor Layton game.
        And they doesn’t fit together that well.

        But overall, it was still a pretty fine game.

        • Shippoyasha

          I would say it’s a borderline great game that was held back by a few inconsistencies in the storytelling. But still a valiant effort. If there is a sequel, hopefully Takumi will feel more bold about using both franchises. Because you can sort of tell they had to hold back on the more bold story elements of Layton and Ace Attorney a bit.

    • Ghost Trick was brilliant, and I’d be very interested in seeing Takumi work on something new and fresh again. Always great to see a creative mind try something completely different from past works.

  • shytende

    This game was flawed, but I appreciated it mainly for one reason : More Layton.
    I hadn’t really realized after Layton 6 how much I was missing him.

    Is it enough to enjoy the game ? For me, it countered most of the flaws, at least.

    I really would like to see a sequel that improve every aspects, though.

  • The only negative thing I can say about this game is that the 3D was very very much blah and badly done. Other than that, it takes what’s best from both franchises, combine them wonderfuly, and even makes them better (font/presentation-wise for example). Nick, on the contrary, is faithful to his old self and actually is even more likeable than other games. It’s Luke that I dislike a bit more now to be honest. Court scenes are wonderful as well as the array of witnesses, However puzzles were so easy and maybe have to do with PW fans who don’t want to waste time with them. Nevertheless, I think the writing is really strong, and never have I felt the weight of the plot and dialogue too heavy. All in all, it’s a bittersweet game since we’re still unsure about Layton’s future :(

  • Aaron K Stone

    I thought Phoenix was the same as always. It’s just next to Layton that he looks dumb.

    • XiaomuArisu

      If you compare Crossover Phoenix to AA Phoenix then he is dumber lol
      They were focusing on his weaknesses

  • Cyrus

    It’s way better than Dual Destinies I can say for sure. Not that DD was a BAD game per se.

    • Anubisseesall

      care to elaborate on this? I like the PL games but I am a much bigger fan of AA, and have read a lot of negative feedback on this cross over so from someone who has played Dual Destinies and this it would be nice to hear the pros and cons

      • Pros: Layton’s (maybe) final game / whacky witnesses / presentation is top notch / story is good (not over the top awesome but it does the trick) / voices / free DLC / scroll texts faster from the get-go

        Cons: 3D is kinda crappy / very easy puzzles.

      • Cyrus

        I reviewed the game here, perhaps that will help you get a better understading on what this game’s like. =)
        http://3dsblessed.com/?p=1740

  • Strain42

    I liked the way the spells and stuff worked. I liked that Phoenix had to point out contradictions in a game where logic is different, there is no forensic science, etc. etc. I really thought it worked insanely well and I was having a blast playing it.

    …but the ending…oh god…I won’t spoil it, but it drags on for WAY too long and it just had me going “…Really!?” I enjoyed the game fully up until the final couple of hours.

    • Zoozbuh

      Agreed with you completely. None of the crazy magic spells or different logic bothered me, and I really enjoyed the game… UNTIL the ending, which was basically a massive ‘fuck you’ and made zero sense. In my opinion the plot progression and the writing itself was fine, but the premise and dodgy ending completely let it down.

  • Kumiko Akimoto

    Omg a crossover that isn’t well written? This is first time ever.

    • British_Otaku

      As long as it is better than Project X Zone’s stupidity, even if I expect better from anything with Ace Attorney (well not certain parts but overall) and Professor Layton… This will be brilliant.

      Still need to finish more Layton games before I play this one.

      • Kumiko Akimoto

        I never got why people got mad over project x zone, I mean you’re pulling in a multi characters from multi universe. It’s not gonna have a coherent story.

        • British_Otaku

          It repeated the same song and dance for each chapter I played, it was repetitive as hell and rarely approached being a SRPG. >_>

          Even if my expectations are a lot lower for it, it was poor overall, not just in the story even if the sprite work and music library were strong.

          • Kumiko Akimoto

            Aren’t all rpgs repetitive after a certain point?

          • Princess_Eevee9

            No. What an insult.

          • Kumiko Akimoto

            You know danm well there isn’t an rpg that doesn’t get repetitive.

          • Princess_Eevee9

            Excuse me but I’ve been playing them all my life so I think I know what I’m talking about. Repetitiveness to you plays to me a chance to better myself with the goals the game has. A game might follow a certain pattern through its entirety but so what that’s part of it’s charm nothing wrong with that. Now some series go beyond that and just halfass stuff sure but to state every single RPG does?

          • Kumiko Akimoto

            I don’t mind repetitiveness if there’s a way to downplay it in game, either through fast forward battle or a convenient save function. But all rpgs have a repetitiveness to them that they can’t avoid.

          • Fidelis

            In my experience, rpgs don’t get repetitive unless you’re trying to grind for post game stuff or powerful endgame bosses. Project X Zone really dropped the ball imo by making the main story a mindnumbing chore to plow through. The worst part is that this could have been easily fixed by not making you fight 1000000 enemies every single stage

          • Kumiko Akimoto

            You’ve never played a fire emblem game or a disagea game then?

          • Fidelis

            I’ve played every single Disgaea game and I’ve never had to stop to grind in any single one of them during the main story. Disgaea is why I made the distinction of “post game” stuff.

            I’ve played FE:Awakening, and I didn’t have to grind for that either, but I could see how it’d be a thing you’d want to do in order to see all of those “character bonding” events

          • Kumiko Akimoto

            Now you’re just lying, you have to grind in both of those games, You can’t rush through the story line. Especially not FE.

          • Fidelis

            You’re just completely incorrect about Disgaea. I make it a point to never stop and grind in those games. I hate saying it, but maybe you’re just not “good” at the franchise. You probably just start grinding at the first sign of difficulty or trouble without actually doing much in the way of strategy. Or maybe you didn’t make good use of healing items. Maybe you were bad at optimizing equipment. Whatever the case, don’t tell me that it was necessary to grind during the main storyline of any of the Disgaea games, because you’d just be plain wrong. Maybe, just MAAAAAYBE you’re correct about D1; My recollection of that game is hazy because I haven’t played since around middle school. But D2? No. And I have very recent recollection of my D3-DD2 playthroughs, DD2 being the absolute easiest and most ridiculous to claim necessary grinding in.

            I played FE on the normal difficulty, maybe you just played it on hard. Maybe you switched around your team instead of using the same people every battle. I never played through the extra little battles that popped up on the map, and my Gaius, Lon’qu, and Gregor just turned into slaughter machines without me having to intentionally go after that status for them; I just consistently used them.

            You’re just….wrong on both counts, dude. Sounds to me like you should consider other solutions to difficulty besides grinding.

          • Kumiko Akimoto

            It’s completely necessary to grind during the main storyline, that’s one of the tag lines of the games.What are you talking about? I make it a habit to grind in every game, I like to know what I’m getting into and plan ahead accordingly.
            I do that with every rpg I play,mind you I can’t always find a walk through for things but even then I at least try to make sure I’m not running head first into fuck.

            Disgaea 1 is the best example for that, it’s extremely painful to play if you’ve started with a later entry. La Pucelle is the only disgaea multiverse games that made grinding fun and effective.

            I’m playing on normal, it’s the same as FE 12, it helps to grind and running through the story will land you in a shit spot.

            I have no idea what kind of cheats your using to breath through these things.

          • Fidelis

            “It’s completely necessary to grind during the main storyline”
            Well if you’re talking about Disgaea games when you say that, you’re just completely incorrect.. I JUST finished a playthrough of DD2 in a way that debunks your statement. Have you even tried playing without grinding? You said you make it a habit to grind and plan ahead accordingly, which makes it seem like you don’t even try to head into the next fight beforehand. The tagline refers to the post game, which is literally nothing but grinding in order to beat super bosses. Other taglines are the crazy amount of damage that you can inflict and the high level cap: things that also don’t need to be relevant until post game.
            Again, you might be right when referring to D1, been a while since I played it. But the later ones? Not at all.
            Also, just to show that there are others that agree, did a quick google search.
            http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/995078-disgaea-4-a-promise-unforgotten/62079966

            But hey, they all might be liars

            “It helps to grind and running through the story will land you in a shit spot”

            Of course It does help to grind, but your claim is that you can’t complete the game without it, which is not the case from my experience. I was consistent with my characters, they turned into juggernauts on their own, if you paired them up, they were nigh invulnerable. Just using Gaius in every fight turns him into a speed demon who rarely if ever gets hit.

            “I have no idea what kind of cheats you’re using to breathe through these things.”

            I use strategy to breathe through strategy rpgs.

            It’s while they’re known as Strategy Role Playing Games and not “Grind until you can slaguhter everything Role Playing Games”

          • Kumiko Akimoto

            If they made thing easy mode with dd2 I don’t know but i’ve played 1-3 and for those I’ve always needed to make sure I’ve grinded.

          • Fidelis

            If you ever continue the series and play 4, just try doing a play through without grinding. A whole new layer of fun and excitement will be added. There’ll be times when it’s literally just down to one of your characters and the boss unit, other times when the course of the whole battle comes down to whether or not your character can dodge a single attack. It’s great.
            Also you need to realize that your playing experience will be different from someone else’s. Just because you felt it necessary to grind and just went for it doesn’t mean someone else HAS to do just that and didn’t go for getting better equipment and utilizing items or other gameplay mechanics to come out on top

          • Kumiko Akimoto

            Are you trying to say that when you grind you don’t need to do anything like that or that you can’t solo one character when you grind?
            Because I pay attention to equipment and items too,I mean you have to so…

      • At least project x Zone is fun. This game is like reading a boring pop up book

    • Fidelis

      It’s a common misfortune, but I don’t believe it invalidates the complaint. A translator can’t do anything about the overall plot, but a better localization team could have really spruced up the dialogue to make it a smoother ride

      • Kumiko Akimoto

        I don’t think that needs to be done, if it plays good you just go with the flow.

      • Slayven19

        It doesn’t invalidate it but its also no surprise either. However since a lot of people like to complain about a changed script when it comes to dialoge I don’t think that’s a good idea at all.

  • Noep

    They didn’t even bother to localize the game. They just copy and pasted the British translation. We don’t spell “color” with a u! D:

    • British_Otaku

      Consider it to be an English lesson. You guys might do well in your next exams.

      On a serious note, they rarely adjust the English for England and Australia or America when you guys get the game later, Fire Emblem Awakening is one of the few cases I can think of.

      We have gotten what I thought was some crude language in our games, just because they couldn’t write something more neutral or retranslate the game for us. Same will go for you if you face some language which you aren’t familiar with.

      • Noep

        I’ve already come across idioms I didn’t get (in the first chapter!!!) and had to Google them to even be able to understand the line.

        • British_Otaku

          You can never say that you aren’t learning when you play visual novels huh? I pretty much do that for each Ace Attorney release since the stuff wasn’t aimed towards us Brits. >_>

          Maybe, they could have written more neutral dialogue, but perhaps it would have been too flavour-less for anything Ace Attorney or dry for what is supposed to be a medieval Europe like setting.

      • $122391282

        Australia and England both use the same style of English since we are still under the figurehead monarchy. So there’s no change believe it or not and trust us whatever you think is crude over there may be the same for us when you guys translate the game.

        • British_Otaku

          I assumed that you used the same type of English in my prior post, but still insist that subtle terms will pop up in different countries, regions and subcultures regardless.

          Just because English is a thing in England doesn’t mean all of us use the same “English”.

  • linkenski

    I think the story has a lot of suspension of disbelief killers but I still thought it got out on the other end without feeling dumb down to its core. It’s certainly a lot more clever than Dual Destinies was.

  • Woot Woot

    And here i thought this was a piece on Destiny

  • rabid nintendawg

    More fluffy than a bunny rabbit.

  • Yan Zhao

    I’m still early in this game, but I have to admit I’m not really drawn into the story as much as I am in most Ace Attorney games. I dont know why.

  • Slayven19

    “Phoenix appears to have lost about 40 IQ points in the transition to the crossover game. He’s pretty dumb now, and frequently fails to make even the most basic cause/effect predictions.”

    Yeah I don’t agree with this at all, he was always kinda silly like he is in this. However I appreciate that he isn’t as smart and he’s dealing with magic this time around which isn’t the same kind from his game. The story wasn’t all that good near the end, but I felt the story was good enough to get me through the game. I still like this game more than AA5 though, something about 5(while I enjoyed it) just didn’t click with me.

  • “Says Luke, ‘I think you’re a witch!’ Says Layton ‘… a Witch?'”

    Welcome to the wide world of literal translations from Japanese. This is why I’ll always advocate for localization, because in any other language, this sort of conversation feels sloppy and painful. The questioning of the comment leads to nothing, adds nothing, and is just another line to click through. That said, it’s ridiculously common in JRPGs. Some localization/publishing houses find ways to make those lines tolerable, but if you leave them alone, there’s your result.

    (That said, I am thoroughly enjoying my time with the game, so…YMMV?)

  • $122391282

    I know for the first hour or so I didn’t quite enjoy the game but to really really enjoy it. You have to do research on how witches trials were done in the medieval settings since they don’t have access to modern technology which we had today and Magic with specific requirements there was a reason for that, I think you just ignored parts of the game cause you just didn’t enjoy it, fair enough.

    I liked the game overall even though the first few hours were completely boring, however the trials were completely mad and yeah even if Ace Attorney came up with those cause/effect conclusions it wouldn’t of matter cause back in those days the witches trials were crazy.

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