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4.2 out of 5 stars
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney  (3DS)
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2014
I have been a huge fan of Ace Attorney since the first game was released in the UK and have eagerly anticipated every subsequent release. Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright is another stellar entry for the Ace Attorney series, combining the wonderful characters and gameplay of Ace Attorney with the Professor Layton series. Despite the "vs" in the title, the game sees Layton and Wright teaming up to try & solve the case/mystery of Labyrinthia, a mysterious town inside a storybook. The story is intriguing and surprisingly dark in places with an amusing and memorable set of supporting characters (as expected from both series).

The gameplay is less of a combination of both series and more a series of alterations between the two. In the Layton-esque sections, our heroes wander around searching for clues & solving puzzles. In the Wright parts, the evidence is used to try & bring justice to Labyrinthia. If you've played both series before, you will quickly settle in but I think you should be just fine if it is your introduction to either (or both) series. Hint coins can be used in either section to help guide you to the correct solution, meaning you can seek assistance should you need it. However, I personally felt that the gameplay is slightly easier than in previous Wright games & Layton games so you won't be overly reliant on these. The game looks incredible & the two art styles blend surprisingly well. There are gorgeous anime-style cutscenes & plenty of voice acting (we finally hear Maya Fey!) as well as a soundtrack that blends the music from both games.

Overall, this is an excellent game that manages to blend the worlds of Layton & Wright to create something that manages to feel new & exciting whilst comfortable & familiar at the same time. My only slight quibble is that it isn't quite as much of a brain workout as you may expect from these series, however the overall experience more than makes up for this. A must have 3DS title!
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2014
Having played and loved all the Professor Layton and Ace Attorney games that have so far made it to Europe, I must say my anticipation for this title was reaching fever pitch. Imagine my relief then when I finally got my hands on it, and found out that it more than justifies the hype. This is without doubt the most polished game of either series and expertly plays off the two styles of gameplay against each other. Giving both of its stars equal screen time is a bold move which has paid off, sure to satisfy those who come in from only one of the franchises, giving the game a clear structure and utilising both game's strengths. The puzzles and exploration sections are everything you'd expect from a Professor Layton game, being engaging and truly head-scratchingly difficult at some points, and the courtroom sessions lack none of the absurd characters and charming contradictions from the Ace Attorney himself.

I will not go into the main plot here, but will say it is darker than the Professor's usual fare. It is however just as gripping as the storylines in either series, and being written by Shu Takumi, the mind behind the original Phoenix Wright trilogy, means there are plenty of exciting twists and turns, and a lot of humour. I have not been so entertained by a video game in a long time, and the scene where our two heroes meet is the stuff of comedy gold. To say anything more about the plot may venture into spoiler territory, but rest assured, its a good one. As with all Level-5 releases, the localisation of this game is superb, with once more incredible voice acting (special nods go to the voice of Phoenix who is spot on, and Layton in the courtroom is divine) and none of the grammatical errors which plagued early Ace Attorney titles. Once again the cutscenes are gorgeous to look at, and there is plenty of bonus content to be had in the form of free weekly DLC to keep you coming back to this title long after the credits roll.

In short, should you buy this title? If you are a fan of either series, the answer is unequivocally yes. This game refines and melds the two styles into a package that is truly magical. If you've never played either series before, this still comes highly recommended. No prior knowledge is needed, and the charming atmosphere, intriguing storyline and easy to pick up gameplay should have everyone hooked. As our two heroes say, critical thinking is the key to success, and on this title, there are no objections from me.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2014
I will confess I got this with a small amount of apprehension. What, with all the critics basically saying "good, but no proverbial cigar." Whilst I see what they're saying, I disagree. This game combines the two gameplay styles beautifully, and the immersion I have got from it (Still not quite having seen the conclusion) is beautiful. The Layton-Style segments flow smoothly into the AA-style parts at perfect moments. I have to comment that the musical composers did an amazing collaboration on the soundtrack, with me stopping at multiple points, thinking, `Is that music what I think it is?` The voice actors also did an incredible job, adding a good dose of additional humour and... well... "Objections".
If I could have one complaint- I've felt very little resistance from the game- the hint system is too lenient, you're obliged to solve very few puzzles- but I think that's a good thing, allowing people to slip into the opposite series. I was very happy, though, with the constant references to both game series (Ace Attorney fans, I say... "ZVARRI!") and the maintenance of both game series charm. Oh, and all that stuff about the minor characters having no charm - I disagree. I think that they supported the main game well, bar one or two. But, in terms of the most important thing- the story- I'll say one thing. Very, very dark game. If you like the slightly more cheerful stories like PL5+6, AA1+2, then this might put you off a tad. However, this game sells the story amazingly (though I do wonder why Ace Attorney 5 got a 16...). If you like either series, go for it. If you like the game, go for the other one. If you already like both... It's not going to surpass games from either series, but I don't think that matters.

Post Completion: After the ending, I can definitely say not only will I be replaying this game in the future - but that the next 23 weeks of bonus material is going to keep my smiling the whole way - You can tell Level-5 and Capcom had fun squeezing the references - and the fourth wall breaking - into the first bonus episode.
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on 28 October 2014
I'm honestly not a fan of Professor Layton. I enjoy the occasional puzzle, but a game of them certainly isn't my cup of tea. On the other side of the coin, I adore Phoenix Wright. The clever writing, the amazing music and in the latest iteration, great animations and just a great atmosphere overall.

That being said, if you don't like games that consist of little more than a visual novel with varying degrees of interactiveness, then this probably isn't for you, as that its the gameplay in a nutshell.

The animations aren't quite on the scale of the latest Phoenix Wright game, but they are good, and the cutscenes are pretty good quality too. Although the random interjections of voice can be jarring. I would have preferred it either to be one or the other. Just text, or both text and voice. Don't tease us with some pretty good voice acting occasionally.

On the subject of animations, it may just be the 3DS XL, but it can't seem to completely handle more than three characters on the screen at once, FPS certainly dips quite badly, and it shows, both with text being slow/jumpy, but with the animations suffering badly. Which is quite sad, since otherwise they're really good. (This was without 3D turned on as a note)

The Professor Layton sequences are okay, but they suffer from the Phoenix Wright issue of a lot of text between each investigation, or puzzle as it were. Which often makes me drift from the story, just looking forward to the next puzzle, of Trial segment.

The story itself is rather engaging though, and I'm still interested in what is going to happen next. The Phoenix Wright parts are very good, and the new system of Testimonies are great, and well done, adding new systems while making them feel "Wright" at home.

I have yet to finish the game, so I might end up editing this to reflect any..poor endings. But honestly, my experience up to this point has been very good, and its a very good game. I'm not one whom believes that a flat ending can ruin what was previously a fun experience.
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on 7 February 2015
Being a fan of both franchises (ace attorney and professor layton) I couldn't wait to play this game. I can honestly say it's the best handheld game I've ever played. Really cool storyline (may be a bit creepy for young kids). Gameplay is fun, personally I enjoy the court room ace attorney parts the most, but each to their own, the puzzle solving layton parts are good too. Really excellent game.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2014
Christmas present to adult son who's a fan of Phoenix Wright and Professor Layton. He's loving it!
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on 9 June 2015
This is not like any other Prof Layton game. There is little in the way of puzzles but A LOT in the way of dialogue. You find yourself scrolling through so much talking it gets repetitive and boring. As for the added Phoenix Wright court room part this is just plain confusing.

If you like the Prof Layton games you may find yourself disappointed with this one.
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VINE VOICEon 17 July 2014
A marriage made in heaven! My children absolutely love Professor Layton and Phoenix Wrightso putting them together to solve a mystery is genius! I suspected that thecase would not be that great and the length of play would be reduced compared to a standard Layton game but it has been keeping my lot enthralled and delighted for weeks!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2014
So, people may think that this game won't be as good as it seemed due to it being a crossover, but I strongly disagree. I have been waiting for this game since it was first announced back in 2011 and, three years later, having finally playing it, i was really worried that I would be disappointed with it since i have been excited about it for so long, but it is ten times better than i expected!

Being a Professor Layton fan, I have played every single game and even watched the film, but I don't know much about the Ace Attorney series since I never played any of the games. I knew a little bit about it from seeing things online, but I'm still unaware of what the series is like. However, after playing this game, I am now going to buy all of the Phoenix Wright games because i felt, that even the Ace Attorney parts of the games were enjoyable, even incorporating some ''Layton feels'' in there as well. So if you are a fan of one of the franchises and not the other, I'm sure it won't be much of an issue at all! You're bound to end up loving the other half almost as much.

Now onto the gameplay; The game swaps between the two different franchises as you progress through the story. You start out as Layton and Luke in London, and then after a brief screen saying ''to be continued'' you are then swapped with Ace Attorney game-play with Pheonix and Maya. This happens throughout the whole game, even when all of the characters are together, taking turns with each chapter. The puzzles are a lot more practical than they usually are in Professor Layton games, so if you are worried about the puzzles being too difficult, don't worry about it; they are much more enjoyable, but don't let that make you think they aren't challenging, because some of them are. When solving the puzzles, I also love the little twist of having more than one of the characters solve it at a time, and the animations after the puzzles are possibly the best yet.

Visuals: The visuals are absolutely stunning, whether it be the artwork, character models, locations or cut-scenes, they are all delivered beautifully. There are so many cut-scenes in this game, and all of them are thoroughly entertaining, adding even more enjoyment to the story-line. The 3D visuals also add to the world and make you feel like you are involved whilst you look around. The characters in the game are fun and witty, but also quite sinister at times, too.

I won't go on about the story-line too much as I don't want to spoil it for you, but I will say that this game has a far more darker sense to it than you would expect, and it can get extremely dramatic at times. As a person who loves character and plot development, this is the perfect kind of narrative for me. The voice acting is, once again, brilliant.

To conclude this, the game is amazing and, if you love a good challenge as well as a brilliant narrative, then this is the game for you! Whether you be a Layton fan or a Pheonix fan!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2014
Before I begin this review - which is actually my first 'games' review - I'd just like to say that, in all fairness, this game probably doesn't deserve the 2-star rating I've given it. I'm actually a big fan of the 'Professor Layton' games, and the 2009 anime movie, 'Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva'. The reason I've given this game a low rating might be because I was just unprepared for the 'Ace Attorney' sections of it. Until I got this game, out of devotion to the 'Professor Layton' series, I had neither played nor heard of any of the games in the 'Ace Attorney' series. Because of this, I had absolutely no idea about what to expect when I wasn't solving puzzles with Luke and Layton. The game's previous owner - I got a 'used' copy - seemed to have the same problem as me, because the only saved game file that was on it said they'd never passed the first 'Ace Attorney' chapter.
I will be reviewing this game as a fan of the 'Professor Layton' series. My apologies to any 'Ace Attorney' fans if I seem bias because I haven't played any of the other games in that series.
First of all, for what it is, 'Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright' is really impressive when it comes to creativity. The story is exactly what you'd expect from a Professor Layton game: with memorable characters; a world that's interesting - if a little farfetched at times - and a plot that's both mysterious and easy to follow - and keeps the player guessing at what they think the big revelation will be at the end. However, it's clear early on that the story isn't quite as family friendly as the stories presented in other 'Layton' games. It can get really dark, to the point where you actually think you're witnessing the death of some of the characters. It also depicts strangling, poisoning, large fires and more. I understand that they had to make the game more serious to go with the seriousness of lawyering and Phoenix Wright, but it can be really off-putting to someone who's used to a series where all you have to do is go around investigating strange disturbances and completing puzzles to solve it. On a positive note, the puzzles are just as fun and enjoyable as in any of the other 'Layton' games - even though there's fewer of them.
Then there are the 'Ace Attorney' sections of the game. I will say this, Nick and Maya are very likeable as characters, and it's easy to see the comparisons between them and Layton and Luke. One is the professional doing his job and pointing his finger dramatically, and the other is a lovable sidekick, who has a large appetite and skills that come in handy in tough situations. It's easy to see why these two franchises work so well together. However, whereas adventures and puzzle-solving are lovable joys of mine, I can't say the same about having to be lawyer.
This is perhaps the main reason why I have given this game a low rating. I don't really like to be put under a lot of pressure - either in games or real life. But in the trials, this is exactly what I get. You really feel like you're in the courtroom with high powers working against you. Unless you're an attorney in real life and know lawyering like the back of your hand, or have knowledge beyond that which is known to man, you have to pay extra close attention to everything that's being said, shown and presented to you, so that you can stand even the slightest chance of finding a contradiction, and presenting the right evidence. To add to the pressure, if you slip up too many times, there's a chance your client will be found guilty for something they didn't do. And if THAT wasn't pressure enough, most of your clients won't simply be sent to jail if they're found guilty - they'll be put to death! By fire! Forget being the lawyer, half the time I felt like I was the one on trial! I was so worried about doing something wrong that I actually had to resort to cheating - that is, I looked on YouTube at walkthroughs of the game and saw what the answers were before giving them. I didn't do this all the time, but sometimes the hint coins just weren't enough. As a result, I was always extremely nervous about playing the game. On the one hand I wanted to see it through to the conclusion, so I did my best to get past the trials and back to playing the 'Layton' chapters. But I knew the more I played, the closer I'd get to another trial, where someone's very life depended on my amateur skills as a defence attorney. I was so relieved when the last trial was done.
Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright may be professionals in two completely different types of work, but 'Level 5' and 'Capcom' did well to blend them together in an adventure that shows off both their skills, excessively. There are even moments when Nick and Maya do the puzzle-solving, and Luke and Layton take to the lawyer's podium. Plus, at the heart of the game, is the character that brings the professor and the attorney together: Espella Cantabella. I won't reveal too much about her, but the mystery that surrounds her is what drives the game to its success.
One final thing that's worth mentioning is the extra content. If you buy the game now and complete it (12 months after its initial release) you can use the WiFi feature to unlock special concept art and episodes. The extra episodes do something no other 'Layton' game has ever done before: as well as revisiting locations in the game and giving you a puzzle to solve, the characters break the fourth wall by speaking directly to the player, explaining a little bit about how the game was made and the decisions that were taken during production. It's worth checking out.
Overall, I can't say I hate this game, but I can't say it's my favourite in the Professor Layton series either. I'd say it's rating is more like 2 1/2-stars or even 3-stars. My advise to any 'Layton' fans who are interested in buying this game is don't buy it expecting it to be like the other games in the series. Because if you aren't prepared to work your brains off in the upcoming trials, then you're really going to struggle. I can't speak for any 'Ace Attorney' fans because, like I said, I'm reviewing this as a fan of the 'Layton' games. Either way, this game is a good buy for fans of one or both franchises, and it's definitely one of the most interesting crossover games in recent memory.
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