comic-con 2014

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Finally Playing In English
by Kyle Hilliard on Jul 24, 2014 at 06:00 AM
Platform 3DS
Publisher Nintendo
Developer Level-5
Rating Teen

Released in Japan in 2012, the Phoenix Wright and Professor Layton crossover is finally getting localized for the United States, and we played through a large section of the English-language version of the game.

Our demo began shortly after the game’s opening. I began the game as Professor Layton, exploring a medieval town in a way familiar to players of any recent Layton title. I found some hint coins and met an old man complaining about the darkness. A wild puzzle appeared, and I had to move a knight through a room to light lamps by rotating the room either left or right. I’m not ashamed to admit I used every single hint in order to get through the demo as quickly as possible.

After solving the puzzle, I continued to travel the town and came across a bakery. In it, I found an amnesiac Phoenix Wright and Maya Fey baking bread. Wright had no memory of his lawyer days, which made it especially confusing when soldiers entered the bakery demanding his appearance in court to defend a woman accused of witchcraft. She specifically requested Wright defend her, which Wright agreed to, despite being oblivious to why his presence was requested.

From that point, the game switched from Professor Layton mode and into Phoenix Wright mode. In a medieval courtroom I squared off against Zacharias Barnham – a red-headed knight confident the woman on trial had used magic, specifically fire, to kill two men. All the while a familiar judge, with more era-appropriate medieval clothing, oversaw the trial.

Unlike previous Wright games, I questioned four witnesses simultaneously. As I questioned them, one insisted there was no evidence of anything capable of producing fire being at the scene of the crime and that it must have been magic. It was as this point Wright began to recall his lawyer abilities and a humorous scene played out where he excitedly recalled the word, "objection." Wright used the word, calling out evidence that the woman on trial had been carrying a torch to light her way.

It was at this point Professor Layton entered the courtroom, eager to add his own evidence to the case.

It’s fun to see Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright interacting in the same world, though in my demo there seemed to be very clear lines dividing the two franchises; I played what was meant to be a Professor Layton section, and then moved into the Phoenix Wright section. Wright can apparently use the hint coins Professor Layton discovers to assist in his trials, but otherwise my demo offered little to showcase how the overlap of two distinct game-styles is being handled outside of the story. I asked the representative from Nintendo if we will more in-depth overlap of the two franchises, and all she was able to offer was the ambiguous promise that it may further in the game.

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney  releases for 3DS on August 29.

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Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

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