I Wish Professor Layton Vs Phoenix Wright Was Better

I Wish Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Was Better

If Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright were a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it'd be one of those sandwiches where the peanut butter is all shoved to one side and the jelly congeals on the other, so when you take a bite you can taste either peanut butter or jelly.

Those occasional bites where the peanut butter and jelly do mix together are great, but most of the time you're just getting one or the other. And neither side is quite as satisfying as one full peanut butter or jelly sandwich would be.

Not to say that Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright, released last week for 3DS, is a bad game. Or a bad sandwich. I've spent ten hours with the latest adventures of Phoenix and the Professor, and the story has hooked me enough that I'll most definitely finish. (I'm on Chapter Five right now.)

The basic concept is this: Layton, Luke, Phoenix, and Maya all find themselves trapped in a medieval fantasy world where magic is real and everyone is crazy. As the crew tries to figure out what's going on, they wind up entangled in the story of a girl named Espella, who is accused of being a witch. Given that the punishment for Witching in this world is instant death by fire, it becomes rather important for Phoenix and crew to get Espella off the hook.

But instead of finding some sort of unique mechanical ways to cross over two of gaming's most interesting characters, Layton vs. Wright just gives you half Layton-style exploration and puzzling, half Phoenix Wright-style court battles. Really, that's all this is. One chapter you're doing puzzle stuff; the next chapter you're defending accused witches in court. There's an interesting mechanical twist in that the prosecutor can now call multiple witnesses, and you can use their testimonies against one another, but other than that, this is all stuff you've played before.

It's really too bad. I was hoping for some more interesting experiments and challenges that would combine the skills of both Layton and Wright in ways we haven't seen in either of their games before. I was also hoping to see them fight to the death in one-on-one Smash Bros.-style combat, but I guess that was a little unreasonable.

Still, the familiar landscape wouldn't be so bad if the puzzles and legal battles didn't feel like Lite™ versions of what we've seen in all the other Layton and Wright games. The puzzles are weak (many are just variations on mazes) and the court battles are too easy (mostly because you can only hold eight or nine pieces of evidence at once). Again, I've only played ten hours, so things might get different later, but at least in the first few chapters, there's very little that will challenge anyone who has played other games in either of these wonderful series.

The localisation is lame, too. Instead of giving us the Treehouse treatment, Nintendo of America just stuck us with the European version of Layton vs. Wright, which came out in March. This means: A) Britishisms like "humour" and "colour"; B) A distracting lack of periods at the end of titles like "Mr" and "Mrs"; C) An even more distracting usage of the British voice actor for Luke.

For now, I can't recommend this game to anyone but hardcore fans of Professor Layton or Phoenix Wright. (I imagine those two fanbases overlap quite a bit.) Granted, there's something really special about watching the two iconic puzzle-solvers team up to point their fingers at people and yell "objection!" together, but I wish the other moments were as entertaining.


Comments

    I more or less agree with you on this. It was two games with only slight convergences. I also really didn't like the setting, or Espella very much. It would have been far more interesting to have each explore the others world instead.

    BUT, I have to say, "the localisations are lame" is a pretty silly point to pick over, as far as the text stuff goes. Luke has a different voice actor for the US versions of the Layton games?

    Oh wow, boo hoo that you have to deal with the European version. It's not our fault that the US is weird and has different grammer and syntax (and is almost completely distinct from most other English language variations). Also considering the fact that Luke and Professor Layton are clearly meant to be British in their own games, I don't quite understand why you would complain of having a British accent for them.

    I actually don't know why you would bother with punctuation at the end of Mr or Mrs. To see something like Mr. Wright seems a bit too formal for me.

    The localisation is lame, too. Instead of giving us the Treehouse treatment, Nintendo of America just stuck us with the European version of Layton vs. Wright, which came out in March. This means: A) Britishisms like “humour” and “colour”; B) A distracting lack of periods at the end of titles like “Mr” and “Mrs”; C) An even more distracting usage of the British voice actor for Luke.

    Suck it the hell up. If I had a damn 'penny' for every instance of 'Mom' in a game, let alone all the other Americanisms that've appeared in games released in Australia, I'd be rolling in 'Donuts'

      This is the kind of entitled attitude that makes Hollywood do shitty remakes of foreign movies and TV shows - it doesn't sound 'American' therefore it's "lame", WTF kind of thinking is that?? And complaining about Mr/Mrs vs Mr./Mrs.? *rolls eyes*

    Britishisms? Uh, no it's called the English language. I think you'll find 'color' and 'humor' are Americanisms.

    This really wasn't a bad game, and having played all of the westernized Ace Attorney games, I was looking forward to see what the Professor Layton part was like too... except Professor Layton is actually a condescending know-it-all P.O.S, which is my only real gripe with the game.

      Professor Layton is actually a condescending know-it-all P.O.S,

      Considering he's the only one in town who knows maths and puzzle solving, I think it's not too surprising he's a bit stuck up.

        Aside from Luke, Maya, and Phoenix? It wouldn't even matter if he was. He comes across as condescending and it's a very irritating thing to me. I like puzzles, and I was seriously looking at picking up the Prof Layton games prior to playing this, just because I wanted to explore the world behind the crossover(much like how I got into the Ace Attorney games from UMvC3). Now it's a no-sale.

          Well aside from Phoenix and Maya being from a different country, so the groups haven't interacted before, Layton is a Professor who's stuck solving peoples math homework in exchange for people to do their jobs.

          http://www.penny-arcade.com.au/comic/2008/02/13/professor-layton-and-the-perpetual-torment

          I'd certainly be condescending too

            The cartoon is funny :D

            If I think about other intelligent characters like Reed Richards, Iron Man, Dr Doom, Indiana Jones, etc., I respect them for being intelligent and I like them. Same with real life ones like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Steven Hawking. Prof Layton can just take his condescending posturing and piss off, no matter how justified. /endrant :)

    Eh, I liked it.
    A good story, and sure it was kinda easy, but it had to appeal to two separate audiences, and I think it accomplished that.
    I'd played 1 Layton game (whoch I'd found quite difficult) and a few cases of Phoenix, and this felt like a happy medium: slightly easy, but its story and characters were good.

    Also, I don't see what the problem is with "colour" and "humour" and "Mr" and "Mrs". Isn't that the usual way things are spelt?

      Oh, and I did I mention the soundtrack? Orchestrated versions of the classic themes make this game so good.

    Not to say that Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright, released last week for 3DS, is a bad game.

    Last week? I've had this game for at least a few months already...do you mean to tell me Australia got this game earlier than another country?

    *Shock horror*

    Last edited 03/09/14 10:03 pm

      Well we also got Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story AND Pandora's Tower before America.

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