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The game takes place in Labyrinthia, which is a medieval style city which is located in a world that hasn’t been been explored by either Professor Layton or Phoenix Wright. An evil individual known as ‘The Story Teller’, whose shadow conceals witches across Labyrinthia. Layton and his trusty sidekick Roy are called to Labyrinthia to investigate a missing person. Soon after the game begins, a girl named Espella is accused of witchcraft. Predictably, Phoenix Wright takes on her defense, which consists of ‘The Witch Trials’ where he must contend with a bunch of witnesses.
The story is told magnificently using gameplay mechanics from both existing franchises. Both games are known for their wacky plot twists and unbelievable scenarios so it’s not surprise that the story delivers in almost every way. Sure, it’s not for everyone but if you’re a fan of either series, chances are you’re going to be in for a wild ride.
Both sections of the game are extremely polished in their presentation. Professor Layton looks exactly as fans are used to as per the previous 3DS games in the series. The Ace Attorney sections have also seen an upgrade to 3D models. This makes the games blend really well together and makes them feel more apart of the same universe. Beautifully animated cut scenes and voice acting are at the forefront of the game which is what fans have come to love from both series. The game features a darker tone than hasn’t really been seen before which makes for a visual treat.
For the majority, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney retains the gameplay of both series. Whilst playing the Professor Layton segments, fans will be happy to know that a wealth of puzzles are included to be solved. There’s not much variation in what’s already been included previously and that’ll delight most fans of the series. The same can be said for Phoenix Wright segments. They’re exactly what you’ve come to know and love in previous years so don’t expect too much variation. The ‘vs.’ in the title is actually quite misleading. The game takes place over a series of chapters alternating between solving mysteries and trying to win your court case. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though as it works quite well in solving the story and both games require you to be in the same mind frame.
The game is a really great showcase for both series. It takes the best of both worlds to provide a really enjoyable package. Each chapter work well to break up gameplay and the game is paced incredibly well. I hadn’t played much of the Ace Attorney series so it was an amazing introduction to me as I was already incredibly familiar with Professor Layton.
New to the Ace Attorney series is the ability to cross-examine multiple witnesses at once. It makes it much more interesting to be able to question one witness whilst looking at another witness to see their reaction. It adds another level of depth to the court room.
This time around, Phoenix will occasionally have to cross-examine multiple witnesses at once. Whilst pressing one witness, another may react to one of their statements, and questioning them may yield new information or evidence.
It’s worth pointing out that I felt that there wasn’t enough done in bringing the two franchises together to create a new experience. The two do intertwine at a point in the game but it never really feels like a new experience. There are about seventy puzzles to get through as Professor Layton and, overall, I’d say that you will spend more time solving puzzles than providing your case in court. Furthermore, the puzzles are quite a bit easier than in previous games in the series, but this is to be expected.