Combining two of the most loved video game characters in the gaming industry sounds like a brilliant idea. But is it, actually?
After toiling my way through EO IV’s story mode, I finally got my itchy hands on Level 5-CAPCOM’s offering, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright. As a fan of both franchises, it was imperative that I get a copy of the game. I mean, Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright in one game? How can you go wrong?
So the game is set in the medieval town of Labyrinthia where witches and magic are as common place as the wax in your ear and any form of technology is unheard of. And in true medieval fashion, these witches are tried in witch trials. This is where your protagonists come in–along with a lot of puzzle solving, finger pointing and plot twists. These aren’t exactly new to both franchises which are known for their engaging story lines and mysteries. However, the game as a whole has a rather cautious air to it. By “cautious”, I mean the I’m-still-trying-to-get-some-foothold kind and not the I-be-skimping-on-details kind. As such, the game can feel quite a bit shaky compared to how solid Layton and Wright games are in themselves.
Gameplay alternates between puzzle solving and court battles. As such, you find a lesser number of puzzles compared to normal Layton games and fewer court battles than the usual five for Wright games. There is some form of compensation, however. Bonus content features a puzzle for each Episode and the last trial is hella long. It’s multiple chapters long so quit whining. Although PL vs PW loses the Daily Puzzle, it does have bonus media content where you get to hear voice recordings of the different characters as well as the anime cutscenes and stills. If that’s not good enough for you, the game also gives us a peek of the game’s planning stages through the concept art of various characters.
If there was one drawback in the game, that would be the frame rate issues. I’ve never encountered frame rate issues with any Layton or Phoenix game (or maybe I just wasn’t that observant) so this was really new for me. I actually doubted my 3DS thinking that it might be sick or something. Everytime there were three characters on screen, the animation would slow down to such a noticeable rate that it was disturbing. To be fair, the rendering of the characters was brilliant; seeing 3D Wright was pretty cool. It’s just that the sudden frame rate drops kind of kill the mood of the scene sometimes.
Overall, it was a really good game. The combination of the two was a bit overwhelming since it gave way to such a long plot and some unsure points in the game’s overall execution. However, there are a lot of additional in-game features and game mechanics that players can try. It’s a nice nostalgia trip for fans of the Layton and Wright games. Solving puzzles and yelling “Objection!” never gets old.
– Phoenix and Layton in one game = awesomesauce
– New set of characters plus their wonderful art
– New features such as being able to cross-examine multiple witnesses at once
– Bonus post-game content
– Being able to use Hint Coins during cross-examinations kind of makes trials a walk in the park (though of course you can opt not to use them)
– Frame rate drops!
– Tiny, tiny details that are quite inconsistent with the plot, although they don’t really have major consequences
– Feels a bit longer than the usual Layton or Wright game