Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: off to a land of magic

I found it difficult to understand, when I first heard about this crossover game, how they would meld together the long-form deduction of the Phoenix Wright games with the staccato unrelated puzzle form of the Layton games.  I needn't have worried, since the development team evidently didn't either - they have, instead, divided the game into chapters, and so far these run alternately between the two game styles.

The overall story is quite fantastical, which fits to an extent with the Layton games but is a departure from the Wright stories (even taking into account spirit medium visions and so on).  It starts off quite normally, in London, with some nice tie backs to previous games in both series.

However, both sets of characters have now been transported to a town which appears to have its fate decided by a storyteller.  Phoenix and Maya appear to be bakers, but they have taken on the job of defending a character in the courts anyway.

The court cases seem a little weaker and less humorous than the Wright games; the puzzles and overworld exploration are less detailed than the Layton games.  Indeed, it feels at times that the game is relying on drawing from past references a little too much.

And that's a problem, because this is a clear example where a game can work as a marketing tool, trying to sell the Wright game format to the millions who have only played Layton on their DSs.  More interesting cases and obvious links to the puzzles would have done that.

Maybe it'll improve.  I've only just finished the first legal case in Labyrinthia, which ended with a gory execution by fire.  I shall have to hope it keeps my attention.

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