I love the Ace Attorney series.
It’s weird. You see, I tend to HATE anime style artwork and all the tropes that goes along with it. There are many people who like it, and I think that’s great. But for me… it tends to be annoying. But for some reason, Ace Attorney made it work. It was charming, yet with an edge of seriousness that was waiting in the wings. The premise for the games were simple enough. A horrible crime happened (mostly murder) and Phoenix Wright (or Apollo Justice) is representing someone who was falsely accused of the crime. So you, the attorney, needed to investigate the crime (talk to people, collect evidence, channel spirits, etc) for the coming court case. Phoenix tended to not only prove his client’s innocence, but also discovers who the real guilty party was.
The game should be dark as hell, but the anime influence gives it that lighthearted and almost whimsical nature that gives the series its special charm.
So with that in mind, a good friend of mine thought I would love one of the latest games for the Ace Attorney franchise called Professor Layton Vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. It’s a cross-over game with, in case you couldn’t guess, the Professor Layton franchise. So, I figured it couldn’t hurt to give the game a try.
The game itself was okay. It wasn’t great. The underlying gameplay was quite lazy. Rather than mixing the styles of the two games together in unique ways, the game switched between the two like a tag team. It was closer to letting a player sample what each franchise is like. Worse, the game didn’t really give the full Ace Attorney experience. Sure, the game let you play Phoenix in the courtroom, But you couldn’t get the experience of fully investigating and collecting clues like you could out of the courtroom as well. Instead, the game had the gameplay of Professor Layton and nonstop puzzles everywhere.
The narrative is where the game truly faltered. While the story itself was a little interesting, as our heroes were seemingly sucked into a book and had to find a way to escape this alternate world they found themselves trapped in, the way it played out was flat out infuriating. Phoenix Wright was borderline incompetent. While in his own series, he was a perfectly capable attorney who could find ways to win his court cases. In this game, he needed help from Professor Layton to win every single case he had. And it wasn’t a friendly nudging. Professor Layton was a better attorney than Phoenix Wright.
If you’re looking for a decent puzzle game, and there’s a sale, you may want to consider taking a look at this game. It’s not too bad. But don’t expect anything more than that or else you may be in for a major disappointment.