|Nintendo Direct trailer|
|A legendary puzzle investigator joins the greatest attorney ...to crack the ultimate case!|
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (レイトン教授 VS 逆転裁判, lit. "Professor Layton VS Turnabout Trial") is a crossover adventure puzzle video game jointly-developed by Level-5 and Capcom and published by Level-5 for the Nintendo 3DS. The game is a crossover between the Ace Attorney and Professor Layton adventure series; it is the seventh installment released for the Ace Attorney series, and the sixth installment released for the Professor Layton series. It features scenario designs from Shu Takumi, series director for the first four games in the Ace Attorney series, though he was not in charge of the script. The game combines the trademark puzzle and trial themes from each respective series. The Capcom part of the development team was put in charge of the art, with character designs by Kazuya Nuri.
The game was released in Japan on November 29, 2012, with a Western release date over a year later in 2014 (March 28 for Europe, March 29 for Australia, and August 29 for North America). The North American release was identical to the UK version, with British English spellings being used and Luke Triton being voiced by the UK's Maria Darling rather than the U.S.'s Lani Minella.
Upon inspecting a suspicious-looking book, Hershel Layton, Luke Triton, Phoenix Wright, and Maya Fey all find themselves in Labyrinthia, a strange medieval-style city in a different world from their own that has recently been falling victim to a number of seemingly impossible occurrences. The town is controlled by a sinister individual known only as the Storyteller. Professor Layton has to solve the mysteries of the strange world he has found himself in, while Phoenix Wright participates in "witch trials", which are similar to the court trials in the Ace Attorney series, to prove the innocence of his client, a girl named Espella Cantabella, who is accused of witchcraft. Unlike the trials he is used to, however, many familiar procedures of the Ace Attorney games are thrown out, and Wright must contend with entire mobs of conferring witnesses.
Other characters can be found in the links to the individual chapters in the next section.
Ace Attorney series
- Phoenix Wright is a renowned defense attorney who must defend a client accused of witchcraft.
Professor Layton series
- Professor Hershel Layton is a famous archaeology professor with a fascination for puzzles. This love of puzzles has solved numerous mysteries and put his name in the papers many times.
- Luke Triton is the self-proclaimed apprentice of Professor Layton and follows him everywhere to assist him with his investigations.
- The Storyteller is the sinister ruler of Labyrinthia. Whatever story he writes comes to pass as events in Labyrinthia.
- Espella Cantabella is a young woman accused of witchcraft who becomes Wright's client.
- Zacharias Barnham is a local Inquisitor. A red-haired knight in a suit of plate armor, he wields a sword that he points at his courtroom opponents in a similar manner to the iconic finger points of various lawyers in the Ace Attorney games. He is highly esteemed for his work among the townsfolk to the point that he is regarded as somewhat of a celebrity.
- Darklaw is the High Inquisitor of the city, as well as Zacharias Barnham's superior.
- Eve is a black cat owned by Espella Cantabella.
Like the Professor Layton games, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is divided into chapters of varying lengths. Some of the chapters are further divided into segments. Each segment and undivided chapter is either an investigation or a witch trial; investigations mostly follow the gameplay mechanics of the Professor Layton series, complete with puzzles, while witch trials largely follow the mechanics of Ace Attorney trials. The player characters are not confined to the segments in which they are familiar; Phoenix Wright and Maya Fey participate in some puzzles and Professor Layton-style investigations, while Professor Layton and Luke Triton take various roles in trials. The game also features fully-voiced anime style cutscenes that are common in the Professor Layton games, but were a first for the Ace Attorney series. Most text can be skipped using the "A" button, but there is no fast-forward function like in the Ace Attorney games.
A menu that functions like Professor Layton's trunk is used throughout the game, replacing the simple save menu used in the Ace Attorney games. Through the menu, the player can look at the mysteries that Professor Layton is attempting to solve, a list of story synopses, a list of items, and an index of all the puzzles that have been found. There are also options to adjust the sound, as well as saving. The menu is accessed by different buttons depending on the segment: the "L" button during investigations, and the "Start" button during trials. This is due to the differing control schemes used.
The menu and its contents carry over throughout every segment, as do picarats and hint coins. Only the button graphics and the sound effect played when saving change to represent the perspective changes throughout the game. This means that, although the menu is traditionally supposed to represent Professor Layton's trunk, the perspective changes make this impossible.
This is the first time in the Ace Attorney series in which a save menu can be accessed by a touchscreen button rather than just the "Start" button. It is also the first original Ace Attorney release in which multiple save files - three, in this game's case - can be recorded on a single game copy.
Investigations follow a control scheme that was first used in Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask. Unlike other games in both series, the scene being investigated remains on the top screen due to it being larger than the touchscreen on the Nintendo 3DS. The touchscreen functions as a trackpad that can be used to move a cursor on the top screen (alternatively, the circle pad can be used). This method of investigation has carried over into subsequent games in both series, starting with Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies. The touchscreen also has two buttons: one to bring up the menu, and the other to change to a map mode where the player characters can travel to different locations that have been unlocked. Going to each location shows a description as well as the numbers of hidden puzzles and hint coins that can be found.
Usually, the only things to do in a given location are to look for puzzles and hint coins and to examine something to advance the story. However, some scenes must be examined thoroughly for multiple clues, like in the Ace Attorney games. When all of the required clues are found, the examination ends and the next story event occurs.
- Main article: Witch trial
|When you try to imagine medieval court proceedings, you tend to picture these mob scenes with people shouting out accusations at the tops of their lungs. It's a crazy scene, and since this game's set in a medieval city, I wanted to present a court the likes of which we've never seen before.|
The witch trial gameplay carries many of the basic trademarks of trials in the Ace Attorney series. Phoenix Wright's main mode of attack comes in the form of cross-examining the witnesses. During cross-examinations, witness statements can be pressed for more information, and evidence can be presented to contradict or figure out problematic statements. Cross-examinations can become quite complex, and like Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, even presenting evidence may not fully discredit a witness testimony. This game uses the five-strike penalty system used in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, and at the end of each trial, the preserved strikes are converted into picarats.
In the chaotic witch trials of Labyrinthia, many of the concepts that are taken for granted in the Ace Attorney games are thrown out. There are no forensics; merely the presence of blood and footprints functions as evidence in this regard. Logic is a foreign concept and must be slowly introduced. The accused is considered guilty until proven innocent, and all that the inquisition has to do is to find witnesses, who, instead of being summoned one by one, can testify all at once and freely confer with one another. Extra witnesses can even jump in at any time. There is also a book of spells called the Grand Grimoire, which functions as a reference guide to the spells that witches can cast, which can be presented as evidence just like the evidence in the court record.
Phoenix Wright must adjust to this new "mob trial" (Gunshū Saiban) environment and use it to his advantage. When pressing a witness, the conversation sometimes jumps from one witness to another. In addition, one witness's statement can trigger memories and other thoughts in other witnesses, causing them to go deep in thought. At this point, the player can interrupt the conversation flow to ask a witness what he or she thinks of the conversation. This can lead to new clues and insights to progress through the cross-examination. Additionally, once per trial, there is an opportunity to point out two witness statements that contradict each other.
Hint coins can be spent during a witch trial. This generally causes the game to specify what action needs to be taken, and if evidence must be presented, some of the evidence is blocked off to narrow down the options. A similar hint system, Consulting, was carried over into subsequent games.
- On a Dark and Stormy Night
- English Turnabout
- Mysterious Labyrinthia
- The Fire Witch
- The Great Witch
- The Golden Court
- A Taste of Despair
- Secrets of the Underground Ruins
- The Story's End
- The Final Witch Trial
- The Last Inquisitor
- The First Story
After clearing the game, two types of bonus content can be downloaded: special episodes and special galleries. The special episodes are relatively short scenarios written by Shu Takumi that each contain a new puzzle and are set a year after the events of the main game. There is frequent breaking of the fourth wall, as the characters make references to such concepts as the player and the game's sales figures. The special galleries show concept art with comments about the development of the game by character designer Kazuya Nuri. In Japan, Europe, and Australia, the DLC was released once per week over a period of 24 weeks, with the special episodes and special galleries alternating during that time (i.e., a special episode released one week, then a special gallery the following week, and so on). In North America, a special episode and gallery were released each week over a period of 12 weeks.
- Another Visit
- Flour Everywhere
- At the Market
- Awkward Moments
- Making Money
- Tavern Tale
- Festival Fever
- Shady Types
- Fire Festival
- A Fond Farewell
The idea of a crossover between the Professor Layton and Ace Attorney series was a corporate one. Shu Takumi had apparently not known much about the project until well after development had begun on it. Although Level-5 president Akihiro Hino was a fan of the Ace Attorney series, Professor Layton producer Jun Suzuki had never played any of the games before the crossover began development. The development team went through a trial-and-error process to see how best to merge aspects of the two series. The conflicting art styles of the two games was also a problem, which resulted in a compromise between the two (e.g., Wright is drawn more simply than in his games, while Layton is drawn in more detail).
The transition to 3D models was new to the Ace Attorney series, which previously only used brief instances of 3D imagery in Rise from the Ashes and Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. While Takumi had stated his preference for 2D graphics in his games in the past, he accepted that the transition to the 3DS made 3D graphics inevitable, and that a 3D environment would add depth, character, and flexibility to the game's depictions of the courtroom.
- This is the first Ace Attorney in which all speech bubbles are voiced, even for minor characters. In other games, voiced speech bubbles are usually limited to attorneys and prosecutors, with rare exceptions.
- This is the only Ace Attorney game to date to have a Dutch localization, although all the games in the Professor Layton series since Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box have been localized into Dutch.
- If the system is left idle on the map screen for long enough, Layton and Phoenix's map sprites will start drinking tea and pointing to a document, respectively.
References to Ace Attorney
Many references to the original Ace Attorney trilogy can be found in the game.
- PC Badger is shown as the british counterpart of Blue Badger to represent London's Police force, Wright commenting that these plush seemed to be popular everywhere.
- When Phoenix fails to solve a puzzle, some of his random voicelines hint at Ace Attorney : "This is really more of an Edgeworth thing" and "It feels like getting hitten in the face with a gavel" (referring to the beginning of The Lost Turnabout).
- Miles Edgeworth even makes a small cameo in the end credits during which he is in trial against Phoenix Wright. (However, if the player replays the end from an existing save, he will be against Flynch instead.)
- During Chapter 4's witch trial, Cracker the parrot is called upon to give a testimony. Wright comments himself that "This situation seems oddly familiar...", referring to Polly the parrot in Turnabout Goodbyes.
- In the ruins' Small room, when inspecting the giant statues, Maya will say how these remind her of Ami Fey's statue in Hazakura Temple.
- Maya says "Zvarri!" multiple times in the game. She will also state in Reunion, the first special episode, that Professor Layton may have a rule according to which he never drinks more than 17 cups of tea during a puzzle, obviously referring to Godot. These references indicate that the events of the game occur after Trials and Tribulations.
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney received "generally favorable" reviews on Metacritic holding a metascore of 79/100 based on 69 critic reviews.
- Kevin Gifford. TGS: Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: The Inside Story. September 14, 2011. 1UP. Retrieved on September 14, 2011.
- Metascore for Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace AttorneyMetacritic, Retrieved April 17, 2020
- Iwata Asks interview with Akihiro Hino & Shu Takumi on Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney