|Dev: Level-5, Capcom|
|Pub: Level-5, Nintendo|
|Release: August 29, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Mild Blood, Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Violence, Use of Alcohol|
The two games come from completely different visual styles, with Phoenix Wright leaning towards traditional Japanese anime while Professor Layton takes on a completely unique design with earthy tones and windswept backdrops. Each excels in its own right, and the cinematic cutscenes are some of the best I've seen in an adventure game. However, the styles do clash, with new characters clearly on the visual spectrum of Phoenix Wright, who when placed beside Professor Layton makes his cylindrical head look like a LEGO figuring trapped in a manga. With no disrespect to the Professor, as I think his unique art style is one element of his success, there's simply too much separation between the two designs to feign disbelief.
One element that marries beautifully is the orchestral score. Both series have fantastic compositions, and a stunning array of both are found here. Professor Layton composer Tomohito Nishiura takes the helm alongside Yasumasa Kitagawa to produce both classic tunes for the series as well as new renditions. The subdued chimes of successfully solving a puzzle are punctuated with action packed effects that slam the characters off their feet in the courtroom. I was slightly disappointed with some of the localization voice acting, which at times felt both under and overacted, but overall the delivery was decent enough to elicit the emotion it was trying to impress.
As a fan of both series, I can say with confidence that Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney pays equal tribute to both. If you're a fan of either, you'll find plenty of nods to your respective adventure alma mater. If you're a fan of both, you're in for a memorable experience with two praiseworthy protagonists embarking on a journey side by side. Some story elements and newly hatched characters are a bit flaccid, and there is a remedial quality to the puzzles, but they are small criticisms that are overshadowed by great artwork, remarkable music, and well-blended gameplay from both universes.
Date: August 26, 2014