A Puzzling Objection: Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

hisui_icon_4040 Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney always seemed like someone’s dream more than something that would get made. More the realm of fan fiction and comical videos than something you would actually play. Super Robot Wars, Project X Zone, Super Smash Bros., and Tekken X Street Fighter are all notable examples that while crossovers are not commonplace they are also hardly unheard of. So when the game was announced there was a good deal of buzz around the title. They are both melodramatic comedic puzzle games with a mystery structure and an anime style. The game play and mechanics  in both series was very different but it was fairly clear to most people with little effort both games could be combined in a way that let both of their strengths shine. All it would take is a smart story and a solid commitment to both sides of the crossover. There were a lot of things that could go wrong but it was equally feasible for the game to succeed big time.

And then we actually got Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. I have read a bunch of reviews at this point and no one has hated the game. Overall all the reviews have been positive. But none of them have been glowing. If anything the general feeling has been underwhelming. It was fine but it could have been better. A lot of the complaints seem like nitpicks. They did not have enough cameos from fan favorite characters, mechanics from both main games could have blended more, the puzzles and court cases should have been tougher, hint coins made parts too easy, or the story could have been tighter were all sort of mediocre critics of the game I heard.

It is east to assume that this a the case of haters going to hate or that people have over inflated expectations that no game could live up to. But I don’t think that reaction is unwarranted. I think it is more people wandering through their reviews trying to touch on what made the game not live up to their dream but not being able to touch the core of their discontent. The thing is the sticking point might very well be at the heart of the story but to talk about that means spoiling a good deal of the plot.

So before we go to the rest of the review I’m going to give the game a quick one paragraph review and if you don’t want to be spoiled you can just read that and the decide if you want the game or not. But if you have played the game or don’t care about spoilers you can just continue past the next paragraph. I think that it the fairest way to do this.

I like the game but acknowledge its flaws. The game is decidedly more Professor Layton than Phoenix Wright in both storytelling and game play. Both halves get a chance to shine but Layton gets the first billing on the title for a reason. The puzzles for both halves is a bit more easy mode than what you are used to in the respective main series. If you are new to either half you won’t be over your head but if your and old hat don’t expect to be challenged most of the time. The story is fun but your mileage may vary on the twist during the last third. If you a fan of either series where is something to enjoy. The puzzles parts feel very Layton and I actually thought the Witch Trials were an interesting twist of the Ace Attorney formula. Just temper your expectations. This is more of good combination of two franchises than a golden child that is greater than the sums of its parts.

I might just be really happy that Maya has not been shipped off to the land of random offhanded mentions like she has in the recent games.

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In the Project X Zone

hisui_icon_4040 I remember looking at screen shots of Namco × Capcom and thinking that we would never get the game here in the United States. I really wanted it but games with so many properties involved are notoriously hard to license. It turns out that was not a bad assumption as we still don’t have an official English release of Namco × Capcom. (Side note: I never remember that Reiji Arisu and Xiaomu are from Namco × Capcom. They always seem like Endless Frontier characters to me.)

Then in 2008 something shifted slightly. It was Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars. A fairly well-regarded fighting game for the Wii with a lineup of Tatsunoko and Capcom characters from all over the map. And it has a legitimate US release. It did not open the flood gate for every crazy cross over game from Japan but it did signal that maybe with a bit of luck some titles that were previously just in the realms dreams and fan translations were possible.

And so when I saw the Project X Zone movie I was super excited in general but not very optimistic about it chances. But then people kept telling me that there were rumors that it was coming out in English. And soon enough those rumblings were a reality. Apparently it was a bit of a pain in the ass to get all the necessary licenses. But it was here. The game I asked for.

So I had to put my money were my mouth was. I pre-ordered the game and got a 3DS for my birthday. So was it worth all the times I mentioned in the APB?

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Dengeki Stryker: The Bittersweet Rewards of Being a Hero

I already did a fairly thorough review of the Dengeki Stryker demo from MangaGamer already so there is no need for me to reiterate what I said there already. But I felt I should do a bit of a follow-up article now that I have played the full game. While the MangaGamer demo is undoubtedly meaty I don’t think it tells the full story of game. This is not really MangaGamer‘s fault. All the game changing stuff always comes in the last fourth of the two paths in the story. So other than plastering a big disclaimer that “STUFF GETS SERIOUS SOMETIME AFTER THIS” or a list of spoilers after you play through the demo there was not much they could do. But I do feel it is enough of a change that I should update my review. I will try to avoid spoilers for anyone still thinking about buying the game. Continue reading