Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright" is announced and the reasons why this is important

Oh man, this is going to be a great thing...too bad the majority of people won't buy it.

Trailer after the jump

"Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright" for the Nintendo 3DS was announced at last night's video game developer "Level 5"'s Presser in Japan. It will be a joint project combining Level 5's "Professor Layton" series with VG Big House "Capcom"'s "Phoenix Wright" series. Combined it's most likely going to be one epic adventure, one that sadly most will miss.

Let's start off by describing each series.

Level 5's "Professor Layton" franchise is a puzzle game series with cinematic style storytelling. It's a series that has so far stayed exclusive on the Nintendo DS mainly due to it's "short bursts" style of gameplay. You load the game, play a few headscratcher puzzles, get more of the story, then save and pick it up again another day. It's a formula that has worked well and has made it a slight hit in Japan and the UK with some impact elsewhere like the States. It has 4 games in it's library, 1 in development, as well as a feature length movie done by Level 5 themselves (which I will review sometime). Unfortunately, "Professor Layton" has always been on the cusp of being a high profitable franchise mainly due to the international market not buying the games, the States in particular as most of the market here is driven by First Person Shooters (FPS) and would barely look at "Professor Layton"'s animated nature, making the series only an underground hit.

Capcom's "Phoenix Wright" franchise is a interactive novel series with Old School Adventure games type gameplay (think Secret of Monkey Island) mixed with court room battles as a Defense Attorney as you try to defend your client. It's a series that started on the Gameboy Advance in Japan but has been ported and localized on the Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii's WiiWare. While it's not "short bursts" style gameplay like "Professor Layton" is, it can be played that way, as long as you make notes. It's a series where you have to pay attention to what everyone has said as well as coming up with deductions yourself, it won't hold your hand in the later cases. It has 5 games in it's series, 1 of them a spinoff where you play as a Prosecutor, and has had concerts with a full orchestra of the series's music. All of them have been hits in Japan and a big underground/mainstream hit elsewhere. One thing that helps "Phoenix Wright" over "Professor Layton" is that it's got Capcom's fanbase while Level 5 is not quite as stellar as Capcom's longevity or quantity.

Now with "Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright" we will see a mix of these two game's gameplay and mix into what I think will be an incredible game. While "Professor Layton" can be a bit slow on it's story, and "Phoenix Wright" can be a bit monotonous with it's Adventure gameplay, each series can compliment the other to cover the other's faults. Puzzles could break up the boring "look around for clues", Wild Capcom style characters could brighten up the rather muted looking characters in the Layton World (While it is a well done design, it can make things feel a bit boring).

Overall "Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright" could become the ultimate adventure game for handhelds, and may make a trend of more crossover games other than fighting games, so it's up to us as the consumer to respond in kind by buying the game instead of "Generic Brown FPS II".

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