So i got this game off the eshop and I figure 'you know I should probably play this.'
So I start playing and I think to myself 'you know, my good friends (and enemies, mostly enemies,) on Negative World probably have a nice little official thread for this game that I can post in so I checked the front page... ok it'd not in the first page, maybe the second... ok not there either... let's do a search, hm... nothing here, ok maybe I should check the database, ok the game's here but hold on....
I literally deleted and recreated this thread just to get this image, you people better be happy.
I have never played any Ace Attorney or Professor Layton games although I've heard plenty about them from RFN's infamous James Jones. So far, very first impression: Capcom's Ace Attorney PUNishment crew that James has made several references to is in full force and I had to use a hint coin on the first puzzle.
Oh yeah, I'm definitely going to play through the original trilogy. Probably the entire series.
I love these posters
Right now I'm working my way through the second day of investigation in episode 3. I just met Sal Monella and Steel Samurai's producer, Dee Vasquez. My only complaint is that it's kind of hard to get back into the game after taking a break for a few days. I was away from home when my DS died towards the end of the first day of trials and I didn't resume playing until a couple of days later. I ended up forgetting some important information during that break, making returning a bit disheartening. I was able to get through the trial without failing, but there was some trial and error involved because of that break. I suppose that's more my fault than the game's, however. AA has really blown Professor Layton out of the water for me. I do have a question, though.
Is Episode 5, Rise From the Ashes worth playing? I heard that it was made after the game was ported to DS for the sake of utilizing the system's features. Without spoiling anything, can you tell me if it's worthwhile? Does it feel tacked on? Does it feel out of place, coming after what was originally the game's ending? I heard that it's extremely long too.
One of the nice things the AA series does regarding information is that you typically don't have to MEMORIZE too much stuff--for the trials, generally everything is all in place for you in your court record, so you can point out contradictions in testimony while at least having something to reference. For the most part, anyway. But you should generally try to do each case all at once, and maybe take breaks in-between cases if anything.
Rise From the Ashes is definitely worth playing, although it is placed a little strangely, IMO. The first four cases of AA1 make for a great, complete story, particularly the fourth case (which is just awesome). Case 5 (Ashes) is a solid case as well, but it's quite long and doesn't tie into the original cases all that much. I think as long as you go in knowing that Case 4 is the first game's "ending," and Case 5 is sort of an interim/"bonus" case that takes place between the first two games, you'll be good. It's definitely a good story with some fun characters, it's just best to view it as a big extra bonus case. A few people rank it among their favorites so don't miss out.
I'm eager to hear what you think of the big finale cases in each game though. The final cases of the second and third games are terrific. And I would recommend playing through the whole series if you like those, really.
Okay, interestingly, the part right after my last post was when the game really started to pick up. The second witch trial had some interesting mechanics and stakes (Golden Layton, and Luke finally doing something interesting!) and it also had a good, well-developed witness and ended on a bang. The parts following that were solid, emotion-wise, and splitting up the group was a good choice to play with the character dynamics that paid off a bit.
In fact, much of the game was smooth sailing from there, with the story keeping my interest up through the end.
However, the last few revelations and twists were completely batty! I don't even know where to begin with the number of plot-holes that opens up!
HUGE WALL OF ENDGAME SPOILERS
How could Kira in the first trial see THROUGH her invisible cloak? Why would the Shades make Greyerl "turn" her goat gold, prompting a young child to suicide? Why even GIVE a young child the ability to do "magic"? Witches have horrible lives in this ill-thought-out town: they have to live in fear, and if they're caught, for all they know, they're sent to burn. And even though they DON'T die, they get their mind wiped and then have to work as Shades i.e. slaves?? All to make other people use "magic" and the cycle repeats?? The Storyteller has made the most miserable scenario possible!
How has nobody noticed any of this "pure black" machinery around town? How has no one walked into the giant friggin' bell tower? Even assuming they can't see that part of the color spectrum, why would they be able to see THROUGH it (like Kira with the invisible cloak)? What if someone walked behind the bell tower? What if birds landed on it? What if the cloaks got dirty like with the flour? Did no invisible cloak on any of the 24/7 Shades always hanging around ever get dirt on them? Why keep up the facade of witches when having just a few stories and spells would suffice? How do they determine who's a witch? Why can Maya and Layton see the Shades outside the village? Why can they NOT see the machinery while outside the village? Why does Kira get her memory wiped but not Maya, who went through the same thing? Why would the Shades allow Greyerl to MURDER someone with her bare hands right in front of them? How did Godoor even work--did they do intense construction on the wall then fix it right afterward? Why aren't there signs of a hole in the wall? Doesn't everyone find it odd that they so frequently wake up in the middle of the street or whatever with no recollection what just happened? Who made the giant golden Layton statue in the second witch trial? How? Didn't he just arrive in Labyrinthia a few days ago? How did they possibly transport that thing into the building in all the commotion? Why isn't Layton concerned about the huuuuge friggin' governmental conspiracy in his homeland going on? Why does the Storyteller get off scott-free for being responsible for hundreds of deaths? Didn't anyone investigate the massive town fire and find it weird? Why is Darklaw being responsible for ringing the bell any better than Espella being responsible? Why is everyone happy at the end even though Espella--for all intents and purposes--is still suicidal? Why were Robbs and Muggs sent to Eldwitch instead of killed or injured in the big fiery explosion? Why wasn't Eve the cat Bezella like I initially thought?
The Layton games have a tendency of spiking up the necessary suspension of disbelief at the end in a very jarring way. It wasn't too bad in Layton 2, but ever since then it's been crazy. Sometimes this pays off, other times in can turn the player off (like it seems to have done with you here). In general, it's best to built a ramp of suspension of disbelief up to these crazy points, so it doesn't seem like the story is pulling stuff out of it's ass or betraying its own rules. Layton games tend to be pretty bad about this, setting themselves in a mostly realistic interpretation of our world, with only a few things that would be out of place only to take a sharp turn into crazy fantasy at the climax.
Layton 2 had hallucinogenic gas. Not too bad, since we were already face-to-face with what seemed to be a vampire Layton 3 had recreations of London built in underground air pockets, a giant doomsday machine, and time travel Layton 4 ended with a giant ancient manatee fighting against a robot Layton Movie had a personality/mind transferring device and an ancient underwater city Layton 5 had... honestly I've already forgotten because that game kind of sucked. Layton 6 had an ancient civilization that built an army of armageddon robots
All of this stuff is either hit or miss. I personally find that I tend to be okay with this crazy stuff if it's tied to some sort of logic or is used in some way that is intimate to the characters (Layton's girlfriend briefly time travelling to give him a final goodbye, Loosha existing alongside the Golden Garden, the Azran being able to build that sinking city, the mind transferring device being built out of a father's desperation and grief) and I usually draw the line at stuff that feels like it was thrown in for the sake of raising the stakes or is too out there logically (Clive's giant machine, the Azran basically being Halo's Forerunners). These twists are behind both my favorite and least favorite moments in the series. Your mileage may vary, depending on how much leeway you give towards these sort of twists and how much you tend to ask questions like "well how to he get the money/means/technology/etc for that?"
With all this in mind, I still consider VS's lategames twists to be ridiculous, even by Layton's standards. There are too many questions, inconsistencies, and stretches for it to work for me, but I think someone with a higher level of tolerance towards this sort of stuff may be able to appreciate it.
To get sidetracked a bit, I think this is another thing PW handles better. In storytelling it's generally best to establish with your audience how much they should suspend their disbelief and not to test that boundary you've established too much. If you create a ceiling only to shatter it later, your audience is going to disengage and you're going to lose credibility as a storyteller. I think there's a term for this, but I can't remember. PW establishes early on that some occult things exist, such as Maya being able to summon Mia's spirit at times. There's still plenty of room to have dramatic, crazy, and surprising moments within the story even though its most outlandish element has been shown.
I really hope what I've said in this thread doesn't come across as me being down on Layton. While I do have my problems with the series, I do, as a whole, enjoy Professor Layton. I tend to put a lot of thought into media that I enjoy and I think that it's completely possible to be critical of something while still enjoying it. These two qualities usually cause me to try to pick apart why I did or didn't like certain aspects of games that I enjoyed as a whole. So when I do things like talk at length about why Layton's endgame twists don't always sit well with me, please keep in mind that it comes from a place of appreciation of the games. If I didn't care for the Layton series, I wouldn't commit the time or energy to think about it this much. The fact that I've taken the time to acknowledge this aspect of the series, think about it, and explain my take on it shows that I do care about the games I'm discussing. Unless I actively hated the Layton series, I probably wouldn't be able to work up the will to talk about it at such length.
That makes sense (although I avoided your spoilers since I might play through some other Layton games) but I might've had a bigger stomach for PLvsPWAA's ending if I'd played the other games and expected it.
The real issue, I think, is that the PW world is mostly very logical. Like you said, it establishes the rules early--everything is mostly real-world deduction except for some supernatural elements of spirit channeling, so there's no real "butt pulls" late-game or anything. So players are used to painstakingly combing through what people say solely to point out contradictions! So whenever surprising revelations come about, many PW players are naturally going to try to figure out how/if it works, and if it's something sudden like this game's, it's very dissonant to the player (at least, if the player is me). It felt kinda surprising for the sake of being surprising, a Shyamalan endgame twist that feels like they came up with it after writing the rest of the game.
Speaking of the rest of the game, I mostly enjoyed it. I did think the puzzles kinda stank though--most of them were just manipulating things until you got it right. But I did enjoy some of the characters--the main four did pretty well (although I got tired of Layton seemingly knowing everything. Why have him best Phoenix in puzzles and in the courtroom?), and Darklaw, Espella, Greyerl, and the Storyteller had a decent amount of depth.
Although at the risk of sounding overly negative, most characters seemed to either have depth and not much personality (like the set above), or be a total silly one-joke character (the lady with the goat, the bards, the knights) with little to no depth. There wasn't really any fun middle ground where you got a nuanced-yet-entertaining guy like many of the AA games' other characters. In fact, one of my favorite characters was Olivia Aldente early on, because she had a really fiery and memorable personality without being too cartoonishly annoying.
I just finished the game, and TBun I can't answer any of your questions, haha. The game definitely took a few turns towards the farfetched, but it was still entertaining from my perspective. I don't entirely get what happened, but I don't care to dissect it as I enjoyed playing through the game and I don't feel deceived by anything in particular. I mean, I actually believed they had been transported to some ancient rural town at some point, so the story made more sense to me as it developed, even though some truly weird stuff happened.
As a fan of both series, I have to say that it was a pleasure to play a game that wove the two series together so nicely. Now, the puzzles weren't as good as most Layton games, and the court action wasn't as good as most Ace Attorney games, but having both intertwine kept me truly engaged. A lot of times the correct evidence to present was painfully obvious, other times, the solutions were given away by Maya. I kind of liked the whole multiple witness thing, as that was new for the series, but it often came down to needlessly pressing and re-pressing witnesses in order to squeeze more info out of other witnesses, and it could grow tedious at times. Maybe if it was presented in a way that required some thought - maybe needing to present some evidence in conjunction with the witnesses' reactions, would make it more engaging.
I also kind of feel like the professor came out on top over Phoenix in importance to the story, but again, as someone who has played through both series, I can tell you I wasn't surprised one bit by Nick getting the short end of the stick. It played true to his character - yes, he always ends up saving the day by solving the case, but Nick always finds himself in helpless situations, on the receiving end of punishment, and is generally poked fun at by almost every other character in the PW games. He's made out to be a very humorous character and so it was expected in L vs PW. Layton on the other hand isn't poked fun at, and never finds himself at a loss for what to do. Luke is always patting him on the back, reinforcing his decisions, in the Layton games. The charm of the games comes from his politness and gentlemanly behaviour, and the humour comes from supporting characters (for example, Chelmey and Barton). And when it comes down to it, Layton is a professor of archaeology, and Nick is a defence attorney. Obviously, when it comes to logic, Layton is going to be the hero. Though, Nick had his moments in true PW fashion flipping a case on its head to solve it. So all in all, I think the game did an excellent job of staying true to the main characters that we've grown to love.
The supporting cast was likeable, I thought Espella was a good damsel in distress, and Barnham did a great job as Nick's opposition. I would have liked more character development, but what can you do. The game was pretty long as is, and a lot of things were probably cut. I don't know if anyone checked out the extra content, the 4th wall breaking stuff is pretty amusing, and in the galleries you can see there were some ideas left on the table. I thought for sure Rouge at the bar would be Barnham's sister, and maybe she is, but the game never expanded on that.
Overall I quite liked the game, it was definitely a success in my eyes, a truly entertaining collaboration between two of my favourite series.
Oh yeah, big props on the post-game stuff. I found it all really entertaining, and occasionally hilarious. I think having the characters sort of just interact and mess around in a relaxed environment ended up making most of them quite a bit more likable.
I gotta say, there is something sort of disturbing by how fast Layton and Wright rebel against a witch hunt trial by... pointing their finger at a group of people and deeming one of them a witch without much evidence. Knowing full well what can happen in this town to anyone who is accused of being a witch. I mean hell, at this point they shouldn't even necessarily be convinced witches are real yet, let alone making their own accusations.
Sure, it turned out they were right... but finding out you were right after the fact doesn't make accusing people of being a witch in a town where witch hunts get out of hand and witches are burned alive ok.
I'm still enjoying the game a lot, the characters just don't seem to acknowledge the real weight of anything happening. Phoenix and Mia maybe have the excuse of being so used to terrible murders by now, but what about Layton and Luke? You're seeing people get burned alive and just kind of shrugging it off?
I do suspect that there will be some TWIST where it turns out that what you thought happened didn't really happen, but still, they should be taking things more seriously as long as they THINK these things are happening.
I was right, of course, about the fact that no one was actually being burned alive. The way it all came out was bizarre and I have to admit I still didn't know what was going on right until the very end, which is good I suppose.
It's kind of strange if you "lose" the trial after a lot of this comes out, because the judge is like ok trial over, clearly this woman is a witch and should be burned to death and it's like WE JUST LITERALLY PROVED THAT MAGIC DOESN'T EXIST AND NO ONE IS EVER BURNED TO DEATH AND THIS WHOLE TOWN IS A SHAM AND... HAVE YOU BEEN PAYING ATTENTION JUDGE?! I mean obviously it just comes down to they didn't bother to get a different "game over" message when the old one no longer makes sense, but still weird.
I also think it is weird that even after it comes out that there is no magic everyone just kind of keeps accepting the invisibility cape without question. Sure THAT eventually ended up having a non-magical explanation, but no one knew it at the time!
Overall though, I enjoyed it, was fun seeing the characters from the two respective series together, etc. But I feel like from an actual gameplay perspective the trials didn't live up to AA standards and the puzzles didn't live up to PL standards. You pretty much HAVE to be into the crossover element and the weird story, which I was, but I wish the gameplay backed it up better. Not sure what score I am going to give it yet, but it's going to be on the lower end for those respective series.
What'd you think of the big endgame twist? I posted a bit of a rant before and it still just boggles my mind. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, I actually think it's one of the worst twists I've ever experienced in a game! Especially after so much of the game is based around finding tiny contradictions, and then you get hit by a hundred huge ones at once.
It's funny to read everyone's responses and experiences knowing I am still blind to them (and working not to be). I am in my first true witch trial (I think...). So Espella is being accused of a witch and I'm almost done with it. The sheer amount of time that goes into these is intense but logical I suppose. I've had to break it up by a couple of play sessions to be honest.
The idea it goes from logical to bizarre isn't foreign to me though. I've played a couple of the Layton games. This is my first foray into Ace Attorney however. I'm enjoying the uniqueness of that and when Professor Layton showed up to support me in this trial, I was overjoyed to have that backup support. This really does seem like a good idea in the sense that pairing these two up makes for a strong concept.
I peeked at how many chapters this game has because I had been away from the game for so long. I was shocked when I realized that after over four hours in I only was just joining Chapter 2.... wow. I hope for the sake of pacing that this court case I'm in now is ALL of Chapter 2. If not... oi this is going to take me a while.