Lennon and McCartney. Reeves and Mortimer. Layton and Wright? Sure, why not? Sometimes it's better to work together, especially when two of videogaming's greatest detective minds find themselves in a mysterious medieval town.
So, how did Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright end up in Labyrinth City, a Dark Ages town filled with superstitious bumpkins and wenches, and overseen by the villainous Story Teller? We, um, don't really know. But Layton and his trusty sidekick Luke are jolly keen to find out, with exploration sections of the game falling to them.
Meanwhile, in a medieval courtroom, Phoenix Wright1 must defend a young blonde woman by the name of Mahoney. She's accused of being a witch and is one step away from a serious lynching at the hands of some angry villagers who think she's used her magic powers to commit murder.
In the demo we saw, Wright faces off against a knightly prosecution lawyer named Ziiken, beads of sweat pouring down our hero's face (as usual) as Mahoney is held captive in a rusty hanging cage. You'll have to cross-examine several witnesses at a time and figure out who's fibbing.
The game is a co-production between Level-5 and Capcom,2 and so far great emphasis has been placed on the storytelling aspect: our demo featured no gameplay whatsoever, just chat, which you read through in the usual way, pressing A to skip on to the next bit.
But the presentation is as gorgeous as you'd expect from a double-header of this calibre. All the text in the cutscenes appears on the bottom screen, leaving the top screen uncluttered and clear to display lush hand-drawn backgrounds and bold character models, with brilliantly layered 3D to really make the pictures pop. The cutscenes are animated in perfect Layton fashion, and there's plenty of voice acting to boot.
The red-robed Mahoney looks just ambiguous enough to make you wonder whether she is a witch or a persecuted young lassie. Layton and Wright will doubtless get to the bottom of matters, but it seems their own relationship might not be the smoothest - a few potential ego-led rows along the way would certainly raise no (ahem) objections with us.
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