Something strange is going on in the city of Labyrinthia. The townspeople live in fear of witches and magic, and celebrate the "Story Teller", an enigmatic figure whose writings become reality.In a courtroom deep within the city, a young girl stands trial for witchcraft. The prosecutor, a dapper gentleman with a top hat, accuses her of being the witch that has brought havoc to the city.Across the room, the defense attorney smirks and taps a sheet of paper, then stands."OBJECTION!Professor, there is a huge contradiction in your argument!"So goes the story of Professor Layton VS. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, a Nintendo 3DS title by Capcom and Level-5. A Crossover between the jaw-droppingly popular Professor Layton puzzle games and the extremely well-written Ace Attorney courtroom adventure series, VS seeks to combine the two playstyles, warning that "this time, the puzzles are filled with contradictions".The game has two official websites, courtesy of Nintendo Australia and Capcom Japan. It was released in Japan on November 29th 2012 and later localized to Europe on March 28th 2014. A US release has been confirmed, scheduled for August 29th.
Averted (for the first time in an Ace Attorney game), the trials are Witch Trials.
More directly, even though the witch trials involve someone biting it as a result of said witchery, the prologue case in London is simply one of assault and robbery, and the victim even testifies.
In addition all of the murders by witchcraft were faked. The end result is that, save Sir Belduke who killed himself three months earlier and the victims of the Legendary Fire ten years earlier, Everybody Lives.
Anti-Frustration Features: The ability to use hint coins if you get stuck during trials: if you use one, it'll tell you what action to take on the suspicious statement and blank out some of the incorrect choices. Phoenix and Maya talk amongst themselves a lot if you go through all the statements as usual, making the right solution pretty obvious at times.
The number of hint coins available and number of hidden puzzles for every location are also shown in the location description when walking around on the world map, and like in every Layton game so far, any puzzles you miss can be solved later at your leisure, although without the dialogue that would normally accompany it.
At least one of the puzzles also specifically notes that you cannot lose picarats for a wrong answer to that particular puzzle, and invites you to use "Check" as often as you like.
Ascended Fridge Horror: In the third Ace Attorney game, that fact that one of the game's culprits was executed is a plot point. It's never stated whether any of the other killers you've helped convict were given the death penalty, but seeing as most of them don't appear afterwards, it's certainly likely, though it's never addressed. This game, however, doesn't sidestep the issue: it's made clear right from the start just what punishment awaits those found guilty of witchcraft, and it's not a pleasant one. And you get to see it happen to the true killer of the second case.
Though it's also worth noting that the execution device is an elaborate fraud and none of its victims actually died, though most were brainwashed and lost their identities. Still horrifying to watch, though.
In the third case, Birdly the bard sings as he gives his testimony. When he does so, the background music switches to a (usually dissonant) piece of music he plays on his instrument until he's done singing. After that, the normal background music continues as normal.
When you play final main story puzzle, "The Last Spell", the background music doesn't switch to the puzzle-solving theme. Instead, the music from the cutscene before it continues to play while you solve it.
Bait and Switch: The game pulls a nasty fast one near the end, making the player think Espella really is Bezella (by causing the great fire), and thus suggests the possibility that the player has been defending a guilty girl for the whole story! This is because, near the end of the story, Espella seems to remember her whole past, including visiting the silver bell with her friend Eve when they weren't supposed to, and ringing the bell. Nope, actually it was Eve who rung the bell that indirectly caused the fire; Espella didn't do it after all, but Eve pinned the fire on Espella because Eve blocked out her memory of doing it.
The "story" heard upon first entering Labrynthia mentions "two companions" being attacked by a witch. Even people in-universe think it might be referring to Luke and Layton, and warn them to stay out of trouble. It turns out to be two random robbers we've never seen before.
When Layton gets summoned by the Storyteller he writes a story in which a man from afar is killed by a gold curse. The scene implies the victim will be Phoenix, but the story actually refers to Layton
Beware the Nice Ones: Layton after he saves Maya. He stands up against five thugs and for a moment his gentlemanly ruse is thrown out the window as he asks, "Now, which one of you are first?" as he obviously prepares for a fist fight.
And Phoenix when he's mourning the death of Maya.
Big Bad: Both the Storyteller and the Great Witch Bezella are set up to be these. However, Bezella is merely a legend and the Storyteller has no real power. The game has no Big Bad, making this a Subverted Trope.
Big Damn Heroes: Layton when he saves Maya after the audience was lead to believe both of them were dead.
Big Word Shout: "Objection!" "Hold it!" and "Take that!", of course, but also in this game are "Got it!" (also used in Dual Destinies, but for a different reason), used when pointing out a contradiction in a picture, "Hang on!" when questioning another witness during the multiple-witness testimonies, "Welcome!" used when Phoenix thinks he's a baker, and finally "Have a look!" used when Layton presents evidence in the final trial.
Not to mention the bit when Layton and Wright dispel the illusion over Labyrinthia once and for all by shouting the final spell - Taelende!
Borrowed Catchphrase: The first person to say Layton's catchphrase, "that reminds me of a puzzle", is actually Phoenix, who ironically hasn't solved any puzzles at that point.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Every now and then in the main game. In the Special Episodes however, it gets utterly demolished.
Layton: Yes, puzzles dropped from the main game... Ahem... I mean, specially prepared for our further enjoyment.
Brick Joke: If you finish the game a second time starting from a clear file, the cameo scene featuring Edgeworth is swapped with a scene of Flynch finally finding his glasses.
British Accents: Every character, with the exception of Nick and Maya (who have American accents), and Carmine and Olivia (who have Italian accents). The accents are far more varied than most other non-British works; while the more prominent Labyrinthians (such as the Judge and Barnham) have reasonably generic RP accents, witnesses and villagers lean more towards regional accents, such as Mary's thick Yorkshire accent and Kira's noticeable Estuary dialect.
Busman's Holiday: Phoenix is in London for a cultural exchange program with the bar association when he gets transported to Labyrinth City.
The Butler Did It: Subvert in case 3, where Jean Greyerl, the butler of the diseased Sir Belduke, was accused of turning Professor Layton into gold and framed Maya Fey for being a witch. Turns out, although she was a witch, she was not responsible for the former and accidentally caused the latter.
Butt Monkey: According to released art...still Phoenix.
Call Back: Luke's habit of touching fire or hot things comes up again.
Chekhov's Skill: Layton makes a comment early on about taking fencing up again (also serves as a Call Back, as we know the Professor is an excellent swordsman). It becomes necessary later on after the Storyteller sets robotic knights on him and Luke, although there is also an element of this in his defense of Maya when she is being chased by Shades.
Espella's black cat, Eve, bears a striking resemblance to a certain cat from Ghost Trick.
"ZVARRI!" from Trials & Tribulations is quipped by Maya.
The Blue Badger was apparently so successful, he became the mascot for London's police department. Gumshoe would be proud.
Maya jokes that the Professor "never drinks more than 17 cups of tea during a puzzle", a reference to the coffee-loving Godot from Trials and Tribulations. Lampshaded by Phoenix, when he broke the fourth wall by calling her out after she explicitly used "A certain Ace Attorney Reference".
Crazy-Prepared: There's no other way to describe the various methods by which "magic" is made to function in Labyrinthia. In particular, part of the story that the Storyteller writes for Layton involves the Shades making a solid gold statue of the professor in order to carry out the illusion of him being gold-ified.
Cruel and Unusual Death: What's promised for anyone convicted of witchcraft. Should someone be convicted of witchcraft, that person will be sealed in a cage complete with a mask fitting over the cage's "mouth", and the cage will be lowered into a pit of flames. A side character named Kira (who turns out to be the second case's culprit) is lowered into the flames, and then Maya Fey of all people ends up lowered into the flames when trying to save Espella from that fate. Both Kira and Maya show up alive anyway later on.
Dream Team: C'mon, it's Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright.
Driven to Suicide: Multiple times throughout the story. The second witch attempted to drown herself as a young child, the Alchemist poisoned himself three months prior to the story and Espella attempts to leap off the belltower during the climax of the story.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: Played With. Despite the fact that many of the townsfolk openly dislike Phoenix for defending accused witches and he spends the entire first witch trial being mocked by everyone for being a baker, the second witch trial opens with the Judge and Barnham acknowledging him as Barnham's equal... meaning that Butt Monkey Phoenix gets more respect in a Kangaroo Court that had probably never acquitted anyone before he came along than he normally does in the more-or-less due process-based real-world court.
Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Espella several times throughout the story. She has them for the entirety of the first case, and then gets them during flashbacks, and the final case. These are the result of either mind control (usually by Darklaw) or the return of her repressed memories about the Legendary Fire.
Earn Your Happy Ending: It took a great deal of suffering (years of it in certain characters' cases), but thanks to Layton and Phoenix, the story is brought to a happy ending. The truth behind Labyrinthia is uncovered, everyone's Fake Memories disappear, their real memories return, the Shades go back to normal, Eve is reconciled with the Story Teller, who brings the Labyrinthia project to an end, and they and Espella finally start living happily.
Easy Amnesia: Wright and Maya lost their memories, and through heapings of Fake Memories, believed they had been spending five years in Labyrinthia when they were really only there for a few days. It doesn't last long, as they recover their true memories soon afterwards.
Everybody Lives: With the exceptions of Newton Belduke and the victims of the Legendary Fire, everyone survives the events of the game. Yes, even the murder victims.
Fawlty Towers Plot: Project Labyrinthia began this way - in order for Espella to recover from the trauma caused by the fire, Arthur (the Storyteller) made a story about a witch being punished...then told Espella that witches were real and that his stories become true. It started out with a few people acting out roles in his stories, and as both the town and the story expanded, it ended up with an entire town with it's population hypnotized and made open to suggestion.
For Doom the Bell Tolls: Heard frequently in Espella's flashbacks. Because of the bell tower that suddenly appeared in town.
Foreshadowing: Darklaw's name, hair pieces and clawed gauntlets give her appearance a striking similarity to that of Eve the cat - Espella's "one true friend".
Frothy Mugs of Water: Strangely subverted in Rouge's bar. Rouge offers Phoenix two puzzles regarding "tomato juice", and Nick even makes reference to how he's more of a "grape juice" fan. Upon offering the second one, Phoenix tries to pass it off to Luke, but Rouge insists Nick solve it, stating the puzzle isn't for kids, apparently due to the "alcohol" references. After solving it, Luke inquires as to why exactly it wasn't for kids, if the drink involved was just tomato juice. Rouge replies with how the drink actually was tomato juice, but she wanted Nick specifically to solve it, as she claims whoever can solve her riddle would be her soulmate. Nick swiftly moves on.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the German version, the female bell tower guard who looks like a, well, Domina, is called Dominika, and her "subs" are called "von Schlag" ("to hit (with your hand or an instrument") "zu Tritt" (from zutreten, "to kick something, somebody", or "zu Tritt", "to step on something/somebody"). von Schlag even taunts Phoenix with the words "You don't have any prejudice against our preferences, do you, Mister Lawyer?", with the word for preference ("Vorliebe") also meaning "kink". Also, Dominika threatening to spank Phoenix, you know, for kids aged 6+. She also says she is a "naughty girl" and likes it when others watch...
In the English version, the guard is named Foxy, and her right-hand man Treddon. She also makes a comment about climbing the stairs in the belltower, regarding her "[liking] to be on top". Meanwhile, her two "admirers" beg her to walk over them in her stilettos, while she perches on the witness stand, constantly crossing and uncrossing her legs a la Basic Instinct.
Despite the occasional nod to Frothy Mugs of Water in the game, it makes no attempt to hide the fact that Emeer is a drunkard. He drinks constantly throughout his testimony and all but admits that he visited the alchemist's house to get a remedy for his hangover.
Going Through the Motions: Played for laughs during the special episodes. An example would be in episode 4: Barnham started working in the bakery. He is shown with full armor on (Handwaved by him saying that the reason why he's wearing his armor is because Aunt Patty said a apron is the baker's armor), and he still brandishes sword needlessly when talking to the gang. Naturally, given the silliness of the special episodes, this got Lampshaded when Phoenix got very startled by him brandishing his sword up close.
Heroic BSOD: Espella being lead to believe that she is Bezella causes this, several times. This also happens to Eve after she discovers that it was her who rang the bell and caused the Great Fire.
Heroic Sacrifice: A very complicated example in case 3. First, Jean Greyearl confesses to being a witch and is set to be executed... but then Maya and Espella intervene and then both, individually, try to offer themselves in her place. Maya pretends to be the original culprit to save her, Espella uses her status as Bezella to cancel out her sacrifice, and then Maya tries to Take a Third Option and free Espella from the flame pit at the last second. It ends in a colossal screw-up with Jean and Espella safe, but with Maya (supposedly) executed.
Heroic Safe Mode: Having just watched Maya been executed in front of his eyes, Phoenix is understandably upset. However with two children to look after, the Professor gone and the knights of the court on their trail, he simply doesn't have time to break down.
Hero with Bad Publicity: Phoenix being treated like a joke by others is nothing new, but here it's pretty clear that the NPCs are outright scornful and outraged over his attempts to prove his clients innocent, and are clearly infuriated whenever he scores against the prosecution. At one point, the knights of the court outright hunt him down because they're tired of him defending "witches". Fortunately, he eventually does get the respect of the towspeople when he and Layton team up to reveal the truth about Labyrinthia.
When Professor Layton was turned to gold, the mysteries page updated itself with Golden Layton inside of it. While he had no comments due to, you know, apparently being a golden statue at that time, his face graphics, in contrast, was not golden. Also doubling as Foreshadowing, this proves that Professor Layton wasn't turned to gold after all. The very fact that it's the first magical crime to be added to your "mysteries" list implies it'll get the Doing in the Wizard treatment eventually.
The question mark cursor in investigation mode chimes in a particular way whenever the interaction would result in a puzzle to solve, even if you wouldn't have known otherwise that it would do so. Particularly egregious with plot-related interactions.
It's All Upstairs From Here: The Storyteller's tower, and the Bell Tower, as investigated by their respective parties — Layton and Luke; Maya and Phoenix.
Kangaroo Court: Taken Up to Eleven. The Judge is not biased towards the prosecution- he is impatiently looking forward to calling your client guilty as soon as you make one wrong turn, so he can gladly condemn them to burn in the fire alive and watch them reduced into ashes. Meanwhile, the audience cheers for the prosecution even while you are destroying their arguments and the witnesses will change their testimony a hundred times and make up any lies necessary to prove that the defendant is an evil despicable witch who deserves to be burnt alive. Witch Trial, indeed.
In particular, the first witch trial involves Phoenix arguing with a group of witnesses for over an hour over whether or not they saw an invisible stick that none of them were capable of seeing (with Phoenix arguing that they did not, as their original testimonies said). Spoiler: They didn't.
Obviously, this is all justified in that the game takes place in a middle ages town (at least everyone in town thinks they're from the middle ages), and the trials are trials involving witches and magic. These kind of trials are realistic to how witch trials would have actually been like.
Magic A Is Magic A: Magic in the setting has a strict set of limitations. First, a witch must use a special scepter with two gemstones in it. Which stones determine which spells they can cast. When the witch wants to cast, she must proclaim the incantation for the spell. Each spell has its own limitations as well, such as a portal spell only working on a green surface. These strict limitations are to make it easier for the Shades to set up the illusion of the spell being cast. Because each witch has their own scepter, the Shades need only equip themselves to fake two spells. The incantation is a signal for the Shades to go to work.
Make the Dog Testify: Case three features Phoenix cross-examining a parrot, using him as a makeshift medieval tape recorder. Case four has Eve jump up onto the stand and take up a witness slot, and though she never actually testifies, Phoenix questioning her results in Espella mentioning a crucial detail.
Mahoney マホーネ or 魔法姉 magic sister. English version, Espella.
Jeeken ジーケン バーンロット 事件 Case Burns a lot. Translated as Zacharias Barnham. First part of the surname sounds similar to "burn". All of Barnham's translated names are a play on fire, or red.
The crowd has a habit of chanting Barnham's name whenever he has the upper hand in a trial. Considering the gamut of regional brogues the audience has, it's very easy for "Barnham, Barnham, Barnham!" to be heard as "Burn 'em, burn 'em, burn 'em!"
Madara マーダラ being a long vowel away from murderer. Fitting seeing as how her case turns out. In the English version, her name is Kira. Not exactly subtle. In French, her name is Rose Morthem. It's not as obvious, but it doesn't take a genius to realize the implications behind it either.
Darklaw's name is, obviously, the words "dark" and "law". In addition to arguably applying to Labyrinthia's laws, it may be a shoutout to Dual Destinies'Arc Words, "the dark age of the law". Oh, and she likes wearing metallic claws.
Newton Belduke, the alchemist and local doctor. Named for Isaac Newton, who — as well as being a prominent mathematician and scientist — was very much into the subject of alchemy.
In the Spanish version, Espella is called Aria Fable. An aria is a piece of melody, usually with singing, used in opera.
Darklaw is Diana, Roman goddess of the Moon. Meanwhile, Espella's cat is called Selene... Greek goddess of the moon, hinting at the fact that both are actually the same character.
Barnham is Flamair, obviously referencing flames.
Espella Cantabella is called "Sophie de Narrateur" in the German version. This overlaps with Bilingual Bonus as "Narrateur" is the French equivalent of "Storyteller", hinting at a connection between the two characters. However, because the Storyteller is called "Der Schöpfer" (The Creator) in the German version, it isn't immediately obvious.
In French, Espella is named "Aria Novella". In addition to the aforementioned meaning of "Aria", "Novella" refers to a literary style. Her father's name is "Roman Novella", with "roman" being another literary term (more specifically, it's French for "novel").
Wordsmith's name comes from the term for someone who applies almost craftsman-like skills to word use. His French name "Philocrate" is a portmanteau of "philosophe" (philosopher) and "Socrate" (How the Greek sage Socrates is called in French).
Ridelle Mystere's name comes from "riddle" and the French word for "mystery".
Mary the goatkeeper is meant to evoke Mary had A Little Lamb.
Jean Greyerl the butler, in two ways. First, Earl Grey is a popular type of English tea. Second, Jean Grey is the name of one of the original members of a certain other group that is often persecuted for having superhuman abilities.
Of course, almost every single one of these names might be fake names given to them when they adopted new identities, so they may or may not be intentionallyMeaningful Names.
Motionless Chin: Layton originating characters have this, despite original and Ace Attorney characters not.
Never Trust a Trailer: The first trailer had a number of aspects that are now completely contradictory, such as Layton being the one to prosecute Espella and Luke using his design from Professor Layton and the Last Specter. While he does prosecute Espella in the last case, it's to prove her innocence rather than her guilt. Even the parts that are used qualify as Missing Trailer Scenes, as the events were completely redrawn.
Nice Hat: The Professor, who comes to be known as "Sir Top Hat" because of it.
No Fourth Wall: The Bonus Episodes start with a discussion of "puzzles dropped from the main game", and the fourth wall only weakens from thereon out.
Phoenix: Hey, Professor. Is it really okay for everyone to be so, err... self-aware like this? Maya: Ease up, Nick! Sometimes a little self-awareness is fun. Isn't that right, avid video game player?
Non-Standard Character Design: Noticeably, both sets of heroes look distinct from the rest of the people, although all the important characters share AA's art style while the side characters are closer to Layton games in design.
Oh Crap: Chapter 4 and 5 has two major ones related to Professor Layton and Maya being supposedly dead.
OOC Is Serious Business: When Layton takes on five thugs to protect Maya his gentlemanly ruse is tossed out the door as he gets ready for a fist fight while asking, "Now which one of you is first?"
Not to mention when he supposedly turns traitor and becomes the prosecutor during the final case. Layton becomes somewhat sterner and more harsh than you would expect. Much like Phoenix, he also takes up smacking the bench to punctuate his points.
After the third case, Phoenix looks positively enraged when he meets Barnham, so much that it looks like he's about to punch him. It's the first time in the serie we get to see an angry Phoenix Wright.
Original Generation: In addition to being set in an entirely new world, the game introduces a new braided, blonde girl (Espella) to be the focal point of the game. There is also a new prosecutor who dresses like a knight, named Zacharias Barnham.
Red Herring: "Five years" is brought up a lot. Five years ago, Espella began living at the bakery, five years ago, Phoenix and Maya began work as apprentice bakers, five years did Jean work for the alchemist... it doesn't actually mean anything.
Rewriting Reality: The villain in control of the town, "The Storyteller," seems to have this ability, via the Reality-Writing Book mentioned above. Except he doesn't, he just has an army of invisible minions and hypnotic ink to make people THINK that he has this power.
Screw Destiny: Layton's reaction when the Story implies that Phoenix will be killed is to interrupt the prophecy before it can come true. Unfortunately, he misinterpreted the Story and is turned to gold himself.
Sequel Difficulty Spike: A weird case. The Phoenix portions of the game are considerably harder than Dual Destinies, which was released earlier outside Japan but developed after this game. Though the fact that the penalties are back to the "5 strikes" system as opposed to health bars combined with Save Scumming being less convenient (there's no easy way to reload saves during a trial, so it requires a full reset, you have to go through the recap dialogue every time and you reload at the start of the testimony rather than at a specific statement) does make it harder than most entires in Phoenix's home series. Thankfully there is a Hint System in place during trials.
Spring Time For Hitler: Phoenix was not meant to succeed in the case in Britain; hence his being put into a trial without prior notice, and without even a background in the British court system. He was told to go along with the guilty plea and the prosecutor even lets it slip that "this wasn't how it was supposed to go" when he declares his client not guilty.
Suddenly Voiced: Maya and Phoenix (beyond his courtroom catchphrases), although they have been voiced in Japanese trailers before, and always have been voiced in CD dramas, in Japan of course.
Take My Hand: When Espella goes to jump off the top of the bell tower, it's Darklaw who catches her in midair and holds her there.
Temple of Doom: The aforementioned ruins under the Great Witch's abode.
The Nicknamer: Barnham, of all people. He refers to Wright continually as, "Sir Blue Knight", and Layton as, "Sir Top Hat".
There Are No Therapists: The game's epilogue reveals that most of Labryninthia's ruse was created to comfort Eve and Espella after the Great Fire, and convince the former that she was not Bezella.
Time Skip: The special episodes take place a year after the events of the game, and follow the gang as they meet up with the characters of the game again.
Town with a Dark Secret: Labyrinthia was created by the Storyteller for two reasons - the first to provide therapy for two little girls, and the second to test the effects of a hypnotic drug on an entire city.
Throw the Dog a Bone: Phoenix has been mocked and penalized endlessly for presenting wrong evidence in his own games, but when Layton takes up the inquisitor's position at the end of the last trial and you're tasked to present evidence as him, presenting the wrong evidence makes Phoenix object before he even gets to say anything, saying his argument made no sense and expects him to use a lame excuse to cover up for it, clearly enjoying every single second of the moment.
Trapped in Another World: The premise of the story. However, as per Layton tradition, it's actually a very elaborate facade.
Villainous Breakdown: As it turns out, these return from the AA series, at least during "trial" segments. However, unusually for the AA series, the breakdowns are sometimes filmed from different camera angles, not just facing the witness from the player's perspective. For example, during the first breakdown the camera starts facing the witness, but when the witness falls to the floor after the breakdown is over the camera cuts to an overhead view. The second culprit's breakdown, meanwhile, is filmed from a "close up" angle. They're also fully voiced too.
Water Source Tampering: Though it's naturally occuring as opposed to being maliciously put there, Labyrinthia's water source is infected with a virus that causes citizens to pass out at the sound of pure silver.
What the Hell, Hero?: Phoenix receives this speech from Rouge after Maya's "death", and is told to Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!. Should be noted that her speech actually isn't the typical "get ahold of your emotions" speech, but the exact opposite. She gets on Phoenix's case for holding onto his emotions TOO MUCH and never self-pitying, which is an original, yet also profound and rather nice, variation.
Witch Hunt: For the most part, this is what the game centers around.
A Wizard Did It: In-universe, obviously. This is what witch trials are all about, and this kind of "logic" is accepted as common place in the game's world, meaning Phoenix has to approach logic from another point of view.
You Can't Fight Fate: Everything the Storyteller writes is destined to come true. It's not, since it's not magic, but pretty much everything happens as the text says, with a few obvious cracks, such as Layton not being killed by statues and Bezella not being burned.