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 Advisor Reviews: Professor Layton and the Last Specter

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PostSubject: Advisor Reviews: Professor Layton and the Last Specter   Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:55 pm

If you know me very well, then you will know that I am a huge fan of Professor Layton. Sure, I like Sonic, Mario, and a little Portal 2 as much as the next guy, but to me, when it comes to the complete package, nothing delivers like a Layton game. So, when this game came out in the states two weeks ago, I had to buy it. This game begins a second trilogy that takes place 3 years before the events of the first game, Curious Village. Do I think that this game (also known as Specter’s Call in Europe) has the trilogy off to a good start? Read along to find out.
Hershel Layton is a successful young professor in London. He is the youngest in his field, and, because of his success, the envy of the other teachers at the university he teaches at. Because of his dedication, he often sleeps in his office. On one particular day, he discovers a note from his good friend, Clark Triton. In addition to his job as a professor, Layton is also an archeologist, and used to study with Clark back at the academy. However, upon reading the note, he becomes perplexed. Clark has become the mayor of a small town in the English countryside by the name of Misthallery. However, the nature of the note is one of urgency. Clark claims that a specter has be terrorizing the town at night, wrecking buildings, and forcing people to evacuate. His curiosity piqued, Layton gets in his car and begins to speed towards the village.

However, as he drives through the streets of London, he (nearly) runs into a young woman named Emmy Altava. It turns out that Emmy was actually chasing Layton, as she is his new assistant, and wasn’t going to let him skip town without her. Being a gentleman, Layton is nervous about putting his new lady friend in danger, but Emmy insists that it all must be some sort of hoax. However, as the two enter Misthallery, they are proven very, very, wrong. Not only is the specter real, but there is a boy who is predicting the end of the world, rumors of a witch living on a nearby mountain, and a mysterious figure haunting the town market. With all this madness occurring, can Layton figure out what’s going on?
If you’ve ever played a Layton game before, you will know what to expect. The key to win is to solve puzzles. I mean, lots, and lots, and lots of puzzles. This game boasts the most puzzles in any Layton game so far (in the West, at least). You find puzzles by talking to people, exploring the environments, and reaching certain points in the game. All this is accomplished using the touch screen; buttons are never used. Puzzle types range from wordplay to slide puzzles to mazes, and much, much more. The variety helps keep the game from being mundane, but don’t think that you’ll just speed through the game by yourself, because you WILL most likely find that one puzzle you can’t wrap around. For those head scratchers, you’ve got hint coins.

Hint coins are like a life preserver in a sea of confusion. You have 10 to start with, but then must hunt around for them yourself. They are hidden in the environment, much like many of the puzzles. Also, the currency in any Layton game is known as the picarat. With these, you unlock extras, such as music, character bios, and those wonderfully animated cut scenes in the game.
1.Keep tabs on your hint coins. Don’t go spending them all willy-nilly. They are limited. If you spend them all on easy puzzles, you will be very sorry later in the game!

2.Picarats are indeed the point system, but they are also an indicator of how difficult the puzzle will most likely be. The higher the number, the bigger the headache.

3.Don’t cheat. Sure, you could always look online, but you will never be able to honestly say that you solved the case of the Specter on your own. Critical thinking is the key to success, and cheating won’t help you learn to play the game any better. Trust me, doing things the legit way is very satisfying when the final credits roll across the screens.
While I hate to do this to my favorite series, there is one gripe I have with the game:
Math puzzles. For Pete’s sake, I can do without those blasted math puzzles. Here’s my reasoning: most of the puzzles, despite the difficulty, can be solved by anyone with enough thinking skills. They don’t require an education to solve. The math puzzles, however, are SURE to leave people without a grasp in the subject up a creek without a paddle (unless they cheat, or guess. I did the latter). Fortunately, there are only 10 or so out of around 200, but really, they have to place in a game where the emphasis is usually critical thinking.

Praises: Okay, now that the negatives are over, time for some positive points:
The story of Layton games has always been a strong point of the series, and Last Specter is no exception. The characters are interesting and have a purpose, fulfilling even minor roles well enough to have a distinct personality. Emmy Altava makes a great assistant/foil for Layton, and fans across the pond will be eager to see how she and Layton first met prior to the soon to be released movie, Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva. However, the most important story element for long-time Layton fans here will most likely be how Luke, Layton’s assistant from the first trilogy, came to be under the professor’s wing. Along with a couple continuity nods, this game is made for new and dedicated fans alike, and offers some important insight on the upcoming movie. The puzzles are great as well, with a careful mix of easy and difficult to work through. The balance is good for warming up the player’s brain for the intense work towards the third act, and hidden puzzles abound for those looking for more picarats. This is definitely a game for the dedicated.

Final thoughts:
This game does nothing spectacularly different. However, for this series, that is a very good thing. If you’re a puzzle lover, or love a good story and want to train your brain, then I suggest making Specter’s Flute a part of your collection. As support for the DS dies in favor for the 3DS, this game is a good personal swan song for the system, and is a great time-killer while waiting for the holiday 3DS releases. Therefore, all things considered, I give this game an 8/10.

But wait! Tune in later as I give a second part of this review. Find out if our European friends should bother to buy the American port as I review Level 5’s curious add-on, the critically specualted RPG London Life!
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PostSubject: Re: Advisor Reviews: Professor Layton and the Last Specter   Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:56 pm

Great review, dude!
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PostSubject: Re: Advisor Reviews: Professor Layton and the Last Specter   Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:25 am

Good review!
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PostSubject: Re: Advisor Reviews: Professor Layton and the Last Specter   Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:49 pm



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