Dear God, I love you, Layton.
Now, let me get right into it. It's review journal time, only this time I've decided to review a game that I love to death in every way imaginable, since the sequel came out just a few weeks ago and I recently finished it. If you're not prepared to read a long-winded wedding proposal, turn away now.
Professor Layton is a very, very odd game series. It's essentially, in my eyes, from a man who wanted to take Brain Age and make it marketable. It's a game about puzzles, that's simply all there is to it. But why, you would ask, because you're apparently in some kind of big hurry, wouldn't it make more sense to buy a book of logic puzzles, or brain teasers?
Well, my extremely rude friend, a book will first likely not possess the quality the Layton games do in terms of content. Puzzles start off easy, then begin to ramp in difficulty to the point of being nearly impossible in the bonus content at the end of the game. And, I cannot express this enough, the vast majority are not riddles or math problems; they usually revolve around logic, and simply being clever. Beating a puzzle without using hints just by using a bit more thought than you were initially going to put in is satisfying. Of course, given that you can only rewatch cutscenes if you get a top cumulative score means I'll be cheating a lot, but regardless. That brings me to my next, very large point.
The presentation this game has been rolled up in is absolutely mind-blowing. The animated scenes are top quality, easily the best hands down to be seen on the DS
. And this isn't just the opening demo that you see once and then never again; these occur through the entire game, the climax of the plot usually being several tied together with puzzles to be solved between in rapid succession. The animation style is also, though at first strange, enrapturing, especially seeing as this game came from Japan. The very European artwork, combined with the excellent soundtrack that matches it's origin, is a wonder to behold and better to play.
The voice acting, hell, ESPECIALLY for the english version, is also astounding. Layton is supposed to be a refined English gentleman, and the actor fills the role marvelously. Voice acting through the cutscenes and talking head dialogs is always a big treat, to be savored and enjoyed.
Of course, it also helps that the plots of the games are very fun. I mean, for E-rated games they're still very enjoyable, especially if you're like me and tend to appreciate a game's plot like reading a book. Even if not, the characters are still just as charming and if you really just can't stand it you can spam through the dialog and skip the animation to get to the puzzles. You just won't know what the fuck you're doing, at all times, which might be a bit of a bummer.
Thankfully, for my addiction at any rate, Layton seems to be going strong in Japan and stateside. He's already got 4 games in Japan, 2 in the states (each amusingly already having an end screen that definitely foreshadows a sequel with 'To Be Continued' on the bottom screen. Brimming with confidence on that first game, weren't we?) and an animated movie in Japan due out 2010, with plans to make it a yearly affair.
TL;DR: Buy Professor Layton and the Curious Village, faggots. Then after you finish it and agree with me, buy the second game. Then go back and buy a few more copies of each. It can't hurt.
P.S.: Ignore that idiotic linked media screen. The true video can be watched in HD. Please watch it that way, you owe it to yourself.