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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2011
Professor Layton has become one of my all time favorite video games characters and franchises. The combination of addictive puzzle solving, finely crafted stories and gorgeous hand drawn, fully voiced cutscenes has set this series apart from it's competitors. Last Specter is the 4th game in the series, but 1st in a new prequel trilogy(think Star Wars Episode I), so even if you're new to Layton this is a fine place to start. Each game has added more puzzles and content than the last and Specter continues this trend. Just under 90 minutes into the game, and I've already had more cutscenes and story than any other game at this point. New charecters are being introduced and there's a lot of backstory to cover, which brings up one minor drawback. The story in Last Specter, while rich and full, can make the gameplay drag a bit, but in the end leaves you with a more complete experience. The puzzles in this game really fit the plot even more than before. They've even added little problems to solve right in the middle of the story without taking you to a seperate puzzle screen. One of the great features of this title is it includes a 100 hour bonus RPG, Professor Layton's London Life (Huge round of applause for Nintendo of America localizing this for us. The UK didn't even get it; ironic, huh?) I instantly fell in love with this bonus game! The graphics are crude, to be sure, but that doesn't take away from the joy of moving your avatar into Little London and interacting with characters from all the previous Layton games! The experience feels a little Animal Crossing-ish(moving to town, meeting people, running errands, decorating, etc.) and is a fun diversion when you're stuck on a 70 Picarat puzzle! You can load the RPG from the title screen or from the Professor's Trunk. So let's summarize: you get a new title from one of the DS's most successful and entertaining franchises, more puzzles than ever before, unlockable content, a new puzzle to download every week and a 100 hour RPG all for $30 bucks? Hmm.... A true gentleman never passes up a great deal. This is most likely the last great game for the Nintendo DS-- may it rest in peace. And if you enjoy Layton as much as you should, be sure to pick up the feature film, Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva which is released to DVD on November 8th. The movie takes place right after the events in Last Specter and has been reviewed as one of the best video game films ever made.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2011
I barely use my DS anymore but have to make an exception each year when the Layton DS games are released; and this new title: Professor Layton and the Last Specter did not meet, but rather exceeded my expectations!

I have always enjoyed the series, they contain some of the best and indeed trickiest puzzles for the DS systems but all woven into an interesting storyline which almost plays like a movie; exceptional graphics to boot. This game, though the 4th release from the Layton Franchise, is the first in a new prequel; but though it will appeal strongly to those already familiar with the series, it will also deliver a treat to those who have never played a Layton game before. The story is delivered well via graphics and audio; is compelling enough to draw you quickly into both the story and game, but quickly reviews key features of the game to help all become familiar on how to navigate through!

My favorite part about this particular game was the fact that the puzzles were a little more tricky - I found the last game had many puzzles that were too easy to solve or too familiar to previous titles within this franchise, but this time, they certainly threw in some real challenges which is the key to enjoying this series. There are a wide variety of puzzles of various levels of difficulty and for new players, it helps knowing there are hints available along the way. As another reviewer has mentioned, this time, many of the puzzles tie into the actual story which is a nice feature (for example, when the Professor needs to cross the bridge, figuring out which rope to cut, to allow access, is a mini puzzle within the game); this is a nice feature and keeps the game well connected with the story line.

Another huge bonus here is the addition of the bonus RPG, Professor Layton's London Life - 100 hours of additional game play which can be accessed at any time from the main menu!! I found this an excellent addition as once I have completed the Layton game, solved the main puzzle /storyline, I usually resell the game at that point but now I have another game to play which makes this exceptional value. Further more, you can also download a new puzzle each week and there are games / puzzles to unlock within the main game, which makes for hours of entertainment and game play!

I personally think that there is little that comes close to this franchise - we have the huge number of puzzles which vary widely in terms of type of puzzle and level of difficulty, a compelling storyline, great graphics and extra free content. Its a great deal and one of the best puzzle games (if not best game across all formats) for the DS
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The story starts "in medias res" (in the middle of things), with a cut scene featuring the Spectre. Luke is acting oddly, for those familiar with the previous Layton games: Curious Village,Diabolical Box, and Unwound Future.

Turns out, this is a prequel, and Layton eventually meets Luke for the first time (since he was a baby), and soon after the scene at the beginning repeats again. Layton starts out to investigate, but a terrified Luke hugs him and stops him. Layton does stop, and addresses Luke gently. "Luke, I know you're scared, and so am I. But I need you to think calmly and rationally. Can you do that for me?" I thought this was a powerful moment. Lots of good voice acting throughout, along with the quirky art that often as hidden puzzles and hint coins (tap mailboxes, lamps, and chimneys).

The puzzles again are excellent and fresh. As a puzzle collector that has run a site called mathpuzzle for 13 years, I know fresh puzzles. The Big Book of Brainteasers is a recently released book with similar freshness. Most puzzle books are stale, with old puzzles that are fine for someone new to puzzles, but not that interesting to a puzzle fan. The Layton Series is excellent for puzzle fans due to the freshness. The puzzles are also approachable for anyone, young or old. In addition, many are interactive, and the hint system is excellent.

Highly recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2012
I have played all three previous Professor Layton games. I loved Curious Village, thought Diabolical Box was ok and adored Unwound Future. I am currently 14 hours into Last Specter and hoping it ends soon so I can play something else. I eagerly purchased this game on release day knowing it was a prequel and would learn how the Professor and Luke meet. Unfortunately, for me, the story is quite lackluster and is barely holding my attention. With Unwound Future, I couldn't wait for those few moments during the day I could grab my DS and solve some puzzles. I can go days in between plays with this installment (obviously since I haven't finished it yet and I've had it three months; I finished Unwound Future in four days-completely). I find myself forcing myself to play this now because I want to finish it before I start DS games I received as Christmas presents.

The story moved slowly and it seemed like you didn't find very many puzzles until you hit Chapter Six. Every time I tapped a person it was just more talking about an uninteresting story and no puzzles. I'm not saying every person you click on needs to have a puzzle, but when you meet six people and none of them have a puzzle and it's a game known for it's puzzles, you feel disappointed. I think I had found and solved 65 puzzles through Chapter 6 and now I'm in Chapter 9 and have solved 113; almost double in just three chapters. I don't particularly like the mini games in this Layton either. The puppet show is dumb, I really don't like the train game and the fish game is just ok. I'll solve them all to unlock the bonus puzzles, but those feel like a chore as well. I'm also hoping eventually I find out what these stupid mouse badges are for.

Why do I keep playing? I guess because I keep hoping it gets better. It's Professor Layton and I love Professor Layton games. However, games are supposed to be fun, and this one has not been the fun for me that previous Layton games were.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2012
I have now completed two of the Layton games completely. I will say that I enjoyed the majority of both as they give a fun story to read and partly watch while going along. In this game, I was happy that there were far more videos that the previous one that I played (I believe it is called the Curious Village). In this game, you continue to get more of the same puzzles. There are some repeats with a slight difference. An example of this is one where you transport a group across water with certain conditions. In the previous game, it was wolves and chicks, and it was now parents and children in this game. There are plenty of extras, however, in this game that make the game more enjoyable and a bit different from the previous ones. One complaint that I have with the game, however, is that sometimes the wording of the puzzles is a bit misleading or they are trying to trick you. Instead of straight puzzles, they might give you one, but you were supposed to realize that they wanted you to flip the screen upside down for a totally different answer. In other words, it's not that flipping the screen is the only answer, there was another that you thought was right. You then get the answer wrong, watch the screen crumble or the character hide their head in shame, and waste hint coins being told that you were supposed to have turned the screen upside down. This does not ruin the game, but just be prepared for some misguiding puzzles here and there that make you say "oh come on." Overall, it gets a 4 due to some repeated puzzles as well as a few misguided or misleading ones.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2011
I have the other three Professor Layton games so I pre-ordered this one. I am so glad that they haven't changed the format..if it's not broke don't fix it... It is the best yet great puzzles good story line. I hope it's not the "last" specter. So far it has been less math (which is great) and more strategy (which is also great) Great value for the money because its like 4 games in one with all the extras. Keep making them please!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2012
Well, here it is: the fourth game in the series. I've just finished playing Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, so I figured, "why not just keep going?". So, here I am tackling the last game in the series that is on the old DS platform. I'm sure it'll be just as good as the previous entries, so let's dive right in!

Graphics (score 8/10): By now (after playing the first three games in the series) these graphics are looking very familiar. Not that it's a bad thing! It's nice to see consistency between the entries. Anyway, anyone who's played a previous Professor Layton will instantly recognize the art style - the same cartoony whimsical style is present here. It looks just the same (and just as good) as it ever did, right down to the Professor's beady little eyes...

Music (score 8/10): Well, the music sounds just as good as it was in previous entries, at least to my ears. The voiced cutscenes make a return as well, of course. The Professor's voice sounds just as posh and awesome as it ever did. As for the new character (Emmy), she has a nice voice too. Yep, the aural experience all seems good to me.

Characters (score 8/10): Beloved series protagonist Professor Layton makes a return of course. However, a new main character is introduced name Emmy. At first, I was thinking "NO! I want Luke!". It's not that she's an irritating character, it's just that I've grown so used to Luke being the Professor's assistant that anything different felt like blasphemy. Well, Luke does make a return, and I quickly warmed up to Emmy. As for Luke, he's a bit less pleasant in this entry because he starts out quite sullen in attitude (due to things in the plot). He gets better as time goes on though. As for the NPC's, they are all just as quirky and amusing as you'd expect from a Professor Layton game.

Story (score 8/10): This is going to make me sound like an idiot, but I didn't actually realize that this game was a prequel at first. In fact, it was only when I was confused about certain events that I realized it must be a prequel; a visit to wikipedia confirmed my suspicions. Anyway, the premise of the story is that Professor Layton gets a letter from his friend Clark Triton who lives in the town of Misthallery about a giant specter monster that's destroying the town at night. That's very strange indeed. He then sets out to solve the mystery! I'm not going to spoil anything, but the story is just as great as it was in previous entries. This entry is also the first to actually expand much on Luke's background and how he came to be such close friends with the Professor. In previous games he was just sort of there without any introduction or explanation, so it's really nice to finally learn the backstory for his character.

Gameplay (score 8/10): This is a bit of a catch-all category for me. For anyone new to the series, Professor Layton is a mix of puzzles and point and click adventure gaming. If you're already familiar with the gameplay from previous Professor Layton games, then you'll feel right at home here. Once again, there's the usual mix of brainteaser questions, sliding puzzles, and math puzzles to solve. These are the normal standard puzzles you encounter throughout the game, however, a couple new things were added for this entry. There are points where you need to solve an environmental problem (gasp, just like a real adventure game!), and also points where you must correctly answer a quiz on current events to proceed. I've always preferred the adventure game aspect of the series to the brainteasers, so I'm pleased with these additions. Honestly I don't care much about brainteaser puzzles in general, and if the story of the games weren't as good as they are, I wouldn't bother playing them at all. Other than the main puzzles, there are a couple minigames to enjoy, including a game where make a toy train avoid obstacles on a track and bounce a fish around to collect coins. They're all decent enough, but the new addition that everyone keeps getting excited about is this mini-game called "London Life". People often describe it as a "mini-RPG" but it's not really similar to a traditional RPG since there's almost no story and there are no battles. In fact, you just wander around a miniature town (with graphics reminiscent of Pokemon) and do stuff for the townspeople (all of them are cameos from various Professor Layton entries). Really, the game is more similar to Animal Crossing than anything else. In all honesty, I was pretty disappointed by it. I thought it'd be a really cool mini-RPG with an actual storyline (even a small one), but in reality it was pretty boring. I found dull enough that I didn't bother to actually finish it. Oh well, at least the main game was good.

Overall (score 8/10): NOTE this score is not an average; it's my subjective overall score. Well, Professor Layton and the Last Specter delivers the same level of quality as the previous entries, but doesn't change much in the old formula. If you liked the previous games then you'll likely be satisfied by this entry, but if you were expecting innovation, you won't find much beyond the new mini-games. I had some fun with it, and I imagine that previous fans will too. Also, since this is a prequel, it's a great game for new players to start out with!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2012
Pros: Like puzzles? Got a DS? Get Layton, and get addicted.
Last Specter is the 4th game in the Layton series, and honestly, they only keep getting better. Plus, this is the first in a prequel trilogy, making Last Specter an ideal jumping-on point for the series.
And if you're on the fence about puzzle games in general, the Layton series provides soft, non-threatening visuals and a soundtrack to gradually bring you into the world between puzzles.

Speaking of, the trademark art style is completely unchanged, complete with people of all different sizes and shapes, and that is most certainly a good thing. The soundtrack is subdued, thoughtful, or dramatic at all the right moments.

Long-time fans of the series will be happy to hear that the charming animated cutscenes are much more common in Last Specter than previous installments, and they are integrated almost seamlessly into the rest of the game.
I think there could have been more spoken lines, but I'm plenty happy with what we g

Cons: While Last Specter is less of an offender than previous Layton games, there are still a handful of puzzles that involve what is commonly called "moon logic".
Moon logic is the reason why you can spend a half-hour staring at your DS without seeing a solution, despite having forked over your precious hint coins to unlock all 4 useless hints. Moon logic is the reason why you give up after said half-hour and finally resort to an online walkthrough. After finding the solution, your first response is usually something like "How in the nine hells was I supposed to figure THAT out?!" Moon logic: Because sometimes, it's okay to punch a DS across the room.
Nevertheless, it's only a few out of well over 100 puzzles, so no eggs off.

Other Thoughts: Professor Layton is a bit of a love it or hate it series. Like my first line says, if you like puzzle games, this is most certainly for you. If it's just not your thing, so be it.

Bottom line: BUY, because really, if you even have a DS, the odds are good you could get into this style of game.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2011
Professor Layton and the Last Specter is the fourth installment of the Professor Layton puzzle adventure series. This game is a prequel to the original games and begins three years before Professor Layton and the Curious Village game. Professor Layton receives a weird letter from an old schoolmate telling him about a mysterious giant that is terrorizing his town and asking Professor Layton to help him. Professor Layton heads to Misthallery with his assistant, Emmy, to try to help his old friend.

Professor Layton and the Last Specter is a puzzle adventure type game. The game play takes place on the bottom screen with a map of your location appearing on the top screen. You move around in the game by using the stylus to follow arrows or click on objects and people. When you click on a person, they will speak to you and give you information you need to figure out what to do next. Speaking to different people at different points in the game will change what they tell you. Clicking on some objects will give you information about the object, launch into a puzzle, or give you a hint coin. Hint coins can be used to get hints to solve the puzzles. They are limited so don't use them too quickly.

There are a number of different types of puzzles in this game including word games, brain teasers, riddles, etc. Each puzzle is worth a certain amount of points. As you use hints to solve the puzzles, the amount of points that the puzzle is worth decreases. While playing the game, there is a treasure chest icon that you can click on. It keeps track of the puzzles you've completed, provides an index of mysteries that you have discovered so far, and lets you access Professor Layton's journal where Emmy keeps notes on what you've learned so far. There is also an icon called episodes that gives you a bit more information about some areas or people. As new information appears in the Journal or Episodes section, the word "new" is superimposed across that icon. You just click on the icon to read the new information.

On the top screen while you are in the treasure chest area, you can see how many puzzles you've solved, how many puzzles you've found, your total score (points), how many hint coins you have and have used, how long you've played and your current location. You can also make notes using the memo function. The treasure chest area has three blank icons with question marks for items you will receive as you progress through the game.

The puzzles vary in level of difficulty. Some I could solve without needing any hints at all. Some I needed all three available hints to solve. If you can't solve a problem, you can retry it again by returning to the area that the puzzle is found in until you can solve it. I really appreciate that the puzzles are all different types. Some involve moving pieces around to solve a puzzle. Some are deciphering mixed up letters to make words. Some are number games and some require using logic to eliminate alternatives.

The graphics are fairly simple in this game but the scenes really change quite a bit from location to location. There are lots of different buildings to investigate and different characters to talk to. You can randomly save your game throughout so it's easy to leave and restart the game. When you do restart, the game gives you a brief overview of where you've been so far and what you've discovered in this level. There are extra free downloadable puzzles available for the game (internet connection required). There is also a bonus role-playing game called Professor Layton's London Life where your character lives in Little London with Professor Layton and other characters from the series. You can customize your character with special clothes and collect items and furniture. Some of the items you collect will help you enter different areas of the town or do things to help out the townspeople.

If you have a tween/teen that's into logic games and puzzles, they'll definitely enjoy Professor Layton and the Last Specter. It's challenging but not so hard that it stops being fun.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2011
I am very amazed with the quality, AND quantity of this game.
Professor Hershel Layton, an English gentleman and a very smart detective, is off to help his friend, Mr. Triton, who lives in a very suspicious village of Misthallery. Along the way, Layton encounters a sprightly you lady named Emmy Altava who claims to have met Layton before.
The two explore the village, and meet up with Luke Triton (Layton's assistant in the previous 3 games) who accompanies them on their search.

Professor Layton and the Last Specter Is the fourth game in the series, but the first game chronologically.
The entire franchise is a puzzle solving-based game; over 150 puzzles are to be solved. The puzzles come with instructions on the top screen and an interactive puzzle on the lower screen to be played with using the stylus.
The puzzles range in difficulty and take a lot of cleverness to complete. I was definitely satisfied with those so far.
If you don't like a constant barrage of puzzles, you can even try out mini-games for a relaxed pleasurable experience.

If you are looking for a game of puzzles and a wide range of peacful music, here's your game.
Professor Layton will not dissapoint!
The price is also EXTREMELY resonable, in fact, i feel bad for paying so little for such an amazing game.
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