Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy

Ah, Professor Layton. In recent years there has been nothing more relaxing than digging into a new Professor Layton adventure. For me they've always had a very Winter-ish kind of feel, something only to be enjoyed in the warmth of your own home as the world freezes over. Since the first game in the series, Professor Layton and the Curious Village in 2007, developer Level-5 have been bringing sequels hard and fast, at a rate of one per year. But these are simple enough games to produce I'd imagine, and while the idea of an Assassin's Creed every year may be stomach churning at times, I happily welcome more Professor Layton. Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy is more of the same, but that's OK.

The Azran Legacy is a direct sequel to Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask. The Azran legacies are in the possession of Targent, who seek to use the immense power of the Azran for their own evildoing. However, Jean Descole, long-time Professor Layton series character and rival of Targent, also wants the Azran for himself, adding to an on-going war between the two. Enter Professor Layton; expert hat wearer and all round good guy to save the day. 

After discovering a girl named Aurora frozen in ice -a girl who is a member of the long lost Azran civilisation- Professor Layton, with Emmy Altava and Luke Triton in tow, must discover the secret behind the Azran, all the while being pursued by Targent. Yes, the good Professor has it quite tough in this outing, and it's up to you to help him. It's a great set-up for the story, and like the titles that came before it; The Azran Legacy mixes reality and fantasy with that classic charm that only Professor Layton can offer.

The Azran Legacy will take the player across the globe, to locations such as jungles, a tropical island and a wind battered town. However, the reason for the journey is to partake in the puzzles, which have always been the centrepiece to the series. They're back of course, and while it's more of the same in that department, the puzzles are fun, quite tough at times and inventive when it comes to the unique features of the 3DS. The change up in locations do help the puzzles become a bit more varied though, and this shines throughout the adventure from start to finish. 

So far so good, but if you've played a Professor Layton game before, there's pretty much nothing new here. The game plays out the same way as its predecessors, and some of the puzzles could almost be seen as rethreads of puzzles featured previously. Then again lets be honest here, no one plays a Mario game hoping it'll change the concept of what came before it, right?

The visual presentation is absolutely beautiful, plain and simple. It's a gorgeous game from the cut-scenes to puzzles, and has a slick polish that very few 3DS games can boast. This also includes the music and voice over work, which again, is just so perfectly produced and presented that it helps round off a solid if familiar entry into the series.

This is the final game that will star Professor Layton as the protagonist, much to the sadness of plenty of fans. While I personally don't think this is the last time we'll see the good Professor, his reign as the protagonist ended much like it began - with a hugely enjoyable game that will appeal to a wide audience. Sometimes playing joust with two planes in GTA Online is fun, but sometimes there's nothing like relaxing with a game that will keep you thinking as well as entertained. God speed, Professor.

Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy gets a highly respectable 8/10

Denis Murphy

Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy at CeX

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