Video Game Wednesdays criteria include a) being electronic in nature and b) being a game
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy is the final game in the Professor Layton series, and offers a bridge between the events of the Miracle Mask and the Curious Village.
The gameplay involves puzzles. Lots of them. This is a puzzle game, after all, with dozens (if not hundreds) of puzzles. I finished this game the other day, and found it to be a really fun addition to the series. It follows basically the same pattern as the rest of the series, which is to investigate with your magnifying glass, find hint coins, and – you guessed it – solve puzzles put to you by either the environment or the locals, furthering the storyline. The puzzles range from easy riddles and arithmetic to head-scratching brainteaser and logic puzzles. I actually almost rage-quit over a couple – until I got a lightbulb moment and realized what was going on. Thankfully, you can collect hint coins throughout the game, allowing you four hints per puzzle. (Three normal and one Super Hint.) Some of the hints (if you buy all four with your hint coins) practically solve the puzzle for you. Nice for the ones you just don’t get, but it does take some of the fun out of the game. Hints are, however, optional. You don’t ever have to buy a hint if you don’t want to.
As an added bonus, you can download a new puzzle every day for a year after release in the Daily Puzzle section of the game. Some are incredibly fun (at least to me – others will find different ones fun,) like Alchemy (I think it’s called that.)
The story was actually fairly interesting, and had a few twist endings that you probably didn’t see coming. It goes pretty much like this (with spoilers, and yes, it’s long. It’s a complicated storyline after all:)
After the end of Miracle Mask (the one with the crazy guy with the creepy mask who had amnesia and turned out to be Layton’s childhood friend,) the Azran Legacies (which I believe we found in Miracle Mask and a couple of the other games, been awhile since I played them,) are now possessed by Targent, who are pretty much just power-hungry and really seem to hate archeology unless it brings up something they can use. Plus, there’s Jean Descole, Targent’s rival, who also really wants the shiny Azran stuff, making a very interesting power play for this game.
The story begins with Layton, Luke and Emmy boarding the Bostonius (which is an airship!) on their way to see Professor Sycamore, an archaeologist like Layton, who told the professor that he had found a living “mummy”. They travel to Froenberg, where they meet Sycamore and Aurora, a girl frozen in ice. (She’s our living “mummy.”)
After solving a puzzle (this is pretty much the entire gameplay – puzzle after puzzle,) she’s freed from the ice, and promptly captured by Targent, led by a nasty guy called Bronev. (Honestly, I think someone watched the Godfather too many times while working on these games. Targent’s really just a steampunk mafia, in my opinion.)
Targent then escapes with Aurora onboard their awesomely evil version of the Bostonius, and Layton, Luke, Emmy, Sycamore and Raymond, Sycamore’s butler, chase them in the Bostonius. Layton and Luke rescue her and find out she’s lost her memory before Layton accidentally drops her (why, Layton? If you’re going to be swinging on ropes between airships several hundred feet above the ground, you can take the time to either a) knock her out a little better or b) tie a rope around her,) into the forest.
Layton and Luke follow suit, falling several hundred feet without a bump or a bruise (they are the heroes after all!) and find they are in the town of Kodh, and proceed to run around town trying to find Aurora. When they finally see her, she appears to be walking on water, but Layton, being the cartoon equivalent of Sherlock Holmes, realizes there’s ice stepping stones under the lake. They eventually make their way across to Aurora, and find her speaking to thin air in a unknown language.
Thought she was crazy.
Her words open an Azran chamber located under the huge lake surrounding Kodh. (So she’s magic, or we have dwarf/elf doors… not sure which one.) They go inside, and get sent on a mission to recover the five Azran eggs, scattered around the world by their leader, to unlock the Azran Legacy. (More puzzles!)
Layton, Luke, Emmy, Aurora and Sycamore head back to London. (They’re British, if you didn’t know that.) They planned to stock up on necessary supplies, but things rarely go the way they plan in this series. They meet Inspector Grosky, who is investigating Targent. They then solve more puzzles, since several artifacts were taken from the local museum, and find out that (guess who!) Targent was involved, and that someone in the London police force was involved in the crime. (Why is the police nearly always involved?) Layton then pins the rat as Detective Inspector Leonard Bloom, and exposes him as a Targent agent. Bloom is arrested, and the party is free to head off on their mission.
But Targent continues to pursue them. Of course.
The party goes about finding the eggs. They make a jungle chief laugh, find the real egg in a town with thousands, keep a wolf from dying, stop sacrifices to an imaginary dragon, and pull all the adults in a town out of a mushroom-induced coma. Each of these gets them one of the eggs.
After getting all five, Aurora tries to unlock her true power and cure her amnesia (amnesia seems to be a theme in these games.) It doesn’t work, and she realizes one of the eggs is a fake. Turns out Targent swapped one of the eggs for a fake one at some point. Layton, Luke, Emmy, Aurora and Sycamore fly to Targent’s base of operations to get back the final egg. An archeologist from one of the towns we visited tries to hijack Targent, but nearly gets killed. He is hospitalized by two former Targent agents, and the group makes it to the tower at the heart of the base. They do some serious rock climbing and make it to the top, reaching Bronev’s office. There, Bronev tries to bribe Layton with a spot on Targent (which he declines.)
The two then proceed to play a game for the last egg, with Layton coming out as the victor. (Go Layton!) Being a sore loser, Bronev shows Layton video footage of his parents Lucille and Roland. He threatens their lives if Layton doesn’t join him. Sycamore convinces Layton to decline the offer once again, and Bronev runs off while the group takes the final egg.
The five eggs join together to form a master key. Sycamore turns out to be Descole, betraying the professor. (Didn’t like him anyways.) Later, Emmy turns out to be a Targent agent (!) revealing that she had been working for her “uncle”, Leon Bronev, the head of Targent (!!) all along. (Why, Emmy? Why?)
Emmy and Bronev take Aurora, planning to use her to unlock what they think is the “Azran legacy”. Descole then forms an alliance with Layton to fight Targent. He is severely injured, and about to die, he reveals his true identity as Layton’s brother. (!!!) Turns out they were separated when their parents were kidnapped by Targent, but it turns out their father is Bronev himself. (Who was working on this game?!) His malice towards Layton was to keep him safe and out of Targent’s way, who he really didn’t like.
Emmy realizes Bronev, while he raised her, isn’t a great guy, as he’s willing to sacrifice anything and everyone to get the Azran Legacy. She wants the professor to reform Bronev, and leaves Luke behind hoping that it’ll achieve that.
Meanwhile, Bronev gets the “legacy” rolling by stabbing Aurora through the heart in the Azran sanctuary hidden in Froenborg.
Not a great move.
Turns out it’s not a source of power, but the tomb of the Golems, a race created by the Azran that pretty much ended up becoming sentient and killed off most of the Azrans. Their creators froze them away in ice to keep it from happening again. Aurora turns out to be a Golem, created to judge the worth of people in the future. Bronev, by killing Aurora, just erased any redeeming qualities of humans in the eyes of the Golems.
Good job, Bronev. Thanks for that.
They begin attacking Froenburg and the Targent military. Aurora soon wakes up though, and is horrified at what’s happening. Layton, Luke, Emmy, Descole, and even Bronev sacrifice themselves to stop the annihilation of humans, and they all die.
What a downer. But don’t worry – this is a prequel series, after all!
Aurora is really sad that everyone’s dead, and asks the Azran spirits to swap her for them (which they do,) bringing the group back to life. The sanctuary drops from the sky into Lake Kodh. Before fading away, Aurora thanks Layton and Luke, and tells them that she enjoyed her time with them. She leaves telling Luke that she hopes she can come back as a human.
Bronev informs Layton that his real name is “Theodore Bronev”, not “Hershel Layton,” causing a “no, that’s impossible!” moment. (At least for me.) Turns out that Descole – whose first name was Hershel – swapped names with Layton to allow the latter to be adopted. Layton decides to keep his false name, and tells Bronev that he does not consider him to be his real father, but is hoping that they can be friends and fellow archaeologists. Bronev is then arrested by the police.
Back in London, Emmy says goodbye to Layton, giving the role of his assistant to Luke, and promises to return when she’s redeemed herself and is worthy of helping Layton again. Descole flies off into the distance searching for a new adventure, and the game ends with Luke and Layton driving in the countryside. Luke looks through the window, and sees a Curious Village on the horizon. (Remember them?)
Overall, this was a great game, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves mysteries, puzzles, or Professor Layton games.
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy is for the Nintendo 3DS. It’s available at just about any game store.