Ongoing Investigations: Case #104November 12, 2010
I have happily been engrossed in the latest Professor Layton game the Unwound Future for the last week. The plot is the most fun and lively yet and we even get to learn a bit about Layton’s past and relationships plus see a (gasp) top hat-less Layton! This is also the most personal and emotional installment yet, which makes sense since it is the end of trilogy. Still I was pleased to see myself tearing up at the ending of the events. The puzzles were about the same difficulty level as the second game, which means that overall they are tricky but not overly hard. I still admit to missing the really challenging puzzles that appeared at the end of the first game. In this case even the end puzzles, worth a lot of picarts, were mostly harder versions of puzzles you had already conquered earlier in the game. But my true reason for playing the game is plot, plot, plot so I was indubitably pleased with how it came together. My only complaint is the constant hand holding that started with the second game and only seems to have escalated in the third. There is a journal that I can read if I forget anything, there is a mystery section that I can review, and when I turn on my continued game it reminds me of where I left off. Those things are all fine, what I don’t need is the game to prevent me from wandering and a plot recap every couple of chapters. These things don’t make the game less fun it just takes a bit of mystery solving out of it.
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future is a delightful capping off of the 1st Professor Layton trilogy. As with most the previous games we start with an odd event that spirals into a larger adventure with Layton discovering the grand conspiracy behind everything as he solves puzzles. I did notice some recycling of older puzzles beyond using some of the work horse types of puzzles that are in all three games. But they change them enough that they don’t feel like you are replaying an older game with a new story. I am never usually one to comment on voice acting but the new woman who does Flora is quite awful especially considering how good everyone else has been. I don’t know what circumstances prevented them from using the original Flora but they need to get rid of this lady and fast. The ending of the game was bombastic where is need to be and in contrast heartfelt, touching, and a bit melancholy where it needed to be as well. I will say the giant robot at the end of the Eternal Diva is much more inline with the series now that I played this game. I look forward to the adaption of the prequel trilogy as well as the Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney game. With all the new material taking place before this trilogy one wonders when they will get to that letter and the end of this game.
I picked up Twin Spica vol. 3 at New York Comic Con but just recently got around to reading it. I speed through these books with their engaging characters and little mysteries. This time around we see Asumi sort of reeling from a realization in the last volume about her father. I was surprised how quickly it was dealt with although she still hasn’t actually confronted him about it yet. There is more training ahead in this book as well as some hard truths about how many of them will actually make it to space upon graduation. In the last chapter, we finally get to learn a bit about Ukita and her cold exterior. Each time the past is revealed in Twin Spica things become clearer but also harsher. Even the bonus chapter is a tear-jerker. It continues to be a poignant piece about dreams.
It seems that Macross Frontier The Movie: The False Songstress is the equivalent of Macross: Do You Remember Love? for Macross Frontier. It is a retelling of the TV series that has the same themes and many of the major events of the TV series while trimming other story elements. There are some changes that play with your expectations if you watched the TV series. I won’t go into details but among other things they pull a pineapple cake moment. They tried to make Alto, Sheryl, and Ranka more likable but I wonder if it succeeded in winning over anyone who disliked them in the TV series. I will say that they made Sheryl more enjoyable in my eyes by softening her a bit and making her less manipulative but it also took away much of her bite as well. While we get more screen time with the main trio that means to movie either cuts out characters completely like Nanase, minimized them to an extreme like Cathy and Luca, or use them for the minimum necessary like Michael and Ozma. Overall it was a fun but flawed movie. While it recycled animation from the TV series there was quite a bit of new an exciting fight scenes and concert scenes. We also get to see more of Ranka’s rise to stardom. In a way the movie emphasized both the merits and the flaws of the TV series into a bite sized package. I am curious to see how it all plays out in the 2nd movie considering the changes they made in the first half. It does beg the super nerd question: What is the canon storyline now?
Star Driver was a handful from day one and it hasn’t stopped being a weird robot highschool with kinda creepy students with a lot of mysteries. It is rare that I just plain don’t have any idea what is going to happen in a show, and that’s what makes this so fun. I know there will be a robot fight and some weird motivations going on, but the overall plot and where it is going? Nope, not a clue. But despite that the series has done a great job of getting me to wonder about it all rather than making me give up. The characters have great funny moments throughout but can just as quickly turn around and do something strange. I’m enjoying the dynamics in the drama club and for no real reason that I can fathom I love the president. Oh I love Vice President, too, but that should be obvious. I’m loving the robot designs and fights as well. KIRABOSHI!
Macross Ultimate Frontier knows what the magic of the Macross series is. It is the music. So while being a mission based action game that lets you play mecha and characters from all the various Macross series it also gives you all the music from all iterations of the series as well. As a sequel to the original Macross Ace Frontier is adds in a few of the mecha and characters from other Macross video games like Macross Digital Mission VF-X2 and Macross M3 as well as the previously disowned Macross II. If nothing else I think it is another sign that while it will never be canon they have at least softened on how heretical Macross II is. The game is fun and it encourages you to switch modes on your Valkyrie often which should be the goal of all Macross games. On the plus side there are tons of mecha and characters from all over the Macross universe. If anything considering how much there is to unlock and level up the game might be a bit overwhelming and only the hardcore are going to max out the game. It also makes a great way to play all your Macross music in a portable format since they are extremely generous in letting you unlocking music.
Can’t resist putting more Layton art!