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Angela Aug 24, 2009

Following up on The Curious Village thread from last year, Diabolical Box week is finally upon us here in the U.S.

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Puzzle master Professor Layton and his apprentice, Luke, have stumbled upon another mystery. It’s up to them to navigate their way through numerous puzzles to determine who – or what – caused the death of Professor Layton’s mentor, Dr. Schrader. Was it the mysterious Elysian Box, rumored to kill all who open it? Professor Layton and Luke find a train ticket for the Molentary Express, a clue that begins their adventure.

* Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box™ features a riveting new mystery and more than 150 new brain teasers, riddles and logic puzzles that challenged and delighted players in the first game.

* Beyond the puzzles found in the game, players with a broadband Internet connection who connect their Nintendo DS™ systems to Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection will get access to downloadable bonus puzzles. A new puzzle will be available each week for 33 weeks after the game launches.

* The new game includes a significantly greater amount of voice work and animated movie scenes compared to the original.

Release Date: NA: August 24, 2009 / EU: September 25, 2009
Official Site: http://professorlaytonds.com

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So, who's onboard for the Molentary Express?

Amazingu Aug 24, 2009

I'll surely be picking this up, just to see how they handled translation this time round.
Considering the localisation of the first game took a lot of riddles from the Japanese version of the SECOND game to compensate for language-specific riddles, I'm curious as to what they put in place for the localisation of the sequel.

James O Aug 24, 2009

I'll definitely be picking this one up, although I don't know if I can get it today... release dates usually don't mean much to stores up here, they never seem to be able to make games available when it's official release date is supposed to be.  They never get the games shipped to them in a manner that allows for that...  even for the Future Shops and EB Games stores.

Jay Aug 24, 2009

Bizarrely, I have been put off getting the US release by the name. Here in Europe, it's to be Pandora's Box but won't be released for another month. Why does the name bother me? I don't know, there's no real logic to it. But it does.

Angela Aug 24, 2009

Jay wrote:

Bizarrely, I have been put off getting the US release by the name. Here in Europe, it's to be Pandora's Box but won't be released for another month. Why does the name bother me? I don't know, there's no real logic to it. But it does.

Purists would argue that the U.S. title is more faithful to the meaning of the Japanese version. (i.e. Akuma no Hako, or "Devil's Box.")  While Pandora's Box admittedly does have the nicer ring, the game, apparently, isn't technically following the literal mythology of Pandora.

Qui-Gon Joe Aug 24, 2009

Angela wrote:

Purists would argue that the U.S. title is more faithful to the meaning of the Japanese version. (i.e. Akuma no Hako, or "Devil's Box.")  While Pandora's Box admittedly does have the nicer ring, the game, apparently, isn't technically following the literal mythology of Pandora.

Yeah, "Pandora's Box" was a pretty liberal jump from the meaning of the original Japanese (it's a box that might have bad things in it... surely it must be related to Pandora's Box!!).  I'll be getting this game as soon as possible!  Can't wait.  I'm now kind of glad I waited so long to play the first; it made the wait for the second one so much less painful.

shdwrlm3 Aug 28, 2009

I'm about 35 puzzles in, and I'm finding the quality of the puzzles to be wildly uneven so far. Some are deliciously tricky, but others are worded so awkwardly that I can't always figure out what they're asking. And I absolute loathe those slider puzzles. The story's interesting enough to keep me playing, so I'm hoping the puzzles improve.

Music's great so far, though, and they weren't kidding when they said there's a lot more voice work and cutscenes.

Angela Aug 29, 2009

i just picked the game up today, and have completed about fourteen puzzles.  So far, so good.  The polish on the aesthetics is even spiffier than The Curious Village with, yes, more voice work, cutscenes, and even more static "circumstance" shots.  The localization has been terrific so far, and I like what Level-5's Akihiro Hino had stated appears to be holding up -- that "we designed our next round of puzzles to make them more cohesive with our narrative."

shdwrlm3 wrote:

I'm about 35 puzzles in, and I'm finding the quality of the puzzles to be wildly uneven so far. Some are deliciously tricky, but others are worded so awkwardly that I can't always figure out what they're asking.

I have noticed that some puzzles are more wordier in their descriptions than what may be necessary.  It's only when I break down on using a hint or two that the objective of the puzzle becomes clearer.  With those few exceptions, I haven't had too many problems with the puzzles.  Guess we'll see as I progress along. 

Oh, and the addition of the "Memo" feature is much appreciated.  No more physical pen and paper!

XLord007 Aug 29, 2009

Angela wrote:

So, who's onboard for the Molentary Express?

Not I.  Chris Kohler's unending praise of the first game got me to pick that one up, but now I know better.

SonicPanda Aug 30, 2009 (edited Aug 30, 2009)

The thing with Layton (at least the first game, haven't gotten to this new one) is that I enjoy playing it, to the extent I enjoy logic puzzles, but I'm not all that invested in the rest of it - the story, cast and atmosphere are cute, but entirely superfluous to me personally.
I'll happily spend some time riddling with my sister's copy, but it's not a must-buy for me the way the Ace Attorney games are.

EDIT - Hey, speaking of superfluous, I just noticed I more or less repeated my post from the first game's thread. I'm a doof.

Schala Sep 1, 2009

Well, I finished the game. The main story, at least -- still got a few in-game puzzles that I didn't find and more that I didn't solve, heh. Puzzles drove me crazy but probably not any more than the first game did. I liked the introduction of new manipulative elements, especially the last puzzle. The sliding puzzles seemed far more difficult because they used non-standard-shaped pieces and put barriers in the way for a lot of them. Memo feature was nice but I REALLY wish you can do selective erasing. Love the new minigames (still have to finish the tea and camera ones).

And now -- Story plot lines to discuss! SPOILERS! Too much to talk about to put into white text, so I'll put the requisite spoiler space here instead.
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At the end of the game, was anyone else beating their head over how silly the explanation was? As I understand it, the hallucinogenic gas that was being released by the mining caused everyone who stepped into town to imagine Folsense as it was 50 years ago, because their minds were influenced by the paintings on the train station wall? I suppose I was hoping for something more...tangible, maybe is the word. Granted the first story with its town entirely of robots wasn't all that realistic either, but I think the execution of the story was done better in the first Layton and that this second tale was lacking somehow. I guess the fact that St. Mystere was a "dream town" and then we stumbled upon yet another one made the second one seem rather unoriginal. Honestly, my reaction was "Not AGAIN!" when they explained the strangeness of Folsense.

Were all these people in town figments of our gas-induced imagination, or were they real? I find it strange that not one person differed in how they saw the town with their eyes. Normally I'd think we'd have come across at least one person who'd tell us we're crazy because we're not seeing the same kinds of buildings that he is, or that he sees, say, a sidewalk where there's a hole or something like that. Were all of us sharing the exact same vision of Folsense because of those station photos? It seemed like there were some older residents who wouldn't have been affected by those pictures, but then I suppose they could have been holding on to their memories of when the town was prosperous, thus shaping their visions.

And on that tangent, there's the mysterious photographer in town. He seemed to be the only one who knew the real secret of Folsense. He talked about his photos being "special" and that's why they don't deteriorate. Come to think of it, he did also say something about it being time for the townspeople to "awaken."

Yeah. Overall, a good game but not as good as the first Layton, I think. Now when's the third coming out? ^_~

Amazingu Sep 1, 2009 (edited Sep 1, 2009)

Completely over-the-top story and insane plot-twists are kind of a staple of the series, Schala.
The third one is definitely no exception, and I'm sure the 4th won't be either.

Schala Sep 5, 2009

Amazingu wrote:

Completely over-the-top story and insane plot-twists are kind of a staple of the series, Schala.
The third one is definitely no exception, and I'm sure the 4th won't be either.

LOL...Can't argue with that. Meanwhile, some of the bonus puzzles in this second game are driving me insane. Par for the course, I guess.

shdwrlm3 Sep 20, 2009

Just finished the game and I have to agree that the big plot twist is way out there. I'd rather they just go all out in terms of supernatural stuff instead of coming up with ridiculous explanations (and I <i>liked</i> the twist in the first game).

I complained about some of the earlier puzzles, but I'm happy to say that the later puzzles were much more to my liking. I especially loved the peg jump puzzles, even if that last one makes my brain bleed. The Hamster and Camera mini-games were enjoyable, too, and it was also nice having something to help find the hint coins. It's just too bad you can't return to some of the older areas to get the hint coins there.  >_<

Spoilers ahead!

Schala wrote:

Were all these people in town figments of our gas-induced imagination, or were they real? I find it strange that not one person differed in how they saw the town with their eyes. Normally I'd think we'd have come across at least one person who'd tell us we're crazy because we're not seeing the same kinds of buildings that he is, or that he sees, say, a sidewalk where there's a hole or something like that. Were all of us sharing the exact same vision of Folsense because of those station photos? It seemed like there were some older residents who wouldn't have been affected by those pictures, but then I suppose they could have been holding on to their memories of when the town was prosperous, thus shaping their visions.

And on that tangent, there's the mysterious photographer in town. He seemed to be the only one who knew the real secret of Folsense. He talked about his photos being "special" and that's why they don't deteriorate. Come to think of it, he did also say something about it being time for the townspeople to "awaken."

Layton specifically says, "Neither the Folsense we see before us, nor its residents, really exists." That said, there's a scene during the credits that shows the townspeople welcoming Anton and Katia, so I really have no idea what to believe. It just seems too outlandish that both Layton and Luke imagined the same people.

I do remember the museum curator mentioning that he went down to the mine and found out the town's secret. The guy in front of the town also hints at it as well. But again, according to Prof. Layton none of the people exist anyway.

Another annoying plot twist was the retconning of Schrader's death. I'm pretty sure they said he was dead and not simply in a coma. It's a shame, too, because I thought it was gutsy of them to kill someone off.

End spoilers.

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