I liked this story. Granted not as much as the Unwound future, but perhaps more than the other two games.
You see, this professor Layton game is grounded far more in reality. While the answer to the mystery is far-fetched and implausible it's nothing along the lines of the other games where the solution could have easily been something like: "And the entire town was really their imagination." Again I love all the games in the series no matter how far fetched, but with this game I was able to figure out much of the final solution even before the weird tri-answer interrogation puzzles told me the answer (I'll talk about those in a minute).
The story goes like this: Professor Hershal Layton (not yet a world famous archeologist) receives a letter from his former colleague, Clark Triton. He immediately goes to investigate with his new assistant Emmy, when they arrive they find that the town of Misthalery is haunted by a monstrous specter.
And you know what? I liked this story. Granted not as much as the Unwound future, but perhaps more than the other two games. That said, the tone of this game threw me off. The atmosphere was very different stylistically and the way they solved the mysteries involved an awful lot of just talking to people. Not that I minded this particularly, but I would have liked to have seen more hidden passage puzzles.
On the note of puzzles, most for this game were drastically under-whelming. I don't know, maybe the previous games just made me better at puzzles (I hope that's the case), but there were very few puzzles that actually stumped me in this game and the few that did were often very difficult. Nonetheless, the puzzles remain creative and fairly fresh considering the 500+ they have made for the series.
Now I said I'd talk about the weird tri-answer puzzles. Basically in these, Layton knows the answer and he asks Luke or Emmy to deduce it for themselves by asking them questions regarding the mystery that they must answer. These would, at times, annoy me, I often already knew the answer and when I didn't it became incredibly obvious with the questions (though, that was the point I suppose). I could see some people liking this and it was, admittedly, fun to see their reactions when you put in a wrong answer, but I would have rather had the good proffesor just tell me.
Lastly, this game has the most play time you could get out of a professor Layton game, I spent about 14 1/2 hours playing through the story and that's without the 100 hour animal crossingesque RPG on it that I've only played about an hour of. The RPG is delightful and light-hearted. You create your own character and then do tasks for people. If you like the Layton games you will likely like this.
In closing, this game has a remarkable number of hours for playthrough (considering the 100 hour RPG), it has colorful characters, a mystery you might even guess the answer to, more puzzles than ever before, and the best villain the series has seen yet. As I said, this is neither my favorite professor Layton game nor the most colorful and it certainly doesn't have the best puzzles. However, I love it all the same. If you've been meaning to start playing these games, this is the perfect entry point. If your a returning veteran then you will probably love it all the same.