The Last Story Review
The Last Story is a brilliant role-playing game that's as rich and emotionally affecting as the best in the genre.
Most quests you undertake involve action of some sort, and fortunately, The Last Story has a combat system worthy of the narrative that drives it. The combat system combines elements of the Western and Japanese RPG to create something that is wholly unique and thrilling. The action takes place in real time in the environment you're exploring, with enemies visible before you fight them; there are no random encounters or swishy battle screens here. Your melee attacks and those of your compatriots are largely automated, each of them hacking, slashing, or casting magic at nearby enemies.
Not everything is automated, though, particularly character movement, so you need to make the most of Zael's dodge and cover abilities to avoid enemy projectiles like arrows and magic attacks. Conveniently placed rocks, pillars, and walls give you plenty of places to take cover behind, and are the ideal place for letting fly a few shots of Zael's non-automated weapon, a crossbow. Different arrows have different effects, with some causing status changes, such as poison or sleep, and landing a well-placed headshot fells an enemy with a single shot. From cover, you can also seek out destructible areas of the environment, such as bridges that house archers or towering columns of rock that are just begging to be dropped onto an gang of unruly monsters.
Those areas can be destroyed by issuing commands to others in your party, with all manner of fire, ice, and nature spells at your disposal. As each spell lands, it creates an elemental circle, which, when walked through, adds that elemental ability to subsequent melee attacks. By using Zael's gale ability you can "diffuse" those circles, which cast further status effects, such as silence. Or in the case of healing circles, they instantly heal your entire party. And if that weren't enough to be getting on with, there's Zael's gathering ability, which draws the attention of enemies onto Zael, leaving your teammates free to cast spells or land a few blows with their swords.
It's a strategic system that works brilliantly, not least because it takes place in real time, which makes fights dynamic, action-packed affairs. The pace at which new abilities are handed out is also spot-on, giving you time to master them, without ever feeling underpowered during battles. Customization fiends may lament the lack of options when it comes to each character's spells and abilities, but weapon and armor upgrades give you plenty to tinker with, each affecting your characters' various statistics, such as stamina, attack power, or defensive abilities. More superficially, there a range of dyes you can buy that let you go colour crazy with clothing options.
Such enhancements make it over into New Game Plus, which unlocks once you've beaten the game, giving you the opportunity to take on all those small side quests and secret areas you might have missed the first time round, with a powered-up posse. Further attempts to extend the game's longevity come in the form of multiplayer deathmatch and cooperative horde-style modes. They're not something you frequent often and feel a bit tacked on, but given the wealth of content on offer in the single-player campaign, it's no big loss.
The Last Story is a fantastic game; one that pushes the JRPG genre forward in ways that are innovative yet still complementary to the tradition of the genre. Its rich narrative straddles the line between emotionally affecting and breathtakingly action packed; its thrilling battle system is a unique, modern take on everything that has come before. And its visuals are some of the best ever seen on the Wii, pushing the system to its limits with its beautifully detailed environments and dazzling special effects (even if there's a little frame rate stutter during more complex scenes).
And that's not to mention the music from legendary composer Nobuo Uematsu, with its majestic melodies complementing the action in a way that is truly sublime. But its biggest success lies with the characters themselves, their diverse personalities and formidable ambitions forever pushing you along their journey from rags to riches. You want to be there with them; to guide them through their darkest of hours; to share in their happiest of moments. You will care. That alone makes The Last Story worth the price of admission and a captivating experience that everyone should play, JRPG fan or not.
Rich narrative? The characters and plot are far from being interesting and innovative. I can hardly say I care about any of them. All with their tragic past (don't any of them have parents? Come on...). The game itself is better but not ground-breaking either. The "minor frame rate issues" are "major frame rate issues".
Even the music by Nobuo Uematsu is not really memorable.
In the end what is really good about this game is the very good use of frequent cutscene to advance the plot, the visuals and some ideas found in the fighting system.
Way too little to earn a 9.0 out of 10.0.
@crimes73 That's more or less how I felt too. Since Sakaguchi was in charge of the game I had somewhat high expectations for it, but it didn't even come close to fulfilling them. The plot was rather simple and I didn't feel very invested on it(but I will admit a certain event near the end did surprise me a little bit, though in retrospect it should have been fairly obvious), the characters were fine but not particularly memorable, the combat system could have used some improvements and the overall scope of the game just felt too small. I wish the game was less segmented and more open with a big world map with varied locations to explore. Like the FF games Sakaguchi himself directed. Instead, there was a single city that served as a hub and some dungeons which the game throws you in after some cutscenes instead of letting you actually get to there through actual gameplay.
Maybe I was expecting too much and I'm not being very fair, but considering the good word of mouth and reviews of this game I really wanted to feel immersed and really like this game. However, it was a fairly forgettable experience after all was said and done. It's certainly not a bad game, I would say it's good (I gave it a 7.5 myself), but that's about it. Amongst the JRPGs I've played it doesn't set itself apart from the average.
@crimes73 In some respects, I agree. The game suffers from its execution more than anything, but I found, once every quest was completed, and the credits scrolled, that I was more than satisfied with the experience. I think The Last Story should be experienced from beginning to end.
@malachi_27 @crimes73 By all means, this is not a bad game at all and I am happy I played it from beginning to end (I personally rated it 8.0 / 10.00 which is very positive).
It's just that there are considerable flaws that can't allow this game to be up there, among the elite titles (9.0+) in my opinion.
Still, this is a game I would recommend playing, especially if the player enjoys a game where cut scenes are prominent.
The camera control is terrible. The story seems to jump around with no real focus and the later boss battles are an exercise in frustration where you run around trying to avoid death while you wait for a party member to reveal the one weakness you can exploit to actually damage the boss.
@normpap No, it's its own game.
@bbkkristian @normpap Actually it is in essence a parody of the Final Fantasy name. Read some of the interviews with Hironobu Sakaguchi and you will learn he approached designing the Last Story as if it was his last game the very same methodology he followed creating Final Fantasy. When he created Final Fantasy he did so as if it were his last name hence why he called it "Final Fantasy." Also Hironobu and Squaresoft had a bit of a falling out so to speak so this may have been his way at perhaps poking fun at his former brainchild.
@bbkkristian Obviously this is it's own game, he wasn't saying it was related. The name is definitely a parody of Final Fantasy. The Last Story, Final Fantasy...Yeah, it's a parody name.
@eliebaz The WiiU is confirmed as backwards compatible with Wii games.
Though if you are interested in these games and looking to get a Wii U, you may want to pick them up now. They are going to be on a limited production run from Xseed games depending how well they sell. Least I read that somewhere that Xseed was going to wait for sales numbers to see whether to make a second run so if you can.. look into picking them up now because It may be hard finding used copies down the road.
Another Awesome RPG on the Wii
Stop Whinning about it not being on the other consoles, this is all you people do when the Wii does its best, whine about it not being on your consoles. If thats the case, Stop complaining. The Wii has the special Exclusives that make it worth buying and this game is just adding to the already impressive Library of Exclusives
@hotdiddykong I whine as long as it's not on pc *lol*
No, but seriously, ofc I will whine if a game comes out on a console I do not own.
@hotdiddykong Here here! Skyward Sword, Metroid Prime 3, Xenoblade, Last Story, Smash Bros, Mario Galaxy 1 and 2. I held off on buying a PS3 for a while. Just picked one up this summer because when it launched I was really only interested in Metal Gear Solid 4. But the Wii on the other hand while at launch didn't have titles I wanted, I knew that they would come.
The wii still has some of the best games in terms of art direction, skyward sword, and xenoblade and last story obvious examples. Microsoft and Sony seem content to churn out the next Uncharted or the next Halo which is ok if you like those games but Nintendo always finds ways to use its hardware and artistry to create memorable experiences. I.e. windwaker, Skyward sword.
I loved this game. The story is definitely on par with Xenoblade and the combat system is soooo fun. It isn't the longest rpg but I think the price there askin for is more then worth it for this gem. You really should buy it before judging it.
People complain that the Wii "doesn't have good games", but when the wii gets good releases, people complain it's not on the HD consoles. How annoying.
There are many good games on the wii, people. It's your problem if you choose to ignore them, not the system's.
Anyway, I'm definetely gonna get this one.
@Lynx_7 I know what your saying here and the Wii has plenty of great games. Sure there are the ones that are a steaming pile of **** but because of that the true stellar games are like diamonds in the rough. the 360 and PS3 have their share of bad titles too.
As a SD console the Wii has had excellent games. I just bought a HD tv so I naturally had to but component cables to get good picture on it as I don't think my TV has the best upscaler cause I get jagged edges. I may have to get 1st party component cables but I may just keep my old SD tv just for my cube and Wii.
@Lynx_7 Nah, people complain that Nintendo platforms are lagging so much behind anything else that developing multi-platform or porting over from and to Nintendo consoles are virtually impossible. Everybody suffers from it.
Perfect, I finally a have a justifiable reason to buy a wii, All I like on the wii is zelda and smash bros, really happy that the wii has a good rpg
Finished this yesterday and though LS isn't quite on par with Xenoblade, it's still definitely one of the best games in this generation. Everyone who has Wii have no reason not to buy this, or if you don't, go buy Wii and buy this, Xenoblade and Pandora's Tower.
It's a shame that after the stellar Lost Odyssey, Microsoft basically kicked Mistwalker to the curb and now they're stuck making games on the Wii.
@Senor_Kami You act as if thats a bad thing? shame on Microsoft. There are more important things than graphical processing power. Remember back in the days of the NES? or maybe even the N64, we got games like Ocarina of time and they still play just fine today.
Eye Candy is nice but you can still make great games on a system like the wii. And this comes from a person who also has a PS3. WIi offers games that simply arent on other consoles.
@Senor_Kami Nintendo was involved in The Last Story and they own the Trademark.
@Senor_Kami Stuck? I'd say Wii is an improvement. It's not on par with other consoles, but that's why devs can focus more on story and gameplay, they don't have to make the game compete with other magnificent looking games on other consoles and PC. Besides, I think at least Xenoblade looked much better than many games on 360 or PS3, environments, especially forests, were really great looking.
@Steba93 Not really, to develop a game on the wii you pretty much have to downscale some things due to it's limitations, which probably adds even more effort to developement than simply using "normal" graphics and AI.
@parkurtommo Oh right what happen with FFXIII lack of towns and sidequest
False. Developing HD graphics is incredibly difficult, frustrating, and time consuming. There's no downscaling, Mistwalker built Last Story from the ground up AND put in great visuals as well, wihtout the pressure of having to have it look amazing as they would have on the HD consoles, which would have taken months from development (yes, months), ultimately distracting from the gameplay and story.@parkurtommo
@iluvOP "Few good" is an understatement, more like "Few best games ever made" :D
@Steba93 He is right, you're just a fanboi
@Steba93 Still he's right...Why on Earth would they release such magnificent titles for Wii and not for PS3 or Xbox 360! Multi platform i understand but Wii Exclusive???? That's some serious bulls*** if u ask me!
I find it funny how you say you are not a whiny bitch, then proceed to whine and bitch for a few badly-written...I assume they are paragraphs? Also, if your main complaint is money, then why are you saying they should push the tech of the console harder (Therefore driving the cost of INDIVIDUAL consoles up) instead of designing games for them? I happen to own all three consoles, but only came into possession of a PS3 a few months back when I found one second-hand for cheaps, and my Xbox 360 was actually from a friend who picked up a revised one due to fear of a RRoD. I am extraordinarily lucky, and I accept this and make up for it by playing as many of these exclusives as possible. Exclusivity means less development time mapping controls to different handsets (Some Xbox and PS3 games have minigames that STINK of being made for a Wiimote), less time making sure it can run on all systems, and more time actually making sure it can run on THIS one and have fluid controls. Exclusivity is a good thing, not a bad thing. Even though I am replying to this thread 4 months later, I feel like this is an important point for you to learn. Along with a few others: Graphics does not equal innovation, gameplay and story is more important than looking purdy and the Wii makes up for the lackluster graphics by having fun concepts, actual innovation in the industry with motion controls and, gaspshockhorror, exclusive games.
Get back to me when the PS3 and XBox make an RPG as compelling as TLS, until then, stand down soldier.
@goldensunfan @rhymesmatter @Steba93 You make it sound like it is easy bying consoles of next gen.Really you bought a PS3? WELL done good for you lad, look how much we care: NOT A BIT! And first of all i didn't whine and squeal or did any of the sort.You on the other hand went on a typing rage to explain to us how pissed off you are.Butt hurt? not at all i am not gonna cut my veins vertically because of a good game that didn't come out for my console.It wouldn.t be the first one!As a matter of fact i always wanted to play DOA 3 and DOA 4 but couldn't due to Xbox exclusiveness...Now look at Team Ninja!They are going multi platform with DOA 5.And you know what i did to enjoy those two titles i never got to play?Rented an xbox and knocked my self out. That's right i stand for Multi platform games cause buying 3 consoles just to be safe on every side and play every game is stupid and only for rich little boys like you that love spending papa's paycheck on entertaining their sorry asses.Maybe when you grow and get a job , you will actually learn to appreciate the concept of "economy". I own a PS3 and a gaming PC and i never bitch about anything.I just stated that multi platform is much fairer and legit than console exclusive.And let's not hide behind our fingers...Wii pales in comparison to the other competitors due to it's technical inferiority.If Console Devs wish to have more people buying their consoles they should make create according to the latest tech and always comparing the other market competitors making tweaks and improvements upon them, not making exclusive titles to beg for sales!!
@rhymesmatter @Steba93 God why would anyone release a magnificent title on any one system and not others. System exclusives are essential. You act like the Wii can't have any good games simply cause its the Wii? You must be really butthurt? Also because Microsoft gave mistwalker the boot. Why wouldn't the wii have its exclusives? Metroid, Zelda, Mario. You expect Nintendo to give up its 3 most famous IP's to a competitor. NO. For the very same reason you will never see a Gears of War or God of War or Halo on a Nintendo system.
Heaven forbid a console having its own exclusives. If every game was made for every platform it kind of would make having different platforms pointless wouldn't it?
I wanted to play Metal Gear Solid 4 when it first came out but couldn't afford the system. Did I bitch and moan cause it didn't come to Wii? No. Instead I waited and just recently bought a PS3 this past summer and one of the games I bought was MGS4. Stop being such a whiney little brat and lamenting over a game you damned well you will never get because your too damned cheap to buy the system it is on.
@00LiteYear It was released in March in the PAL region, but it comes out tomorrow (8/14) in the US. This review was written when it came out in Europe (check the date), but I assume Gamespot bumped it back to their front page because of the US release.