Living in Australia, I have had the pleasure of playing The Last Story from start to finish. It left a profound effect on me after I finally defeated that final boss; it took two full days for me to begin to calm down from the high I got after finishing The Last Story. Below I have highlighted what I think are some of the greatest merits of this epic game. Some concern in-game experience, others the pedigree of the staff who assisted in the making of The Last Story. Enjoy!
1. The Last Story was directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi at Mistwalker
Haven’t heard of Hironobu Sakaguchi? What’s wrong with you? Next time you finish any Final Fantasy game numbered 12 or below, watch the credits and I can guarantee that his name will be there somewhere. After leaving Squaresoft, he founded Mistwalker, which is where The Last Story came from. Mistwalker are also known for the Blue Dragon games, as well as the immense Lost Odyssey for the Xbox 360.
2. The soundtrack was composed by Nobuo Uematsu
Nobuo Uematsu is another name to look out for beside Sakaguchi’s. His break was alongside Sakaguchi with Final Fantasy, and since then they have worked on several games together. The soundtrack for The Last Story is superb; it fits each section brilliantly. There is such a wide range of music, it is hard to believe only one man wrote it all; only Uematsu could achieve such a feat. The music of The Last Story had a strong impact on me personally, in a way only two other games have managed to do. Truly, it is a highlight.
3. The Last Story looks fantastic
The Last Story is a beautiful game, in terms of story, music and visuals. The backdrops for each setting are gorgeous, and the enemies look great too, with some very original designs. It’s worth it every once in a while to just stop and take in the world around you, listening to the music and appreciating the time the artists have put into making this game look as good as it possibly can.
4. Lazulis Island offers a wide variety of environments
From forests to beaches and even to the battles in Lazulis City itself, The Last Story has a place for everyone. The monsters in each area change to suit; one of the game’s recurring foes, Reptids, comes in many varieties, and the type you’ll be fighting is completely dependent on the terrain you find yourself in. Fighting by the ocean? Sea Reptids! In a cave? Cave Reptids! Other creatures in each stage change as well, such as the spiders present in a forested area. Each place is fun to explore, made even better when you’ve got some experience under your belt and can figure out how the terrain comes into play.
5. Lazulis City is a pleasure to explore
Lazulis City is a maze. There’s no other way to put it. There are a number of side streets in which to lose yourself in and to find items lying around. There are sidequests floating around waiting to be discovered too. Even the little details are covered; bumping into people, for example, generally makes them angry, so they’ll yell at you. Later in the game, when your mercenary group has gained more notoriety, running into someone will cause them to stop their yelling mid-holler and quickly apologise as they realise who they’re addressing. It’s quite satisfying.
6. The battle system is innovative and unique
The Last Story features a battle system that is quite unique. Ever been in the middle of a fight in a game, backed into some kind of obstacle and been frustrated by your character’s inability to automatically go around it? In The Last Story, hold down a button, walk into some rubble and Zael will leap straight over it. This also works if you walk into your allies. Also featured in The Last Story is the fact that scenery can be interacted with. One of the first fights in the game can be avoided completely by having Yurick collapse a bridge on top of your would-be foes, killing them instantly. Now imagine all the different characters and abilities at your disposal, and weapons with different strengths and weaknesses. This game can get quite tactical.
7. The characters are a joy to play with
The Last Story is made that much more memorable by its cast, especially the mercenaries with their delightful British accents. Rather than the usual surly protagonist with a hate-the-world attitude, who may or may not have their memory intact, Zael and all the other mercenaries are generally quite cheery and have a complete grasp of their mental faculties (with the exception, at times, of Syrenne). There’s constant banter in-game; in the first dungeon, Syrenne starts complaining because it’s cold, it’s wet and she’s hungry. It’s great to watch character relationships develop and grow; Mistwalker have managed to demonstrate it quite well.
8. Weapons and armour can be customised
All weapons and armour in The Last Story can be customised. Dyes can be added to change the colour of your armour, and some dyes need to be unlocked. You can even save colour sets, so you can easily swap between different combinations or have the entire mercenary troupe in uniform. Weapons and armour can be upgraded too, for a fee of course. In your first run of the game they can only be upgraded so far; starting again in New Game + allows you to access even stronger armour, and upgrade that which you already have even further.
9. Online Multiplayer
The Last Story is one of the few Wii games to feature online play, and as someone who’s played it, I can tell you with confidence that it is a lot of fun. Deathmatch pits you and your friends against one another. You play as one of 21 characters (these being the mercenaries, some NPCs and some enemies), and the game makes sure you are all on an even footing. Co-op lets you team up with your friends to take down bosses from the main story, except that they will be much stronger than you’ll remember. Co-op is virtually impossible until you beat the game, enter New Game Plus and upgrade your weapons and armour there.
10. New Game Plus
Like many games today, The Last Story has a New Game + feature that actually has added content and an incentive to see it through. Armour can be upgraded further than it could be in your first run, there are new things to discover, and bosses become stronger to match your increased level. It really adds to the experience of the game, and will help you in any Co-op ventures you may attempt online.
The official North American release date for The Last Story has yet to be announced by XSEED. Stay tuned to Operation Rainfall for the latest new on The Last Story. Don’t forget to pre-order your copy now on Amazon (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/gp/product/B007CSF3GO/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=opr-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B007CSF3GO) or your local gaming store!