Hands-On: The Last Story (Wii)

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

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After nearly a year of talking about the latest masterpiece from Hironobu Sakaguchi, Nobuo Uematsu, and the talented teams at Mistwalker and AQ Interactive, I’ve finally had a chance to get my hands on the game itself. To sum things up, it was definitely worth the wait.

XSEED Games had a late-game save file ready for us, so that we could take a look at the skills that normally take a while to learn. While technically classified as an RPG, The Last Story skews heavily towards being an action adventure mashed together with overhead tactical strategy and third-person cover-based shooting elements. How you and your enemies react to the environment is critical to battles as well. The game features both manual and auto-attack systems, although my playtime was spent mostly in manual mode, which provides a satisfying alternative to the usual RPG fare.

The skills that the main character, Zael, learn later in the game are what truly make the game stand out. His Gathering ability directs all enemy attention to him, creating an opening for your companions to launch powerful attacks. When in “Command Mode”, you see the world from a top-down perspective and issue commands to your party similar to turn-based tactical RPGs. From this vantage point, you can target specific enemies and party members before heading back to the action.

As expected, the art style and music were phenomenal, and the voice-overs from the original Nintendo of Europe dub are here as well, along with all of its trademark British “flavour.” The playful banter between characters really makes you feel a sense of attachment to your ragtag band of mercenaries, and that sense of comradery continues even when you head into battle.

Online multiplayer was not available on the E3 floor, so we’ll need to wait until we have our hands on the retail version of the game before we can provide full impressions.

We still do not have a solid release date for The Last Story, but you can expect the game to hit store shelves this summer.