10. Seek Mode
In battle, entering Seek Mode allows Zael to aim and fire his arrows. Setting your sights on one of your foes in Seek Mode will allow you to check out its strengths and weaknesses. Looking at some terrain in Seek Mode may also cause him to give orders to one of his allies to attack it. If some structure looks weak or if an enemy seems too tough, check to see if there’s some terrain that can be destroyed or collapsed.
Roaming Lazulis City may cause a flashing “Seek” icon in the corner to appear. Looking around in Seek Mode at this point will cause Zael to spot an item on the floor, which he can then run into to pick up. This will cause the Seek icon to appear again so another item can be found; these chains will continue up until the fifth item and then stop, provided you are fast enough to collect them all. They WILL disappear after a short amount of time, so be quick about it! Rare items are almost always found at the end of the chain.
9. Command Mode
Command Mode can be entered in battle to freeze time so Zael can issue commands to all of his party members, be it using a certain skill or changing tactic. Activating it gives an overhead view of the area surrounding each character, and it will cycle through each character so Zael can dish out his orders.
Telling a mage to use a spell during Command Mode will cause said spell to be cast in 3 seconds as opposed to the usual 20. Additionally, your mages will keep using the spell that Zael has told them to use until he goes into Command Mode again and tells them to swap. Command Mode is a fantastic and innovative way to keep in control of your allies in battle.
Magic is an alternative to the sword in many games, including The Last Story. However, unlike many games, The Last Story lacks an MP stat must continually be replenished if you wish to continue uding spells. Instead, spells take a certain amount of time to cast. Most spells take 20 seconds to cast; there are a few more powerful ones that take longer. Any spell casting while the Gathering is active will have its casting time halved, and any spell issued under Command Mode – with only a couple of exceptions – will only take 3 seconds to cast.
Magic does damage to enemies when it’s initially cast, but it doesn’t end there. Spells will leave a Magic Circle on the ground around their point of contact. Standing in an allied magic circle will grant you different buffs depending on the type of circle. Standing inside fire or ice circles will temporarily give that attribute to your weapon for bonus damage. Standing within a heal circle will restore HP; this effect will remain for a short amount of time after leaving the circle.
Allied Magic Circles can be dispersed with Zael’s Gale ability for bonus effects. Dispersing heal circles results in a group heal. Fire circles will deal large amounts of damage to surrounding opponents, while ice circles cause them to slip and fall over. Enemy magic circles can be dispersed with Gale as well to stop them from reaping their benefits.
7. Weapons & Armour
There are a variety of weapons and armour in The Last Story, all of which can be upgraded both within and (in some places) outside of Lazulis City. The colour of one’s armour can be changed at will according to the dyes you have available, so you can make your party look as good or as ridiculous as you desire.
Some weapons and armour have a certain alignment, each of which have their own strengths and weaknesses. These alignments are Fire, Ice, Light, Darkness, Nature and Star. Zael’s crossbow has no such alignment; it’s easy to forget about Zael’s secondary weapon, but don’t! There are a few different arrows available with different abilities which can make some fights a lot easier. Remember to use the crossbow as well as the sword!
The Last Story allows you to change the colour of your armour using various dyes. You can take your usually dull drown armour and brighten it up to orange! You can have Zael strolling through Lazulis City or exploring dungeons in stark white armour. Or, better yet, take on huge bosses in a deep shade of pink. Colour sets can be saved so you can easily swap between different combinations or have the mercenaries strutting around in uniform.
More dyes can be unlocked as soon as Lazulis City opens up for exploration. Some other, rarer dyes can be unlocked via quests later in the game and via online play, so keep an eye out for them!
Deathmatch pits you against your friends as one of 21 characters. These 21 characters are comprised of the party and various NPCs and enemies. You have a time limit in which to fight and gain as many points as possible; points are gained for kills and lost for deaths. Levels in this mode are scaled so they all match and no one is at a disadvantage.
There are 9 stages to play on, all of which are actual locations in the game. Winning a deathmatch will earn you a reward which is then transferred to your save file. Deathmatch can net you some weapons, armour and dyes not available in-game. Some extremely rare items can be won, so make sure you give it a shot!
Co-op allows you to team up with your buddies online, playing as one of the 7 party members. You’ll take on a stronger version of one of the bosses from the game together. Weapons and armour are carried over from your save file. If you haven’t upgraded them in New Game +, you’ll find that the enemy in Co-op will be doing tons of damage to you while you’re barely scratching it.
There are 5 different bosses you can take on in Co-op. Here, you can win weapons, armour and special items used to upgrade these weapons and armour in-game. If you don’t have any friends you can play with, make a post here and I’m sure someone will go online with you!
3. New Game +
The Last Story has a New Game + feature, allowing you to play through the game again with endgame levels. However, in The Last Story, a New Game + run has the enemies scaled to match your level, so it won’t be an easy playthrough.
In New Game +, weapons and armour can be upgraded to level 99 using a very special item. In fact, The Last Story features some very weak joke weapons that are utterly useless in your first run, but can but can be upgraded only in New Game + to become some of the best in the game. It is almost impossible to beat Co-op mode in the multiplayer without upgrading your weapons and armour this way. Some new items can be obtained in New Game + that were not available the first time around, so make sure you give it a shot!
2. Nobuo Uematsu
Nobuo Uematsu is a legendary composer of music for video games. He has worked beside Hironobu Sakaguchi many times in the past, notably on many of the Final Fantasy games and Chrono Trigger. Uematsu has worked on more games than will be possible to list here, but I can assure you that the number is high and contains many quality games.
Currently he owns Smile Please and Dog Ear Records, both music companies he founded himself after leaving Square in 2004. He has also been touring worldwide with the Distant World concerts.
1. Toberu Mono (The Flying One)
We’ll finish off these tidbits with a bit of information on The Last Story’s ending theme, Toberu Mono, known in English as ‘The Flying One’. Like every other track in this game, it was composed by the legendary Nobuo Uematsu. It was performed by a Japanese singer known as Kanon, who has worked with Uematsu numerous times before on some anime soundtracks. These include Angel Heart, Guin Saga and Kiniro no Corda.