The Last Story
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161 of 173 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2012
Not long ago the Wii got one of the best JRPG's of this entire console generation, Xenoblade Chronicles. This game is nothing like that. That said, this is a terrific JRPG, complete with everything people love and hate in the genre. There are the normal cliches, but unlike other JRPGS which extend their length through 20-30 hours of tedious grinding, The Last Story can be fully completed in under 25 hours if you are so inclined. Finding and doing everything will take around 35 hours.

This is, again, entirely different from Xenoblade Chronicles, in that I logged well over 100 hours in that game. And yet in some ways I feel like the 25 hours I spend with The Last Story was more substantial. There is no wasted time, the story flows quickly and without long drawn out speeches the genre is known for. And the combat is simply amazing. Think of a mix of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Gears of War. You have magic, real time battles, and you can duck and cover to avoid enemies or wait to execute an ambush. It is very, very fun, and quite simply the best combat system of any RPG I've ever played, and I have played a lot of them over my 20 year RPG gaming history.

The graphics are simply amazing. Granted, that is for the Wii. These would be run of the mill on a 360/PS3, but you can tell the developers squeezed every ounce of power out of the Wii. Sometimes they are a little too ambitious and the game chugs a bit with lots of enemies on screen, but this is few and far between.

As for the music, well, it is downright amazing. Can't really say any more than that.

Overall, this is what Final Fantasy's should have been for the last decade. Since FFX, (arguably) the series has gone stale. The Last Story has fantastic music, graphics, and a FUN battle system to go along with a fast paced story that hooks you and keeps you playing until you finish it. I played almost straight through and will play through again. It is that good. It is an RPG for RPG gamers that don't quite have the free time that they used to - or the attention span. After 10 hours you will feel like you have accomplished a tremendous amount. After 10 hours in Xenoblade Chronicles I felt like I had just begun.

What a way for the Wii to go out. I highly recommend this game. The added art book, case, and CD, (for the first print copies) is an amazing value, and rest assured, this game will be worth quite a bit to collectors in a few years, so keep everything in great condition.
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67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2012
I am an avid fan of role playing games in general and have enjoyed many console-based RPGs since Dragon Quest was released on the NES. When I play a RPG my enjoyment and satisfaction is based on four elements in order of importance to me: 1) Character development and depth of character relationships, 2) Story development and believability, 3) Interaction and engagement with the world, and 4) the battle system. Below I talk about each one of these, but if you are not interested in reading my detailed review, this is how I rate each on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best:

Characters: 4.5
Story: 4.5
World: 4.0
Battle System: 5

====Characters====
Development of characters and their relationships among each other is important to me because this is what drives the rest of the game. Many recent console-based RPGs have suffered with flat characters and/or underdeveloped relationships of the characters. Typically, only the main protagonist receives focus, leaving others (especially antagonists) flat. In terms of individual character development in The Last Story, this game does a wonderful job not only in showing confusion, suffering, and enlightenment in the main character's (Zael) growth, but in the other protagonists as well. This is usually done through optional side quests and conversations among themselves. One area that was lacking in the game, however, is the antagonist is not developed enough. I feel like the game developers could have enhanced the motivation and background story for the antagonist more (at times it felt cliche).

In terms of developing relationships, I think this game does an amazing job. You truly get a sense of the camaraderie (or lack of, at times) of the group. Also, the interactions within the protagonists' party show subtle nuances of where friendships lie as well as trust. The relationships don't feel forced and the characters respond to each other based on how they view themselves within their group (which changes as the game progresses). The voice acting is superb and the accents of each character (even NPCs) fits their personality. Overall, I felt the directors and producers of this game did an outstanding job on the characters and their relationships. Again, the only hesitation I have with giving a perfect 5 is an underdeveloped antagonist (though some may disagree with me).

4.5 out of 5

====Story====
The story is the second most important aspect for me. When I think of the story, I think of the overall progress of the game and the elements that drive it. What motivates the protagonists to action? Why are they together? What major events exist in the world influence their action and thoughts? I won't reveal many of the events that are surprising jewels in this story, but I will say I love this story. The events in The Last Story are logical in their sequence and existence in the storyline. I didn't feel like events were forced in. In some games, certain events are forced into the storyline because the developers need it to drive the story and motivation of the characters. This can leave the player feeling confused and frustrated. This doesn't happen in this game (except perhaps one part in the dungeon with the archaeologist). Each event has a part to play and it fits with the overall theme. It engaged me and I never doubted its believability. The reason I rated the story 4.5 instead of 5 is that it felt too linear to me. I enjoy RPGs that allow me to roam and go at my own pace. Many times I felt that the story would force me to move on when I wanted to interact with the world more. However, the story is still enjoyable to make up for this lack.

4.5 out of 5

====World====
Even good characterizations and a great story won't work if the world the characters live in is dull and boring. I love a world where the developers have not only made it very interactive and desirable to explore, but look real (i.e. moss on stone, stunning details on trees in forests, etc.). The majority of your time will be limited to the city and castle on Lazulis Island. Those of you who are like me and played Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy since their inception expect the ability to explore an entire planet (even underground worlds or the moon!). Not so in this game. While other locations off the island are played, the play is limited in those areas and you are not at your leisure to explore. This can be very frustrating, especially since events involve the entire world.

Now, the reason I didn't give this a poor rating is that the city and castle are very rich in detail. The city itself has much to do and much to explore. Many NPCs will ask for your aid in some task that sends you searching throughout the city (even the castle). Of course, these are optional. The interaction does not stop there. When you bump into people they are thrown off their course and respond to you in like kindness. You can even knock your head into overhanging signs! The detail of the people, buildings, and even the weather is amazing in how real they are portrayed.

One specific area in the world is worth mentioning: the Arena. Whenever I am tired and need a break from the main story, I can fight various creatures in the arena to test my group against. In return, I receive dropped items from the creatures as well as items people have bet on the group. This allows players of the game the opportunity to earn extra gold, experience, and items if you don't want to return to a dungeon.

4.0 out of 5

====Battle System====
The battle system is not turn-based, but action-based. While hacking and slashing enemies is a simple affair (you just walk up to them and your character attacks), the system is more complex, especially in tougher situations. Enemy units have different abilities and you must plan your attack prior to engaging them. For example, should you take out magic casters first? If so, do you assault them head on or use a sniper? The terrain will influence your tactics and so different locations offer different types of battles.

As your characters level up they gain special abilities. These abilities can combine to create new offensive and defensive benefits. Once Zael learns the command ability, you can command your teammates to perform certain abilities against certain enemies.

In terms of negatives, I do not have any problems with the battle system itself. When engaged in melee combat, the camera doesn't always operate how I control it and it causes confusion. However, this isn't such a big deal. I thoroughly enjoy the battle system and would place it in my top 5 for console-based RPGs.

5 out of 5

====Bonus Material====
I love the bonus material that came with this game. As other reviewers have mentioned, the music in this game is beautiful and high quality. It is great that the game comes with a CD with the following tracks:

1. Theme of The Last Story
2. Chitsujo to Konton to
3. Yorokobi no koe ga kikoeru
4. Machi no neiro
5. THE LAST STORY - Kizuna
6. Jyajuu
7. Toberumono

In addition, the game comes in a wonderfully designed box showcasing the art of the game. Inside the box you will find the game as well as an art book. I love the art and as I looked through and studied each of the pages I got the sense that the characters were given the most attention for details. The creators of the game spent time in getting the characters' clothes to match their personalities. I can't imagine how much work went into designing and creating the characters, non-player characters, and scenery of this game!

====Conclusion====
Overall, I give this game a 5 because I can't give a half star. Many years have gone by and I have not played a RPG as amazing as this. I definitely get the sense the creators and developers gave everything they had to make this game. While my scores reflect an average lower than that, I feel together those aspects as well as the effort put into developing this game deserves a 5. I hope a sequel (or prequel) is planned because I would not hesitate in purchasing it.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2012
I have just finished this amazing game, as a fan of Chrono Trigger and classic Final Fantasy games, I'm very satisfied with it and I really enjoyed it through about thirty hours of game play. I went from a SNES and classic Game Boy from my childhood days to a Wii, PS3, and DS Lite recently just for nostalgia and this game is among the best I've played. A few months early I was playing Final Fantasy XIII and I didn't finished it as it barely resembles what a JRPG was for me, but with Last Story... I was feeling like I was twelve years old again.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2012
The Last Story is a fantastic game, and I can honestly say that it has been some time since I've had this much fun with a JRPG. While it is ultimately the engaging gameplay and battle system which makes TLS shine and stand out from the majority of its other peers, the game still contains a solid, interesting story filled with an amusing cast of characters for those, such as myself, who enjoy that most about the genre.

I've been a huge fan of JRPGs since the mid 90's and have played all the classics from the earliest FF games to a good number of more recent titles. JRPGs have always had a strong emphasis on story and characters, and that is the experience that has endeared me to and kept me coming back for more. Over the years, however, I've noticed a good many developers/design studios attempting to evolve into something to appeal more to western gamers by shifting their focus to gameplay, and most have been disappointing because they have, typically, dropped the ball on story and character development. TLS keeps a great balance with strong gameplay and engaging story, and I must applaud Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and his studio, Mistwalker, for that rare achievement. While it has not topped Lost Odyssey as my favorite Mistwalker game, it is, nontheless, a very special game in its own right and one in which I would highly recommend. I wanted to give this game a 4.5/5(9/10), and because I couldn't, I decided to round it up to a 5 purely for how much fun it was.

Pros:
+ Interesting story with touching moments
+ Engaging gameplay
+ Fun, unique action battle system that mixes up a lot of different elements(the command mode feels reminiscent of turn-based battle systems)
+great graphics
+nice cast of characters
+Fantastic music scored by composer Nobuo Uematsu

Cons:
-Due to the Wii's power, frame rate can be slightly annoying at times when there's too much going on.
-Shorter than the typical JRPG(30 hours average). Some have played theirs within 20 hours although I, myself, spent 40+ hours on mine.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2013
I originally beat the Pal version of this game, But i wanted the US version to play it on my Wii U.

This game looks like a PS3 game. the graphics are really up there, the voice acting is super top notch, I've grown an appreciation towards English voice actors thanks to this (as well as Xenoblade and Pandora's Tower)

Controls are tight and feel very comfortable (once you switch it to manual, auto sucks)
Sounds are great, there done by Nobuo Uematsu, and the game itself is done by the original final fantasy team (1 ~ 9)
So you know your in for a treat.

Upon playing this game your gonna witness ALOT of things you'll NEVER thought you'd see on a Wii. This is one of the most impressive games EVER to be on the wii, so sad its a swansong.

MUST BUY, YOU WILL LOVE.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2012
Okay, what I have concluded thus far from playing Last Story since I've recieved it Monday August 20th:
PROS: fair gameplay on manual, good music, awesome graphics, normal interestingish plotline and characters, and you can customize colors of clothing etc whoo personalizing (I died when I got "invisible clothing")
CONS: could use work on camera, I wish that on "seek" mode, you could direct with the wii remote instead of arrow keys or nunchuk since this is afterall made only for the wii, and above all, this game was not made with the visually impaired since the font is minuscule: I either need a magnifying glass or a bigger tv (mines 42") since it takes a lot of squinting to figure some stuff out -__-

Overall, I'd give it a nine of ten as of now since the worst thing is the font, but since I'm not completely through I'm about 3/4ths done (I had to backtrack cuz a glitch, and enjoy doing sidequesting instead of immediately continuing on the main game quests) but so yeah. Definitely worth waiting for: I preordered and after 4 days of not shipping and no notice why, or even a notice just saying the release was delayed, I contacted Amazon, who upgraded me to free one-day shipping, so didn't get it until 6 days after the listed release date. I've had so much fun with it, and I've gotten used to how it could be better with gameplay, and I'm pretty good at seeing the tiny print, but sometimes it can still be a bit difficult :D Worth every penny though! 100% fun and entertaining!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2013
The Last Story is in fact a great story. It does have a lot of cliched elements, but really what game/movie doesnt anymore? Everything has been done to death, so its not the story itself, but the way in which its carried out that makes the difference. That is where this game shines. The characters make this story great, not the story itself.

First and foremost, the voice acting is superb. The lines are all delivered well, and it allows you to focus on whats being said and whats happening as opposed to the lack of effort put into the voicework. The characters really do seem like theyve been working together a long time, and I even noticed a sense of awkwardness in the voicework when characters who were new to the party would join. The characters do fall victim to certain stereotypes (does the healer always have to be a reserved, soft-spoken young woman?) but again they are done well enough to overcome them.

I got attached to all the characters in some form or another, and even the supporting cast is great. Between the characters and the dialog this game made me laugh several times, which is good. There are a lot more humorous things in this game than I expected and it was very refreshing, some are easter egg types, some arent. This game also moved me to tears at least twice that I can think of. Which is something most video games dont do these days, connect with the player emotionally.

The gameplay is solid, but could have been better in some ways. I highly recommend changing the attack mode to manual instead of automatic, or you will just be sitting there through the whole game. Even with that though, most battles are somewhat repetitive, but it never really became tiresome for me. WIth that said though, I also found the majority of the game to be pretty easy, Im not sure if my level was to high? I did nothing to "grind" except use a few summon circles in the early parts of the game to get used to fighting, and I visited the arena 2-3 times. I also kept my weapons and armor upgraded as much as I could as often as I could, but other than that nothing out of the ordinary and it just seemed easy. Except for the last boss, which took a big jump in difficulty, and I found myself grinding it out at a summon circle to cope.

Some of the more standard RPG elements such as magic, status ailments, etc are pretty watered down in this game, which is both good and bad. Healing circles cast by members of your party are pretty much a fix-all, which does save you from using the wrong kind of item, or potion, or what have you (there are none in this game). But the elements and status effects seemed to be kind of an afterthought, and dont play a huge role in combat, but they do help. Very few battles require you to stick to a strategy of any kind, and its mostly just attack attack, oh I need to heal, attack attack. You get used to playing this way, and then the final boss requires a strict strategy (unless your level is way too high) and it was frustrating until I figured out how to do things.

The graphics are good, but not great, overall the game is pleasant to look at though. I liked the fact that you could customize your armor/outfit by removing bits and pieces and changing the colors. But I really wish they would have included the "cosmetic outfits" approach included in most MMORPGS....many of the armor types in this game have good attributes, but for a particular character, or any character, look ridiculous, horrid, or something else. So it would have been nice to have your armor equipped for its attributes, and then have an "outift" over the top of it that is more eye pleasing.There were several times I liked the attributes of an armor, but couldnt stand to look at it. (a grown man in booty shorts and leather chaps anyone?) But really, the armor is all the same until the later parts of the game, but thats when they matter the most. I also liked the fact that they include the armor and weapons that you have equipped into the cutscenes, its a nice touch, but it does mean they have to render the scenes using the games "engine", so they arent as cinematic as in other games. Only the "flashback" type scenes have the cinematic feel.

The game does push the Wii to its limits and it shows, during heavy battle scenes and sometimes even just roaming about certain parts of the city, the framerates really chug. Its tolerable in the city, but does become bothersome during battles when you are used to a certain pace and it starts to crawl.

This is a short game by RPG standards, I beat it in less than 30 hours, and that was doing some sidequests. I didnt do all of them, nor did I revisit any locations like you have the option to. So you could stretch some more time out Im sure. But either way, its fairly short all things considered. But its still a good trip!

I could go on and on, but all I can say is if you can get a good price on this game, buy it before its too late, and give your Wii one final dance!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2013
During a snowstorm last winter, I had occasion to dust off my Wii (which I hadn't used in almost two years) and play through some of the old classics that had enthralled me back when the system was new. When I had reworked my way through Super Mario Galaxy, Twilight Princess, and Metroid Prime 3, I found myself wondering if there were any newer Wii games that I was missing out on. Amazon recommended a game called "The Last Story", which I had never heard of. I don't normally buy games based solely on an Amazon recommendation. Still, it had a lot of positive reviews, sounded like a blast, and the price was right. So I went ahead and bought it.

As it turns out, it was a wise purchase.

This is a fun game. If you're a fan of the role-playing genre (and particularly of JRPGs), then you'll find a lot to like about The Last Story. All of the faithful JRPG staples are there; you've got spiky-headed protagonists with oversized swords, shady characters and betrayals, buxom female characters with the requisite risque (and funny) dialog, over-the-top and apocalyptic plot devices, and the standard level-up-and-become-more-powerful progression sequence.

You'll take the reins of Zael, a member of a group mercenaries who desire a more noble and fulfilling way of life. Your fellow mercenaries are interesting and memorable characters, each with his or her own backstory and motivations. And you'll quickly be involved in a storyline that, while not exactly of the dizzying and epic scope of a Final Fantasy title, is still eminently interesting, familiar to even the most lukewarm JRPG fans, and ultimately satisfying.

This is an old-school JRPG at its heart. Each character has a relatively simple set of stats (hit points, physical/magical attack, physical/magical defense, etc.) that get boosted as they level up. These stats are further boosted by equipping armor and weapons. You can get better weapons and armor by either replacing your current equipment with better loot, or by upgrading them with materials found during exploration, as quest rewards, or as spoils from the battlefield.

The combat system is fun. It's fun to play, it's fun to watch, and it's fun to listen to. While the character stats, gear, and leveling mechanics are true to a decades-old formula, the combat is more along the lines of Final Fantasy XII. Zael and up to five AI-controlled comrades partake in real-time action battles against numerous enemies, although you can pause the action and give more detailed orders to other party members (which is a good thing, because your party members sometimes do really stupid things, such as casting an elemental spell that a boss is strong against, which results in it gaining HP instead of losing it.) Zael and his friends eventually pick up some skills and abilities that I won't spoil here, but are unique and make the fights even more fun to take part in.

When you're not in the middle of fighting the forces of evil, there are plenty of opportunities to just run around Lazulis City and take it all in. The Last Story does not feature a huge overworld ripe for exploration, but there's still plenty of things to do and sidequests to undertake. The city has lots of nooks and crannies to explore, and it feels alive. And for the meticulous who like to farm for every last rare crafting material and piece of gold, you have the opportunity (much later in the game) to revisit dungeons that you've previously cleared, which are now conveniently populated with far more powerful enemies.

The voice acting is excellent and the Nobuo Uematsu music has the satisfying cues that his fans have come to expect.

One drawback that I would briefly mention is that the game is very easy; perhaps too easy. Maybe I spent too much time grinding levels at summon points and upgrading every character's gear, but there weren't too many battles that posed much of a challenge. Many of the boss encounters are memorable and require special strategies for success, but in those cases, your fellow party members will almost always tell you what you need to do.

That's a fairly minor criticism, though. To close, if you're a fan of action role-playing games and are even on the fence, do yourself a favor and buy this game. This was a game that originally wasn't even intended to be released to the North American market; it took some doing to bring it here. Pick up a great game at a reasonable price and let our friends on the other side of the Pacific know that there's a big market for terrific entertainment such as this.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2013
At some point, console RPG designers began to take themselves far too seriously and made RPG games that were tedious to play. Multitudes of customization options, combined with emo characters who couldn't remember their past made every game yet another FF VII clone (for better or worse). Most of these games are grind-fests with numerous tedious fetch-quests (I'm talking about you, Xenoblade) that artificially draw out game length to give gamers a better "perceived value" for their purchase. As some of us are older gamers, we can tend to appreciate shorter games. Remember when you could beat FF IV (II US) on the SNES within 12 hours, and that was being a completionist! You can do most everything in this game within 30 hours. Its sole design goal seems to be to tell a good story and make it enjoyable. Sometimes, you just have to go back to the basics.

Without drawing things out, I'll detail the pluses:
- Fun, well designed main characters with excellent and witty banter between them.
- Good story that really touches upon cultural differences, perceived stereotypes, and social problems. Interesting plot twists (though you can see most of them from a mile away.
- Some of the better graphics on the Wii. Looks excellent for a near 7-year old game console that is limited to anamorphic 480p. Honestly, many parts looked as good as some HD games aside from lower resolution and some grainy texture problems. This comes at a price (see below).
- A fun battle system that blends elements of real-time action games with turn-based strategy. It's sorta like Resonance of Fate in that respect, but not constrained by the rules of turn-based combat. You have free-reign to move and interact with environments as much as you please. Some elements of stealth are occasionally used as well. The auto-attack reminds me of the old Y's games, though I understand that you can turn auto-attack off (I left it on).
- An enjoyable and well-arranged musical score by Nobuo Uematsu. Probably one of his better scores of recent years, though not his best.
- Excellent voice acting work and English localization. If these European localizations (All three Operation Rainfall games) are indicative of what we can get, I have no complaints and it's a nice change from American English localizations.
- Very little grinding! Game progresses very well and only lets you spend a bit of time levelling up before major fights if you really feel that you want to. Normally, I could spend 5 minutes grinding at summon circles and my characters would reach level caps.
- Lots of dialogue. Even from NPCs.
- Breaks a lot of the RPG cliches'. No real "world map" (just for fast travel), no real grinding, very few fetch quests. Just a consistent gameplay experience.

The bad:
- The slowdown. Probably not the worst that I've experienced in a game, but it's unusual for games these days to have such slowdown. It's not game-breaking but it is noticeable. It's the game's biggest fault.
- The equipment system is annoying. It is intended to be simple to use, but it is just tedious, especially when you upgrade. There seems to be a lack of real organization to the equipment. With a few exceptions, most characters except mages can use all of the weapons and armor, so the menu feels cluttered.
- May not be challenging for some. The difficulty is middle-of-the-road. Some battles are very tough until you know what you are doing wrong. I could see this game being too challenging for novice gamers, but not challenging enough for veteran gamers. I often finished boss fights without losing any of the 5 lives, but there are a few (especially at the end) where I game very close to losing completely (and one or two where I had to restart the battle).
- Linearity may be a boon for some. It's about as linear as it gets. I personally prefer linear RPGs.

But overall, I found this game to be a very enjoyable experience that I couldn't put down and finished within about a week. If I had to pick a favorite Op Rainfall game, I would have trouble choosing between this and Pandora's tower. I enjoyed both more than Xenoblade, but they are all entirely different gameplay experiences that will appeal to different players.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2012
Japan gets a lot of games that the rest of the gaming world does not. Honestly, it's just not fair, but as gamers we have grown used to the fact that Japan is our spoiled brother that gets all the good stuff. Image our surprise, however, when I game has been fully translated and voiced in the English tongue, and is then released in PAL territories but not in the US. That's just cold. That's like having three kids, giving 2 of those kids a bar of chocolate and then sending the third to his room. This is what happened with The Last Story, as well as two other games - Xenoblade Chronicles and Pandora's Tower. So, what is going to happen to that third kid in our previous scenario? He's pissed. IT makes no sense. He is going to whine, and cry, and hate you until you drive back to the store, and get him his chocolate bar - and that's exactly what American gamers did in a sense. These three Wii exclusives spawned "Operation Rainfall" - a petition to get all of these games released in America. Lo and behold, our temper tantrum was mostly a success (2 of 3 were released), and here I am reviewing a game I thought I'd never get to play.

The Last Story is the most recent game from Mistwalker Studios, which was created by famed Final Fantasy creator Hironobu sakaguchi. He claimed to have gone into this project with the same mindset as when eh created the original Final Fantasy, and it certainly shows. even the logo and name are very close to Final Fantasy! To top it off, the games music was composed by Nobuo Uematsu, who also composed the music of Final Fantasy. In short, the art style, music, and story will all remind you quite directly of Final Fantasy - but it has more than enough strength to stand on its own.

The Last Story just kind of throws you right into the action when you start - you fight your first battle within the first 5 minutes. Throughout this segment, the characters are having flashbacks and bantering about things and just confusing you in general. It wasn't until about an hour in that I finally understood everything that went on in those first few moments. The gameplay, however, was too engrossing for me to care.

the battle system in The Last Story takes place in real time, and there are no "battle screens", just a seamless environment. You control the main character, Zael, most of the time and the rest of your party is autonomous. Eventually, you can give them orders. The game is best played with a classic controller of some type, but I will get to that later - for now, I am going to use a classic controller to explain the controls. The R button guards. Likewise, if you are holding R and run toward an obstacle (or an ally), you will jump, or propel yourself over it. The L button activates an ability you get early on called "Gathering" which draws all enemy attention to Zael .this allows your spell casters you charge without being interrupted by enemies, or can also just take the heat off of your allies if they're taking a beating. If while moving the Y or a button is pressed, Zael will somersault in that direction. You may have gathered by now that, though an RPG, this game is full of action. In order to attack, you simply run to and enemy, and press the control stick in their direction - much like how Link jumps in a Zelda game if you run towards and edge. You can also adjust the controls via the options menu if you would rather press b to attack. Using this method will allow for a couple of minor advantages, but since your attacks are slowed down a small bit as well, and will also do a little less damage, I found it best to just stick to the "automatic" method.

You should not assume that because you have attacking set to automatic that the game is uninvolved. You must still guard properly, examine enemy strategies and issue commands accordingly by pressing up on the directional pad. Later in the game, Zael get an ability called "Perfect Guard". If you tap guard at just the right moment, you will not only parry your enemies strike, but deliver a brutal counter attack. zael also has an ability known as "Gale". Whenever a mage in your party casts a spell, it creates a magic circle on the ground. By holding b, you initiate Gale, which allows you to diffuse these circles for effects such as silence, armor break, and health distribution depending on the spell. Likewise, you can diffuse enemy spell circles to get rid of them. Furthermore, walking through spell circles adds that spell's attributes to your weapon for a limited time. There are also moments where you will have to strategically use your crossbow.

Your crossbow is used by holding the ZL button. You can cycle through various arrows suited to different enemy types with the directional pad. Using the crossbow, you can find environmental weaknesses, such as broken rocks, or enemies on far off platforms and then choose to either use your crossbow to solve the problem, or order a magic caster to deal with it. Beyond this, if enemies haven't notice you are there, you can press against cover wit the a button. From here, you can use your crossbow to grab an enemies attention and lure them in for a stealth kill. The crossbow is the reason I recommend playing with a Classic Controller Pro. On a regular Classic Controller, the ZL and ZR buttons are located beside the L and R buttons, as opposed to the Classic Controller Pro which has a more tradition Playstation styled setup that makes using the crossbow a little easier. That is not to say the game cannot be played comfortably with the Classic controller - I, in fact, played the majority of this game with the Classic Controller due to not owning a Pro until the later chapters. The Wiimore and Nunchuk controls look comfortable and easy enough to use if yiu have to, but I'd have to recommend a classic controller of some kind. As for gameplay issues, they mostly come from your partner's lack of intelligence. Your allies will often get themselves killed doing something silly.

Considering the limitations of the Wii's hardware, this game looks amazing. There are a few blurry textures here and there, but overall the game just looks great. Characters are well animated, and environments are relatively believable. Another parallel to the Final Fantasy games of old are the cutscenes. Cutscenes in The Last Story are pre-rendered, much like those in Final Fantasy 7, 8 and 9. They of course, looks far better than those cutscenes, and have voice acting as well. It is strange to see this in a modern RPG, but it is not a problem at all. Even when the game is not pre-rendered there is a lot of attention to detail. every piece of equipment or weapon you put on a character changes their appearance. If you decide you don't like the color of their equipment, you can change the color scheme in the menu.

The characters are all colorful and interesting, and each of them has their own little quirks. the cast babbles near constantly, and their banter is pretty comical from time to time, especially when Syrenne and Lowell get into it. I'd love to delve into the characters and how their stories intertwine, but to do so would ruin the whole game - I can't even explain very much of the beginnings without spoiling something. all I can reveal is that Zael is unhappy with his life as a mercenary, and wishes to become a knight. That may sound simple, and shallow, but there are a lot of things I'm not telling you here, and there is plenty of drama involved. At times the story is predictable, but not to the point that it is uninteresting.

If you live in America, and you are thinking of purchasing this game, do so as soon as you possibly can because we only got a single shipment of the product. On the bright side, the packaging goes well beyond what most games offer for $50, giving you a book-like enclosure as well as a 44 page art booklet. Unfortunately, the sound track was only available for pre-order copies. The Last Story is an interesting, outstanding, beautiful, and above all else, fun addition to your Wii library. I can only think of so many bad things to say about this game, and those few things pale greatly in comparison to all the praise I didn't even give it in this review.
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