Kind of weird…a throwback Thursday has to do with a game that doesn’t come out in the US until the middle of the month [August 14th]…oh well. To start off to say there was never one dull moment in the game. Not once did I not want to stop playing or just go let me take a break, this came keeps you going the only problem may be you can’t run faster in the town well BUT all in all I enjoyed my entire playthrough from the game.
The game starts off with you in a cave, I believe, playing as Dagran until you switch over unto our main protagonist Zael. Throughout this entire cave scene you learn the arts of battle in the game, from choosing to live-action RPG or auto-attack, to moving, dodging (you can jump/flip over characters and walls), to sneaking/crouching behind walls, sniping with your crossbow, and obvious guarding. Your team consists you as Zael, a swordsman with a secondary weapon of a crossbow, your best friend Dagran (swordsman no secondary), Syreene (dual swordsman), Yurick (fire-attack magic only), Mirania (the healer) and Lowell (the playboy..err I mean swordsman and blizzard magic). A big factor in this game requires of you to scout before each fight. To clarify, scouting is something mainly done in SRPG or TRPG (tactical RPG) where you can see the enemies, their stats, and what their main fighting style is. After fighting and learning of the strategy, you get a magical power called the Power of the Outsider which now puts the cogs of this story into motion.
Story: The story advances from the opening scene cave and you meet a mysterious girl in town, who turns out to be Lady Calista! (The girl on the front cover of the game). Learning this to be a royal lady (this turns a bit like Aladdin here) your real adventure begins at the castle and the secrets that lie with you power, Lady Calista’s power, the castle, and many more await.
Gameplay- The game is very….linear compared to Xenoblade but not as linear as you would think. Let’s seperate this like Id o for all RPG games and in Main World and Battle.
Main World- Most levels like I said before are linear and many maps and the general constraints of levels practically drive you to the end of the area, there are many secrets to be found. The town is pretty small but is filled with many sidequests and things to do. Your “home base” is a tavern in the city; where the city is separated into four districts/sections. Fountain Plaza, Castle Gate Plaza, Shopping District and the Arena. The Arena is an area where you choose from your own party and fight random monsters, while not only earning experience, but earning goodies from the battle and townsfolks there after. It is the perfect way to perfect your fighting skills'; The Arena is a great addition and one of my favorite things in the game. If you just want to battle or level up or, even win some cash, then waste time at the Arena! Before each match you choose 2 or 3 partners (obviously your teammates) and you battle! There are “seasons” so season 1 is 10 battles with increased difficulty every time season 2 is new enemies, new formations, etc). From there on the idea of shops were cut briefly, with only two stores having a walk-in area, the rest just being menu shops at doors. Horace is an upgrade merchant who plays actually an important role in the main story and has many sidequests [and as said he is the only store you can walk in]. Talking with NPCs is very easy in this game, as important characters, or characters with side-quests you actually have to talk to; but other characters with hints just talk aloud (think FFXIII-2 where exclamation points meant actually talking).
As you know this an RPG, so there are weapons and blacksmiths. Fortunately for us, upgrading and removing curses from tiems couldn’t be easier. All one must do is hand it to the blacksmith and pay or have a required item and pay! No hassles or pain in the ass methods like most games require! While I did say the game was more linear, the areas have many secret doors and places for you to discover, so it isn’t as awful as FFXIII.
Battle Gameplay: Is fantastic, really there is nothing wrong with it at all! The fighting can be chosen as auto-attack or you attack per-button-press. I recommend the later, to really experience the joy of fighting in this game. Firstly, with Zael you not only have hand-to-hand (weapon?) combat but you have sniping, which you can choose from different arrow/ammo sets (say a Flame Burst instead of regular arrows). Fighting moves consist of learning new skills such as Vertical Slash (crouch and slash your enemies), Guard Counter (perfect guard aka press guard the second you are about to be attacked), to Wall Attack (run up a wall and crush your enemies). Like I mentioned before, while you may scout before fights, you can also give directions to each of your teammates, thus making a perfect attack. Every character has special abilities that you can combine with skills to be able to deliver devastating blows. A big part I forgot to mention, is that the Last Story is one of the few games that brings a crouch/lean element in an action-RPG (think of most 3rd person shooters doing this) and the idea of ‘using temmates’. By pressing B, you are able to flip/hop pillars, your teammates, and even enemies to get behind/in-front of them to deliver combos.
Music- The music isn’t as good as Xenoblade (sorry I brought it up) as really you only hear the music in the Title screen. However voice acting is superb in this game GENERAL ASTHAR!!!
Graphics- The graphics were clean I found no glitches or camera problems. The movie sequences had very nice graphics the only problem is the game is very dark at first so brighten up to the max.
Replayability- Hmm..this is a tough one. I would definitely replay the game as it is not too long (definitely a 30-40 hour game) [15-20 hour speed run with no sidequests] but at the same time I feel like I maxed out my enjoyment of the game. Being able to use the replay or fight extra baddies due to sidequests gives off the feeling of needing to replay the game.
But replayability is enhanced due to the multiplayer features this game has, such as team battling, or a free-for-all aganist 4 people, playing as all the characters from the game.
Overall this game is a
While the overall review score may be lower than that I put for Xenoblade Chronicles, this game was my favorite of the two (I have not played Pandora’s Tower). The Last Story felt like a new entry/upgrade for the action-RPG gameplay type and I really liked what they did with it. By combining elements from all types of RPG gameplay (even Tactical!), you remember this game for it’s gameplay, even though it’s story is none to shabby. Compared to Xenoblade, I mentioned before the auto-attack and free moving in a battle felt like a facade of “dodging” because even though you could be behind an enemy, you still would be damaged, where here real-time battling existed.