The Last Story (Wii) Preview

By Az Elias 22.01.2012 7

Review for The Last Story on Wii

”I’m betting a lot on this project”, commented world famous Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi after announcing The Last Story for Wii in 2010. Marking his first time directing a video game since Final Fantasy V, the talented Japanese master poured everything into the creation of this game, admitting he worked on it as if it was his last, as was the case with the very first Final Fantasy. His Mistwalker team, which he created after leaving Square Enix, worked in collaboration with AQ Interactive (KORG DS-10, Blue Dragon Plus, Away: Shuffle Dungeon) to bring the Wii a much-needed quality RPG that will hopefully fill the void for Nintendo fans that have missed out on mainline console Final Fantasy titles for almost two decades.

With the release of Xenoblade Chronicles in Europe last year, The Last Story has a difficult task ahead of it in matching up to the extremely high standards set by Monolith Soft’s incredible Japanese role-playing game. However, Europeans can count themselves lucky that they are receiving such highly-proclaimed games, especially during a time where the Wii is on the decline and in the final stages of its life.

Main character Zael is a part of a group of mercenaries on Lazulis Island that aspires to be knights and leave the lives of hardship and the loss of loved ones behind. Knights are well-respected by the island’s people, and looked up to by all. Mercenaries, on the other hand, have to search high and low for work to keep them going, having to deal with their possessions being stolen or villages burned to the ground, with society detesting them for the amount of fighting they do. It is the power and high regard of the knights that Zael’s band craves.

Screenshot for The Last Story on Wii

Central to all RPGs is the need for an engaging combat system, and The Last Story’s battle mechanics are indeed just that. As this is an action RPG, Zael can be moved around freely, but not before the player gets the chance to see a top-down view of the battlefield first. Prior to encounters beginning in the area, the camera pans out to give a glimpse of where enemies are, as well as highlighting information such as elements they are weak to. With this in mind, the player can then set about forming a strategy from which they can tackle the situation appropriately. By taking cover behind walls and other objects you can go all Solid Snake on your enemies and utilise stealth to sneak up on them and take them out one at a time. This tactical aspect is something designer Sakaguchi-san strived to bestow upon the game’s fighting scenarios, relating it to team sports whereby formations are used to gain the upper hand.

Of course, not all attacks will go as planned, and you will be forced into real-time battles more often than not, with the option of automatically attacking the enemy when up close, or manually inputting every move. The innovative ‘Gathering’ system is unique to Zael in that he can force his enemies to focus all attacks onto him, leaving your AI-controlled team mates to go about their business, casting magic spells or firing arrows. Since spell-casting can take many seconds to perform, enemy attacks will constantly interrupt the process, so drawing the attention to Zael is the key to success. Orders can be given to team mates, in a sort of Final Fantasy XII Gambit-like fashion, each of whom have their own specialised roles, such as mages, archers and melee fighters. Naturally, as a melee veteran, Zael wields a blade the size of him.

Screenshot for The Last Story on Wii

Fans will be delighted to know that there are two control methods -- the Wii Remote and Nunchuk or the Classic Controller. However, since there are no motion controls anyway, it will merely come down to whatever is the most comfortable method for the player. Buttons to speed up and skip cut-scenes are very welcomed additions, as well.

There are no shortages of traditional RPG staples, including massive bosses, rewarding side-quests and lots of customisation in both character appearances and equipment. Clothing can be changed and painted, and, shockingly, if you feel like running around town in your underwear you can; such is the freedom the player has! Modifying weapons and armour is central to increasing character strengths, with better parts only obtainable through item drops from enemies.

Creating a believable and convincing world was one of the designers’ goals in developing Lazulis City, the main metropolitan of The Last Story, with the team visiting Italy and France to get an understanding of historical architecture. This city is the base for the players’ adventures, and is truly an expansive location when compared to cities from other RPGs. Changing reactions of passersby, flying rubbish caught up in the wind, and many other altering in-game elements point to the attention to detail that has gone into the game.

Screenshot for The Last Story on Wii

What more could a role-playing fan ask for? Well, how about throwing famed musician Nobuo Uematsu-san into the pot as the game’s sole composer? The legend behind the scores for most of the Final Fantasy series, plus a wealth of other games, was assigned the task of producing the soundtrack to The Last Story, where fans of his work will no doubt be able to recognise his trademark tunes and expect to hear amazing pieces that will convey emotion to complement the story.

In contrast to most other RPGs, as well, The Last Story features an online multiplayer mode for two-to-six players in co-operative and competitive battles, so there is clearly a lot to look forward to. Finally, as many will be eager to know, an English dubbing with British voice actors has been confirmed for the game, but there is still no word on the option to switch to Japanese voices as in Xenoblade Chronicles. It probably isn’t too farfetched to suggest that the option will be there, but those who prefer Japanese dubs might want to keep their fingers crossed, just in case.

Screenshot for The Last Story on Wii

Final Thoughts

It is a joyous occasion to be an RPG fan living in Europe, something we haven’t always been able to say in the past. Even as the Wii approaches its last legs, huge JRPGs are still making their way across to our continent, with full translations. Sakaguchi-san says The Last Story is not a Final Fantasy rehash, but certainly fans can expect influences drawn from the series. Nintendo itself also worked very closely with Mistwalker on the game, further establishing how much Nintendo believes in it. Reviews of the Japanese version have been very high, so this is definitely one of the final big games to grace the Wii this year, along with Pandora's Tower. RPG fans should clearly put this on their list and look out for a review from Cubed3 next month.

Developer

Mistwalker

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (7 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Great preview, Az! So hyped for this game with one exception...

Finally, as many will be eager to know, an English dubbing with British voice actors has been confirmed for the game, but there is still no word on the option to switch to Japanese voices as in Xenoblade Chronicles. It probably isn’t too farfetched to suggest that the option will be there, but those who prefer Japanese dubs might want to keep their fingers crossed, just in case.

I find it quite suspicious that they haven't commented on this topic yet. Didn't we hear that Xenoblade would feature the original Japanese voices way in advance? If they're being quiet about it, they might just be trying to hide the fact that they're not in there until reviews come out that can confirm the sad truth.

I want to remain optimistic about it but the silence on the topic is making it hard to.

Of course, they might also be trying to put the focus on the British dubs and refuse to say anything about an alternative so close before its release but choice is always good. No reason to hide it if it's there.

( Edited 22.01.2012 20:05 by SirLink )

Jay (guest) 23.01.2012#2

The only thing thats worrying me is the lack of an English trailer, I'd like to hear what the characters sound like

L8R (guest) 23.01.2012#3

I'm so in there! Can't wait for this. It's a game that Nintendo should take some inspiration from for the next Zelda. Looks great for a Wii title too.

No, keep the ROG out of Zelda, thank you very much!
(unless you meant setting, I wouldnt mind that changing a bit - Id rather they looked at the upcoming "legend of korra" for that though. Alt-modern-day-ish).
--

Anyway, this looks great. But Need more info on stuff other then battles to truely know how great it is.
Xenoblade had some of the best settings and artistly imaginative landscapes in videogaming, so hopefuly this has some of the same.

Anyway, I cant complain...I won a copy of this free Smilie

( Edited 23.01.2012 19:49 by Darkflame )

http://www.fanficmaker.com <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
Last update; Mice,Plumbers,Animatronics and Airbenders. We also have the socials; Facebook & G+
Adrian Chen (guest) 30.01.2012#5

check this >>> http://gxgameanime.blogspot.com/2012/01/jrpg-last-story-nintendowii.html

Blatant spam link, perhaps? Not sure...

Anyway, I tried the first few hours of the Japanese edition of The Last Story and it really didn't gel with me. Zangeki no Reginleiv, Pandora's Tower and Xenoblade were great, but TLS...hmm, I really struggled with it. Maybe for its UK release I'll have more patience to delve deeper into the experience.

Talking of Zangeki - one to cover as a preview of a Wii game we may never get? Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Am eager for The Last Story, solid gameplay and pretty weird story - I'm in! Needing a decent adventure after Skyward Sword.

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

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