Review by TalesRevanant
Wii's last story is also its most beautiful
What do we look for when delving into games? Is it the story? Is it the music? Or is it just that ecstasy of being in another world apart from reality. Whatever it may be, Hironobu Sakaguchi gets it. Telling tales since the birth of the phenomenon that saved Squaresoft from extinction, Final Fantasy; this man truly is the father of video game lore.
Hironobu Sakaguchi has worked on countless high profile games within the past 20 years, Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, and Xenogears being just a handful. What really makes his games sensational and different from the crowd is his talent for story telling. Whether it may be a tale of heroism or coming of age, Sakaguchi somehow sucks the audience in with his magic.
The man is truly, no doubt a genius, but you didn't come here to hear me talk about Sakaguchi's life now did you? Yeah, let's just cut all this useless banter and get to the good stuff.
Hironobu Sakaguchi's latest game is from his company 'Mistwalker', who were responsible for the gems Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon. It's The Last Story. Before playing The Last Story, I had not experienced any of the Mistwalker games. I've played all the Final Fantasy's so I pretty much was aware of what I was about to get myself into. Still I was giddy like a little child getting his new Nintendo 64 on Christmas when I received my Japanese copy in the mail. I was ecstatic to start this grand adventure. But what really makes The Last Story special? By the end of this review, I certainly hope I can answer that question for you. Ladies and gentlemen, here is my review of The Last Story.
The Last Story simply, is gorgeous. It is the prettiest game on the Wii, only rivaling that of Super Mario Galaxy and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Every character is nit picked to the point where you can see every little detail of their faces or bodies depicted through the realistic graphic engine the game showcases. Whether it be Zael using gathering or Yurick casting a deadly fire attack, the effects look remarkable. Story elements are split into CG rendered as well as real time cut scenes. Both look phenomenal and at times you can't even tell the difference. One of my favorite scenes in the game also is the most beautiful scene in a video game these past 10 years. A romantic scene between protagonist Zael and heroine Calista. The sky is lush blue sparkling with the stars, petals blowing in the air, both Zael and Calista shining through the light of the darkness. It's simply a sight to behold in a video game. Mistwalker should truly be commended at how much they've pushed the Wii's hardware to it's utmost limit. Kudos Mistwalker, kudos.
Presentation is just as impressive. Quite frankly, I haven't played a more engaging story this generation. The Last Story takes place on Lazulis Island with a brand of mercenary group consisting of 6 unique individuals, each with their own backgrounds and naturally; hidden agenda's. This is a tale of romance, politics, and survival and every other RPG topic you can spew out. The main story-line is based around chapters and will typically take you 30 hours without any side quests. A lot of the chapters center around various characters and their own little adventure. They each have something new to offer to the plate.That's just it. While everything the game does has been applied before, the unique method it uses truly makes it a prodigy in itself. I found the story to be very well paced, and kept me interested enough to continue forward even if I dissolved myself into a few side quests.
Story and graphics are nice, sure but let's get into the real clincher to this game; the battle system. I'll just give you the icing to the cake, and introduction if you will. The Last Story plays like a unique blend of Mass Effect, Kingdom Hearts, and Metal Gear Solid. It has elements of first person, stealth, and a very Action RPG styled battle system. You control Zael throughout most of your 30 hour adventure, with the exceptions of the one or two times you control your other party members, but mostly Zael. Battles are fast paced and based around which methods you use to take down your enemies. This is quite satisfying and leads to a new and unique style of RPG battles. Never getting tedious, always being fun and keeping you on your toes.
Now in terms of sound and music, The Last Story truly delivers. A sensational soundtrack donned by the famed Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu, every track feels like a homage to the area you're in. Whether it be the conversing street of Lazulis Island with a faint yet abundant theme, or the melodic yet stereo pounding battle resonance, it does it all. Nobuo Uematsu has truly went all out this time around, showcasing that his sound isn't just limited to his typical fare. The soundtrack truly sounds like a Hollywood Movie waiting to happen. Sound quality bears in the same idea. Voice acting is marvelously done and every Japanese actor should be commended. They fit their personalities and agenda's perfectly. I truly have to respect them for making the more obscure scenes in the game even funnier, such as the bath scene. You'll know what I'm talking about when you get there; fan service at its finest.
Still not convinced? Well I'm glad to say The Last Story boasts a ton of rewarding side quests, a challenging yet addicting online, and a New Game Plus mode to offer replay-ability. Side quests are accessible through the main hub of the game, ala Lazulis Island. There's enough to keep anyone on their toes, whether it's scavenging for rare items or facing a fearsome boss, they are truly worth your time. They add an entirety or depth to the game if you truly invest your time in every last one of them. You can easily clock 40+ hours.
Now the online....I'm going to be simply blunt and say it. The online in this game is what makes it perfect. Lag free and very organized, you can spend literally hundreds over hundreds of hours battling Random opponents or Friends in 'Deathmatch' and trying to farm for rare and unobtainable story items. If that's not your cup of tea, you can battle alongside teammates of Random or Friends against various bosses from the game, which is extremely extremely addicting. You can choose whichever character you desire, so you don't have to play as Zael.
The Last Story truly shows that Sakaguchi still has the talent that has been emanating through him since 1987. It shows that we still have hope for a now dying RPG genre. It shows that horsepower isn't everything when a game is crafted with utmost care and passion. But most of all, it shows that the Wii is still holding out strong and isn't about to give up the race just yet. Let us rejoice for another masterpiece on Wii.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: The Last Story (JP, 01/27/11)
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