The Last Story review
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While in hub areas, you can visit various shops and smithies and upgrade your weapons and armor or buy some new gear. I’m not a big fan of ridiculously robust and confusing upgrade systems in video games, so I was happy to see that, much like the combat mechanics, upgrading your weapons isn’t complicated at all. If you’ve collected the right materials throughout your travels, you’ll be able to make your weapons and armor more powerful. You can also see how new items and upgrades stack up to your current armaments and spend your money wisely without getting gypped.
Though most of the attention in The Last Story is put on your main objectives, you can engage in a bit of light side questing if you like. You’ll discover a lot of collect-a-thons that force you to look for items and bring them to certain characters, but if you don’t dig that sort of stuff, you don’t have to do it. Usually, you’re rewarded with some cash or a unique item, but you won’t get anything out of the ordinary. There’s also an arena in Lazulis Island that lets you take on hordes of enemies. This is useful for leveling up, getting new weapons, and earning some extra cash. Again, you don’t have to do any of this, but it’s there if you feel like taking a break from the story and exploring the city.
While The Last Story is most certainly a highly admirable game, the camera can be a nuisance at times. As much fun as I was having the entire time I was playing, wonky camera angles really made some battles tougher than they should’ve been. Speaking of challenge, The Last Story isn’t very difficult for the most part. While I personally didn’t mind this as I felt it progressed the story along smoothly, some RPG fans may not be too fond of the light level of difficulty.
The last major complaint I have is geared toward the game’s online multiplayer offerings. You can team up with other players to slay some monsters, or you can engage in a straightforward deathmatch mode. Neither of these really adds anything to the experience, and because The Last Story is such an excellent single-player romp, there was absolutely no reason for these unnecessary additions to make it into the game. That said, this stuff is optional, and if you don’t want to play it, you don’t have to. It’s a bit of a shame, however, that some interesting things weren’t done with the co-op, because some sort of multiplayer campaign would have been pretty rad.
Visually, The Last Story isn’t a technical masterpiece, but then again, I don’t think anyone was expecting it to be. Still, as we’ve seen in the past, Wii games can definitely deliver quality visuals, and it’s a shame that The Last Story doesn’t look as good as it could have. But while technically it may not be anything special, the game has a truly wonderful art style to it. The architecture you witness is lovely and lighting effects add a nice gleam to the environments. These elements create a fantasy world that may not be graphically powerful, but it’s certainly aesthetically pleasing. The addition of CG cutscenes is also a nice touch.
The sound design in The Last Story truly shines, as well. The voice acting is incredible, and each of the character actors manages to deliver a unique voice that really helps mold every single character and gives him or her a signature personality. The music in The Last Story is also quite splendid. As if the main theme wasn’t great enough, the menu music is so awe-inspiring that you’ll be tempted to sit there before you start playing and just let it loop for a short while. The themes you hear as you journey through the game’s impressive world are also enjoyable to listen to, and they really give you a sense of just how grandiose the whole experience really is.
At about 20 hours in length, The Last Story isn’t all that long for an RPG. That said, those 20 hours are full of exciting battles and worthwhile plot developments. Part of me wishes the game would keep going, but at the same time, 20 hours is by no means a short length for a video game. Additionally, if you really care to spread out the experience, there are always the optional side quests, which may not be too exciting, but are still fun little time sinks to engage in every once in a while.
The Last Story is a truly outstanding title that indicates the type of forward thinking that developer Mistwalker is approaching the RPG genre with. This is no modern Final Fantasy, because it far exceeds those recent titles. The Last Story shines ever so brilliantly as a great example of what RPGs should strive to be. While it isn’t the longest entry in the genre, it does almost everything that it sets out to do in an extremely powerful manner. With a story so rich in quality, a full cast of characters you can actually care about, gripping combat, and marvelous nuances for the genre, you’d be a fool to miss out on the amazing journey that is The Last Story.
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