The Last Story Review (Wii) – If this is the end, it’s a good one
The Last Story Review (Wii) Short Version: The Last Story (Wii) may be the last hurrah for the system that is scheduled to be replaced in just a few short months, but that doesn’t mean you should skip over it. If you are at all a fan of JRPGs, then you should really play the last story. It may lack a traditional turn-based combat system, but the real-time system is uses is really tactical, the characters are compelling, and the story (mostly) makes sense. The Last Story makes my short list of favorite RPGs of all time, and I’ve played a bunch of them. Don’t miss it.
The Last Story Review
There was a time when it looked like the U.S. wouldn’t be getting The Last Story on the Wii. It was too niche (along with a couple of other critical-darling JRPGs) and the U.S. audience for third-party games on the Wii was thought to be too small. Thankfully, a fan campaign brought The Last Story over here, so I’ve spent the last couple of weeks since its release playing through it. The Last Story is made by Mistwalker. Even if you haven’t heard of the company, you’re familiar with what they have done. Hironobu Sakaguchi is responsible for Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy IX, two of my three favorite entries into the series (he is also responsible for Final Fantasy V, which I enjoyed but don’t love like I do the others). Oh, and the music is from Nobuo Uematsu who is responsible for basically all of the Final Fantasy music ever. You can really feel Sakaguchi’s influence here. In fact, The Last Story has a ton of elements in common with Final Fantasy IV. It may not quite be a retelling, but it is certainly a thematic successor, dealing with a lot of the same issues and using some of the same images along the way. It was both something new and something nostalgic at the same time.
The combat system in The Last Story is real time, with you only controlling the main character Zael, who is trying to go from being a mercenary to a knight. You can use Zael to attract enemy attention so that your magic users can successfully cast their spells. There’s a fair amount of tactics going on in the combat of The Last Story with the player having to try and keep the enemies distracted and away from your casters, retreat to healing circles when necessary, and – occasionally – issue commands to your other party members. That last one is really the key to The Last Story‘s combat. You see, when your allies cast spells they leave circles that you can then use to cause effects like lowering the enemies’ defense, raising your own defense, or stopping the enemies from casting spells. Still, you can only do this every once in a while, so you have to make the decision as to whether to attack or heal and which enemies to attack. There is also a cover system and you are given a crossbow in order to try and take out enemies at range if you wish. There are a lot of options in the combat and it is almost always fast and interesting. There’s a sharp difficulty spike at the end, but it is still manageable. It took me three tries to get past the boss, which seems about right. The game looks quite nice, but since it is a Wii game you will get a fair amount of blurry textures in there. It didn’t distract from the game, but I’m sure someone will care.
The Last Story has a good story, too. Zael and his best friend Dagran have long-dreamed of becoming knights from their station as mercenaries and they are joined by a group of mercenaries who all have interesting, distinct personalities and their own stories. Zael may be the main character here, but one of the greatest victories of The Last Story is that it has one of the best casts of supporting characters, both friends and enemies. It’s an interesting story and, while it gets a little weird towards the end, it is fairly easy to follow. The other thing that makes me happy is that The Last Story is about 22.5 hours long (that was how long my play through was, at least). JRPGs have a habit of trying to pad out their stories with unncessary combat, but The Last Story leaves grinding completely at your options and it is absolutely unnecessary.
The Last Story Review Wrap Up: So, The Last Story is easily one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played on a console. If you still have a Wii and like RPGs at all, I would give The Last Story my strongest recommendation. It’s got interesting combat, interesting characters, a well told story, and it isn’t terribly long (without being too short). If this is the last story, I’m certainly glad it’s one I checked out.
So, what are your favorite RPGs of all time? Have you checked out The Last Story yet? What did you think? Talk about all of this and more in the comments! If you’re done reading the review, why don’t you check out the Related Posts below, the Recent Posts in the sidebar, or go to a random post on Futile Position!