Preview: The Last Story

After finishing up Xenoblade Chronicles last month, my body just wasn’t ready for another huge RPG. I had put in The Last Story for a bit, but only enough to know that the game would be another 50+ hour adventure that I just couldn’t pass up. Now that finals are over and I have had an entire weekend to devote myself to the game, I think it’s appropriate to give my initial impression on the game, and let me tell you, this is a game you aren’t going to want to miss. Hit the jump for a preview on what could possibly be the last hurrah for Wii.

The game begins as you take control of Zael, a mercenary for hire who is looking to make a name for himself with the hopes of eventually becoming knighted. He and his band of mischievous mercenaries eventually get caught up in a war with The Gurak, a humanoid race of evil doers who were long thought to have been driven from the continent.

As Zael and his party are investigating an underground tomb, one of his party members is struck down, and in his desperation to save her Zael summons forth a power known as the Outsider to save her. This power, called “gathering” is an integral ability in the game, and allows Zael to draw the attention of his enemies to by time for his party to attack and cast spells, and reduces the cooldown of his party’s spells.

The game controls like many action-RPG titles, at least when manual attack mode is selected. By default the game employs an auto-attack system that as you push your character towards the enemy, your character will automatically perform an attack. In manual mode, the combat is controlled by the press of a button, and it just feels more natural and intuitive to the gameplay. On the topic of controls, do yourself a favor and hook up a classic controller when playing The Last Story. You can most certainly play with the Wii remote and a Nunchuck, but it just feels more natural when using the classic controller, and as an added bonus, the right stick can be used to control the camera.

There are a whole host of spells and abilities to explore for each character, and as the party leader Zael is able to command his allies to attack or heal at will. This brings a surprising element of strategy to the game as in some situations you may want to have you party members concentrate solely on healing, where in others it is more beneficial to launch an all out attack to keep the power chain going.

What really stood out to me in The Last Story was how likeable each character was. Every character has a voice actor, and even though there is tons of dialog, so far in my playthrough it has been very interesting and has me yearning to want to learn more about the story. There is one point in the game where the female characters decide to take a bath, and being the chauvinist male that I am, I decided to see what would happen if I took a peak. What followed was some of the funniest dialog I have encountered in a video game, and had me literally laughing out loud.

As I am writing this preview, all a can think of is closing my laptop and firing up my copy of The Last Story. There aren’t many games that have me continuing to think about them even long after turning off my console because I need to get some sleep. I don’t imagine I can fully review the game for quite some time, simply because there is so much content in the game I want to complete before fully completing the main campaign. Look for my full review as the July release date draws more near, and if you simply can’t wait to play the game, you can do as I did and snag yourself an import copy. The $15 or so extra dollars will be completely worth the investment….well at least it has been for me.

Eugene lives in New Mexico and has been a life long gamer since getting his hands on an NES. Always partial to Nintendo, Eugene has made it a point to keep informed on all things Mario.