by Kabir Kaler
Hello and welcome to another issue of Kontroller. Today I will be talking about one of the last games on the Nintendo Wii called The Last Story.
The story revolves around a group of mercenaries, with you controlling the main character, Zael. Your little band consists of six people (including yourself) and they are each unique. You start off by doing a job exterminating Reptid underground with three of your mates. After you’re done you end up in Lazulis Island living in a pub waiting for the next job, where your journey begins. The story is told through main and side quests disguised as chapters, each long with equal parts fighting and exploration. Side quests are optional and if you choose to complete them you get an insight into some unknowns, but if skipped then they are lost.
The graphics are wonderfully done and promote life as you explore the whole island. The medieval style of the island is incorporated in everything, even going as far as having farmland, castles, and a Count. Along with the landscape the many types of people seem alive as they walk and talk, even going as far as scolding you now and then. No character is out of place and they are located on the island according to their appearance. As you progress through the story the scenery changes to show you this journey is bigger than you imagined and involves areas not just on the island, like the Gurak home world. The frequently changing scenery keeps the element of surprise and exploration fresh and enjoyable.
Your enemies spread across three races: Humans, Reptids, and Gurak, with bosses for every race. Each race looks different. The Gurak look taller, have skin of stone, are muscular and look like statues. Humans come in all types, from knights to undead skeletons, and you must handle each with care. The Reptids are short lizard people who hate humans for reasons unknown but they aren’t your green skinned type. Their skin types are few and their appearance matches the profession they choose to be when they fight you (this goes for the Gurak and Humans as well). There are also miscellaneous monsters that are neither race that pop up occasionally. Boss battles are hard and memorable as you fight creatures that leave little to the imagination for each race.
Cut scenes are mainly in-game and the artistic flair will impress you. The facial animations show emotion, the lip sync is accurate and people’s movements are lifelike. A bad thing I’ve noticed is the people who aren’t focused in the cut scene can lag, but this only happens to the people in the background. This also happens to far away characters when you explore Lazulis Island but as you get closer it fixes itself. When looking at the CGI cut scenes it looks like an anime movie, taking all that made the in-game cut scenes good to the next level.
Combat is fast and action oriented with two ways to play: classic controller or Wiimote and nun-chucks. Before the fight starts you will automatically get a bird’s eye view of the area, stating the enemy types and getting advice from your friends on what to do sometimes. When fighting, your allies attack enemies automatically, use spells on their own, and are smart enough that they don’t hinder you. The weapons and armor everyone can use are found through exploration or purchase. They can be upgraded with money and special items. Fighting is simple enough that you go towards an enemy and you attack automatically with you directing the blow. There is also stealth involved in certain situations. In some conflicts the enemy doesn’t notice you which gives you a chance to take them out one by one silently with your crossbow, which has multiple arrow types (wizard slayer, burst, silver arrow) to help with all types of confrontations. Your friends have varying skills, distinguished primarily by whether they are a magician or not.
The game includes a multiplayer aspect. There are two modes: co-op and death-match. Co-op is fighting a boss with up to five people, and if you are victorious you gain a random item that can be used in single player. Story mode can be played as every main character, allowing different play styles. Only a handful of bosses are available to fight, so long hours of co-op can get tedious. Death-match is either a free-for-all or a team battle. The roster has 21 characters to choose from, including all the characters from co-op. As with co-op, group decision is also used here to choose fight locations. There are some balancing issues and an overuse of items found in the environment when playing, but it is still a fun distraction.
The soundtrack is composed by the famous Nobuo Uematsu, who is best known for making soundtracks for the Final Fantasy series, and it is splendid. Each song sounds like it was made for the situation and adds an emotional aspect to the game.
This game is easily one of the best story driven games I have ever played. The story is well thought out, though a little linear, graphics are the best artistically and graphically on the Wii, and gameplay is fast and fluid. The game does push the hardware of the Nintendo Wii with the game slowing down when there is too much going on in the field, but this is minor. This is one of those games you just play and you enjoy. I give The Last Story nine mercenaries out of ten.