I believe this is my first log here, so I’ll give you a brief introduction in case you don’t frequent Kotaku’s Speak Up. Captain’s Log is a collection of posts of mine about my gaming experiences. It began with my playthrough of Zelda II, and has grown to full reviews of games that I have beaten. This particular post is about the recent Wii RPG, The Last Story. As The Last Story and Xenoblade are often lumped together in discussion, I draw comparisons between the two quite a bit. Both games have their own pros and cons, and I will make some reference to that, so without any further ado, Captain’s Log.
Of course, spoilers to follow.
Graphics wise, it’s fine. It reminds me a lot of Twilight Princess, which is both a good and a bad thing. I did notice that the main character bore an incredibly strong resemblance to General Asthar, which I thought might tie into something but it never did. I did like the overall aesthetic better than Xenoblade, as it had less of a sci-fi mixture. Whereas it seemed like Xenoblade tried to straddle fantasy and sci-fi, and kind of half asses both in some regards, while The Last Story embraced fantasy to its fullest. Lazulis Island was also pretty awesome to behold. It seemed a lot more alive than basically any other large city in a Wii game. The two that spring to mind are Twilight Princess’ Castle Town, and No More Heroes’ Santa Destroy, neither of which had half the liveliness that Lazulis Island seemed to have. I’m sure that if I had delved deeply into the city, I would have found it to be lifeless, but I didn’t spend a ton of time there.
I found the music enjoyable, if not forgettable. I loved the music as I was playing it, but I genuinely can not remember a single tune as of today. It was all beautiful and added to the feeling of the scenes, but it won’t stick with you once you take the disc out of our Wii.
The story was fine. Much like all JRPGs, you end up having to kill god and everything that you seemed to be working toward goes out the window, but I expected that. I felt a pretty strong connection with most of the characters, even if Mirania, Lowell, and Syrenne got really short changed. I felt Zael grow from having a one track vision to simply wanting to be happy. Yurick seemed to change very little once you learned the fate of his father, but I liked that he revealed one last facet of himself in the final battle. Getting some closure on Dagran was nice, as he seemed to disappear completely once Zael turned down his knighthood, but his turn came completely out of left field. Maybe I missed some foreshadowing, but I never even guessed that he wanted anything but to make the best life for Zael and himself. To learn that he knew of the Outsider, and wanted to gain its power for himself had no real explanation and I thought that the game suffered because of it. I suppose you could chalk it up to the Outsider corrupting Dagran, but I feel like that’s just sloppy writing as well. In any event, it was pretty much standard JRPG fare.
The place where the game really shone was in gameplay. I was not excited about the gameplay at all when I first read about it, and I only got more confused as I read more about it. Playing, however, is believing. Sniping enemies to draw them in and ambush them was terribly fun, even if I rarely executed it properly. The battles were always fun, and rarely felt cheap. I knew that there was never a battle that I wouldn’t be prepared for, as there wasn’t one that I would encounter before I was leveled up enough. Again, far better than Xenoblade. I did enjoy Xenoblade a lot, don’t get me wrong, but the seemingly random spikes in battle difficulty from that game were not present in The Last Story. If I failed in The Last Story, it was because I didn’t fight smart not because the enemies were at too high a level for me.
So yeah, I really did like The Last Story. The music is good and the characters were interesting enough to keep me from getting bored, but the gameplay was what made it. The battle system of The Last Story took things in a different route from my beloved turn based battles, but kept it really interesting. If the future of JRPGs began with The Last Story, I think we’re in for a real treat.
So there you have it. I also finished Bastion while I was away, so there should be a Captain’s Log for that soon. Then, I should hopefully do my mini ones on Portal 2, and then a mega one when I finish. So yeah, look forward to it if you actually read these.