Disclaimer: First off, I should say that this is a review of the UK Limited Edition which includes a great English dub. I saw some people asking about the game on Amazon, so I wanted to share my thoughts on a title that I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, I couldn't find that version here on Amazon, so consider this a review of awesome things to come when XSeed releases this game in North America.
The Last Story was a fantastic surprise. Not only does this JRPG attempt new things with the genre, it does it in quite charming fashion! This and Xenoblade have actually made me a Wii fan again.
Let's break down the pros and cons here:
Unique, real-time battle system that mixes acrobatic, simple melee, long-range sniping, special abilities, stealth attacks, and time-frozen strategic orders. The combat gets more layered as you progress, with new facets showing up at a healthy clip. The battle fields can also get filled with baddies, and it's not unusual to find your team squaring off against 10 grotesques at a time.
No problem. I use a classic controller pro, which certainly helps when things heat up with multiple abilities to keep track of.
Great characters, solid voice-acting, and well-written story. The characters are entirely likable, and the romance and friendships actually feel real and genuine, unlike a lot of recent JRPGs, sadly. The romantic attraction happens naturally and is more about making it work despite social and status conventions. There's no ridiculous teenage angst, childhood friends secretly in love and unable to say so 'til the final act, or happily ever after without any work nonsense.
Although the story is not earth-shatteringly unique, it's done WELL. I also like the smaller scope, as it makes the storytelling more personal and about the characters and their motivations. The game is broken into many chapters, some of which are secret or side-quests, so there's a lot to do outside of the main quest.
The game takes place in one giant city and it's outlying regions and oceans, and it all looks grand. The city is vibrant and packed with people who are running about and living their lives. Another big step from other JRPGs that have 5 people standing in place per town. Early in the game, you have full access to start completely exploring the city at your place, uncovering side-quests, and just watching the fireworks go off during a festival. It's pretty cool.
This is about as good as you're gonna get on the non-HD Wii! There can be some slowdown during battle, but that's because there's A LOT being thrown around on-screen. Also, it's pretty cool just how detailed you can get in choosing and dyeing your characters outfits. Plus, each outfit gets more detailed as you upgrade it (an you can choose which details are visible or not).
Wow, here's a Limited Edition that's actually worth it! Full sound track, hard cover art book with gorgeous illustrations (my gamer girlfriend was cooing over the main heroine's outfit designs and plotting how she could make such a cosplay outfit), regular game case, steel book case, and two game manuals (one English and a giant multi-language manual).
~Difficulty (or lackthereof):
My biggest disappointment is that the game is rather easy. I would have appreciated some optional difficulty levels. It's fairly easy to power-level your team members pretty quickly and then absolutely slaughter some bosses.
Also disappoint is that leveling is as traditional as it gets. No skill trees or decisions to be made here, here's your new power every few odd levels, move along.
This game is great. I haven't even touched on the excellent sound track, the varied mini-quests, weapon upgrades, and the unique personalties of your merecenary team and supporting characters. Look, if you want a JRPG that finally does something different (and WELL) plus characters that feel genuine for a change, give this fantastic game a shot.
Seriously, what else are you going to be using your Wii for anymore, anyway? ;D