The Last Story follows the adventures of a ragtag bunch of mercenaries on the Empire’s Island of Lazulis. Zeal, you, and his comrades are simply fighting for a better life when he is blessed with a bizarre ability on a mission. Soon Zael finds himself dealing with a runaway princess, a decaying land, an invading enemy, and other twists. The beginning half does a good job of hooking you into an interesting world full of colorful characters with well-acted performances. Unfortunately, thanks to bad pacing, horrible plot holes, and odd character development, the second half is disastrous. Out of the twenty hours, the last ten seemed to drag on, as if the budget were cut.
What TLS does do well is the gameplay. Battles start with an overview of the battlefield, outlining possible strategies. Combat begins when you reach a target where your character then auto-attacks. I’m not much for this MMO style, but thanks to the lightning fast speed of battle, it’s more engrossing. You can also use skills, a crossbow, and command your allies. Leveling is also a breeze thanks to summoning circles, allowing players to summon monsters as they please. This along with the quick battles allow for an intriguing battle system, but due to bad camera angles and horrible slowdown, battles can also get needlessly frustrating.
On a technical level, TLS isn’t that great. The design is brown, bland, and boring despite a few colorful scenes. As I mentioned earlier, battle slowdown and camera angles are a pain. The character designs are oddly girly, but they’re well detailed at least. The music, from industry veteran Nobuo Uematsu, is good, but it lacks the lasting punch of his past work. There are side-quests past the twenty-hour campaign, but nothing interesting. Overall it’s a game that lacks detail on almost every level.
Final Fantasy creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi, left Square Enix a long time ago to start Mistwalker. Of his games, this is the first I played. When he created FF it was his last chance at creating a successful game. I feel The Last Story is trying to rekindle that lightning in a bottle, but ultimately fails. While the gameplay and some other features are neat, the lack of polish keeps this from being a hit.
Score: 3/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on September 7, 2012 via my Examiner account before the website shut down. Check out the supporting video review on the accompanying YouTube Channel, ReActionExaminer.