Final must-have game for the Wii


You can tell when you first boot up Mistwalkers’ latest, “The Last Story” on a Wii, that you’re in for a treat.The game’s main theme, created by none other then famed video game composer Nobuo Uematsu (the man behind many classic “Final Fantasy” melodies) serenades the players at the main menu, giving you the same type of “goosebumps” you can get from playing any “Final Fantasy” game on the previous generation of systems.

And this is well earned, being that “The Last Story” was created by the godfather and creator of the “Final Fantasy” series, Hironobu Sakaguchi.While both the names of “Final Fantasy” and “The Last Story” may strike up simi- larities, that is where those similarities end. But how does this game fare when put against other Japanese Role Playing Games (JRPG) on the market?

From a stor y perspective, the game at first may feel like a retread during its opening hours— making it feel like you’re just going through the typical JRPG motions of a young man named Zael, a mercenary with a troubled past who is destined for something greater.

There’s the typical romance interest for Zael in the Counts niece Calista and there’s even his stereotypical fellow mer- cenaries to round out the rest of the group. It pretty much hits all the checkmarks for a JRPG game.

Yet while this may be true for the story, the gameplay is the saving grace for the opening hours.

It just feels so fresh and unique, taken what was seen in “Final Fantasy XII” and moving that to the next level of real time JRPG combat. You’re no longer forced to jump to a different screen for battles— everything happens in the current area you are at.

Here, players control Zael — and to a lesser extent a few of the other party members at key story moments — who can hide behind ledges and perform powerful sneak attacks and alter the flow of magic used during a fight.

Two key gameplay components are “Gathering” and “Diffuse.” “Gathering” turns Zael into a decoy that buys other party members time to cast magic as well as allows Zael to revive injured teammates and heal himself for each attack he deals to monsters.

“Dif fuse” is actually dispelling helpful/harmful magic attacks to turn the tide of battle with the “Gale” maneuver.

Players can also put in actual party com- mands during tight situations. So as you can probably tell, being that the gameplay is all in real time, the battles can end up becoming hectic for players who have never played Action RPG’s like the “Kingdom Hearts” or “Mass Effect” series.

This combat also carries over into the small but addictive online mode.

Players can either work together in a party of up to six members to take down stronger bosses, with victory earning players stronger weapons that they can then take over into the main game.

Or players can try to kill each other in three on three death matches against other players online.It’s a ver y small, addictive and light excursion from the main game, that leaves you wishing it was more fleshed out. Who knows, perhaps it will get a bigger emphasis if there is ever a “The Last Story 2” in the works for the upcoming Wii successor the Wii U. Now the music is one of the best I have heard on the Wii so far, rivaling “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” in terms of how it can captivate a player and also set the tone and mood of the game.

(Nobuo) Uematsu can still move you years after his work in the Final Fantasy series was completed. The main theme is probably one of the catchiest songs of his I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. Certainly Uematsu is no slouch to when it comes to the music; players are really in for a treat.

There are only a few low points in the game. The game will skip points in the stor y — such as how characters escaped a location filled with monsters and ended up back at their base — with a narrator explaining the events during quick cuts to black on screen. The stor y can easily be spotted after 10 hours into play, if you keep an eye out. It honestly won’t win any awards for the best plot twist. Another low point is that this is a pretty quick JRPG compared to Xe- nosaga and the typical Final Fantasy; I actually managed to complete the main story in less then 25 hours. And this was by doing all of the actual 44 chapters presented in the game — both main plot and sub chapters.

The Last Story has a lot going for it. Be it the charm- ing and witty characters or the excellent and addictive gameplay. The stor y may seem like a retread of the past but it redeems itself and presents an epic series of seven final bosses that actually test your wits at action RPGs. Pick up this game to give it a try.