The Last Story

So, I’ve not been much intro JRPGs for quite some time (outside things like Ys or Monster Hunter which don’t really fit most people’s definition of a JRPG) but this one looks like it’s shaping up to be something very special. I’ve been following its development but I don’t think I’ve written about it here so I’ll attempt a post that includes most of the basics.

The Last Story Official Website

Sakaguchi is directing for the first time after 18 years (since Final Fantasy V) and seems really happy and passionate about it, while Uematsu has composed a good chunk of the sound track. The character art is by Kimihiko Fujisaka (known for Drakengard).

The setting seems well fleshed out, from the gigantic main city to social status aspects.

The gameplay, with the combat, unique character abilities, spells, enemy AI, etc, sounds unconventional and progressive, especially for the genre, with elements from action (and stealth!) games and even Western RPGs, despite the fact Sakaguchi wants people to experience feelings that playing old shcool JRPGs for the first time caused.

The attention to detail seems obvious, from how you equip and change your characters to store prices, while they’re even adding unexpected extra modes.

For more information you can check out the news archive at andriasang, as he was consistently translating all the information so there’s a lot to read, from the initial official blog posts which came with wonderful artwork, to the recent Iwata Asks interviews.

So, yeah. I’m excited. It also looks pretty decent, which never hurts.
Trailer 1
Trailer 2

Didn’t Sakaguchi direct Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey prior to this?

Anyway, I’m approaching this with cautious optimism. Could be good, but I’ve been unimpressed with Mistwalker’s projects since their inception. We’ll see.

Nope, he didn’t, click the links. It’s worth mentioning we still don’t know who the development studio is. Feel Plus developed Lost Odyssey and Artoon developed Blue Dragon. Either way, the design seems far from both, in concept and implementation.

Experiencing feelings while playing a JRPG. Hmm. I think the culmination of that for me came while playing Grandia. Everything else felt mechanical by comparison(except for Xenogears).

Another translated Iwata Asks session (look up the previous volumes on the same website if you haven’t) with some interesting details about the prototyping process.

It all looks and sounds very attractive for a JRPG, as far as that goes with me. But then I remember how progressive Lost Odyssey was also cracked up to be early on…

The “Gathering” skill sounds very cool, but it’s curious how much they play it up there; at least without further details it sounds like essentially the same thing as a skill I liked to abuse in Grandia 2.

It sounds like a taunt in an MMORPG basically. It’s going to be pretty important since you need to draw the attention of enemies to even allow your casters to cast, who without that ability would be the first to be targeted as magic is (probably?) to be quite powerful. But they have other unique aspects (for a JRPG) with the whole cover based and stealth stuff, destructible environments (at least in some cases) and other abilities for the main character, the “magic circle” spreading which sounds essentially like combining any spell the casters just cast with a wind effect from the main character to say, spread ice all over the area and make enemies slip, or spread a healing circle to aid all nearby allies. As well as the command mode which sounds more like a Western CRPG type feature, as it allows you to pause the otherwise fully real time action and give orders to your party. There’s a lot of information to read for many aspects of the game through the links in the first post and searching. Early blog posts were especially interesting, as are the Iwata Asks. Hopefully it will all mesh together very well with the required level of gameplay polish.

Looks good so far. Hopefully it’ll turn out to be a great game (and sells a good number of copies as well). There have been quite a few good games out for the Wii recently, and perhaps this may continue the streak

The game has gone gold and is ready for the Jan 27 Japanese release. Close call! On Dec 27 at 2pm Japan time (5am GMT?) Sakaguchi will be hosting a live presentation here. Nintendo advertised this with a TV commercial. Other details unveiled have the game at a modest filler-free 30 hour length, with the option to replay it keeping all your strength and items with tougher encounters. A team battle mode is included in the online multiplayer features on top of the free for all deathmatch and co-op boss fights.

It’s live, and it looks brilliant. Wow so far.


Translation live blog.

It can be viewed on the official website or ustream if you missed it. Great show, loads of variety in and out of combat. Some unpolished bits, but overall great. Siliconera has a decent article to read if you need help understanding what you watched.

Also, a new battle trailer has been released, viawable here and on youtube. Other updates here (equipment) here (battle) and here (world). Lots of screens. Good shit.

TV commercial and extended trailer (lq). I can’t say the trailer does a very good job of showing the more unique aspects of the game’s systems but it’s cool enough.

More commercials. The last one’s pretty hilarious as it’s a live action version of the prototyping process they used when they were designing the battle system, with red vs blue scenarios. How do they get away with such marketing in Japan? Heh. Also, starting on the 20th, Sakaguchi will be releasing (or having live?) video demonstrations of himself playing the game and explaining various aspects. The latest Famitsu issue has the title’s review with the scores 10/10/9/9 from the four different reviewers.

Super good quality video of The Last Story’s gathering system being explained by Sakaguchi himself here and on youtube (lower quality). Some impressive, large areas with many enemies can be seen. More videos of other aspects tommorow and on the 24th. More updates here and here. Lots of screens of multiplayer (play as monsters? or are those clothes?) and more. Great music! 8 full page Famitsu scans here.

The Last Story’s battle system being explained by Sakaguchi. It’s not as well done as the previous video (watch that if you haven’t) but it’s still cool. Youtube version.

The Last Story’s Ruli City shown off by Sakaguchi. It’s a little rough but more interactive (and bigger) than you’d think, you can even set up a stall and sell stuff. Youtube version.

That’s it for the promised demo videos by Sakaguchi, that was the last. The game’s Japanese release is in a few days so we’ll have more footage soon, even if they don’t release more trailers (which they probably will, at least as commercials).

Some people in Japan already have it, a day or two early. I’m gonna avoid watching many videos to not spoil too much, the official stuff have shown/will show enough. Here’s the very beginning of the game including early control tutorials.