|The Last Story|
European cover art
|Developer(s)|| Mistwalker |
The Last Story(Japanese:ラストストーリー Hepburn:Rasuto Sutōrī) is a Japanese action role-playing game, developed by Mistwalker and AQ Interactive for the Wii video game console. Nintendo published the title in all regions except for North America, where it was published by Xseed Games. Initially released in Japan in 2011, the game was released in western territories through 2012. The Last Story takes place upon the island fortress of Lazulis, in a world that is slowly being drained of life by an unknown force. The story focuses on a group of mercenaries looking for work on Lazulis; one of their number, Zael, dreams of becoming a knight. After receiving the mystical "Mark of the Outsider", Zael becomes involved with a noblewoman named Calista in an ongoing war between humans and the beast-like Gorak. During gameplay, the player controls Zael as he and the mercenary group to which he belongs undertake missions on Lazulis. Zael can command the rest of the mercenary squad during missions, and fights in battles that involve action, tactical and stealth elements. Multiple online multiplayer modes are also present.
Japanese is an East Asian language spoken by about 128 million people, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It is a member of the Japonic language family, and its relation to other languages, such as Korean, is debated. Japanese has been grouped with language families such as Ainu, Austroasiatic, and the now-discredited Altaic, but none of these proposals has gained widespread acceptance.
Hepburn romanization is a system for the romanization of Japanese that uses the Latin alphabet to write the Japanese language. It is used by most foreigners learning to spell Japanese in the Latin alphabet and by the Japanese for romanizing personal names, geographical locations, and other information such as train tables, road signs, and official communications with foreign countries. Largely based on English writing conventions, consonants closely correspond to the English pronunciation and vowels approximate the Italian pronunciation.
Action role-playing video games are a subgenre of role-playing video games. The games emphasize real-time combat where the player has direct control over the characters as opposed to turn or menu-based combat. These games often use action game combat systems similar to hack and slash or shooter games. Action role-playing games may also incorporate action-adventure games, which include a mission system and RPG mechanics, or massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) with real-time combat systems.
The game was directed and co-written by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the original creator of Final Fantasy , who had the initial idea for the title after seeing the mixed responses to Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey . Together with designer Takuya Matsumoto, Sakaguchi decided to make a game that would be different from his previous work and most other role-playing games. Development took between three and four years according to different sources. Its story was originally based in science fiction, but at Nintendo's insistence it was changed to be primarily based around fantasy. Among the staff were regular Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu, and illustrator Kimihiko Fujisaka. It was originally going to be exclusive to Japan, and later its North American release was in doubt after being announced for release in Europe and Australia. During this time, a fan campaign called Operation Rainfall drew considerable attention to the title. The title was a commercial success, and received generally positive reviews worldwide: while the gameplay generally met with praise, opinions varied on the story and graphics.
Hironobu Sakaguchi is a Japanese video game designer, director, producer, writer, and film director. He is best known as creator of the Final Fantasy series, which he conceived the original concept for the first title Final Fantasy and also directed several later entries in the franchise, and has had a long career in gaming with over 100 million units of video games sold worldwide. He left Square Enix and founded the studio Mistwalker in 2004.
Final Fantasy is a Japanese science fantasy media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix. The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games (RPGs/JRPGs). The first game in the series was released in 1987, with 14 other main-numbered entries being released since then. The franchise has since branched into other video game genres such as tactical role-playing, action role-playing, massively multiplayer online role-playing, racing, third-person shooter, fighting, and rhythm, as well as branching into other media, including CGI films, anime, manga, and novels.
Blue Dragon is a role-playing video game developed by Mistwalker and Artoon and published by Microsoft Game Studios exclusively for the Xbox 360. Blue Dragon is based on a design by Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, who also supervised development and wrote the plot. It is both Mistwalker's debut title and the first title to be helmed by Sakaguchi outside of Square Enix. The game was released in Japan in December 2006, where it was sold both as a standalone title and as part of a bundle with the Xbox 360. Other regions received only the game itself, with a release in August 2007.
The Last Story is an action role-playing game (ARPG) incorporating elements of tactical and stealth gameplay. The player controls main protagonist Zael for the majority of the game.Zael is primarily controlled using the Wii Remote from a fixed third-person view. The game can be controlled using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, or the Classic Controller. The game's main hub is a public house on Lazulis Island, which also houses a save point for players. Lazulis City is the main setting for most of the game, which provides the player with access to side quests, shops, and areas to collect items when not engaged in the main story. In addition to environments within missions such as ruins and forests where enemies are encountered and fought, there is an arena where the player can improve the party and their combat abilities. If the party is victorious, the party can pick up money and items from non-playable characters betting on the fight.
Tactical role-playing games are a genre of video game which incorporates elements of traditional role-playing video games with that of tactical games, emphasizing tactics rather than high-level strategy. The format of a tactical RPG video game is much like a traditional tabletop role-playing game in its appearance, pacing and rule structure. Likewise, early tabletop role-playing games are descended from skirmish wargames like Chainmail, which were primarily concerned with combat.
A stealth game is a type of video game in which the player primarily uses stealth to avoid or overcome antagonists. Games in the genre typically allow the player to remain undetected by hiding, sneaking, or using disguises. Some games allow the player to choose between a stealthy approach or directly attacking antagonists, but rewarding the player for greater use of stealth. The genre has employed espionage, counter-terrorism, and rogue themes, with protagonists who are special forces operatives, spies, thieves, ninjas, or assassins. Some games have also combined stealth elements with other genres, such as first-person shooters and platformers.
The Wii Remote, also known colloquially as the Wiimote, is the primary game controller for Nintendo's Wii home video game console. An essential capability of the Wii Remote is its motion sensing capability, which allows the user to interact with and manipulate items on screen via gesture recognition and pointing, using accelerometer and optical sensor technology. It is expandable by adding attachments. The attachment bundled with the Wii console is the Nunchuk, which complements the Wii Remote by providing functions similar to those in gamepad controllers. Some other attachments include the Classic Controller, Wii Zapper, and the Wii Wheel, originally used for the Mario Kart Wii racing video game.
In battle, the player controls Zael alone, with the rest of the party being controlled by the game's artificial intelligence (AI) and directed by player commands.Parties are composed of up to six characters, each with five "lives", with them automatically reviving after a certain time if Zael cannot revive them manually. The attack directions of both party characters and enemies are represented by lines connecting the different characters. Combat plays out in real-time, with attacks either happening automatically when a character is within range or manually. Actions such as dodging and movement are done manually. Blocking and actions such as vaulting over low obstacles are performed by holding the B button. Zael can also move to take cover behind objects, which allows them to break an enemy's line of sight on them or creep along walls. During combat, a character's Tension gauge will fill, enabling the performance of special moves: these can vary from dealing damage to enemies across a wide area to reviving unconscious allies.
A skill unique to Zael is Gathering: when activated, all enemies within an area will focus their attention on him, allowing other team members to act without interruption. As the game progresses, Zael can issue commands to the other team members, with the perspective switching to a top-down view for this action.In addition to standard combat, players can switch to a behind-the-shoulder perspective for manually firing Zael's crossbow, which can launch a variety of ammunition at enemies and objects. Enemies in Zael's sights will have their weaknesses and abilities revealed. In battle, destructible objects in the environment can be used by the party to defeat enemies; these objects regenerate after a time rather than remaining destroyed. Magic cast by certain characters with that ability leave the casting area temporarily imbued with a spell's elemental properties creating a magic circle. These circles can cause elemental damage or effects to enemies within the area, or they can imbue the weapons of characters who walk into the circle with said element. Eventually, Zael will learn the ability to "diffuse" magic circles which will spread the spell's effect which varies depending on the element. .
In addition to the single-player campaign, players have access to online multiplayer through the game's main menu. The multiplayer features two modes: a competitive mode where players face each other in various stages, and a co-op mode where a team of players face bosses from the single-player campaign. For the competitive match, the player can choose from multiple allied and enemy characters, and all boons granted by equipment or experience levels are removed to level the playing field. Teams of up to six players can be formed for team matches. Players gain or lose points when they defeat or are defeated by an opponent, and defeated enemies respawn in the battlefield. When all opponents have been defeated, all players are awarded with items and equipment that can carry over into the single-player campaign: those who performed the best receive higher-quality equipment and "titles" to distinguish them from other players. The co-op battles allow players to carry over their equipment and character levels from single-player, with the available characters being restricted to Zael's mercenary group. Defeating a boss earns players items themed around it. In both modes, players communicate using a stock of scripted responses both taken from the single-player campaign and specially created for multiplayer.
The Last Story is set on Lazulis Island, a vast seaborne fortress ruled by Count Arganan and allied to an unnamed human empire in the midst of crisis as the land decays and dies. Dagran, a mercenary, travels to Lazulis in search of employment with the mercenary band he leads: Zael, Syrenne, Yurick, Lowell and Mirania. During the journey, Zael, who dreams of becoming a knight, encounters a mysterious force and is branded on the hand, granting him magical power. While on an errand in town, Zael runs into a woman named Lisa and helps her escape from city guards. Employed as guards to Count Arganan for the wedding of his niece, Lady Calista, to Lord Jirall, Zael encounters Calista and recognizes her as "Lisa". The group also meet General Asthar and his protegee Therius when Syrenne picks a fight with Therius. After Calista explains to Zael in private that hers is an arranged marriage, Lazulis is attacked by the Gurak, a race once banished from Lazulis by humans and now united under their ruler Zangurak. To avoid being killed by the ensuing cannon fire, Zael, Dagran, and Calista stow away on a Gurak ship and eventually take it over. The group are returned to Lazulis by the island's knights. On Lazulis, the mercenaries are accused of aiding the Gurak by Jirall, who is trying to cover up his cowardly behavior during the Gurak attack by having anyone who witnessed it imprisoned. Dagran persuades Arganan to release them after showing him Zael's mark, which is revealed to be a mystical "Mark of the Outsider" destined to save Lazulis from disaster.
Arganan attempts to get Zael onto his side, offering him knighthood and Calista's hand in marriage. Zael swears allegiance to Arganan, who orders Zael to direct Lazulis towards the Gurak lands. During this time, Asthar accepts Zael as a new pupil and gives him a medal following a successful sparring. Shortly after this, Gurak assassins attack. Asthar is killed, telling Zael the medal is a key before dying. Zael is accused of Asthar's murder by Jirall and imprisoned. Calista frees him. Dagran suggests Jirall is likely the real killer, and prompts Zael to search Jirall's room, where he finds the murder weapon and a letter revealing dealings with the Gurak. Jirall is imprisoned, freeing Calista to be betrothed to Zael. When Zael's suspicions are later aroused, Dagran admits to him that he framed Jirall in order to ensure Zael's liberty. Lazulis arrives in Gurak lands and takes their keep with minimal resistance. Zael learns there that the Gurak are suffering the same degradation of the land as humans are, which motivated their invasion. Zael's brand reacts with Calista's blood and Asthar's medal to reveal a secret location on Lazulis. Joined by Therius, they enter and meet a Sorceress, who reveals that the "Outsider" is an extraterrestrial being that absorbs energy. At the bidding of her lover, Arganan's ancestor, she summoned the Outsider to the planet in an attempt to end conflict. After realizing that it was destroying the land in order to collect its energy, they split it into two halves in order to slow the land's death. If the two halves, now respectively controlled by humans and the Gurak, are reunited and released, the land's decay will halt and the motive for the war will no longer exist.
Realizing Arganan must have known of this, Zael refuses his knighthood and sets out with Calista to destroy Lazulis' cannon, which is powered by Lazulis' half of the Outsider. However, when the Gurak attack Lazulis they decide to instead help Arganan use the cannon to drive off the attack. The cannon's fire proves insufficient, and Arganan is mysteriously killed by its power. The Gurak overrun Lazulis. Calista and the mercenaries head out to retrieve Zangurak's half of the Outsider, only to find its power has already been taken. Once they remove it, the Gurak fortress starts to crumble, knocking Zael and Calista into the ocean. They are rescued by Gurak ships. On board is Jirall, who has been given a cursed sword by Zangurak for him to kill Zael. Realizing the sword is affecting Jirall's mind, Zael tries to save Jirall by disarming him, but the cursed sword moves unaided and kills Jirall. Meanwhile, the Gurak take Calista to Zangurak.
The mercenaries pursue Zangurak to Lazulis Island. Lowell is fatally injured by a Gurak warrior. Zael finds Calista with Zangurak, who has used her Arganan blood and the Gurak half of the Outsider to anoint his right arm. After the group defeats Zangurak, he rips off his right arm and sends it to use the full power of the Outsider to revive him. However, Dagran kills Zangurak's arm so he can use the Arganan blood and Outsider half on it for himself. He reveals that he murdered Asthar because he learned that Asthar had commanded the Lazulis knights who killed his family. He has been collaborating with Zangurak with the ultimate goal of using the Outsider to remake the world so the mercenaries have a better life. Finding he is still not powerful enough to defeat the group, Dagran tries to absorb the Lazulis half of the Outsider into the center of his body, giving Zael an opening to kill him. Dagran reconciles with the group before dying, then his spirit uses the Outsider's energy to resurrect Lowell. Zael and Calista reunite the two halves of the Outsider, which leaves the planet after explaining that its true purpose is to collect scattered energy in outer space and use it to create life on new worlds. Humans and Gurak begin coexisting, sharing their technology and using Lazulis as a neutral land where the two races freely interact. Therius decides to train new knights in the empire while leaving Lazulis in Zael's care, Zael and Calista are married in her ancient family home, the mercenaries hold a funeral for Dagran, and Zael is finally made a knight by Calista.
The initial concepts for The Last Story came to Hironobu Sakaguchi after his departure from Square (now Square Enix) in 2003. After a period working on games at his new studio Mistwalker, Sakaguchi realized that his style of game were not in tune with current gaming trends.Later, he elaborated that The Last Story was primarily born from reflecting on the design mistakes he made during the development of Blue Dragon (2006) and Lost Odyssey (2007): while they tried to innovate with the story, they kept the gameplay very traditional. Sakaguchi drew up a design document for the game, and around that time met up with Takuya Matsumoto, a designer from AQ Interactive who had worked with Sakaguchi on Blue Dragon. They both realized that they held the same views on what was holding their games back in the current market, and decided to collaborate on the game with the goal of creating something new. In an interview with IGN, Sakaguchi said that development took three years: the first year was devoted to a trial-and-error development process devoted to the battle system. A longer development time of four years was reported by Matsumoto in a different interview with Gamasutra. According to Matsumoto, the team leads went to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) each year and were assured that their game was in-step with current gameplay trends. Production of The Last Story was a collaboration between Mistwalker, AQ Interactive and Nintendo, and was Sakaguchi's first work as a director since Final Fantasy V (1992). The game was going through its final development stages by April 2010, and according to Sakaguchi was "complete" by December that year.
Although Sakaguchi's previous RPGs from Mistwalker had been released for the Xbox 360, The Last Story was created for the Wii. According to Sakaguchi, this was because Nintendo's Shinji Hatano shared their vision of a role-playing game that did not follow genre conversions, and so Sakaguchi accepted his offer of collaboration.After being contacted regarding both The Last Story and fellow Wii ARPG Xenoblade Chronicles , Hatano said that the games should be made for a wide audience and using a "romanticist approach". When explaining why The Last Story was exclusive to the Wii, Sakaguchi said that it was because a large proportion of the late development staff, including the testers, came from Nintendo. In a later interview, he said that working with the Wii, which did not use high-definition graphics, presented challenges as some of his ideas could not be implemented due to technical restrictions. Despite this, the team aimed to create a game that would look good when compared to games on high-definition consoles. Matsumoto stated that Nintendo had a strong influence on the game, which did not always sit well with him despite their suggestions ultimately improving the game. He also stated that Nintendo's creative and development aid in fine-tuning the game was the reason for its extended development.
The basic story was conceived by Sakaguchi and Matsumoto, while the script was written by Sakaguchi, Masaru Hatano and Takatoshi Aoki.The story was contributed to by multiple staff members, which sometimes annoyed Sakaguchi when they suggested something that would be out of character for one of the cast. According to Sakaguchi, the initial version featuring a science fiction storyline was "shot down" by Nintendo, forcing the team to begin all over again with a new setting and characters. Despite the story still using science fiction elements, the team worked to distance the setting from those elements by focusing on bright, natural colors for the environments. The biographies of the main cast were put together during the story's creation. Originally, according to Hatano, the game's theme was to have been the "all-important drama that takes place between a man and a woman", but as development progressed it was changed to a theme of general companionship, although the original story remained the same. Hatano suggested incorporating dialogue into the gameplay rather than restricting it to cutscenes. This approach was inspired by both Uncharted and television series The West Wing . The concept was initially put forward as a joke about Zael's habit of kicking doors open, and how his companions would comment on how he always did this. After receiving positive feedback, they implemented it and kept in Zael's behavior. Sakaguchi used this in-game dialogue to help convey the characters' personalities: as part of this, adlibs from the actors were included, and continual adjustments were made to the script. The characters' artwork also prompted Sakaguchi to make changes so the characters better fitted their presentation. The game's voiced dialogue was estimated at 12,000 lines. The option for players to skip through dialogue was a feature that Sakaguchi did not like, but he knew that some players would not like necessary long cutscenes, so gave them the option of going through them while still following the story. This meant that all the cutscenes needed to be done using the in-game engine rather than pre-rendered graphics.
The characters were designed by Kimihiko Fujisaka. Fujisaka, who was acquainted with Sakaguchi, was brought on board the project at the beginning. At that point, only a simple plot outline had been created, and Sakaguchi showed this to Fujisaka and asked what he visualized from it. Due to this, Fujisaka had a lot of leeway in his designs. Due to Sakaguchi living in Hawaii while the game was being developed, Fujisaka was initially nervous about working with him on the project, but ultimately he found their working relationship to be a positive one. An aspect that worried Fujisaka during the early stages was the decision to have the characters able to change their clothing: their original appearances had been designed in relation to their lines, and while designing extra outfits proved difficult, he ultimately enjoyed the experience. Fujisaka also worked as a world designer, initially feeling restricted by the console's limited graphics. According to Fujisaka, the city hub began taking shape in 2009, relatively early in development. The world design he initially created was fairly bleak, but after Nintendo insisted on the scenario being changed, he redesigned it around a brighter fantasy aesthetic.
Developing the gameplay began at the start of development, with a test environment being built to develop and refine the basics of the battle system. Work within the test build spanned approximately one and a half years. While creating the battle system, the staff decided that the key words should be "order" and "chaos": whoever gained order on the battlefield would be the victor. One of the concepts that emerged from this was Gathering, Zael's ability to direct all enemies' attention towards him. At first, Gathering ended up generating an unwanted amount of chaos on the battlefield, and this resulted in the trial-and-error period for it running on for a long time. The biggest challenge, once the concept had been finalized, was adjusting its effectiveness on the battlefield depending on the situation and enemy types.A concept that did not make it into the final game was "Replay": after an enemy successfully cast a spell, players could rewatch the last few seconds of battle from an overhead view to see what type it was and take that into their strategy. This slowed the pace of combat down too much, so the concept was entirely removed. Hangovers of it include the ability to freeze time during certain actions, and the overhead perspective when commanding party members The cover system was designed around the limitations of the camera control born from the Wii Remote's control scheme.
Matsumoto was responsible for the level design. While preparing destructible elements within the environment, the staff took care that they could be easily recognized by the player. So as to create a more direct experience than other Japanese RPGs, the camera view was deliberately restricted around Zael, so the player would be kept within his point of view. A difficult part of development was balancing story and gameplay, which sometimes caused clashes between Sakaguchi and Matsumoto, as Matsumoto would upset the balance and necessitate Sakaguchi re-balancing it. The battle system and AI was refined by what Matsumoto described as "chaotic battles royal between over 20 people wielding swords, magic and guns or ally command systems". The ability to fire projectiles had a big impact on the battle system's design.This concept was a hangover from the game's origins as a science fiction story. For the multiplayer, Sakaguchi avoided the potential for players to be rude to one-another by restricting their dialogue to segments from the single-player campaign. This was possible given the large amount of ambient dialogue in the game.
The game's music was composed by Nobuo Uematsu, a long-time collaborator with Sakaguchi who had worked on the Final Fantasy series, Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey. Uematsu initially had a rough time: the first three pieces of music he sent were rejected, and then Uematsu did not respond for some time. Sakaguchi worried that Uematsu might quit the project altogether. In fact, Uematsu realized Sakaguchi's wishes for the title and had to rethink his approach entirely. With the second submission, Uematsu stated that he might leave if his music still did not fit, but it did and he remained as composer. In contrast to the majority of his earlier works, which made heavy use of purely melodic pieces and "jogging music", Uematsu concentrated on a mixture between video game and film music to emphasize emotion and ambient sounds. He also worked to avoid creating signature jingles and fanfares. The most difficult pieces for him were battle tracks: the main battle theme was seven minutes long, but broken into small pieces that varied depending on situations and could be cued in depending on what was happening on the battlefield. "Toberu Mono"(翔べるもの, lit. "The Flying One"), was composed by Uematsu with lyrics by Sakaguchi. Its lyrics are about the world someone is in not being where they are meant to be, with the phrase "going home" being used progressively through the song. According to Sakaguchi, the theme was quite personal for him, and also displays the "foreignness" of the game.The game's theme song,
Sakaguchi revealed that he was working on a new game in July 2009.Initially targeted for a reveal that year, this was delayed for unknown reasons into 2010. The game was announced by Nintendo in January 2010, alongside its platform and logo. It was released on January 27, 2011. Despite prompting interest from genre fans in the west since its official announcement, shortly before its Japanese release, Nintendo announced that The Last Story would remain exclusive to Japan. Nintendo explained that the effort involved in bringing The Last Story overseas would be too much work on top of other important releases such as Kirby's Epic Yarn and titles for the Nintendo 3DS. Despite this, Nintendo stated that there was a strong possibility of it releasing in the United Kingdom due to its growing RPG market. It was officially announced for Europe in June 2011. The European localization was handled by Nintendo of Europe, using the same team that had done Xenoblade Chronicles. British voice actors were used for the dubbing, making use of various accents for the different characters. Some of the original programmers helped with the implementation of the localization, and it underwent unspecified adjustments. The game released in Europe on February 24, 2012. It received a limited edition, featuring a CD with seven music tracks and an artbook. It was also released in Australia on February 23.
After a continued lack of confirmation of a North American release, including it not being included in Nintendo's 2011 release schedule, a fan-based movement called Operation Rainfall started a campaign to raise awareness for The Last Story, Xenoblade Chronicles, and another Wii RPG titled Pandora's Tower . This campaign included letter writing to Nintendo and petitions for its overseas release.Despite acknowledging the effort, Nintendo stated that there were no plans for a North American release. Matsumoto was severely disappointed by this decision and thought The Last Story would never make it to North America. At this point, Xseed Games, who had developed a reputation for publishing niche Japanese games, took an interest in publishing the title. Initially approaching Nintendo in 2011, Nintendo confirmed that they had no plans to publish the title themselves. After playing through a Japanese copy of the game, and the staff were favorably impressed and decided to pitch to Nintendo for the game's North American publishing rights. They were helped by the connections between parent company AQ Interactive and Mistwalker. Xseed Games were the first publisher to ask Nintendo about The Last Story, and after being favorably impressed by their proposal, Nintendo granted Xseed Games publishing rights. While a new localization for North America was considered, it was decided to use Nintendo of Europe's localization as it better fitted the game's atmosphere and aesthetic. It officially released in North America on August 14, but problems with stock caused Amazon and GameStop to put orders on hold and push their release dates forward.
The game's story received generally positive reactions from critics, although some criticized it for a lack of originality in the RPG genre. While they did not comment much on the story, Famitsu called The Last Story "very classical RPG".Eurogamer's Martin Robinson found the characters the most appealing part of the game, an opinion shared by Francesco Dagostino of 1UP.com, who particularly cited Syrenne's portrayal. GameSpot's Mark Walton shared this opinion while also praising the story's epic scale. IGN's Keza MacDonald said that it presented a good story and characters within familiar themes and settings. Edge Magazine found the story fairly traditional despite a strong cast and emotional power, while Matthew Castle of Computer and Video Games praised the effort made to flesh out the party members in side-missions despite referring to the main narrative as "tedious". GameTrailers, while noting the familiar plotlines the game explored, said that The Last Story handled its plot better than others of its kind, praising its character development. Game Informer's Joe Juba was fairly critical, finding the story overly predictable and the characters shallow. Jason Wishnov of G4 was also critical of the characters and plot, calling the former "one-note" despite convincing camaraderie and well-written in-game dialogue, and the latter impeded by problems with formulaic writing despite some late-game twists. Simon Parkin, writing for Official Nintendo Magazine , found the characters likable despite a predictable story; Nintendo Power shared points of praise with other reviewers, in addition to praising Zael and Calista's romance, saying that it held the game together during some mid-game stumbles. RPGamer's Alex Fuller said that the story was great despite it using well-worn cliches. Multiple critics gave high praise to the British-voiced localization.
The gameplay was generally well received. Famitsu praised the battle system, saying that it was friendly towards casual gamers.MacDonald likewise praised the battle system as "one of the best combat systems I've played with in any RPG, Japanese or otherwise". Walton found the battle system fun and enjoyed the amount of side quests, while Dagostino was highly positive about the game's successful efforts in moving away from genre tradition. Juba enjoyed the multiplayer and praised the game for moving away from the genre's traditional battle systems despite faults with their overall implementation, while Robinson found the gameplay suffered from the design goals that had fueled its creation. Castle was positive about the variety of gameplay and tactical elements despite some stiff combat mechanics, but noted the inability to alter difficulty being a point against the game. Wishnov praised the fast pace and variety of the combat, but found that more cumbersome RPG elements and a lack of overall control negatively impacted the experience. GameTrailers generally praised about the way gameplay and combat was handled despite some "clunky" moments, but was less positive the multiplayer option's balance and variety. Edge, while noting multiple core similarities with other games within the genre, found that other elements came together to make it a more fast-paced cinematic experience than other traditional RPGs; Fuller enjoyed the battle system, but thought that it lacked challenge and had difficulties with the camera. Parkin was generally positive about combat, particularly about the blending and gradual growth of character abilities, while Nintendo Power called the battle system "satisfying" and the multiplayer "surprisingly worthwhile". Multiple reviewers commented on the game's linear structure, with opinions ranging from indifferent to negative.
Opinions on the game's visual style varied. Walton called the game's visuals "some of the best ever seen on the Wii", which was echoed to a degree by MacDonald.Castle was generally positive about the game's aesthetics, citing the water effects as particularly good. Edge was fairly mixed, saying that well-done environmental effects or the world-building through character banter were spoiled by low-quality textures and stilted character animations. Juba praised the character models, but found environments to be "ugly and muddy in comparison"; Fuller, while not actively criticizing them, said that players used to high-definition consoles would be disappointed. GameTrailers found the amount of detail put into environments "remarkable" for the Wii hardware despite a lack of scale, while Parkin found the visuals generally unimpressive despite a few stand-out moments. Nintendo Power said that the graphics gave the game's setting an "authentic" appearance despite some low-resolution textures, while Eurogamer praised them for their "sepia tone". Frame rate drops during moments of high activity were generally noted by reviewers. Uematsu's incidental scoring also received praise from multiple critics.
Upon release, The Last Story topped Japanese gaming charts, selling 114,722 units.Assessments by Media Create stated that while the game had achieved higher sales than Xenoblade Chronicles due to higher interest in the title, Wii hardware sales remained low, indicating that the title was mostly bought by gamers who already owned a Wii console. By the end of 2011, the game sold just over 157,000 units. Upon its release in the UK, it debuted at #15. After the release of The Last Story in North America, Xseed Games released a statement saying that The Last Story was their most successful title to date, with its Premium Edition selling out quickly and needing to be replaced with a different special edition.
Upon its release, the game received critical acclaim, earning an aggregate score of 80/100 on Metacritic based on 61 critic reviews.It was cited by GamesRadar and Forbes as one of the best games of the year. Similarly, 1UP.com named it as one of the top ten best RPGs on the Wii. In addition it was nominated for "Best Wii/Wii U Game" at the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards, and "RPG of the Year" in GameSpot's RPG of the Year award category. In IGN's "Best of 2012" awards, it was awarded as "Best Wii U/Wii Sound".
Final Fantasy II is a fantasy role-playing video game developed and published by Square in 1988 for the Family Computer as the second installment of the Final Fantasy series. The game has received numerous enhanced remakes for the WonderSwan Color, the PlayStation, the Game Boy Advance, the PlayStation Portable, and multiple mobile and smartphone types. As neither this game nor Final Fantasy III were initially released outside Japan, Final Fantasy IV was originally released in North America as Final Fantasy II, so as not to confuse players. The most recent releases of the game are enhanced versions for iOS and Android, which were released worldwide in 2010 and 2012, respectively.
Final Fantasy IV, known as Final Fantasy II for its initial North American release, is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Released in 1991, it is the fourth main installment of the Final Fantasy series. The game's story follows Cecil, a dark knight, as he tries to prevent the sorcerer Golbez from seizing powerful crystals and destroying the world. He is joined on this quest by a frequently changing group of allies. Final Fantasy IV introduced innovations that became staples of the Final Fantasy series and role-playing games in general. Its "Active Time Battle" system was used in five subsequent Final Fantasy games, and unlike prior games in the series, IV gave each character their own unchangeable character class.
Final Fantasy VI, also known as Final Fantasy III from its marketing for initial North American release in 1994, is a role-playing video game developed and published by Japanese company Square for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Final Fantasy VI, being the sixth game in the series proper, was the first to be directed by someone other than producer and series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi; the role was filled instead by Yoshinori Kitase and Hiroyuki Ito. Yoshitaka Amano, long-time collaborator to the Final Fantasy series, returned as the character designer and contributed widely to visual concept design, while series-regular, composer Nobuo Uematsu, wrote the game's score, which has been released on several soundtrack albums. Set in a fantasy world with a technology level equivalent to that of the Second Industrial Revolution, the game's story follows an expanding cast that includes fourteen permanent playable characters. The drama includes and extends past depicting a rebellion against an evil military dictatorship, pursuit of a magical arms-race, use of chemical weapons in warfare, depiction of violent, apocalyptic confrontations with Divinities, several personal redemption arcs, teenage pregnancy, and the continuous renewal of hope and life itself.
Final Fantasy III is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the Family Computer. The third installment in the Final Fantasy series, it was released in 1990. It is the first numbered Final Fantasy game to feature the job-change system. The story revolves around four orphaned youths drawn to a crystal of light. The crystal grants them some of its power, and instructs them to go forth and restore balance to the world. Not knowing what to make of the crystal's pronouncements, but nonetheless recognizing the importance of its words, the four inform their adoptive families of their mission and set out to explore and bring back balance to the world.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is a role-playing video game (RPG) developed by Square and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1996. It is the first RPG in the Mario franchise, with major elements drawn from Square's RPG franchises and action-based gameplay reminiscent of the Super Mario series.
Paper Mario is a role-playing video game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 home video game console. It was first released in Japan in 2000 and in the rest of the world in 2001. Paper Mario was re-released for Nintendo's Wii Virtual Console in July 2007 as well as Wii U Virtual Console in 2015.
EarthBound is a role-playing video game developed by Ape Inc. and HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The second entry in the Mother series, it was first released in Japan in August 1994, and in North America in June 1995. As Ness and his party of four, the player travels the world to collect eight melodies in order to defeat the evil alien force Giygas.
Fire Emblem is a fantasy tactical role-playing game franchise developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo. First produced and published for the Family Computer (Famicom), the series consists of fifteen main games and three spin-offs. Described by its creators as a "role-playing game simulation", the gameplay revolves around tactical movement of characters across grid-based environments, while incorporating a story and characters similar to traditional role-playing video games.
King's Knight is a 1986 scrolling shooter video game developed by Workss and published by Square for the Nintendo Entertainment System and MSX. The game was released in Japan on September 18, 1986, and in North America in 1989. It was later re-released for the Wii's Virtual Console in Japan on November 27, 2007 and in North America on March 24, 2008. This would be followed by a release on the Virtual Console in Japan on February 4, 2015 for 3DS and July 6, 2016 for Wii U.
Dragon Quest X is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed and published by Square Enix. It is the tenth mainline entry in the Dragon Quest series. It was originally released for the Wii in 2012, and was later ported for Wii U, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, and Nintendo 3DS, all of which support cross-platform play. Outside of a Windows version in Chinese, the game was not localized outside of Japan.
Xenoblade Chronicles is an open world action role-playing game developed by Monolith Soft and published by Nintendo for the Wii. Initially released in Japan in 2010, it was later released in the PAL region in 2011 and then in North America in 2012. A port for the New Nintendo 3DS was released worldwide in 2015. Xenoblade Chronicles is the first entry in the Xenoblade Chronicles series, a subseries which forms part of the Xeno metaseries. Although no direct narrative connections exist to previous Xeno games, it incorporates aesthetic and narrative elements from both fantasy and science fiction. The game features navigation through an open world split into zones, side-quests tied to party members' affinity, and a real-time action-based battle system which incorporates the main character's ability to see glimpses of the future.
Pandora's Tower is an action role-playing game developed by Ganbarion for the Wii. The game released in May 2011 in Japan, April 2012 in PAL territories, and April 2013 in North America: while Xseed Games published the game in North America, Nintendo was the publisher in all other regions. Focusing on the efforts of protagonist Aeron to rid his love Elena of a curse that is turning her into a monster, the player explores thirteen towers, solving environmental puzzles and taking part in platforming while battling enemies—a key part of gameplay is the Oraclos Chain, a weapon that aids in both combat and navigation. Depending on the strength of Aeron's relationship with Elena, multiple endings can be reached.
Operation Rainfall, commonly known as oprainfall, was a video game-oriented fan campaign founded to promote the release of Japan-exclusive titles. Initially aimed at promoting the North American localization of three Japan-exclusive titles on the aging Wii home video game console, it later transitioned into a community blog dedicated to niche Japanese titles and further fan campaigns aimed at the localization of other Japan-exclusive titles. From inception, its stated intention was to show publisher Nintendo the demand for the three chosen titles.
Young Justice: Legacy is an action-adventure video game developed by Freedom Factory Studios and published by Little Orbit. It was released in November 2013 for Nintendo 3DS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. The game is based on the Young Justice animated television series, and takes place in the five-year gap between seasons one and two, and was developed in collaboration with the writers of the series, Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti. Originally the game was planned to also be released on Nintendo DS, Wii, and Wii U, but the developers announced that these versions were cancelled due to quality issues and low interest from retailers.
Final Fantasy is a fantasy role-playing video game developed and published by Square in 1987. It is the first game in Square's Final Fantasy series, created by Hironobu Sakaguchi. Originally released for the NES, Final Fantasy was remade for several video game consoles and is frequently packaged with Final Fantasy II in video game collections. The story follows four youths called the Light Warriors, who each carry one of their world's four elemental orbs which have been darkened by the four Elemental Fiends. Together, they quest to defeat these evil forces, restore light to the orbs, and save their world.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE is a 2015 crossover role-playing video game developed by Atlus and published by Nintendo for the Wii U home console. The game combines gameplay, narrative and aesthetic elements from Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei and Nintendo's Fire Emblem series. It was released in Japan in December 2015, and worldwide in June 2016.
Cry On is a cancelled video game by Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and his development team Mistwalker. Announced as an upcoming project in 2005 for the Xbox 360, the game's cancellation was later announced in 2008. In late 2014, Sakaguchi released a concept trailer of work done on the game.
Xenoblade Chronicles, also shortened as Xenoblade, is a series of fantasy and science fiction action role-playing video games developed by Monolith Soft and published by Nintendo. It is a part of the Xeno meta series created by Tetsuya Takahashi, but was formed after Nintendo's acquisition of Monolith Soft. The series began with the original Xenoblade Chronicles game, published for the Nintendo Wii in 2010; it was a critical success and spawned sequels.