The Last Story is an RPG from Hironobu Sakaguchi's studio Mistwalker made exclusively for the Wii. The game's soundtrack was composed by fellow Final Fantasy veteran and former Square Enix employee Nobuo Uematsu. Originally released in 2011 in Japan and published by Nintendo, the game was published in Europe a year later again by Nintendo on February 24, 2012. For a North American release, Nintendo partnered with XSEED Games to bring the game over on July 10, 2012--with the European localization as their basis. XSEED is owned by Marvelous AQL, a company formed from the mergers of Marvelous Entertainment, AQ Interactive, and Liveware. AQ Interactive also owned Artoon, the development house that co-developed The Last Story with Mistwalker. It went on to become XSEED's most successful game to date by late November 2012.
The Last Story takes place on Lazulis Island. The island is the only thriving part of an empire that is suffering from poverty and decay. Zael, a mercenary and the game's protagonist, travels to the island in the hopes of finding a better life, along with the other members of his mercenary team; the leader Dagran, the dual-wielding fighter Syrenne, and the mages Lowell, Mirania and Yurick. Zael and Dagran founded the mercenary company, hoping that it would be their first step up in the world so that they might be able to escape their meager existence and one day become knights. The world of The Last Story is supposed to be one where metal resources are scarce; Sakaguchi focused on limiting the amount of sci-fi influence on the world setting, and he wants players to be able to enjoy a smooth experience of exploring Lazulis Island; a place "bathed in the abundance of radiant sunlight."
At the start of the game, Zael, Dagran, Syrenne and Lowell are fighting their way through a cave of Reptids. When they come across an ancient ruin, they split up, and Zael and Syrenne fend off more of the creatures when Syrenne is mortally wounded by an arrow. Filled with anguish at not being able to help her, the same emotions he felt as a child kneeling over his mother, slain by bandits, he hears a voice, and is granted a strange power that allows him the ability to revive Syrenne and draw the enemy away.
During his first night in Lazulis City, the populous center of the island, Zael meets a young woman named Lisa, who is on the run from the city guards. After helping her escape, Zael introduces her to his friends, and then agrees to take her to Stargazer's Tower, where they watch a meteor shower together. Lisa then parts ways with Zael and returns home.
Later, Dagran informs the company that he's lined up a potentially lucrative job. Lady Calista, niece of Count Arganan, is to marry a nobleman named Jirall. A party to celebrate their engagement is being held at the castle, and the mercenaries have been hired to assist in standing guard due to a shortage of available bodies. However, when Zael is in the ballroom watching over the festivities, he lays eyes on Lady Calista, and realizes that she's the girl that introduced herself as Lisa.
When Calista, who can't stand her fiance, steps away for a moment, Zael uses the opportunity to talk to her when Jirall follows soon after. The nobleman, a spineless fop, threatens Zael, but before the threats can be carried too far, the castle comes under attack from a fleet of Gurak ships. When Jirall cowers and flees, Zael protects Calista and tries to escort her to safety, but she's captured by Zangurak. Zael uses his power, amplified by Calista's presence, to save her before she can be taken aboard a Gurak ship. Despite this victory, the party is forced to stow away on a Gurak ship and escape after the palace cannons begin firing, putting them in danger to the complete lack of the count's knowledge.
After taking over the ship, Zael and the others choose to follow the Gurak to their base, where they go on the attack and are soon joined by other Lazulis soldiers, including General Asthar and his second in command, Sir Therius. Teaming up with the knights, Zael's group manages to strike a blow against the Gurak before returning to Lazulis Island. Upon their return, however, the party is accused of kidnapping Calista and conspiring with the Gurak by Jirall, who has them cast into the dungeon. While Dagran seeks an audience with the count to set things right, Zael and the others work with Horace, an archaeologist who had also been imprisoned, and together they try to escape. But when the escape route proves to be a dead end, they're forced to turn back.
Later, as Zael is about to be sentenced, much to the glee of Jirall, Calista and Asthar break into the trial, where she pleas for his life by telling everyone that going to the Gurak base was her idea. The count and Dagran soon follow, and the count asks to see Zael's right hand, which had been marked by the power granted to him in the game's beginning. Identifying it as the power of the Outsider, the power of the one who will save Lazulis Island and the Empire, the count states his case for Zael's freedom. With no other choice, the judge clears Zael of all charges. The count then offers Zael the opportunity to become a knight-in-training, serve him, and perhaps even marry Calista.
Though Calistia pleads for Zael not to agree, he does so at the encouragement of Dagran. However, Zael has his doubts, which are further intensified as he begins following the count's orders, including using the power of the Outsider to make the island, in actuality a moving fortress, move on a course toward the Gurak continent in pursuit of war. Along the way, Zael seeks training from Asthar, and he ascends the Tower of Trials in order to prove his mettle as one worthy to become a true knight. During this period of time, Zael also comes under attack several times from forces working for Jirall, who has seen his engagement to Calista dissolve and what should be rightfully his taken away from him, all because of Zael.
When the Gurak mount a second attack on the island, Zael and the others fight it off, but in the process, Asthar is slain by an unknown assailant. Zael, the first to the scene, is then blamed for the murder by Jirall, who uses the incident as the perfect opportunity to frame him. Because of this, Zael is once again thrown in the dungeon, this time alone. However he's not there for long when he's rescued by Calista, who has gotten over her doubts about Zael's motives and knows his intentions are pure. She sneaks him out of the castle, where they meet with the other mercenaries. Dagran and Zael sneak back in, intent on finding evidence to clear Zael, and make their way to Jirall's quarters. There, they find a letter from the Gurak as well as a blood-stained sword and are thus able to pin the blame for Asthar's murder on Jirall, who protests his innocence as the count orders he be taken to the dungeon.
With Jirall incarcerated, Lazulis Island finally reaches the shores of the Gurak continent. Zael and Syrenne join the assault, only to discover that they're attacking defenseless civilians. Not an enemy solider is in sight, and worst of all, the Lazulis knights begin slaughtering and pillaging the innocent gurak. Furious, but unable to stop them, Zael is at least able to help see a small group of civilians to a safe escape before returning to the island. Disgusted by what's happened, Zael is nonetheless promised Calista's hand in marriage by the count. He finally has everything he ever wanted, but he feels awful about how it's come to him.
Zael and Calista are then drawn to a mysterious voice that leads them into a strange, otherworldly space where they learn the truth of the Outsider. It is a world seed, called to the world centuries ago in a bid to stop a war from tearing the empire apart. The hero Arganan had used the power of the Outsider to intimidate everyone into an end to the conflict, and peace treaties were eventually signed. However, he also learned that the land had begun to decay because of the Outsider's power, and it couldn't be stopped. They could only slow the decay by splitting the Outsider in two. One piece was buried beneath Lazulis Castle, and the other was sent to a distant continent.
On the day in which Zael is to become a knight and marry Calista, he instead rejects serving the count and flees with the support of all of his friends except Dagran, who knew that Zael would ultimately reject the offer and tries to stop him. However, Dagran ultimately puts up no fight, allowing Zael to run to Calista's side. Together, they choose to run away from the castle, but first intend to smash the controls to the Lazulis Cannon so that it can't be used any longer. But just as Zael is about to destroy the control panel, the Gurak attack once more, this time with a mobile island fortress of their own; their previous raids had only served the purpose of stealing the technology to build their own weapons to match, including their own weapon on the scale of the Lazulis Cannon.
Zael and Calista meet up with the others, save for Dagran, who has gone missing, but due to the circumstances are forced to follow the count, who intends to fire the Lazulis Cannon. They venture deep into the castle depths, where they encounter half of the Outsider. The count drives the Outsider into a rage, causing the Lazulis Cannon to fire repeatedly and drain the island of its energy, but the Gurak forces aren't quelled and fire their own weapon. Eventually, the power of the Outsider engulfs the count, killing him in his mad lust to destroy his enemy. After quelling the Outsider's rage, the party splits up; half go to the aid of Therius, who is on his own fighting the enemy, and the others lead the Lazulis civilians to safety in the sewers. Though Therius is wounded in battle, he orders the others to leave him behind and protect the civilians.
Investigating a noise in the sewers, Zael's party stumbles across the enemy as the Gurak burrow their way into the island's underground. After fighting them off, the party enters the tunnels that lead to the Gurak island. In their pursuit of Zangurak, Lowell is killed, but the others continue on. Together, they find Zangurak, who bears the power of the other half of the Outsider. As they finally defeat him, Zangurak severs his right arm, still bearing the Outsider's power, so that it might allow him to be reborn. The party gives chase, only to discover Dagran as he stands in the arm's way and takes the Outsider's power as his own. It is then that Zael realizes the truth; Dagran is the traitor. He murdered General Asthar and framed Jirall, and he had been working with the Gurak the whole time. Dagran explains that he had done everything in the name of revenge. Though he had encouraged Zael with dreams of becoming a knight, he harbors hatred for the knights, as they were responsible for the deaths of his family. To Dagran, Zael and the others were just pawns.
Unwilling to kill Dagran, Zael tries to plead with him, but it's no use. He and the others are forced to fight Dagran, now wielding the Outsider's power, and slay him. During their escape from the island, they come across Lowell, who is revived by a faint remnant of the Outsider's power Dagran controlled, and they continue on their way. Successfully having made their escape, they return to Lazulis Island and begin setting things right. They quickly broker peace between the humans and Gurak, as their warring was almost entirely driven by the count and Zangurak. Calista takes her place as ruler of Lazulis Island, and Zael is finally granted a knighthood, as well as Calista's hand in marriage.
Power of the Outsider
The game's battle system takes place in real time, but the action can be paused while issuing orders to party members. For the majority of the game, the player is in direct control of Zael, who can use his power of the Outsider for a variety of purposes. When the power is active, Zael can draw enemies to him, allowing mages time to cast spells or to ease the burden on other fighters. Downed allies can also be revived if Zael moves near them while the power is active, though each party member can only be revived a total of five times before they're knocked out for the duration of the battle.
By default, Zael attacks nearby enemies automatically, but this can be change to a manual attack in the game's options. When set to manual, the player can launch into a combo string of attacks, though each successive attack in a combo will gradually inflict less and less damage. More damage can be inflicted when characters work together to chain alternating attacks together.
Zael is also capable of using a crossbow. When aiming with the crossbow, the perspective moves over his shoulder, similar to games like Resident Evil 4 or Gears of War. There are a variety of arrow types, including explosives, arrows that can deal extra damage to mages, and when in town, prank banana peels can be fired on the ground to slip people up.
Mages can cast spells that produce magic circles, such as a circle that can heal allies that stand within it. Zael can use a techique called Gale to disperse the circle and impart secondary effects. Magic is also divided into elemental affinities, which are identified by their color. Each of the party's magic users excel at a different magic type.
Zael and his allies can hide behind walls and objects in the environment for cover. Doing so may allow them a chance to ambush unsuspecting enemies or take cover from enemy archers and mages. Zael can also peek out from behind cover to use his crossbow.
Customization and Upgrades
Each of the player's party members can be equipped with a weapon and two armor parts (for the upper and lower body). Weapons are further divided into gear for fighters (swords, clubs, and other large instruments) and mages (various forms of daggers). Lowell is the only party member that can equip weapons from either class, while the dedicated fighter Syrenne can equip two melee weapons and dual-wield.
Equipment can be upgraded at specific shops and vendors. Each time a weapon or piece of armor is upgraded, its abilities rise by a certain amount for each rank. In addition to money, armor upgrades also require material components that are typically found either in combat or in chests. Some weapons also require material components for upgrading either after reaching a certain rank or from the start. As equipment rises in rank, the rarity of the material component required for the next upgrade may also increase.
Additionally, the player may collect dyes to customize the color palettes of the player characters. A purely cosmetic function, the player is never required to use it, but custom colors also carry over into the game's multiplayer component.
The game features online multiplayer modes for a 3-on-3 Team Deathmatch-type mode and a cooperative Boss Challenge for up to six players. These modes support random Free For All as well as private matches set up via Friend Codes.
Hironobu Sakaguchi, who became famous for creating the Final Fantasy series, announced in June 2009 he was working on a new game, but kept the specifics of the project a secret. Nintendo later revealed it to be The Last Story, a name that the company had trademarked months earlier. The Last Story is Mistwalker's first and only Wii project. It is also the second title that Mistwalker and Nintendo have collaborated on; the first being Archaic Sealed Heat on the Nintendo DS. Mistwalker's other previous games include the Xbox 360 RPGs Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey.
The name, music, and artwork of the game are noted to be similar in style to Final Fantasy, the long-running RPG franchise that Sakaguchi created and helped shape until his departure from Square Enix. The Last Story's character designs were created by Kimihiko Fujisaka, whose previous work includes the character designs in the Drakengard series.
In Japan, every first print copy of The Last Story came with with a little freebie called The Elements of the Last Story. It contained a mini art book and a seven-track soundtrack CD in a cardboard sleeve with some fancy artwork. These goodies were also included with the European Limited Edition of the game.
There was also a Japan-exclusive Wii console bundle. It came with the previously mentioned first print bonus items, a plain white Wii console, Wii-Remote and Nunchuck along and a white Classic Controller Pro - and a copy of the game, obviously. The packaging featured big artwork showing the game's characters on the front.
The European Limited Edition came with the The Elements of the Last Story combo of artbook and mini soundtrack (identical to the Japanese versions) and an exclusive metal case featuring character art and a big box with more glossy artwork depicting monochrome versions of a character collage. The regular game case also features reversible cover art that was chosen via poll by users of Nintendo's official European website.
For the North American release, XSEED included a soft cover artbook with all first print run copies of the game as well as the 7-track Premium Soundtrack CD as a pre-order bonus at Amazon, EB Canada and GameStop. First-run copies also came in a special case designed to resemble a book.
The official soundtrack by composer Nobuo Uematsu, was released in Japan as a three disc set on February 23, 2011 via Uematsu's own Dog Ear Records. First editions came in an additional cardboard sleeve with original artwork by Kimihiko Fujisaka. Sakaguchi wrote the lyrics to the main theme "Toberu Mono," and the vocals were performed by Kanon.
|Track #||English Title||Length|
|1.||Theme Of The Last Story||4:55|
|2.||Is That Road Justified?||4:21|
|3.||Timbre Of The City||4:24|
|4.||Running In Struggle||2:44|
|7.||Order And Chaos||5:21|
|8.||Exposed To Light||2:06|
|9.||When Hearts Connect||3:33|
|10.||Toberu Mono (Instrumental)||5:10|
|11.||Hearts Bounce Loudly||1:57|
|15.||Just Being Near You||3:19|
|Track #||English Title||Length|
|1.||Pride Of Knights||3:45|
|7.||The Dark Side||2:58|
|9.||Bout Of Arena ~ Battle Banquet||3:48|
|10.||Glorify The King||3:15|
|12.||The Other Side Of Oblivion||3:57|
|14.||Pub For Gathering||4:17|
|Track #||English Title||Length|
|1.||Invitation To Madness||6:09|
|2.||Authority And Majesty||3:56|
|3.||With Decision In The Heart||2:40|
|5.||Patina Of The King||5:51|
|7.||The One Ruling Everything||7:58|
|9.||Joyful Voices Can Be Heard||3:15|
|11.||With Unfulfilled Dream||0:33|
There was also a seven-track "Premium Soundtrack" CD included with pre-orders and early purchases of the game in Japan, along with the "Elements of The Last Story" book. Both of these items are also part of the Limited Edition in Europe.
|Track #||English Title||Length|
|1.||Theme of THE LAST STORY||5:00|
|2.||Order And Chaos||2:14|
|3.||Joyful Voices Can Be Heard||2:50|
|4.||Timbre Of The City||3:31|