My 1st impressions after beating Last Story. Worth the wait & campaign to get TLS in the US. Thanks Xseed/rainfall
As for the way the game turned out though, well it's wonderful really. While I can't say that it's one of the best games I have ever played, it certainly is a great one at least. The way the stories told, the way the game is played, and the ways the characters act are all a little bit different than a typical JRPG. The Last Story, in a way, feels more real than a game in the sense that it works off characters rather than tropes in JRPGs. While I understand that most of the characters in this game are still very much a trope, they also have a little something off about them. I can't say I can really explain it without exposing the story, but for the most part all the characters are more than just one dimension. That is honestly what I think makes the game shine, and the cast of voice actors makes this game all the more fun to watch and play. The music is wonderful too and offers to set the mood throughout the game. This is especially true for the last few battles in the game and really makes me want to find the OST just to hear those last few battle songs.
As for the gameplay itself, well, it's much different than most JRPGs and RPGs that I have played. While there are still a lot of concepts that are borrowed from both, all around you're just dealing with a different monster when you play this game. There is a little bit of tactics, a little bit of grinding, a little bit of mindless button mashing, and a lot of fun to be had. While the game tends to give out a lot of information all at once, and often stops the game so you can learn, it's still pretty simple to play and about an hour or two in you'll get the hang of things. It's also interesting to note that throughout the game you play as different characters from your party from time to time; this mix up of play can sometimes make the game even more engaging due to it not feeling like only one character is in charge of the game. Not to mention there is a co-op online multiplayer to be had as well, which I'm sure makes for some rather fun runs than compared to most solo runs.
However, as much as I like a lot of The Last Story, its real fault is just taking a while to get really good and break away from traditions. While the chapters are a nice touch to help show progress throughout the game, it can also be a bit of a hindrance. Sometimes chapters just end up being misleading and may sometimes question whether or not a chapter has really ended because of how long or short they can be. As well, it really does take a while for The Last Story to build their characters and break away from their one dimension and make interesting character arks. Frankly, most of beginning chapters are just cutscenes and tutorials lessons so it can be very off putting for people that just want to battle a bunch of monsters. The Last Story may like to build its characters too much, and while this isn't a bad thing, more often than not, they lose an audience that doesn't want to stick around because it hasn't become good yet. Some areas are also repeated so it can be somewhat annoying when there isn't new scenery around, but TLS does divide the use of already used areas quite well that it isn't too over used, or all that noticeable in the long run.
As well, The Last Story isn't exactly the prettiest girl in the ball, and while it isn't bad to look at, it certainly is outdated. Often I heard my wii cry out in terror because so much was going on during the game that it just couldn't process it. The cutscenes also look more like they were from the PS2 era with how often the lip syncing can be off and the stiff character motions that are shown.
The Last Story is a great edition to the RPG genre that mixes up story elements and gameplay elements often enough to differ itself from the rest of the crowd. While it may take long to build up, and the graphics may not be the best, The Last Story has a lot of heart to it, and proves itself to be a wonderful game throughout.