While the Video Games generally make a pretty expensive hobby, we are now arriving at an economically-friendly period for for gamers. The next generation is on the horizon, and will be here by the holidays. Meanwhile, the current generation is ending, and its games are dropping in price. Now is a rare time, when you can buy a plethora of games which are both inexpensive and relatively recent.
Over the next few months, I’ll be finding whatever time I can to play catch-up ; not on the big name games everyone knows, but on some of the sleeper titles that may have gone unnoticed, and shouldn’t be missed before the next generation arrives.
1st Recommendation: The Last Story
The Last Story is a pretty interesting game. It falls in beside other Japanese Role Playing Games like Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon in the category of RPGs that are more “Final Fantasy” than the thirteenth installment of the series — but not necessarily better all the same. In the case of TLS, it’s no secret that the game lacks polish.
Uematsu’s soundtrack is lush, and old-school FF director Sakaguchi throws in the kitchen sink: every FF trope and twist seems represented here, with no regard for avoiding cliches. There’s even some new “gotta have” elements thrown in, like a “first person” mode which both aspires to and lacks relevance in equal proportions.
While the game provides a wealth of ideas and puts the player in a myriad of situations, it also lacks consistency, even in the literal sense. The graphics are detailed, almost too much for the Wii, and most levels and towns look like blurry palates of gray. The framerate is awful, too, and ebbing and flowing at various rates.
That, however, is the worst of it. Combat feels gimmicky at first, but is fun if not a bit extravagant. The story and its characters are also surprisingly engaging, if not on their own merit at least in some nostalgic way. And despite technical hurdles and some editorial fluff, The Last Story is just an all-around heartwarming game for fans of the genre. It succeeds where recent bigger names – Star Ocean, Final Fantasy, etc. – have failed completely, in that, for all its flaws, its story and characters manage to engage the player.
After getting past several shortcomings early on, I found that The Last Story was succeeding at pulling me in. The game was reaching me, in that rare way that only the RPGs of the SNES and PSOne era really do. It might fly over the heads of modern gamers, but TLS is a rarity, and no-doubt a rough gem that shouldn’t be missed by people who appreciate the RPG genre.
You should be able to pick it up for $20-30 dollars. That’s a great price, and you’ll be getting a ton of game for it.