Why I’m Looking Forward to Mistwalker’s “The Last Story” (And Why You Should Too)

I have been on a quest. A quest to discover a JRPG that will capture my hear the same way that PS1-2 era JRPGs have before. Unfortunately, my quest seems a bit futile. Almost every JRPG I’ve played in the past two years has left me disappointed (maybe I’ve been missing out on the good ones? Please, I implore you to suggest JRPGs for me to play. Seriously.). Entertained, sometimes, but mostly longing for something more…

I can’t lie and say that the fact that I am so looking forward to The Last Story and the fact that it is produced by Hironobu Sakaguchi are totally unrelated. Sakaguchi of couse being the man responsible for games such as the Final Fantasy series, Chrono Chross, and Super Mario RPG. I’ve loved Sakaguchi’s JRPGs, especially Final Fantasy, since I was a child. Well, lately I’ve been disappointed with the way Final Fantasy has been going too.

In 2001, Sakaguchi left Square to found Mistwalker Studios and took composer Nobuo Uematsu with him. Maybe my heart is yearning for a JRPG with the complexity of Final Fantasy X, the silliness of Super Mario RPG, or the music of Final Fantasy IX.

So far, I’ve experienced two Mistwalker games: Blue Dragon (meh) and Lost Odyssey (surprisingly good!). Neither of those games got the same amount of press that The Last Story did, however. If you’ve heard of The Last Story, chances are it was the same way that I had: the outcry of US fans when Nintendo decided that only the original Japanese and a European version of The Last Story would be released, leaving US fans in the dust. This, amongst other snubs from Nintendo, led to the creation of Operation Rainfall, a fan campaign to petition Nintendo for the localization of Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower. And they succeeded. Xenoblade Chronicles was released in April 2012, with The Last Story, brought to the US by XSEED, to follow in June.

The Last Story has been the subject of some seriously fantastic critical acclaim from places like IGN, Gamespot, and Famitsu. UK website Bordersdown said, “A convincing story, combined with a unique combat system and a great audiovisual presentation, makes The Last Story a must-have game for anyone who has a special place in their heart for special RPG’s.” It has been called a “gift to the Wii” and “memorable and magical”.

I was so excited that I pre-ordered the European special edition for my as of now, un-hacked Wii with plans to also pick up the US version. The special edition is truly beautiful, and you get what you pay for (it includes the game, soundtrack, and a really beautiful artbook). I’m truly hoping that “The Last Story” will bring an end to the pessimism I have been feeling about JRPGs on modern consoles, and that it will make me feel like I have gotten my money’s worth on a Wii that I rarely use.

You can check out a trailer of “The Last Story” from E3 at IGN.

– Andrea

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