Technical issues but a good story
WHEN considering The Last Story's credentials, look no further than the game's director, Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of Final Fantasy. He's rightly regarded as a prominent figure in the JRPG - Japanese role-playing game - genre.
The Last Story, however, feels like a fresh approach rather than a direct imitation of the trends and techniques that have come before.
In almost every possible way it succeeds in being both simplistic and complex, designed to be explored thoroughly over a few dozen hours, or to simply blast through the main storyline in 20 hours.
With some expected mechanics reliably in place, this title attempts to be whatever kind of RPG you want it to be.
When at their best, the battle mechanics that make up much of The Last Story work exceptionally well. The abilities to use environmental cover, destroy surrounding scenery and bridges or prioritise specific enemies such as sorcerers or healers all contribute to action that is strategic and exciting.
There's variety, too, with some intense one-on-one sword battles and even a moment where you ride on the back of a beast, running down all enemies in your way.
It's unfortunate that quite a few of these moments, particularly battles against a number of enemies, are undermined by technical issues, primarily a framerate that drops significantly. There will be multiple occasions when, surrounded by enemies, frames will grind along slowly and all control is lost, leading to frantic button pressing to get out of trouble.
It happens a little too often, and one particularly strange battle with your own reflection in a mirror is both confusing and riddled with choppy performance.
The Last Story is, in many ways, a significant achievement on Wii. With gameplay that is both simplified and complex, solid controls, attractive presentation, online multiplayer and a touching, well-paced plot, this title can be considered as a definitive entry in its genre.
Technical problems with the performance, in particular regular and punishing drops in frame rate, unfortunately drag the experience back.
When the game engine performs it's terrific, but too often it struggles and significantly impacts your ability to control the action.
The Last Story's many strengths, however, ensure that it's a story that can't be missed.