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The Last Story's Battle System Sampled by Gpara

Nintendo shows off playable demo of Mistwalker RPG.

We've heard plenty about The Last Story's combat system. Gpara got to experience it first hand at the Nintendo Conference event last week.

Last week's Nintendo Conference event saw The Last Story get a final release date of January 27. But that's not all. Nintendo also gave the game its playable debut, allowing attendees to sample the latest title from Mistwalker and the first game to be directed by Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi since Final Fantasy IV.

Gpara posted impressions of its play test. Most of the battle system details were previously known (see this story for a summary), but it's good to hear that they actually exist in a playable form.

The demo had players control main character Elza and advance into a cave while defeating enemy monsters. This was apparently a section of the prologue, and accompanying Elza was Yuris, a magic user.

Controls, through the Wiimote and Nunchuck combo, had the Nunchuck stick used for Elza's movement. If an enemy is in the direction of Elza's movement, Elza will automatically draw his currently equipped sword and begin attacking automatically. You can press A to do an evade move. "C" makes Elza use his special "Gathering" ability, which makes a blue light emerge from his righthand and causes all enemies to gather around him.

The presence of Yuris made the Gathering skill a must for the demo. Yuris can take many tens of seconds to cast his powerful magic spell. However, if struck by an enemy during this time, he'll fail to cast the magic. By having Elza use Gathering, you can draw the enemies away from Yuris, giving him the required charge time.

Elza is also equipped with a bow gun. This can be used to take out objects from afar. For example, you can hide behind a wall or position yourself behind enemies to attack from safety. The demo sequence had some enemies who were capable of using heal spells, so taking these out first via the bow gun was a must.

Unfortunately, Gpara didn't mention if the bow gun's targeting makes use of Wiimote aiming.

The dungeon also demonstrated a second area of magic use. Outside of defeating enemies, Yuris' magic can be used to destroy pillars, bridges, and other background objects. The collapsing objects will kill enemies that happen to be below them.

As the demo progressed, Elza and Yuris met up with two additional allied mercenaries, Seiren and Quark. The enemies got tougher, and eventually the Gpara reporter found himself in a battle with a massive boss. This boss was capable of performing continuous wide ranging close range attacks (does that make sense?), making the evade move a handy feature -- evade an attack, then have Elza attack for himself. The boss was also surrounded by standard enemies, so Gathering was also essential. The demo came to an end following the boss fight.

Gpara's impression after its brief play test was that the game has a fast, invigorating feel, as Elza's automatic attacks emerge quickly, allowing you take out enemies in succession by simple holding the analogue stick down in the direction you want to move. The site also felt the importance of the Gathering spell.

The wait for Hironobu Sakaguchi's return to directing won't be long. The Last Story has a January 27 release date.

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