Played on: PS3 exclusive.
Played for: 20+ hours to finish up the game and defeat all 6 optional bosses, earning a Platinum Trophy.
Chrono Trigger was the game for me that changed my focus from the Mario-esque platformers that I had grown accustomed to, to the story-driven focus of the RPG genre. Since then, I’ve played my fair share of less-than-stellar titles while trying to sift through the litter box of JRPGs that seem to release in droves nowadays. In a time where we’re so saturated with quality titles in and out of the RPG spectrum, is there any room for a mediocre title like Last Rebellion?
Developed and published by Nippon Ichi Software, Last Rebellion released in 2010 to a smatter of applause. It has an uninteresting story, looks like a PS3 port of a PSP title and flows at a snails pace due to the D-list voice acting and storyboard walls of text, so it’s easy to see why so many gamers gave this one the thumbs down. Me, I’m a Prinny guy. If a game has Prinnies in it, I want to play it. Hell, I’d play FIFA if I could have a team full of Prinnies. Anyway, I did a fair amount of research before making the plunge and I knew what I was getting in to, but had no idea just what I was in for. The general consensus was that Last Rebellion was a big ol’ turd, but the combat system seemed somewhat interesting, the trophies were pretty much handed to you throughout the game and, in the end, there were those three gigantic Prinny bosses. Nom nom noms! I should have definitely listened to the internet and played something else.
In the land of Junovald, the god of death and the god of life rule all with the god of death granting people mystical powers and the god of life preventing anything from permanently dying. This is the nutshell version of how the combat system comes in to play. The mystical powers separate in to two groups – blades and sealers – with the blades being able to physically attack monsters to within an inch of their life, but in the end are unable to deliver the deathblow. Sealers, on the other hand, have the ability to seal a dying enemy’s soul, thus granting it.. *in a Bill Compton voice* the “true death”. Your “party”, if you would be so bold, consists of two people – Nine, the blade, and Aisha, the sealer. I used finger-quotes over the word “party” because you can only attack with one or the other and they also happen to share a health pool. This uninteresting mechanic removes any form of free thinking and generally leads to attacking with Nine until it’s time to seal with Aisha over and over again.
Combat is a little more in-depth than the usual turn-based RPG mechanic we’re accustomed to. Choosing to attack an enemy starts with choosing the order in which you attack specific parts of their body. Attacking in the correct order not only significantly increases the amount of damage done, but increases the amount of XP gained. While it sounds interesting on paper, the order in which you attack body parts is the same for each specific enemy, so once you’ve figured it out there is no more trial and error. At this point, it essentially becomes the same as hitting “Attack” on a battle menu. Gaining the increased XP also eliminates any need for grinding and you’ll eventually become such a powerhouse that any challenge from that point forward is completely gone. This is very similar to how the upgrade and advancement system worked in Prototype 2 which gave it that sense of reverse difficulty if you exploited the XP gain mechanic, but this “exploit” is just playing the game “correctly”.
In terms of character development, it’s pretty much absent the entire game. Nine doesn’t like the attention he gets for being a blade and often speaks in a poorly-written sarcastic tone. Aisha has accidentally killed innocents with her sealer powers and has been locked up for quite some time. Despite having a knack for accidental murderings, she’s the do-gooder. Both parties have the depth of a public urinal and the God-awful voice acting makes Star Ocean: Til the End of Time seem like Mass Effect 2. Even the story itself is so generic and downplayed that you’ll often forget why in the hell you should care in the first place. You’re basically summoned by the King to protect the kingdom from belzeds (the bad guys) while a group of mages do their best to deter attacks with a giant barrier. That’s it. End of story. There are various plot points that open up during the storyboard cutscenes that are supposed to be significant but end up being as important as your mother calling you at 3am and after answering in a panic, she tells you that she’s about to make a sandwich. Now I love my mom, and she makes a mean sandwich, but when she tells me this my brain doesn’t exactly go DUN DUN DUNNNNN!!!, but that’s how we’re supposed to react with Last Rebellion.
I’ve already mentioned that the game looks like a PS3 port of a PSP game, and that pretty much nails it. Animations are choppy, character models aren’t detailed, you never get any new weapons to display and most belzeds are just palette swapped versions of something you’ve already killed 100 times over. The best part is when you’re nearing the end and you’re informed that in order to progress you’re required to go back to just about every single zone you’ve ever visited and unlock hidden treasure chests. Three hours of back-tracking later and nothing to show for, you proceed to final showdown with poorly scripted large monster A, input the correct combo attack and overpower them within 10 or 11 turns. Collect trophies, roll credits, sell game online.
The Verdict – E+
Overall, Last Rebellion is quite possibly the worst game I’ve ever played aside from Eternal Poison for the PS2. I’m honestly shocked that I forced myself to stomach this atrocious monstrosity of a game, especially when the Prinnies I was so excited for didn’t even speak and resembled parade floats. After its initial release, even the developers knew they released a terrible game and went so far as to apologize for bringing such a poor product stateside. Aside from having an extremely easy Platinum, Last Rebellion is a hate crime against anyone with eyes and ears and belongs buried in the desert with Eternal Poison and Shadow Madness.