Last Rebellion: One Is The Loneliest Number

By Spencer . February 17, 2010 . 1:38pm

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The forces of life and death are in discord. Formival, the god that grants life, is on a soul reviving binge and created a ton of monsters called Belzeds. People pray to Meiktilia, the god of death, to restore balance. Blades, swordsmen with the mission to take life, and Sealers, magicians with the power to seal souls, were born out of the chaos.

 

Nine, the male lead, is a Blade and killed in the opening sequence. His younger brother and fellow Blade, Alfred, murders Nine and their adoptive father, the King of Lorvin. Aisha witnessed Nine’s death and revived him… sort of. Thanks to a powerful spell Aisha, ties Nine’s soul to her body. Both characters share a single body now, each with their own personality and goals. Nine is on a quest for revenge and Aisha needs Nine to protect her as she investigates her past. All of this is presented with static art, pretty character art, but still pictures and voice acting akin to a visual novel.

 

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While story sequences are in 2D, Last Rebellion takes place in a 3D world with long corridors and a barren open field. There are no towns in the Last Rebellion, just a giant dungeon crawl with respawning treasure chests. Nine/Aisha procure healing items and weapons by opening them with key collected from enemies. Those act like the game’s currency, except you don’t know what you’re buying. Might be a good idea to save before using precious keys just in case you open a chest and find something unnecessary.

 

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Hit Maker originally planned for the Last Rebellion with an action oriented combat, but converted it into a turn based RPG in the middle of development. The system they ended up making is, well, different from any RPG out there. Since Nine/Aisha share a single body all of their stats — HP, MP and Chain Points used to initiate attacks — are shared. You still have two turns, though. The first thing you want to do is stamp and attack. This damages the enemy and marks limbs for stamp magic. See, each monster has different body parts to target such as their head, arms, abdomen, horns, etc. and you want to hit each appendage in the right order. What’s the right order? You have to figure that out by trial and error. (A notepad helps here.) Getting the right order makes stamps stick longer and nets extra experience points. Messing it up wastes chain points and could aggravate a monster if you hit a red rage point in the wrong sequence.

 

After attacking, usually with Nine leading, you can use stamp magic. These spells hit all of the body parts Nine just stamped. So, if you only stamp an eye, the spell strikes once. Stamp an eye, leg, arm, head, and horn for five hits. Stamp magic also hits every stamp on every enemy. If you want to conserve MP you can stamp dozens of parts and cast one spell to hit all of them. Stamp magic is your main way of hurting Belzeds, but they don’t die after they run out of HP. They just lay there, unconscious waiting for Nine to use his absorb skill to recover MP or Aisha to seal them, which finally erases them. Once all of the Belzeds are sealed you (finally) win. Nine and Aisha are like yin and yang. One kills, the other seals.

 

Let’s review:

1.) Stamp and attack
2.) Use stamp magic, this is your main way of damaging monsters
3.) Absorb to restore MP
4.) Seal

 

The system is as slow and taxing as it sounds. Seeing Nine/Aisha using the same battle animations and fighting monster color swaps makes fights seem even more tedious. Recovery is equally cumbersome since there aren’t any inns. Healing items are hard to come by too, you really want to save them for emergencies. Fortunately, Aisha/Nine have limited regeneration. If Aisha is on the field you restore a bit of HP. Nine recovers MP. You can switch characters with the square button, but you still have to wait for them to heal. It took about ten minutes of Nine standing in place to fully recover MP and that was during the beginning of the game. You can cast healing spells with MP so you don’t have to wait for both meters to refill. Still, it takes way too long to get back into fighting condition. Since you don’t have any other party members you have to be careful. The game ends when Nine or Aisha falls in battle and there isn’t an option to retry the last battle.

 

There are some tricks to make battles flow faster. First, you want to restore chain points with a spell instead of passing turns by defending. Second, buff/debuff bosses. Third, you’re better off with a few maxed out stamp spells than a whole bunch of weak ones. Fourth, avoid fights when possible. Encounters aren’t random.

 

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Monsters are just about all you’ll see in Last Rebellion. Without party members or towns and little to explore, the Last Rebellion is set in a lonely world. This may have worked as an action RPG with a character switching system and fluid combat. As a traditional RPG, Hit Maker’s game drags from one dungeon crawl to the next only to see the plot unfold.


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  • LastFootnote

    *facepalm*

    Why, NIS? Why, oh, why do you continue to work with Hit Maker? Do they own a majority share of your stock? Are you being blackmailed? You always get burned, but you keep coming back. From an outside perspective, it sure doesn’t seem like a healthy relationship.

    The next time they come to you and say, “This RPG will sell like hotcakes in the western market!” just show them the door. Save yourself some cash and save your reputation.

    • nyobzoo

      yea I agree, it seemed like HM was onto something with it being an action rpg but then later on thought, “hey this game would be fun being action rpg, we need to make it boring like the rest of our games” making this game turn based was a big mistake.

      • cowcow

        agreed

  • wharcraff

    This sounds like a “Roguelike”. I would at least rent it.

    • LastFootnote

      Sorry if I’m dashing your hopes, but this isn’t a Roguelike. It’s just a turn-based RPG with no towns. By that definition, Final Fantasy XIII would be a Roguelike.

      Roguelikes usually have randomized dungeons, permanent death (or severe penalties for death), and a grid-based, overhead-view map. Zettai Hero, an upcoming game by NIS, appears to be a Roguelike. Sword of Fargoal, which I’m playing right now, is considered a Roguelike. Last Rebellion isn’t.

  • Tokyo Guy

    I thought this game was absolutely pitiful, and resold it to a used game store within 24 hours. How this kind of crap can be made in 2010 (2009) is just amazing, especially when you think of the budget for a modern game. Nippon Ichi should be ashamed to have its name on this product.

    Perhaps telling is the fact that stores have already slashed its price, including Amazon Japan, and that you can still find the artbook/cd omake with new copies (thus indicating the game failed to move even enough copies for the bonus items to sell out).

    I will say that the music was good.

  • Slashlen

    About what I expected. I kept looking for a reason to look forward to this game, but never found it.

  • http://twitter.com/Golii Cristóbal Escalona

    That PS3 game that looks like a PSP one!

    • Landiur

      Holy crap, I thought this WAS a PSP game until I read your post and checked. That is just sad…

  • BK0000

    I wish they would have redesigned the main character. He looks EXACTLY like Asch from Tales of the Abyss. I can’t look at this game without thinking of Asch and vice versa.

  • thebanditking

    Hmm…a scathing but honest preview, thanks Spencer. I have been emailing NIS for months trying to get the answers to most of the things you pointed out. This one is not looking to be very good at all, in fact I wonder what made them think this would be popular in the West? I doubt this will even end up a cult classic among western JRPG fans. Though I kind of knew this one was going to turn out badly when Japanese players nominated and then voted it “Kusoge of the Year”, or Worst game of 2010. Of course this was 2ch voters but still.

  • Tokyo Guy

    I just found the story from earlier this month about Nippon Ichi hardly making any profit this past fiscal year and this game stands out even more. Why in the world would they publish this awful product?

  • http://soundcloud.com/tet-chan TetsuyaHikari

    Hmmm..looks like RPGs with no towns seems to be the new thing these days. It’s sad when we’re getting more interaction with people in action games these days (oh and towns).

    OH! RPG GODS! WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?!

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