All About The Last Story’s Battle System, Boss Battles, And Character Customization

By Spencer . December 26, 2010 . 11:02pm

imageHironobu Sakaguchi, director, gave a lengthy battle demonstration of The Last Story earlier today. He started with the basic controls and cover is an important element. You can hide behind objects by pressing the "A" button. You can move Elza, the protagonist, with the analog stick on the nunchuck, hold it and press "A" to dive for a dodge roll-like move, hit "B" to guard and jump over objects, "Z" to target spells, and "C" to activate gathering. We’ll get to that move in a bit. Elza automatically attacks enemies when he gets nearby them. If you like, attacking can be toggled to manual in the options menu. Unlike Final Fantasy and Blue Dragon, The Last Story has a real time battle system.


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One thing interesting about magic is you can target background objects. This seems like an extension of Lost Odyssey where players could occasionally hit objects to get an advantage. In the demo, Elza crushed a column and damaged a nearby enemy. Yuris, the party’s magic user shattered ledges from a distance. While invoking a spell, Yuris floats and a number appears over his head. If he’s hit during this period the spell breaks. We saw enemies targeting Yuris, but Sakaguchi activated Elza’s gathering ability to draw them away.


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Cocoon was a boss from the first area. During the fight, Elza had to scan for an enemy’s weak point and use the power of magic circles to damage the boss. Elza has a wind ability he can use to extend magic after Yuris casts it. The "Prominence" circle sends a blast of flame. There’s a "Recovery" circle too, which can restore the party’s HP when activated.




While Elza was fighting Cocoon the other characters were shouting for him to lure the boss outside. Sakaguchi did this by using the gathering ability to bring Cocoon onto a stone bridge. Once Cocoon was far enough outside, Yuris cast a spell to destroy the bridge ending the battle with a dramatic cutscene.


Sakaguchi jumped to another area by loading a game within the options menu. You can see one of the magic circles below. The blue area is for a Freeze Circle this ability hits enemies with ice magic and causes slip status. Hit them again and they’ll fall down. The black area is a Heal Circle, which one of the enemies is using to restore their characters. Using his wind ability, Elza can call a Freeze Circle and blow away the heal effect.


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On Gurugu Ship, Sakguchi grabbed a treasure chest. The contents are random in The Last Story. A bunch of item names spin when you open a box and you get whatever item it lands on. In a boss fight with Muruu, Sakaguchi used a Holy Circle to protect his party with a barrier. He demoed other commands during this battle like giving characters direct orders and changing weapons on the fly to deal more damage. There was also a quick time event where Elza could press A to jump up on an enemy and then hit A again to attack while he was on top of Muruu.


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Sakaguchi died during that fight (actually he died twice during the demo) so he demonstrated the fast forwarding feature. It’s a neat addition that lets you speed through event scenes by holding the A button – as if you hit the fast forward button on a VCR. The game skips over all voice acting while fast forwarding, but as soon as you stop it voice acting resumes. It’s possible to move the camera around during events too. There’s another kind of event scene at bars where Elza and a bar maid talk with floating heads, characters in the background continues to move during these scenes.


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Out on the town, Elza can be a nuisance to townfolk by firing (I kid you not) bananas out of his bowgun. These stay on the ground and Elza can slip on them. Sakaguchi says other players can slip on them too during multiplayer mode. Sakaguchi then demonstrated the game’s customization system. You can purchase different kinds of armor at a shop and then equip them to style your character. Elza, for example, is wearing feather armor (the shirt with a scarf) and heavy legs. After you pick gear you can change the color of it to make a unique character.


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It’s also possible to unequip everything and make Elza run around in his underwear.


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Sakaguchi then customized Seiren with dragon armor before settling on a one piece dress. Characters keep their costumes during event scenes too.


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In another area Sakaguchi showed characters can swim in dungeons. This fight against a Monstrous Spider, Sakaguchi demonstrated some devastating attacks like Meteor and Accelerate which made Elza attack more often.


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And here’s a bunch of miscellaneous screenshots of menus, save points, and fights.


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  • zhemos

    Lookin’ good. Not gonna get too excited about It seeing as It hasn’t been announced for localization.

    Maybe we’ll get lucky and Nintendo will throw us RPG fans a bone.

    • They did…with Golden Sun Dark Dawn…

      • And Dragon Quest VI.

        • Rubashova

          And Dragon Quest IX.

          And Strange Journey.

          And Devil Survivor.

          Of course, these are all DS games, not Wii games.

          • 2 of those games weren’t published & marketed by Nintendo though. That’s what they’re trying to point out about the others.

          • zhemos

            Maybe I should rephrase.

            Throw us Wii RPG fans a bone. :)

            The Wii is severely lacking when It comes to (QUALITY) RPG’s. I can only play Tales of Symphonia DOTNW and Twilight Princess so many times Nintendo!!

            Edit for spencer. :P

          • Rune Factory Frontier, Little Kings Story, FFCC: The Crystal Bearers, FFCC: Rings of Fate, Super Paper Mario, Shiren the Wanderer, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Baroque, Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love, and (maybe) Arc Rise Fantasia say “hi.”

          • I urge you to give some of those games a try. While “quality” is a subjective element, I bet you’d find some of what you seek in that list.

            Be bold! Try something new :)

  • MrRobbyM

    Bow chicka wah wah, Elza!

  • Testsubject909

    Sooo…. Long story short.


    I WANT THIS GAME! I’ma save up now to buy a Wii thanks to this game (and many others, but it’s always nice to have one final grand push. Or shove.)

    • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

      You mean Last Story short.

      • No, he means long Last Story short.

  • hope this game gets localized

  • Hours

    I really hope this gets a US release.

    • Those US and European trademarks must mean something…

        • Neh? But that links to Tales of Grac…… OOOOHHHHHH

        • alastor3

          im sorry but I don’t understand D:

          • Tom_Phoenix

            What he means is that just beacuse something is trademarked doesn’t mean that it will be released in all regions where it is trademarked or even be made at all. He provides Tales of Graces as an example of this, since the game was never released outside of Japan, yet it is trademarked in the US as well.

            To put it differently, just beacuse The Last Story has a US/EU trademark does not mean it will see a release in those regions.

          • alastor3


          • I think Tales of Innocence, Hearts, and Versus were trademarked as well.

        • malek86

          Oh snap!

          But it looks like Nintendo is trying to big it up. If there’s one RPG we could see from them, it’s gonna be this game.

        • Of course not every trademark is a confirmation, but most of the time they are a fairly good sign that, at the very least, a publisher is considering an international release.

          Also, Nintendo’s rules for localization is different that Namco Bandai.

  • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

    Thanks for the detailed run down of the video. I only caught the last minute of the gameplay segment.

    It’s so full of innovation!! I still can’t believe the Gooch jumped from making some of the most traditional JRPGs out there to one of the most progressive. Bravo. I hope more devs follow his example.

    • Aoshi00

      Very commendable indeed, I was a little worried when I heard this is real time at first (would it be too much like FF12?), but the exciting and engaging battles in the video put my worries to rest, very strategic and fast paced, and I love the chars talking to each other all the time. One thing that bothered me about Xenoblade was when you talk to people in town, everyone just “disappears” other than you and the person you’re talking to, just looks strange and really takes you out of the game.. the bodies and everything are very well done too, in Xenoblade the char models and faces seem to be one of the weakest links and didn’t do the original design/drawing justice, Sakaguchi said he’s trying to please the female players :)

      The scene w/ Elza and Seiren (I thought they would use the spelling Siren like the sea monster temptress) was hilarious too, he thought she asked him out on a date and they would make out to blow off some steam, but she only led him to the collesium :)

      • Yo~! Aoshi, i have a question not related to this article (the last story pwnz anyway yay!)
        In playasia, you can track like in Amazon, where your order is? This is really important when it comes to the way i bring a game to my country, the company i use needs the tracking number or w/e to know if my things arrived or how “theya are doing”.

        • Exkaiser

          Not Aoshi, but, yes. If you choose one of the more expensive shipping options, they’ll give you tracking information. The site tells you which options come with tracking when you check out.

          • Thanks, and darn, money moves the world T_T it will take like 100$-110$ just to bring one new ps3 game

        • Aoshi00

          Hey, yea, like Exkaiser said P-A does have shipping options that offer tracking of course, just more moola. I always choose the cheapest shipping because I don’t care about getting it a little later. Also in the years I’ve ordered from them, I have never had any package lost, except that very one time, and they gave me store credit for it promptly, these guys are grade A.

          However, if you’re eyeing the special bonus illustration book/soundtrack, I suggest you try These guys are excellent too, they are based in New York, I think they should ship to where you are as well, there should be tracking if you choose UPS. These guys could guarantee for the bonuses if you make special request, unlike P-A, where it’s more by chance and they can’t guarantee the bonus in most cases even for pre-orders.

          Another great place I use very often is or AmiAmi sometimes has the best prices, say for the Limited edition 360 shmups, they don’t mark up as high as the other sellers.

          For Last Story, I alrdy pre-ordered from NCSX and can’t wait :) (I got Catherine from them also because I don’t want to miss the bonus artbook/soundtrack).

          • I could not find Catherine or Last Story on Not a very well put together website :/

            Also, the Catherine soundtrack/artbook is physically bundled with Catherine from what I understand so regardless of where you buy it, all first runs of Catherine will have the bonus.

          • Aoshi00

            yea, their website is a little bit weird.. they’re actually very dedicated in the daily product updates w/ witty write-ups, but somehow you can’t search stuffs on their main website, because they have a different “shop” link, but here’s the direct links to their Catherine and Last Story pre-orders if you want, I alrdy ordered w/ them. I can’t believe Yes-Asia missed my FF13 Int’l booklet (artbook/script/novella), they said they’re looking into it now.. I’m a pretty loyal customer and have pending orders, I request them to ship it next time, I was disappointed to have just gotten the game last night.. As it gets near the release day, you should pay attention to NCSX’s daily update, they would let us know how the pre-order bonus situation looks (like if it’s 1:1 ratio, sometimes like Tales it might not be, but you could specify or cancel), these guys are good because you can e-mail them right away unlike YesAsia or PlayAsia since they’re in Hong Kong, and not guarantee on bonuses). I’m not sure if the Catherine artbook and soundtrack are inside the game case if they’re big.. so I’m going w/ NCSX just to be safe, it would suck you spent $80 and not get the bonus.Last Story,…Catherine,

            BTW, don’t bother search for the tiles on NCSX’s site, do a google of NCSX + title, then it should pull up that link directly..

  • I like how you can customize your armor’s appearance or even remove parts of it without affecting the status.

  • JustaGenericUser

    Cutscenes will b pretty funny/awkward if you make the main character run around in his shorts.

    • It would be funnier if you could make the entire party run around in their undergarments.

      • As long as the game has swimsuits or just beach attire. I love dressing the characters,

    • Aoshi00

      The pink sunglasses and cat ears looked weird in Lost Odyssey’s cutscenes too, and this just has more of it, I’m just going to dress my chars more traditionally..

  • HarryHodd

    Looks promising. Just hope single player is long enough and epic.

    • alastor3

      it said it’s 30 hours, side quest included I think BUT there’s new game plus and online

      • Guest

        It says 30 hours on average and MORE depending on how many side quests you do not including side quests.

    • The game is said to last 30 hours or so.

      • HarryHodd

        Developers always overestimate gametime. I’ll wait for confirmation. Not into playing this twice or online.

  • “There’s another kind of event scene at bars where Elza and a bar maid talk with floating heads…”

    Aren’t they called “character portraits?”

    • Guest

      They seem to be the 3D models heads though not just 2D art.

      • Or they’re really detailed 2D portraits.

      • malek86

        I remember something like that from MDK2. It was a bit awkward, to be honest.

  • malek86

    I’d rather have turn based, but ok. We’ll see how it goes.

    On a side note, the main character gives me Squall vibes. Hopefully that won’t be the case.

  • It seems Sakaguchi has put in this game all his ideas of the past years; I do think he had more freedome here than his previous games as Blue Dragon series and Lost Odyssey; anyway, The Last Story looks totally great.

  • fuzzy_hobo

    Please, please, pleeeease have a good story!

    • At least if it has a horrible story it’ll be the “Last”. -Badum-tish-

  • All I can say from someone who uses Ustream a lot, it sucks we did not even know this was happening and that “only” the Japanese seem to matter concerning his new game. Is there something wrong with the English speakers in the world ? It looks like great game but I am starting to draw a line in the sand and had enough of not be included in the announcements since it is our dollar they want too. Mr Sakaguchi you do speak English some, why can you not respect the large group of fans the want to play your new games. Ustream btw is an American website with English speaking gamers, I am offended and put off by the whole event.

    • What do you mean? Yesterdays announcement video said ustream.

      • He’s complaining because Sakaguchi was only talking to the audience in the presentation room.

    • They may think Americans aren’t interested in their RPGs. Did you forget about the Western Journalist who badmouthed JRPGs and even some in the Japanese industry who thinks the west doesn’t want their rpgs anymore? This might just be my opinion and it probably is, but from everything I have seen it might be somewhat true. Mostly because I don’t think they’d want to willfully ignore our dollars.

    • I can emphasize with you, but this was an announcement and unveiling for Japan – not the whole world. Because of this the presentation was geared for Japan there’s no reason for Sakaguchi or anyone to speak English. So, when you say “only” the Japanese matter and you’re not included – technically you aren’t.

      As of now, The Last Story has only been confirmed for a release in Japan.

      If Nintendo decides to release it overseas then they may have their own presentation and/or events to showcase the game. Then the rest of the world will be in on the news. We’re just covering the game as news comes out regardless or region.

      • malek86

        To me, even though this presentation was only for Japan, the game looks a bit like it was made with western audiences in mind (no jokes about muscular marines, plz). I think we’re gonna see an announcement relatively soon.

        • I don’t know if it was made specifically for the West, but I would say The Last Story has “international appeal.”

          The above comment was not about whether The Last Story will come out here or not – it was in response to what Final Fantasy Radio said regarding the presentation.

  • Cool, does someone know if the video is stored somewhere to watch o.o?

  • Barrit

    I saw the live broadcast last night and this game looks so damn good. This is the first time I’ve ever been excited for a Wii game! The combat actually seems like a big high point in this game, especially with the “magic circles” component and environmental targeting.

    The multiplayer feature seemed decent from what I saw. I’m not a huge multiplayer type of person, but it looked like it could be fun. Was there suppose to be co-op boss fights? I don’t recall seeing any last night, unless I just missed them. I had a few issues with the Ustream feed stopping.

  • alastor3
  • Ren

    I’m loving how you can equip and unequip the individual pieces of each armor without affecting your status, and even change their color. I normally hate when changing armor changes your appareance, but I think I kind of like this system. Hmm, I’m tempted to do a ‘undewear only’ playthrough of this if I ever get the chance to play. I wonder what kind of underwear Yuris and Manamia use? And I have to admit, I don’t generally like Uematsu’s music, but I’m really loving the sample of the battle musics on the site.

    Now, back to youtube to listen to Primal Eyes and Arise Within You. Hmm, I hope this game soundtrack ends even better than Xenoblade’s and 3rd Birthday’s.

  • PrinceHeir

    just saw the new trailer you can check it out here :)

    looks awesome :)

    this and Xenoblade please nintendo publish it for the west ^^

  • puchinri

    Since I’m playing FF9 now, I just imagined the Last Story cast in an elaborate play with awesome music and using Meteor on each other. With lots of cool colors.

    I have to tell myself that won’t happen though, so it is not another reason to be more excited for this game.

    • You never know. Maybe Elza is secretly a monkey boy.

      • puchinri

        That would seriously make my day. And now I have all these unrealistic expectations for the game that are in no way related to the quality of the game itself.

  • I’m strangely reminded of Demon’s Souls, which is a good sign so far.

  • Technology Tester

    Good use of the animation in this post.Thanks

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