Last Rebellion is in many ways a reminiscent trail across what typically represents the RPG experience. Certain aspects will make you dread playing this game, but others will really stand out uniquely amongst the slew of other RPGs available to you. Weighing the pros and cons, Last Rebellion might actually be a game for you.
Last Rebellion is a tale about the rivalry of two Gods on Earth: Meikteillia the God of Death, and Formival the God of Life. Interestingly enough, the people fear the God who brings life and worship the God who maintains death. The kingdom is suffering from a serious case of unbalance because of Formival’s overactive desire to bring beings back to life, flooding their land with resurrected demons and souls. Blades and Sealers were created to use their strength and magic, respectively, to help maintain the balance through the Gods’ biddings. Nine, who is a Blade adopted into the royal family, is the first character you will begin to play as.
King Arzelide, Nine’s adoptive father, gets swindled by his other son, Alfred, in what soon turns to an evil ploy involving the miscreant’s attempt to attain Formival’s godly powers. Getting caught in the midst of it all, your death at your brother’s hands leads a present Sealer to bond your two souls together in an attempt to retain your existence. And thus begins your journey as partaking in both roles of Blade and Sealer with Nine and Aisha.
Nine sets out for revenge against his brother and, being that you are both bonded together into one being, Aisha must come along. She has her own mission to accomplish, however, which she vaguely mentions in passing. And so you begin your trek to find Alfred and attempt to discern his plan along the way.
This was the progression of my reaction to Nippon Ichi Software’s RPG, Last Rebellion:
1. Oh boy, still images? No animation? What year was this made again?
When you’re first introduced to Last Rebellion, you’ll come upon a series of still images placed one after the other where there should be animated characters and scenes. The most animation you’ll get out of Last Rebellion is the swaying of a robe and perhaps the quick movement of a frown into a smile (which is more like flip book movements than actual animation). Of course, I’m not one to knock still images – I still like my fair share of manga and graphic novels – but it felt very out of place in a video game released in 2010.
To accompany you on your loading sessions, various artworks are splashed on the screen representing the work of specific guest artists. Considering all the in-game imagery is in stills, I would’ve liked to see the artistic quality of these image-captures in the loading screens. They were more intriguing, colorful, and creative than the dull and outdone designs of the characters that were represented in the game itself.
On top of it all, NIS adds insult to injury by repeatedly uses the same images over and over in their cut scenes. There wasn’t much creativity thrown into the mix, and it definitely feels like a jip. Some of said images in the loading screens were really beautiful, and at the very least would’ve been nice to see a couple thrown into the actual game for good measure.
2. Is that…is that Mr. Moviefone narrating?
It is really terrible listening to the voice actors in the game. This holds true for two reasons. For one thing, the dialogue itself feels almost scripted to be cheesy. It’s not terrible enough to always be comical, but the painful banter can barely cut through the horrendously feigned sexual tension between your two characters confined to one soul.
There’s really no way around it: the dialogue isn’t anything riveting and the voice acting helps none. It goes without saying, then, that character construction won’t be catching your attention either. When Aisha explains that your two souls have become bound together, she does so in the Vamino Room, which is where you are transferred upon binding. It consists of a huge ticking clock lined with portals to jump into previously explored areas, and is the only place the two of you can exist together. The thought of a room adorned with the winding gears of a clock to represent the constraints of your death can be dreamy and poetic, but it’s immediately shattered by their discussion of it. Aisha describes their situation as “kind of a pain, but that’s what sharing a soul is all about.” They then continue to pass off discussions of the meaning behind the actions of the gods by saying that “gods do weird stuff.” I haven’t heard that sort of vernacular since the 5th grade.
Their bickering adds to the allusion of children arguing, and even the main plot is sullied by Nine’s idea of vengeance against his “pansy” brother. It really turns a story with a good premise of unbalance, vengeance and honor to a petty practice of showmanship amongst bratty siblings.
To make up in part for the unconvincing voice acting is the music featured in the game. Some of the background melodies were really catchy and matched the “you’re all doomed” setting around the storyline. Of course, it’s one track over and over, but it’s certainly pleasant to listen to.
3. Even with terrible acting and dialogue, I am intrigued by the storyline.
Flaws are, without a doubt, abound in Last Rebellion. But the interesting twist on the good versus evil storyline, and the constant mystery surrounding your journey and Alfred’s motives keep the game intriguing.
I was enticed by the storyline to want to discover more, but the half-mustered dialogue and stills where animated cut scenes should have been really blemished the entire project. I wanted to spend time with the background of the story more so than the characters, but the game overwhelmed me with cheesy dialogue and rushed through the more intriguing bits of storyline that I would have preferred to listen to. Even so, you’ll be encountering twists and turns throughout the storyline, just barely being introduced to one while another one creeps up to add to the mystery. The storyline was, to put it efficiently, exciting.4. Actually, battling is pretty epicly challenging.
Allow me to clarify: battle difficulty is actually pretty sporadic. I’ve run into groups of enemies more challenging than boss levels. The experience will vary based on a simple matter of stumbling on an enemy with a drastic difference of level from yours, or to how prepared you are. Preparation in Last Rebellion is key, and my slew of buff spells quickly became my best friends.
The mechanics of battle are somewhat familiar: turn-based, but you get two shots considering the two-for-one soul deal you got at the outset. A physical attack, usually Nine’s forte, will target individual body pieces costing one chain point each and stamp them for future magical hits. Hitting the body pieces in the right order gets you bonus and combo points. The only nuisance that comes with that implementation is the guesswork you’ll have to go through to figure out what exactly that right order is. After a few deaths I learned that my stickies on my Mac had more uses than one. I began recording the order of hits for those battles I just couldn’t get through. There’s usually some form of pattern, but the list can go to 10 body parts and gets to be a lengthy procedure when there’s 5 of the same enemy you’re facing.
You have to keep a balance between offensive and defensive attacks based on the progression of the battle but, given that your two-person turns are clunked together, it’s sometimes difficult to respond accurately because you’ll be queuing up attacks before the opponent has made theirs.
You can cast your spells outside of battle, so I began playing the game of ultra-buffing myself up and then immediately playing the wait game for my mana points to regenerate. Mana regenerates a point per second, and when you’re mana capacity is in the thousands you’ll start to leave your PS3 on and complete other tasks in the meantime. Many a lunch was eaten while Nine awaited patiently watching the numbers tick on, and perhaps a shift of camera angle here or there to ensure no burning of the screen.
Although you’ll be indulging in the usual scrutiny whilst in turn-based mode, there are more factors to take under consideration when arm-wrestling the opponent. This makes battles almost excruciatingly hard at times. Once you muster enough knowledge over an enemy, as well as enough increase in HP/MP, the difficulty diminishes given that the enemy’s order of hit attacks will be recorded (so long as you didn’t die in the process) until you meet a new enemy with new stats to discover.
Chain points allocate how many hits you can make with your physical attack, or how many other abilities you can command per battle. As what I can only imagine to be a gesture of generosity, magical hits that target those stamps made by physical attacks only cost one chain point, but hit each individual body part that Nine had stamped. Of course, you’ll need to keep your reserve of CPs at a healthy level to make sure you have enough to command Aisha to seal their souls after they’ve died. Otherwise, you’ll be getting familiar with your sixth sense and soon battling resurrected enemies with full HP.
Leveling also functions in a unique way. You can allocate points to discovered talents and spells picked up from treasure chests. To add points to your abilities, you’ll need to attain special paper you receive from enemies to transcribe them. Your abilities progress based on your treasure hunting skills, and their strength depends on experience and those wonderful pieces of paper. As you level, however, your maximum capacity on health, mana, and chain points will increase.
The game doesn’t always give you direction as you progress, so you might just find yourself lost and stuck between constantly spawning high-level enemies as I was. If you can push through, it’s great for experience points, but it often becomes a battle of getting stuck in a corner and not being able to avoid the spawns.
Ultimately, when all is said and done, the experience of a pretty solid battle scheme with lots of challenge in addition to an entertaining storyline make for a decent RPG in Last Rebellion. In terms of actual execution with regard to the look and feel of the story’s experience, however, is another thing. You will be observing the story from a good distance away, as opposed to feeling the pressure of your journey yourself. If you’re a dedicated RPG fan, Last Rebellion can definitely be worth its gameplay.